Whether it’s seeking out sparkling light displays, delving into spiced hot chocolates or invoking that festive feeling as you sing a carol or two, there is always so much to see and do in Suffolk as the festive season draws in.

Read on to discover our chosen Top 5 Activites to do this Christmas, and where in this county you can enjoy such merriment!

There are plenty of things to look forward to as the festive holiday season fast approaches. For those of you who love to embrace that nip in the air as you seek out gifts for loved ones, a wander around a much-loved Christmas market most certainly puts you in the mood! Here in Suffolk, there are plenty to choose from – we have handpicked just a few:

Christmas Market at St Edmundsbury Cathedral  

Location: Bury St Edmunds 

Date: 23rd – 25th November 

The Market will welcome 50+ local stall holders and runs through to Saturday 26 November. Festive Tower Tours will be available as well as the opportunity to meet Inka the Polar Bear and her cubs! 

Presents Galore, Rowley Mile Racecourse 

Location: Newmarket 

Date: 24th – 26th November 

One of the county’s most spectacular Christmas Fair, Presents Galore will be returning to Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse this year, for a weekend of festive fun and Christmas shopping. We love that you can find everything from jewellery and accessories to homeware to clothing – all under one roof. The perfect way to start the festive season and get ahead with that gift list! 

Thorpeness Christmas Fayre

Location: The Dolphin in Thorpeness 

Date: 2nd December 

Grab yourself a glass of warm mulled wine from the bar on arrival to sup as you wander the stall grabbing gifts along the way. From candles to cake, gifts and glassware, wreaths and raffles, mince pies and much more!  And to add to the excitement, you could win an amazing Gingerbread House and a Christmas Hamper.  

Bungay Christmas Street Market 

Location: Waveney Valley 

Date: 16th December  

Bungay hosts a great market all-year-round, and adding festivities into the mix makes this even more of a winner. The village’s Earsham Street will be packed full of Christmas goodies, including everything from unique hand-crafted gifts to seasonal drinks and snacks. 

 From traditional Carol Services found in every corner of the county, to the more modern twist on that festive jingle sing along, you will always find many an exciting array of sparkling Christmas shows to choose from here in Suffolk.   Be prepared to be transported straight into magical mode, as you pick from one of these toe-tapping delights during this holiday season…

Christmas Kitchen Disco with Sophie Ellis-Bextor  

Location: Ipswich

Date: 30th November (Tickets still available via the Ipswich Regent Theatre website) 

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has announced a very special Christmas Kitchen Disco tour for 2023 – and she will be coming to Ipswich! The evening will feature hits from throughout Sophie’s career, as well as some very festive classics, all in Sophie’s own seasonal disco style. 

Christmas Spectacular with the Co-op Juniors 

Location: Snape

Date: runs from 8th-17th December 

Christmas Spectacular! is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit with a sparkling selection of music, dance and stage magic from the award-winning musical theatre company, the Co-op Juniors. It’s an unmissable festive extravaganza for the whole family. 

G4 at St Edmundsbury Cathedral 

Location: Bury St Edmunds      

Date: 16th December  

G4 are back on the road in 2023 with their biggest and best Christmas tour to date! Expect to hear timeless classics such as When A Child is Born and All I Want For Christmas, as well as delightful medleys to evoke the Christmas spirit, all delivered exquisitely under the majestic roof of the cathedral in Bury St. Edmunds.  

Christmas Carol Service St Peter and St Paul Church  

Location: Clare, near Sudbury

Date: 18th December 

For an evening of quintessentially festive carolling, don’t miss the St Peter and St Paul Church service in this picturesque part of the county.  

Escape from it all… just for a moment – bundle up and take a peaceful stroll through the scenic countryside, or along one of the many famous coastal paths that Suffolk has to offer.  The festive frosty air and serene landscapes here make for a perfect winter walk, as you relax into the holiday season. 

