Living in Sudbury
What is life like in Sudbury
Sudbury is a traditional weaving town based in Suffolk, close to the county's border with Essex. It sits by the River Stour and is surrounded on three sides by beautiful water meadows and magnificent rolling hills, making it an incredibly attractive place to live.
It is surrounded by a number of smaller villages, making Sudbury the commercial heart of several locations. People from other areas frequently come to Sudbury to shop, eat and socialise, as well as to enjoy the town's idyllic setting.
The prosperous silk and weaving industries have helped to make Sudbury a highly successful town and this resulted in the building of plenty of high-quality housing and several remarkable churches. The town is now known for its historical legacy and people travel from far and wide to admire its architecture.
Sudbury has even been used as the setting for a number of television shows, including the popular BBC series Lovejoy.
Residents can easily escape the town in order to enjoy the surrounding countryside, which is among the most beautiful in the country. The iconic Suffolk landscapes were so frequently painted by Constable and Gainsborough and can now be visited on a regular basis by those in Sudbury.
The history of Sudbury dates back to the Saxon period, with the first mention of the town coming in 799 AD. At around this time, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded the town's name as Suthberie, which meant 'south borough' and is believed to have been used to distinguish it from Norwich and Bury St Edmunds.
From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the weaving industry was still a mainstay in Sudbury, although it started to become a little less profitable than before.
Sudbury rose to prominence in the 18th century thanks to local artists John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough, with the latter actually born in the town in 1727. A museum of his work is based in the town and remains open to the public.
Our Lady Immaculate and St John the Evangelist catholic church was designed by Leonard Stokes and built in 1893. The town also played a role during World War II, when RAF Sudbury became the base of a squadron of B-24 Liberator bombers from the US military.
As the town has continued to expand, more retail and housing developments have emerged and now complement existing buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Sudbury's most famous son is the artist Thomas Gainsborough, who created a number of depictions of the nearby Suffolk countryside. His work is displayed in his own museum in the town today. Fellow artist John Constable also worked in and around the town many times.
The 14th century Archbishop of Canterbury Simon Sudbury is another famous person to hail from Sudbury.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Gainsborough's House is perhaps the most famous attraction in the town, with a comprehensive collection of the artist's paintings on show. It also includes a garden, shop and café, as well as the home of the Gainsborough's House Print Workshop.
Walking is a popular pastime among local people, with the Talbot Trail a special route set out for this purpose. It is completed by following 14 small bronze sculptures in the town, all of which depict a quirky aspect of Sudbury's past.
Sudbury is known for its links to the weaving industry over many years, and Weaver's Piece is the perfect place to catch up on the details of this. The enclosed garden features story panels and bronze sculptures.
The town's football club is AFC Sudbury, who play in the Isthmian League Division One North. Home matches are staged at King's Marsh, where locals can get behind the team and enjoy 90 minutes of action.
Alternatively, those who prefer to play rather than watch can head to the Kingfisher Leisure Centre, where the facilities include a swimming pool, gym and workout halls. There are also several green spaces in Sudbury that can be used for recreation, including Belle Vue Park.
Eating, drinking & shopping
There is a good selection of restaurants in Sudbury serving cuisine from every corner of the world. Navaa Fine Fusion is one of the best options in the town, along with the Mill Hotel, the Angel, Thompson's Bistro and The Secret Garden, all of which are highly recommended eateries in Sudbury.
Families and friends seeking a traditional pub in the town will not be disappointed, with the finest choices including the Waggon and Horses, the White Horse and the King's Head.
As a small town, Sudbury has a wide range of local independent shops that stock all manner of useful and exciting goods. Winch & Blatch is the town's premier department store and is well worth a visit, while there are plenty of high street chains also in residence to complement the specialist boutiques and sole traders.
Schools & healthcare
A number of primary schools are in operation in Sudbury, providing places to local youngsters seeking a high standard of education. They include Tudor Primary School, St Gregory, St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School and Woodhall Primary School.
When it comes to choosing a secondary school, most people in Sudbury opt to attend either the Ormiston Sudbury Academy or the Thomas Gainsborough Academy in nearby Great Cornard.
Sudbury Community Health Centre offers excellent care to anyone with medical needs, while the nearest hospitals are in Bury St Edmunds and Colchester.
Sudbury is located at the point where the A131 meets the A134, both of which provide a good route link to the north and south. These roads can be used to reach Bury St Edmunds and Norwich in one direction, and Braintree and Chelmsford in the other.
The town is just 30 miles from Stansted Airport, meaning local people can quickly and easily catch flights to the continent for business or leisure purposes.
Regular train services depart Sudbury heading for London, with journeys taking about 80 minutes to complete. It is also possible to use the rail network to reach other destinations in East Anglia, such as Ipswich, Colchester and Norwich.