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Ipswich Guide To Maritime, Aviation & Automobiles

Planes, Trains, Automobiles, and lots of boats!

ipswich visitor guide to planes trains and automobiles 

Ipswich is famous for its beautiful waterfront, but did you know that Ipswich has a history of aviation and that it was active in supporting the efforts of World War II? Whether you have a passion for planes, boats or cars we have an itinerary that will fire up the engines and have you racing out the door.

Clifford Road Air Raid Shelter

clifford road air raid shelter

Address: Clifford Road Primary School, Clifford Road, Ipswich, IP4 1PJ

Telephone: 01473 251605

Description: This particularly robust air shelter which was built under the influence of controversial MP Richard Stokes, it was discovered in 1989 under the playground of an Ipswich school. After the war, the air raid shelter was sealed up and forgotten about. Workmen excavating a small pond for the school found one of the original entrances and to everyone surprise the tunnels had maintained their structure and were in first class condition. The Air Raid Shelter is now open to the public and provides a real experience of what it was like for those using air raid shelters during World War II.

Additional Information: Clifford Road Air Raid Shelter is open at varying weekends across the year so it is best to check the website for more details.

East Anglian Sailing Trust

east anglian sailing trust

Address: Suffolk Yacht Harbour Ltd, Levington, Ipswich, IP10 0LN

Telephone: 01728 747057

Description: Operating as a registered charity, East Anglian Sailing Trust provides people with disabilities opportunities to enjoy sailing whilst promoting independence, confidence and community involvement. Specialist equipment is used, where necessary, to meet the needs of each person, and sailing trips can be enjoyed by family and friends too. EAST relies on volunteers and support from local organisations and their members. They offer sailing for children, Keelboat sailing for adults and sailing for visual impaired people. East Anglian Sailing Trust has a fleet that includes nine Squibs, two Sonars and two Yeoman Keelboats. They also have two support boats which are used by disabled adults and children with volunteer support. Check their website for upcoming events.

Additional Information: Sailing trips are seasonal and weather dependent. Please contact East Anglian Sailing Trust directly if you are interested in finding out more information about what is available.

Ipswich to Felixstowe Historic Vehicle Run

ipswich to felixstowe car rally

Address: Christchurch Park, Soane Street, Ipswich, IP4 2BE

Description: This event is organised by the Ipswich Transport Museum, the Ipswich to Felixstowe classic car run takes place every year and is popular with the people in the local area. Take a visit to Christchurch Park and enjoy the spectacle as over 500 vehicles set out on the journey to Felixstowe. Take time to admire the vintage cars, buses and Lorries, as well as military vehicles, scooters and motor bikes and much more. Once at Felixstowe the vehicles will then be proudly displayed along the sea front for the remainder of the day. If you have an interest in cars or even if you don’t this spectacular annual event is one not to be missed.

Additional Information: This event usually takes place in May. Check the Ipswich Town & Waterfront website for current events and what’s on.

Ipswich Maritime Museum Window


Address: Albion Quay, Ipswich Dock, IP4 1AX

Description: The Ipswich Maritime Museum is one of a kind, situated along the Ipswich Waterfront and offering 24 hour access to all those interested in the maritime history of Ipswich. The window museum is regularly changed and updated, and is a tribute to the heritage and importance that Ipswich played in trade and shipping around the Eastern coast for centuries. The Museum was opened by Capt. Jim Lawrence in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress at the time. It was opened in 2009 and is the first of five maritime display windows which will together from the Museum. If you interested in learning about the history of the waterfront and Ipswich’s maritime history it certainly worth a visit.

Additional Information: Ipswich Maritime Trust also puts on a number of events and talks throughout the year. Check out their website for upcoming events, and other interesting maritime facts about Ipswich.

Ipswich Transport Museum

ipswich transport museum

Address: Old Trolleybus Depot, Cobham Road, Ipswich,IP3 9JD

Telephone: 01473 715666

Description: The Ipswich Transport Museum has the largest collection of vehicles in Britain devoted to just one town. The museum was founded in 1965, and has a collection of more than 85 vehicles and total of 100 major exhibits, making it unique in England. The vehicles all originate from the local area, a large number were actually built here in the county town of Suffolk. A programme of events is scheduled each year, each one offering a different insight into the life of the vehicles and the museum. The museum website is also a fascinating place to gain information on Ipswich’s rich history.

Additional Information: The Ipswich transport Museum is open at specified times between March and early December. Prices £5 adult, £3 children.

Landguard Fort

landguard fort

Address: Manor Terrace, Felixstowe, IP11 3TW

Telephone: 08703 331181

Description: Okay, so not quite Ipswich, but we couldn’t miss out this piece of remarkable history, so close to Ipswich. The vast military fort was built at the command of Henry the Eighth, and is the only fort in England to have fended off a full scale invasion attempt. Languard Point has been a lookout point since the mid-15th century, right up to the 1950s. It was not until the 1990s that the fort was opened to the public by the Landguard Fort Trust. The fort is host to all sorts of events throughout the year, notably their Halloween night special and educational visits.

Additional Information: Open March to November. Entry – adults £4, children £1.50.

