The Local Area

Museums along the Suffolk Coast

Despite its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Suffolk Coast and Heaths have been under the influence of man since Neolithic times, later being occupied by the Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. Fleets were built in Suffolk by local shipwrights, sea battles raged in Suffolk bays, whilst Suffolk fishermen battled the elements on their way to Iceland and beyond. Meanwhile forests were cleared, sheep grazed on heathland and pasture and local flint, clay and thatch used in the creation of fine churches and merchants buildings – many still standing today.

Whilst many of us think of Suffolk as a rural county, it has produced a catalogue of great intellects, writers, musicians and artists as well as its fair share of inventors, with pioneers in farm machinery and engineering exporting to Russia and beyond. The invention and development of radar at Orfordness and Bawdsey was instrumental in saving Britain from foreign invasion during WWII. Despite such brilliance and technological innovation man has failed in his attempts to stop the relentless invasion of the sea, responsible for the devastation of ports and harbours since the 14th century and today still threatening wildlife habitats, towns and villages along the coast.

The Longshop Museum

One of the most influential local families were the Garretts who created a small empire with their steam powered engines and machinery, exported all over the world. Philanthropists, they were also responsible for a lot of local good works. The history of the family and the machinery they produced is all excellently displayed there.

Saxmundham Museum

Another good intro to the history of the town, but for train enthusiasts having the added advantage of a scale model of the Saxmundham Railway Station with working trains. There is also a recreation of the Saxmundham Playhouse cinema.

Aldeburgh Museum

A fine, wood-framed Tudor building, which has served as the Town Hall since 1520. The Museum contains fascinating maps, paintings and some interesting early items from Sutton Hoo.

Bawdsey Radar Museum

Featured in the 2005 BBC Restoration series, the museum is made up of wartime concrete bunkers including the old Transmitter Block - the first radar station in the world. Learn about the development of radar and the part it played in winning the Second World War.

Beccles and District Museum

Another magnificent building from the 1500s, a private house, a school and now a fine museum with lots of old photographs of Beccles and the Broads, and old artefacts which give a good insight into the people and their work.

Dunwich Museum

Dunwich has a fantastical history, once one of the largest ports in England, where some of the great naval ships of the Elizabethan period were built. Today Dunwich is little more than a small seaside hamlet. The museum's fascinating display charts the history of Dunwich over the last 1500 years.

Felixstowe Museum

The last surviving building of the Submarine Mining Establishment (1878) in a great position overlooking the harbour just outside Landguard Fort. There is an emphasis on military history, as well as some excellent displays on local history and paddle steamers; there are some fascinating maps, photographs and paintings.

Halesworth Museum

Situated in the railway station, a phenomenon in itself having the only moveable platform in the country, Halesworth Museum has some excellent archaeological and geological exhibits as well as loads of information about the history of the area, including a celebration of two renowned plant hunters and their association with Halesworth. Sir William Hooker the first Director of Kew Gardens and his son, Sir Joseph Hooker, the second Director of

Lanman Museum

Part of Framlingham Castle, the museum charts the enthralling history of Framlingham through paintings, prints and drawings. Good collection of agricultural tools, artefacts and memorabilia.

Southwold Museum

The building itself is fascinating and it houses an excellent exhibition relating to the natural history of Southwold as well as providing a vignette of the history of this most fascinating and active town.

Walberswick Heritage Centre

Some good local maps and photographic coverage of the history of Walberswick village and a really fascinating film Wild Coasts and Ancient Heaths (20 minutes) which provides an excellent insight into the natural history of the whole Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Woodbridge Museum

Tells the story of Woodbridge, from its Anglo-Saxon roots and the discovery of Sutton Hoo to the present day; with particular emphasis on some of the Woodbridge greats; Thomas Seckford, Thomas Churchyard, Edward FitzGerald and the rest.

  • External Links

    • Dunwich Museum

      Dunwich Museum is the perfect history experience for all the family. It tells the amazing story of a city lost to the sea through the narrative of its collection and the knowledge of its welcoming staff

    • Aldeburgh Moot Hall

      The Aldeburgh Museum

    • Leiston Longshop Museum

      Activities and events happening at the Longshop Museum

    • Woodbridge Museum

      A chronological journey through the town's history