Ipswich is the capital of Suffolk in East Anglia on the easternmost outcrop of the British mainland. It was given a town charter by King John in 1200, and in its 800th year is currently campaigning for city status.
Arts and Entertainment
Ipswich is a rapidly expanding town with a rich blend of communities, and an extensive variety of local music and arts groups, consolidated by Ipswich Community Radio, which helps to preserve the multiplicity of tastes that Ipswich is renowned for. ICR is a community-based organisation that gives local youngsters an opportunity to explore their creative talents in various media through the Millennium Volunteer scheme, and it receives a licence to broadcast for a month at a time across the Ipswich area on 105.1 FM.
As well as two multiplex cinemas and two theatres (one of which also includes the much-respected and very intimate Ipswich Film Theatre1), there are a plethora of pubs, clubs and restaurants to cater for every taste, and ensure that there is something for everyone in this developing town.
Music festivals and arts events occur throughout the year, some of which bring the festivities out into the open, such as the very popular Music in the Park event every summer in the town's celebrated Christchurch Park2. However, there are many other open areas and attractions, including the Waterfront, which is currently enjoying the benefits of its ongoing renovation project.
The town centre boasts two large shopping centres and two modest but very popular markets, and more retail outlets than it would be possible to explore in a whole week, much less a single day.
Sport and Leisure
Ipswich also has a strong sporting reputation, which is most visible at time of writing in the continuing success of Ipswich Town FC's progress in the Carling Premiership, after last season's emotionally charged last-chance promotion battle which resulted in the Blues parading the hard-fought Nationwide League third-place trophy through the town to a crowd that easily eclipsed the Millennium celebrations.
Ipswich also has a large swimming centre, and several fitness clubs; many of which provide excellent activities for children, and a well-stocked and very technology-oriented library which provides free web access for its members.
But Where to Begin?
A first-time visitor would probably benefit most from starting their exploration at the Cornhill, the civic square most central to the town and overlooked by the Corn Exchange, where you can find an excellent tourist information centre. From there you can find attractions in every direction that will appeal to all.
The Researcher hopes that readers will enjoy a visit to Ipswich, and not be too disheartened by the one-way system which is frankly atrocious. A useful tip would be to take advantage of the Park and Ride service at Tesco supermarket by the Copdock roundabout as you come off the A12.