Martlesham Heath Control Tower Museum

martlesham heath control tower museum

Address: Parkers Place, Off Eagle Way, Martlesham, IP5 3UX

Telephone: 01473 624510

Description: R.A.F. Martlesham Heath has been central in the development of Great Britain’s aviation. The museum is located in the original Control Tower, which was in use during much of World War II. The Control Tower is situated in Martlesham near Gorseland Primary School. Visit the museum for a fascinating afternoon of aviation history, and discover how Ipswich was active during the war efforts, and how the people contributed to the running of the control tower. The Martlesham Heath Aviation Society hosts monthly meeting for members and non-members in which they have guest speakers presenting their experiences to the audience. Check out the Ipswich Town and Waterfront events page for upcoming events at MHAS Museum.

Additional Information: Open Sundays 2.00 – 4.30pm. Entrance is free. Due to the constraints of the building access for wheelchairs users is very limited.

Museum of East Anglian Life

museum of east anglian life

Address: Iliffe Way, Stowmarket, IP14 1DL

Telephone: 01449 612229

Description: Okay, so we’ve sneaked another place of interest that is just outside of Ipswich, but when you visit you’ll understand why. After all, Ipswich is part of East Anglia, and this outdoor museum really does showcase the lives of people who lived in East Anglia in years gone by. The museum also puts on a comprehensive programme of events and activities throughout the year suitable for adults and children. The Museum of East Anglia was opened in 1967 and is one of the biggest museums in Suffolk occupying 80 acres of land in Stowmarket, the vision of the Museum was to rescue long established skills, equipment and buildings that were once such a big part of East Anglian life, but were at risk of being lost during the huge changes in the 1950s and 1960s.

Additional Information: The museum is open during Spring and Summer, and closed during winter months. You are advised to check the website for current opening times. Entry £6.90 adults, £3.90 children.

Open Top Bus Tours

giles statue

Address: Tower Ramparts, Ipswich, IP1 3BB

Telephone: 08450 713428

Description: Take a tour around Ipswich in an open top bus. With open bus tours you have the opportunity to explore Ipswich from a different viewpoint. Journey around the town, and take in some of the main attractions such as the parks, Christchurch Mansion, and Ipswich Waterfront. Hop on, hop off, hop back on again. The day is yours to spend as you like. The perfect way to see as much of Ipswich as possible when visiting and for local people it’s a chance to see the town in a way you may have never seen it before. All day ticket prices are very reasonable, see the Ipswich Buses website for more details.

Additional Information: Open top bus tours operate during July and August. Prices £5 adults, £3 children.

Sailing Barge Victor

sailing barge victor

Address: Common Quay, Ipswich, IP4 1BY

Telephone: 07981 382958

Description: What better way to take in the views of Ipswich’s coastline than to travel along the River Orwell on board Sailing Barge Victor? Built in 1895 this is one of the oldest remaining Thames Barge Sailing Barges which remains in use, and is enjoyed by many each year. Fully restored, you can enjoy cream teas and there is also a fully licensed bar on board. Take in some of the spectacular scenery, rolling greens and glorious coastline as you explore the River Orwell. The barge can also be hired out for corporate events and parties. See the Ipswich Town and Waterfront events page for upcoming events.

Additional Information: Sailing trips are organised throughout the summer and may be booked through the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre. Sailing Barge Victor is also available for private hire.

Spirit Yachts

spirits yachts

Address: New Cut West, Ipswich, IP3 0EA

Telephone: 01473 214715

Description: For most of us a luxury yacht is a dream, but that shouldn’t stop us admiring these beautiful hand-crafted wooden yachts as they are moored in the waters of Ipswich Waterfront. Spirit Yachts is officially recognised as a Queen’s Award Yacht Designers and Builders – inspirational for anyone living or working in Ipswich! Spirit Yachts are world leaders in modern and classic yacht design. Some of their biggest yachts are up to 100 feet tall. The yachts are designed and built by hand staying true to classic yacht design but making use of modern technologies. Their main warehouse is based along Ipswich Waterfront, when visiting the waterfront you can see the luxurious yachts lined up which makes for quite a spectacle.

Additional Information: As well as designing and building yachts, Team Spirit also takes part in a number of international events each year. In 2013 Team Spirit achieved first of class in three races in the Antigua Regatta Awards.

Suffolk Aviation Heritage Display Centre

suffolk aviation heritage display

Address: Former WT Station, Foxhall Road, Kesgrave, IP4 5TL

Description: The Suffolk Aviation Heritage Display Centre brings together collections of aviation equipment, clothing and artefacts which tell a story of the history of aviation as it evolved across Suffolk. Collection pieces have been gathered over many years, including items which have been donated from members of the public. Exhibitions are regularly updated and visitors can get a real sense of life during key moments in aviation and aircraft design in Suffolk. The museum was established in 2008 on the site of a former military communications base near Ipswich. Visitors are able to discover previously undiscovered aspects of aviation history in this fantastic display centre.

Additional Information: Open Sundays from March to October, 11am to 4pm. Entrance is free, with onsite parking. Disabled access in unrestricted throughout.

Viking Mariners Sea School

viking mariners

Address: Ipswich Haven Marina, New Cut West, Ipswich, IP3 0EA

Telephone: 01394 421209

Description: Viking Mariners has a really strong team of experienced trainers in leadership, management and team building who are keen to offer a programme of courses and learning to deliver qualifications and training. They offer practical training in all forms of sailing as well as the theory side to their clients who wish to progress from recreational and leisure sailing to have an RYA qualification. They offer courses on all types of sailing and for any ability, from complete beginner to more experienced sailors. Learn how to sail yachts and motorised boats, you can even get tuition for our own boat if you own one.

Additional Information: They have events throughout the year, check out their website for more details.

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