Celebrate Ipswich’s history during Heritage Open Days

Published1st September 2023

Ipswich residents and visitors are invited to look around over 30 treasured buildings in the town during Heritage Open Days this month.

Running from 9 and 10 September, with some venues open on 16 and 17 September (see programme details below), many historic venues around Ipswich will be opening their doors to visitors for free.

Coordinated by The Ipswich Society, buildings representing seven centuries of Ipswich history will be open to the public, with several also offering refreshments to visitors.

Buildings old and new that can be explored include the iconic black glass Willis Building designed by Sir Norman Foster, the 15th Century Ancient House and the recently refurbished St Stephen’s Church which has been transformed into a music venue.

The Ipswich Society will also be running open day talks and guided walks around the town to help residents and visitors to discover more about the fascinating history of Ipswich.

In support of the Wolsey 550 project, you can follow in the footsteps of Thomas Wolsey to explore Tudor buildings which are home to the town’s independent shops and public houses in the Saints area of Ipswich.

Councillor Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council Leader says: “Heritage Open Day events offer a chance for Ipswich residents and visitors to explore the buildings that are normally closed to the public in our town.

With many buildings of architectural importance offering a rare opportunity to venture inside, it’s a fantastic opportunity to discover more about the rich heritage these buildings have to offer.

Thank you to The Ipswich Society for once again organising this wonderful annual event.”

A free brochure can be downloaded, or you can pick up a copy in Ipswich Town Hall, Ipswich County Library, Christchurch Mansion, and the Hold.

Heritage Open Days programme:

Saturday 9 September: 30 buildings open for public visits (including Tudor buildings in ‘The Saints’. The Saints includes St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Street, Silent Street and St Nicholas Street).

Sunday 10 September: A further day of ‘open buildings’; don't miss the Tudor Street Fair in The Saints.

Monday – Friday, 11- 15 September: Five days of ‘Walks and Talks’, walks around the historic buildings in Ipswich, talks about Thomas Wolsey, life in Tudor Ipswich and the changes to religious life in the 16th century.

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September: Historic buildings in the greater Ipswich area open to the public including Gippeswyk Hall, (Red Rose Chain) and Eastern Angles Centre.