Visit Framlingham: Places to stay, things to do

There's a town in rural Suffolk that boasts history, character and the natural world all within its boundaries. Nick Peers goes exploring to find out more


Why go there?
Framlingham is dominated by its stunning 12th century castle. Its outer walls are perfectly preserved, and English Heritage has packed a lot of information and interesting artifacts into the remaining buildings that sit inside. It overlooks the market town, which grew up alongside the castle. Narrow winding streets and a hotpotch of buildings give it a unique charm of its own – historians should make sure they also pay a visit to St Michael’s Church, which offers a stunning example of medieval East Anglian architecture, and is interesting enough to offer its own conducted tours.
Nature lovers will be drawn to the 33-acre wetland reserve that sits in the shadow of the castle: Framlingham Mere. This has been lovingly restored by Suffolk Wildlife Trust and a circular walk gives visitors the chance to sample some of the 200 plus species of flora and fauna on offer, including plants (angelica and meadowsweet, among others) that were highly prized in medieval times.


Where to stay
The Crown Hotel is situated in the heart of Framlingham in its historic market square, and is part of the town’s conservation area, dating back to its origins as a coaching inn from the 16th century. It offers 14 en-suite bedrooms, and breakfast is included in the price, which averages around £125. It can even organise shooting parties for those looking for country sports. If the price is a bit too steep, try the Colston Hall B&B in nearby Badingham instead.

Where to eat
The Station Hotel prides itself on developing menus from locally and seasonally sourced ingredients, so the food on offer changes with the season. Both hearty pub lunches and refined evening meals are on offer, and being a real ale pub you can wash it all down with a pint of the local brew, sourced from Earl Soham’s brewery in Woodbridge, just 10 miles down the road.

Tell us a local secret
The mere played a key role in the life of the castle – during its renovation, an old fishpond was discovered on the shore of the mere that would have provided the castle with much of its fish.


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