Dunwich Heath 

Blow the cobwebs away with a bracing walk through the heath and along one of the region’s most fascinating coastlines, where you can watch the waves crash on the shore and the clouds roll in. On the weekends in December, you can follow the Reindeer trail… Father Christmas’ helpers have come to Dunwich for a bit of downtime, but they are a bit lost? The challenge is to find them all. With a special trail map, you should be able to track them down! 

Snape to Aldeburgh Sailor’s Path  

One of the finest Suffolk walks you can take is along the Sailor’s Path, a six-mile gentle stroll that winds its way through the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Like many Suffolk walks, the Sailor’s Path forms part of the Suffolk Coast Path, a 50-mile route stretching from Felixstowe to Lowestoft. The path follows the meandering course of the River Alde, one of the most beautiful estuaries on the east coast.   

Nowton Park 

On the outskirts of the historic town of Bury St Edmunds is Nowton Park. Here you will find 200 acres of Suffolk countryside with walks of varying lengths around the parkland.  Wander through the arboretum, as the leaves crisp in the frost, and see the henge and various sculptures as you enjoy taking those steps across undulating parkland.   

Framlingham Town Trail  

Discover every little corner of this popular Suffolk town. A stroll around Framlingham is always popular with our guests, as not only can you follow the town trail through the surprisingly steep and quaint streets, but there’s the castle to marvel at and plenty of countryside just on the doorstep if you want to extend the stroll. 

Sample some traditional Suffolk fare by dining in a cosy pub or taking a trip to one of the many popular farm shops. Try a hearty roast dinner with all the trimmings or place an order for that perfect hot ham or homemade nut roast, as you look to plan that perfect Christmas day feast.  

Suffolk Food Hall in Wherstead is a one stop festive food heaven desination.  This bustling, rustic-style market offers visitors many a gourmet food to choose from, with a wine and chocolate shop too. Their bespoke hamper service is ideal for creating that perfect gift, made to suit all tastes and budgets.

If you are in search of that festive foodie fix at a cosy pub after a long walk, head to The Ship in Levington. Their Christmas menu is magnificant, and the food comes highly recommended from many far and wide.

La Hogue Farm Shop in Chippenham near Newmarket is a special place at this time of year.  It boasts a substantial local butchery, delicatessen, and fenland grown fruit and veggies, with all produce sourced locally.

Finally, if you are looking for something other than turkey and pigs in blankets, head to Aldeburgh to breath in the sea air as you enjoy a beautiful plate of Lobster & Chips at The Suffolk, Aldeburgh – a very special restaurant on the Suffolk Coast.

From our own experience, the team at Curious Retreats can confirm that Christmas light trails are a truly magical way to get your mind and senses in the mood of it all!

These after-dark experiences are a perfect way of getting into the spirit of things. And even if you’re not a Christmassy person, we defy you not to feel enchanted as you wander through tunnels of light and watch the colours dance around you.

Helmingham Hall’s Illuminated Garden Trail

Location: Helmingham, near Woodbridge

The illuminated fun kicks off with a mulled wine in the courtyard, which will warm you to your toes, before you then wind through the light-filled, magical gardens.  Sparkling light tunnels and neon-lit trees, all set to a seasonal soundtrack will fill you full of festive joy.  Of course, the evening is not complete without toasting one of their delicious s’mores around a fire pit, and taking a wander around their Stable Shop and Christmas Markets.

Light Nights at Ickworth House

Location: Horringer, near Bury St Edmunds

Ickworth House is always a majestic sight, but lit up in a spectrum of colours against dark skies it offers an entirely different view.  Spend an evening wandering through paths lined by willow woven animal sculptures and be transported into a Victorian-esque gothic stumpery before marvelling at this Italianate palace lit up like never before.  It really is a joyous sight to be seen.  Seasonal drinks and festive bakes available in the West Wing Cafe

All of the events recommended above are within easy reach of many of our special retreats.  Have a browse through our full list of properties or get in touch with the team – we would love to give you the festive guidance you need in order to make this trip away one to remember.


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