Whilst the weather of late has been glorious, we know all too well that the British Summer can end abruptly due to rain. However, don’t let this put you off - if anything, it’s an excuse to explore areas and activities that you might otherwise overlook! We’ve complied a list of fun places to visit and potential pursuits to try this summer if you find yourself caught in the middle of an unanticipated downpour across Suffolk.
With lots of excellent releases due to hit the big screen this summer, the cinema is an established safe bet if the weather turns during your holiday getaway. With several cinemas across Suffolk, both independent and chains, there’s the chance to sit back and enjoy a variety of film.
Sitting on the High Street, Aldeburgh Cinema has been screening films for nearly 100 years. Tickets are available to buy between 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, with the Box Office opening 30 minutes before each screening. Prices are as follows; Adults £8.50, Under 18s £6, Nice Price £6.
Leiston Film Theatre is a superb independent cinema, owned and run by Leiston-cum-Sizewell town council. With a selection of films and theatre screenings, you're bound to come across a flick you simply have to catch! Tickets are priced at Standard Adult £7.95, Standard Child £4.95, Family £22.
The Riverside Theatre in Woodbridge is close to the waterfront with a restaurant and ice-cream shack outside. With both film and theatre screenings, there is a variety of entertainment to be had here - regardless of the weather. Tickets before 5:30pm are £6.50, and increase after 5:30pm to £7.50.
Showing world and independent releases, Ipswich Film Theatre has 2 screens which show a large variety of genres. Films typically show at 2:30pm or in the evening with a 7:30pm or 8:30pm start. Tickets are priced at £3 for 25s and under, and £7 for over.
Boasting 11 screens, with 3D and IMAX compatibility, Cineworld in Ipswich has the latest blockbuster releases for the whole family to enjoy. Standard 2D tickets are as follows: Adults £10.20, Child £7.70 and Juniors £2. Please note 3D and IMAX films will incur additional costs.
In Felixstowe you will find the Palace Cinema, with screenings at 1:30pm, 4:30pm and 7:30pm. Tickets vary in price with afternoon and evening screenings. Matinee tickets are £7, and you can enjoy Monday Madness where tickets stay at £7 throughout the day.
If you’re looking for something a little different, why not catch a show? Whilst there are many outdoor performances this summer (fingers crossed the rain doesn’t interfere), there are plenty of beautiful theatres you can visit and spend a couple of hours enraptured by the wonder of the stage.
At Snape Maltings there are the Snape Proms to look forward to. Why not treat yourself to a mesmerising night of sound, with genres ranging from folk and jazz, to world music and classical? The Proms also offer comedy and poetry, promising to provide a wealth of cultural experience. Prices start from just £6.50 for tickets on the floor, with 20 held back to sell on the day of the performance.
For more theatrical delights, make sure to catch a showing from the Suffolk Summer Theatre, with performances in both Southwold and Aldeburgh. Situated at both Southwold’s St Edmund’s Hall and Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Hall, prices range from £10 to 17.50 for the main shows, and £4.50 for Children’s shows.
Halesworth’s New Cuts Arts Centre shows films, theatre, concerts and poetry amongst other events, and even has a cafe bar open from Tuesday to Saturday. Their website is regularly updated with new offerings, with a wide range of activities suitable for every age and taste. Prices vary according to event, starting from £5. There are free kids films in August, ideal if you get caught in the rain.
The Fisher Theatre in Bungay also has a range of stage and film to keep you entertained, including an innovative production of Romeo and Juliet; theatre-goers are invited to participate in the production themselves, declaring allegiance for either house Montague or Capulet. Ticket prices start at £7.
Last but not least, the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich has a multitude of shows to tempt you this Summer. Make sure to check out “What’s on this Week” to keep up to date with the latest news. Tickets for those under 26 are £10, and full price varies depending on times.
The rain forcing you inside can become an unexpectedly enlightening experience, given the museums you might come across in your efforts to stay dry! With an eclectic range of museums across Suffolk, including exhibitions that span from the Ice Age to recent history, you will be sure to learn something new from this wonderful county.
The Southwold Museum showcases a range of items relating to the natural history of Southwold; from fossils to architecture of years gone by, the pictorial display of photographs and artefacts will be sure to fascinate. Open 2pm to 4pm until the end of October, admission is free but donations are graciously received. Southwold is also home to the Amber Museum and Shop, created by Astrid and Robin Fournel, owners of the oldest and largest amber specialist retailer in the UK. Open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays, admission is free.
The Ipswich Museum is home to a life sized model of a wooly mammoth, and houses several galleries, including Victorian Natural History, Suffolk Wildlife and Geology and British Bird and Mammal galleries. Also housing an exhibition of artefacts found at Sutton Hoo, this museum displays much of Suffolk’s rich history. Admission to the museum is free, with the museum open Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm.
With a collection of over 100 major transport and engineering items made or used in the Ipswich area, the Ipswich Transport Museum is a fascinating place to visit and provides great insight into the town’s history. Discover what was designed and built right here in Suffolk! Open 1pm to 4pm Monday to Friday - Adults £5.50, Children (5-16) £3.50 and under 5s free.
For activities that you can enjoy rain or shine, the Long Shop Museum in Leiston promises a full programme of activities this summer. With workshops such as Fantastic Forces and Luminous Lights, these programmes will be as educational as they are entertaining. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and between 11am and 3pm on Sunday. Admission is £6.50 for Adults, £5 for Young People (17 - 21 years), £3.50 for Children (4 - 16 years) and under 4s go free. There are also two family options - one adult family (max of 3 children) for £10, and two adult family (max 3 children) £16.50.
