Things to do in Ipswich
The Regent Theatre is a great place to take the kids to watch a show. From pantomime, dance, or theatre, there is always a variety of performances on stage. The Regent Theatre hosts a great variety of shows throughout the year for all the family to enjoy. To see what’s on visit the Regent Theatre’s website.
Located in the town centre, Crown Pools is the biggest leisure facility in Ipswich, and offers a variety of indoor amenities including: a gym; sauna; eight lane 25 metre competition pool; leisure pool with a wave machine, fountain shower, inflatable slide, and a number of children’s activities; and the teaching pool, which is suitable for babies and parents. For more information check out the Crown Pool’s website.
Anglia Indoor Karting
For 5-7 year olds Kubz Karting takes place on a mini-circuit, using smaller, battery-powered Kubz karts.
Children 8 years and older (min height 1.27m/ min inside leg 26″), can race on their own or everyone can race together in ‘Arrive and Drive’ sessions.
A full safety briefing is provided for all drivers. There is an onsite cafe providing delicious basket meals, freshly cooked pizzas, nachos and a variety of drinks and snacks.
For times and prices visit Anglia Indoor Karting’s website.
Area 25 is a professionally built indoor skatepark that offers facilities for skateboarding, BMX, scooters, and inline skating. Providing a safe, secure and fun environment for all ages they even have a mini ramp section which is perfect for those just starting out or gaining confidence. There is a comfortable viewing area upstairs where refreshments can be purchased. Further details can be found on Area 25’s website.
With 20 bowling lanes, including traditional and glow in the dark ‘Cosmic’ bowling, arcade machines, table tennis and American pool tables, there’s plenty to do at Tenpin Bowling in Martlesham Heath, Ipswich. They even have a fully licensed bar for the adults, and food, such as burgers and hot dogs, is served in 'The Lanes'. For prices and opening times check TenPin’s website.
Just around the corner is Play2Day, offering an Indoor Children’s Play Centre designed for children from birth up to and including 11 years old with lots of play features to ensure hours of fun.
The enclosed Baby Area is designed for babies and toddlers up to 3 years old and features a climb, slide, ball pit and soft toys.
The main play frame has a 3 level indoor play area with: 5 tube slides; the infamous Play2Day drop slide; a 3 lane astro slide; cargo nets, rollers and punch bags; a big bouncy castle; and a netted sports area (careful parents can play too!).
Suffolk’s biggest inflatable park at nearly 4,000 square feet with hourly slots available for all age groups up to 17. Activities include - The Inflatable Park Slide: A giant slide suitable for all ages, The Inflatable Park Climbing Wall: Soaring high into the eaves of the building, The Inflatable Park Bouncing Balls: Leap from giant bouncing ball to giant bouncing ball, and The Inflatable Park Assault Course: Climb, swing and bash your way through the obstacles.
Then there is Lazer Tag, a high-tech fast action lazer game adventure played in a two level arena. Suitable for ages 6 and over and anywhere from 2 to 18 people can play at a time. Plus there are amusement machines including quiz and fruit machines, pool tables and arcade games.
On site is also a cafe serving freshly prepared snacks, meals and drinks. Check out Play2Day’s website for further details.
Suffolk Ski & Leisure Park
Offering a range of outdoor experiences there is something to appeal to everyone, including a Climbing Wall and High Ropes Experience along with Snowsports such as: Skiing, Snowboarding, Tobogganing, Ringos all on an artificial slope so they can be enjoyed all year round and in all weathers. They also offer Golf with the Ipswich Golf Driving Range, Mini Golf Course, and putting green. Along with all the above activities the Suffolk Ski & Leisure Park offers a range of lessons, instruction and coaching for golf, skiing and snowboarding, from complete beginners’ courses, dedicated 1 to 1 private lessons, through to group discounted sessions, advanced ski race training and instructor training sessions. The Lodge Restaurant is also there to provide the ideal place to relax and enjoy a drink or freshly cooked meal. For further details visit the Suffolk Ski & Leisure Park’s website.
Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park
First appearing on our TV screens over ten years ago, Jimmy’s Farm has developed into a popular attraction with a number of different ways to experience nature and animals on offer.
The Wonder Woods offers the opportunity to try experience nature while turning a hand to den building, and taking a walk through time meeting the creatures that used to wander the woodlands thousands of years ago up to the present day.
Meet wallabies and emus in the Outback Safari. You can stroll amongst them in their large, open enclosure.
Animal feeding, Encounters and Talks: You are able to purchase feed at the entrance to the Wildlife Park and feed it to the animals including chickens, goats, donkeys, sheep and more. Animal encounters happen daily, from interacting with guinea pigs, learning about reptiles or getting up close to the baby animals. There are daily keeper talks happening at the animal’s enclosures. At the park there is a dedicated team of animal keepers who are more than happy to share their knowledge about the animals in their care at the park. You’ll need to check out the ‘What’s on Board’ to see details of the day’s encounters and talks.
Animal Experiences allow you to get up close and personal to some of the animals. Along with a keeper to teach you more about the animals of your choice (from a selection available) you’ll get to spend some time in the enclosure with the animals, feed them and even groom or bath the animals.
Try catching a fish while Fishing with Dolly. An expert fisherman Dolly, who has been at the farm for many years, will show you how. All fish caught are released back into the pond afterwards.
From April to November the Butterfly House is open to explore beautiful plants and flowers with wonderful butterflies flying freely around. Unusual insects can also be spotted, such as stick insects and giant millipedes.
The Tropical House is home to the brand-new Reptile House & Aviary. You can meet the new animals such as Argentine Black & White Tegu, Sulcata Tortoises, Boa Constrictor and crocodiles while tropical birds will be flying around you!
There are play areas too with lots to choose from including: a wooden playground, bouncy pillow, giant sandpit, climbing pyramids, bouncy animals, play vehicles, and a Hobbit house!
Also on site are an award-winning restaurant, a fabulous farm shop, and there are several events and festivals throughout the year. Visit Jimmy’s Farm website for more details.
Ipswich Museums and Galleries
Purpose built to educate the working classes about natural sciences, the Ipswich Museum opened in 1881. Free public lectures were held at the Museum on astronomy, geology and natural history. Over the years the collections were added to by the curators, local collectors and archaeologists working in Suffolk creating additional outstanding prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon collections.
The Museum houses several galleries. The Victorian Natural History Gallery has cabinets of exotic foreign animals. The Suffolk Wildlife Gallery is home to a life-sized model of a woolly mammoth, and takes you through animals and humans starting from the Ice Age. The Geology Gallery hosts fossils dating from 70 million years to 10,000 years old. The Mammal Gallery has displays of Victorian dioramas and information about current mammals in Suffolk. The Ogilvie British Bird Gallery has collection of British birds on display and is considered to be one of the most complete in the country. The Ipswich Story tells of the area around Ipswich and its inhabitants from the stone age through to modern life. There are also extensive collections available for study including zoology, egg, insect, mollusc, botany and geology. Still free to the public and suitable for all ages, events are held throughout the year for both families and adults including art and craft workshops, tours, talks, quizzes and more.
With over 500 years of history, this Tudor Mansion is the jewel in the crown of Ipswich’s historic past. Gifted to the town of Ipswich in 1894, Christchurch Mansion is open to the public all year long, with no entry fee. With period rooms including the Tudor kitchen, Georgian saloon, Victorian wing there is much to explore. The Wolsey Art Gallery displays an art collection from Suffolk artists including the biggest collection of Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable paintings found outside of London.
Next to the Ipswich Museum is the Ipswich Art Gallery which was built in the 1930’s in Art Deco style. Formerly the Ipswich School of Art, the building was purchased by the Ipswich Museum in 2011 and was developed into a gallery and exhibition space mainly focused on contemporary art. Artwork on display comes from Ipswich’s own art and museum collections, as well as touring exhibitions and work from local artists.
