Set in the heart of the River Stour Valley and well-known as home of Thomas Gainsborough is the thriving and ancient market town of Sudbury.

The foundation of the present town dates from the middle Saxon period and Sudbury’s semi-circular street pattern represents successive expansions of the town in Saxon and Norman times.

The medieval woollen cloth industry and the coming of River Navigation and the railway followed by the 19th Century silk industry have all contributed to the unique and diverse buildings of the town as well as Sudbury’s three medieval churches and timber framed cloth merchant’s houses.

There is ample free parking close to the town centre, where you’ll find a wide range of shops from specialist small town shops to more well-known high street names.

St Peter’s Church dominates one end of the market place. No longer used as a place of worship it is now the setting for concerts, exhibitions, craft fairs and other events. To the north side of the church is a drinking trough, this trough is the one where Pongo and Perdita drink at midnight in the book “101 Dalmatians”.

A fine church and one worth visiting is St Gregory’s, it’s font dates from the 15th Century and the cover is the tallest in Suffolk. There has been a place of worship on this site for over 1000 years. Bishop Aelfhun visited Sudbury in 797 AD and it is his statue that you can see just outside the church wall. Simon of Sudbury started a college for priests here as well. He went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury and later Chancellor of England. However his introduction of the poll tax was one of the reasons for The Peasants Revolt in 1381 and he was subsequently beheaded by a London mob. (Rather gruesomely his head is still kept locked in the vestry.

On Thursdays and Saturdays the town comes alive with the stalls of the long-established market on Market Hill, these attract shoppers from the town as well as surrounding villages. If it’s history and architecture you’re after then it is best to visit Sudbury on a Sunday when the streets are much quieter.

Gainsborough’s House, birthplace of the famous painter and now an excellent museum, can be found just a short walk down Gainsborough Street. The house contains the largest collection of the artists’ works.

The town won the coveted Anglia in Bloom Award in both 2001 and 2002.

Between Newton and Cornard Roads you will find the attractive Belle Vue Park, ideal for relaxing or walking. There are a wide range of leisure activities including baketball courts, putting green, tennis courts and a skateboard park and a small Pet Area. The park was originally the grounds of Belle Vue House and today the house serves as the home to the towns Citizen Advice Bureau.

Where to stay
The George.
The Green, Cavendish, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 8BA.
Tel: 01787 280248.
Five en-suite rooms, full a La Carte Menu, Les Routiers Recommended, heated Al Fresco dining area, stylishly decorated and picturesque location.

Tarantella Hotel & Restaurant.
Melford Rd, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 1XT.
Tel: 01525 372148.
Bookings 0845 45 66 399.
One of the area’s most stylish hotels. Luxuriously appointed 12 en-suite bedrooms in a quiet and scenic location.

Swan Hotel.
High St, Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 9QA.
Tel: 01787 247477.
Bookings 0845 45 66 399.
Located close to Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, Lavenham is regarded as one of the best-preserved Tudor villages in Britain.

Bell Hotel
Market Hill, Clare, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 8NN
Tel: 01787 277741
Bookings 0845 45 66 399
The Bell is situated in the heart of Constable country.

The Clare Hotel
19 Nethergate St, Clare, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 8NP
Tel: 01787 277449

Mill Hotel
Walnut Tree Lane, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 1BD
Tel: 01787 375544

Hill Lodge Hotel
8, Newton Rd, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2RL
Tel: 01787 377568

The Boat House
Cross St, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2DL
Tel: 01787 310036

Old Bull

Church St, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2BL
Tel: 01787 374120