Head over to Rendlesham to visit Bentwaters Cold War Museum, open August 7th, 21st, 28th and 29th between 10am and 4pm. With exhibitions detailing the military history of the area, you can glean secrets of Suffolk and the country’s contribution to the war efforts. There is also an Alien Hunt you can complete when the weather becomes summery again. Adults £5, Concessions £4, Children (under 14) free.
Of course, you don’t have to stay dry to have fun as there are numerous swimming pools and leisure centres across Suffolk to keep you entertained. Please do check timetables as some pools will have lane restrictions in place during certain times.
The Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury has a terrific pool for the whole family to enjoy. Open 6:30am to 9:30pm Monday to Friday, 7am to 4:30pm on Saturday and 8am to 4:30pm on Sunday. You don’t need a membership to use the pool with prices as follows; Adult £4.85, Junior £3.60, Family Swim £15.15. There is also the Little Kingfishers Play Centre for youngsters as a fun indoor environment with a rope swing, ball pit, play frame and more; Crawlers (under 18 months) £1.50, Under 4s £4 and Over 4s £5.
Deben Pool in Woodbridge has a 25 metre pool which ranges from 1 metre to 2 metres in depth. Children under the age of 8 must be supervised in the water by their parent or an adult of 16 years or older and a maximum of 2 children are permitted per parent/ adult. Prices are as follows; Adults £4.45, Children £2.95 or a Family Swim for £11.30. The pool is open from 8am to 5pm every day.
There are 3 pools at Felixstowe Leisure Centre, the 25 metre Main Pool, a 20 metre Fun pool and an 11.5 metre Baby Pool. The leisure centre is open 7am to 6pm, although please check which sessions are available as these change on a daily basis. You can pay for a Family Swim which is £12.90, or per person at Adult £4.85 and Child (3 to 15 years old) £3.10.
The 25 metre pool at Bungay Pool and Gym ranges from 0.9 metres to 1.8 metres in depth and hosts Kids Fun session from £1. There is a 42 metre flume slide and a toddler/ teacher pool adjoined to the main pool. Available throughout the week, prices are as follows; Adults £4.70, Children (over 4) £3.35, under 4 £1, Family Swim (2 Adults and up to 3 Children) £14.20. Open 6am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
With a 25 metre pool and a wave machine, Crown Pools in Ipswich is overflowing with fun. With a beach area, slide and fountain shower there is plenty to keep you entertained. Open daily from 7:45am to 5pm. Please look online to check for family fun and inflatable sessions. Adult £4.10, Concession £2.90, under 3s free.
Bowling is a classic pastime the whole family can enjoy. Many bowling alleys in Suffolk also have restaurants or diners as well as other gaming entertainment, so you can really make the most out of a visit.
Strikes in Sudbury starts at £6.95 for an Adult, £5.95 for a Junior (under 14) for 1 game. There is also a LaserQuest at Strikes, prices of which start at £6.50, for those looking for a little more adventure. Open Monday to Sunday from 10am until late during the school holidays.
At Martlesham Heath you can find Kingpin Bowling which has traditional bowling lanes as well as “cosmic” lanes with disco lighting. The off peak rates are priced at £4.50 for Adults and £3.75 for Children per game, with the peak rates at £6 for Adults and £4.50 for Children. There is also a Snack Bar at Kingpin should you find yourself getting peckish. Open 10am to 11pm Monday to Thursday, 10am to 11:30pm Friday and Saturday, and 10am to 10:30pm Sunday.
Namco Funscape in Ipswich offers ten-pin bowling, pool and a sports bar, all of which will keep you entertained on a rainy day. Prices start at £4 Junior/ Student and £5 Adult. Open from 3pm Monday to Friday and from 10am Saturday and Sunday.
Also in Ipswich is Bear’s Boutique Bowling Bar & American Restaurant. This makes for the ideal spot if the rain threatens your summer fun, with a great menu including gourmet burgers and hot dogs as well as ten-pin bowling. The bowling prices vary throughout the week; Monday to Wednesday a single game comes to £4 per player, or you can pay for a lane at £15 per hour. Thursday to Sunday single games are £6 per player or £20 per lane per hour. During the school holidays Bear’s is open from 12pm until late.
Arts & Crafts
If your children are artistically inclined, or simply want to try something a bit different, there are lots of crafty activities to enjoy should the heavens decide to open.
Glass and Craft at Kersey Mill offers decopatch, ceramic and glass painting, teddy bear crafting and more. Open 10am to 4:30pm Tuesday to Saturday and 10:30am to 4pm on Sundays, booking is not essential but during the holidays Glass and Craft can get busy. Call 01473 517404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a table. There is a studio fee of £3.50 per person, and craft items start at £3 each.
Wild Raspberry Ceramic Cafe at Jimmy’s Farm and Jars of Clay in Rendlesham are ceramic cafes where you can choose from a selection of pottery to paint with your own design. Ideal for kids, this also brings out the inner artist in adults as well.
Wild Raspberry Ceramic Cafe is open 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday. Call 07776062872 or 07868899676, or email email@example.com to book. Pottery, decopatch and mosaics items are individually priced. Jars of Clay is open 9:30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday. You can book by calling 01394 460948. Ceramic items are individually priced from £4, with a studio fee of £4 for Adults and £3 for Children. Booking is not essential, but please be aware that these studios will be busy during the holidays.
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