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Take an arts & culture break in Ipswich

4 Nights Itinerary

Immerse yourself in Suffolk’s cultural capital

Ipswich may not be top of mind when considering a memorable and cultural short break, but it definitely should be. But don’t just take our word for it, the Suffolk capital was rated by Rightmove as the third happiest place to live in the UK in 2015 and was ranked as an emerging global tourist destination by TripAdvisor in 2020.

In addition to its on-trend Waterfront district, its numerous sprawling green spaces and its close proximity to Suffolk’s seemingly endless coastline, we think the county town’s sophisticated cultural offering is a good enough reason alone to venture east.

Below are just a selection of the cultural destinations we highly recommend, of which all are within walking distance of each other as well as the town’s wide variety of bars, restaurants, shops and hotels.

Choose Your Day…
Christchurch Mansion
DanceEast
Ipswich Museum & Art Gallery
New Wolsey Theatre
Pacitti Company
Regent Theatre & Corn Exchange
Christchurch Mansion
From Constable to Sheeran,
you'll find them all at Christchurch Mansion

Christchurch Mansion sits within the exquisitely maintained 81 acre Christchurch Park and is the jewel in the crown of Ipswich’s historic past. Exclusive exhibitions are held in the Wolsey Art Gallery, which was built in honour of the illustrious but ill-fated Ipswich native, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Recent exhibitions include Kiss and Tell: Rodin and Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk.

James Steward, Ipswich Museums Manager, says of the mansion and gallery, “Set in the glorious surroundings of Christchurch Park, visitors can immerse themselves in over five centuries of history including some of the nation’s finest artworks by the likes of John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.”

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DanceEast
One of the UK's leading dance facilitators
located front and centre of Ipswich's vibrant waterfront

DanceEast is the home for dance in the East of England. Housed in a beautiful, purpose-built dance facility, the Jerwood DanceHouse provides an iconic destination on the thriving Ipswich waterfront.

The DanceHouse consists of four world-class studios, the intimate James Hehir Theatre, The Whistler Gallery exhibition space, and an on-site café and bar.

DanceEast has a strong reputation for excellence regionally, nationally and internationally. The world’s most renowned choreographers and companies frequently choose to premiere their work at DanceEast – Akram Khan, Hofesh Shechter, Russell Maliphant and Shobana Jeyasingh, to name but a few.

Gary Avis MBE, the Senior Ballet Master and Principal Character Artist for The Royal Ballet who was brought up in Ipswich and is a board member at DanceEast, says of the establishment, “As a pulse that runs through the heart of Ipswich, the Jerwood DanceHouse and DanceEast have played a key part in our county town by bringing world class dance, dancers, choreographers and designers, incorporating many famous world premieres of dance and theatre, to Ipswich.

“We should all be proud of what the Jerwood DanceHouse stands for – individuality, creativity, strength, passion, learning, joyfulness, healthy living, acceptance, tolerance but above all, a love of dance!”

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Ipswich Museum & Art Gallery
From natural history to fine art,
all within a stone's throw from each other

When you enter Ipswich Museum you’ll be greeted by the museum’s resident woolly mammoth, Wool.I.Am, before you travel through Ancient Egypt, stand eye-to-beak with an eagle and marvel at model ships reflecting Ipswich’s maritime past.

Plus, you’ll get to meet family favourites Gerald the Giraffe and Rosie the Rhino in the museum’s authentic Victorian Natural History Gallery.

Next door, Ipswich Art Gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions including work by international artists, family-friendly displays and local artistic talent, bringing together a variety of art forms, museum objects and more.

James Steward, Ipswich Museums Manager, says, “Ipswich Museum and Art Gallery are stunning historic venues that provide a compelling and memorable visitor experience for all ages. Our family event programme consistently meets our visitors’ needs and expectations for a great day out.”

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New Wolsey Theatre
Ipswich's inclusive home of
new theatrical work and musical excellence

Cherished locally for its extraordinarily successful Rock ‘n’ Roll panto and world-class musical productions, including the hit Broadway and West End musical Once, the New Wolsey is one of Suffolk’s most treasured performance venues.

From Autumn 2020 visitors will be welcomed by the new Theatre Square development: a relaxed place to eat and drink, catch an outdoor performance or simply relax before enjoying a show in the main 400-seat auditorium.

Sarah Holmes, Chief Executive of the New Wolsey says, “For the last 20 years we’ve balanced world-class theatre on the stage with our mission of community development and access to the arts. As founder members of Ramps on the Moon, we’re leaders in making the presence of D/deaf and disabled people part of the everyday experience in UK theatres. What really makes us stand out is our connection with our community – through our youth theatres, local projects, volunteering opportunities, work with schools and so on. We believe that theatre should be personal and inclusive, and that is what we strive to achieve in all levels of the company.”

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Pacitti Company
Creators and curators
putting Ipswich on the international cultural map

Pacitti Company’s mission is to create and curate meaningful interdisciplinary art, shared with audiences in new and accessible ways.

They present Ipswich’s internationally renowned SPILL Festival of Performance and run a diverse programme of events and courses from their Think Tank HQ — covering fine arts, music, film, storytelling, new technologies, science, medicine, politics, psychology, history and philosophy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regent Theatre & Corn Exchange
Head to Ipswich central
for the best in comedy, music and theatre

Ipswich is home to two of the largest entertainment venues in the region, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

With an impressive 90 year history, the Grade II listed Regent Theatre remains the beating heart of unmissable live entertainment. Seating over 1,500 people, East Anglia’s largest theatre provides a grand backdrop to a varied programme of comedy, music, dance, musicals and a popular annual pantomime.

Whether you’re on your feet or sitting comfortably, the Corn Exchange is home to comedy, music, sporting events, festivals and conferences. Part of Ipswich life since the 19th Century, this flexible multi-purpose venue is now the home to an eclectic programme of unmissable live performances.

Peter Ling, Shows & Finance Manager, says, “Variety is the spice of life and our historic venues offer something for every taste. From Jimmy Carr to Hairspray, Snow Patrol to Swan Lake, our broad programme brings some of the largest names in showbiz to Suffolk’s county town. Our friendly team look forward to welcoming you for a great night out.”

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