A Visit to Hadleigh, Suffolk
Hadleigh Suffolk IP7 5EA
Hadleigh is an ancient market town with a fascinating history. Known as one of Suffolk’s ‘wool towns’, it prospered in the medieval period when the cloth industry was at its height, which led to the building of some of the 250 grand churches and buildings listed for architectural importance that we can still see today.
The town is well known for its pargeting (decorative plaster on the front of buildings) so make sure you look up at the front of the buildings as you walk along the high street. There is also a fabulous 15th century guildhall, a deanery tower (normally open to the public on the Heritage Open Days weekend in mid September) and pretty parish church.
There is a 4.5 mile circular walk around the outskirts of the town (including a stretch along the Hadleigh Railway Walk) and a tranquil riverside walk along the river Brett runs adjacent to the high street, which is a pleasantly shady walk for a summer’s day.
Hadleigh has an imaginative mix of independent shops and boutiques, including the famous Partridges hardware shop, which has a seemingly endless range of items for the home and garden. There are some nice boutiques, an Adnams wine and beer shop, gift shops and more. It also has a thriving market on Fridays with around a dozen stalls, many of whom are small-scale local producers.
There are also some excellent pubs and tea rooms, including the gastro-pub The Ram and the more traditional pub (temporarily closed – check to see if it has re-opened), The George; a winebar called Crabtrees with its charming, walled patio garden and Angel Delights Tea Room, with a dazzling choice of homemade cakes, served on an eclectic mix of vintage china.
If you are visiting in May, don’t miss out on one of the oldest country shows in East Anglia. The Hadleigh Show has been going for over 175 years and takes place in May each year. It offers a mix of displays and exhibitions, crafts and local produce and showcases the best of what the local area has to offer.
Hadleigh has some interesting associations with the art world, with people such as Lucian Freud and Maggi Hambling having attended the The East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing on the outskirts of town, before it closed in the 1960s.
Hadleigh lies on the the Cycle South Suffolk route as well as the Hull to Harwich Sustrans cycle route. Village Fetes and Open Garden weekends are well worth checking out especially Bildeston, Hadleigh, Lavenham, Rougham and Chelsworth, all of which are quite famous now.