Ipswich Transport Museum is a collection of vehicles and related objects which were made or used in the Ipswich area. From buses, lorries, fire engines and a police car, to bicycles and prams there is an amazing selection. The museum is also home to the Ipswich Engineering Collection which includes many items from well-known companies and displays include cranes, fork lift trucks, lawnmowers and intricate models. Covering approximately 200 years, the exhibits show how people used to go about their daily lives and serve as a reminder of the many things that were designed and built locally.
Discovered in 1989, hidden beneath a school playground, the Clifford Road air raid shelter is a unique example of public shelters which were once common place in towns during the second world war. Hundreds of feet of substantial concrete tunnels were linked by 13 stairways to the classrooms of the school. The shelter has now been equipped as a 2nd World War museum.
Suffolk Aviation Heritage Display Centre
Established in 2008, the Suffolk Aviation Heritage Display Centre aims to provide and promote Suffolk’s considerable aviation history. Situated on the site of a former military communications base in Kesgrave, the centre brings together collections of aviation equipment, clothing and artefacts arranged into informative displays and exhibitions which tell a story of the history of aviation as it evolved across Suffolk. Exhibitions are regularly updated and while donations are gratefully received, admission is free.
As the oldest permanently settled town in England, Ipswich has a rich history to explore.
A number of blue plaques were installed around the town, mostly in the centre, by the Ipswich Society as a tribute to some of the most distinguished people who were born in the town or lived here. A leaflet with a map, address and details of those honoured can be downloaded from the Ipswich Society’s website.
With the purchase of a booklet (either printed or downloaded) there are two walks laid out which can be done one following the other, or separately. Walk one starts at the Marina and finishes at Town Hall. Walk two starts at Town Hall and finishes at Christchurch Park. An optional treasure hunt is also included, along with information on the culture, noteworthy people and extraordinary events which have influenced Ipswich.
Held on the first Thursday of each month, the tour begins at the Tourist Information Centre then heads through town to one of Ipswich’s more haunted pubs for a small buffet to hear further tales of the town.
From the Tourist Information Centre, Ipswich Entertains leads a number of differently focused guided walks around Ipswich from iconic buildings to the stories of people who lived here. Walks last approximately an hour and half and end with a chance for refreshments and a relaxed chat with your guide in a local café.
On the Water
Built in Ipswich in 1895 and fully restored in 2006, the Sailing Barge Victor offers a range of different experiences along the River Orwell. From bird watching, to cream tea and supper cruises you can be assured of a unique experience where you can get involved with the sailing of the traditionally rigged 19th century sailing vessel or just relax and enjoy.
Offering brunch, lunch, sunset & candlelit dinner cruises for a maximum of twelve passengers on the River Orwell from Ipswich, the Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant sails all year round. Built in 1942 in Miami, Florida as a South African Air Force air-sea rescue launch she underwent a rebuild in 2011 before being transported from Durban, South Africa to Ipswich.
Sailing throughout the year, there are a number of different options available from half day sail trips through to longer ‘stay and sail’ holidays. All bookings are fully catered. Either sit back and relax or let your skipper show you the ropes, set and trim the sails, navigate using charts & modern electronics and take the helm.
Ideal for day trips, family parties, music nights, catered cruises and private charter. The Orwell Lady has an open, seated, top viewing deck and fully enclosed lower saloon with panoramic viewing windows with cushioned seating underneath. A fully stocked bar is on board, serving hot and cold drinks as well as confectionery and snacks.
Dance and Theatre
Dance East https://www.danceeast.co.uk/
Eastern Angles Theatre Company https://easternangles.co.uk/
Ipswich Film Theatre http://iftt.co.uk/
New Wolsey Theatre https://www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/
Pulse Festival https://www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/pulse-festival/
The Pacitti Company https://www.pacitticompany.com/
Red Rose Chain https://redrosechain.com
St Peters by the Waterfront https://www.stpetersbythewaterfront.com/whats-on/