SUFFOLK

Suffolk's past history was built largely upon the wool industry, leaving behind a legacy of small towns like Lavenham which contains many medieval buildings. Another well-known village is Aldeburgh put on the map courtesy of its annual music and arts Festival.

Rising above a small lake is 12th century Framlingham Castle which appears to have changed little in hundreds of years. Within the complete walls, however, successive generations have added new buildings.

Twelfth century Orford Castle has a lovely three towered keep reaching almost 90ft in height. Inside a spiral staircase allows you to explore the internal rooms. There are the ruins of a 14th century Benedictine abbey at Bury St. Edmunds which include a gatehouse and Norman tower.

The deer grazing in the deer park make a fine backdrop for a visit to Ickworth House which has a good collection of paintings including some by Gainsborough and Titian.

For scenery, have a look at the Stour Valley through which the River Stour runs.

The coastal areas have some interesting places to visit. There's a busy little sailing community at Waldringfield, while the small town of Woodbridge was built around the fishing industry. The town hosts the Suffolk Horse Museum while the main Woodbridge Museum contains relics from the nearby Saxon archaelogical site of Sutton Hoo. And one would never guess that the small town of Beccles - about 5 miles west of Lowestoft - with its many Georgian houses was once a prosperous port. Such are the ravages and power of the coastal climate.

There's a huge heathland area at Sutton Heath with nature trails and pathways to peramble. There are lots of little villages dotted round that provide interest too. Dunwich was originally a busy sea port but became silted in centuries ago, while the areas around Westleton, Blythburgh and Walberswick will provide walkers and nature lovers with lots to see.

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