2023 HERITAGE OPEN DAYS Scroll down
Download a PDF of the 2023 HOD booklet here
Heritage Open Days in Ipswich 9th – 17th September 2023
(Some venues 16th and 17th September.)
Christchurch Mansion - Ipswich
This Grade I listed Tudor mansion is located within Christchurch Park close to Ipswich town centre.
This year marks 550 years since the birth of Ipswich’s most famous son, Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s Chancellor during the pinnacle of Tudor England. Thus 2023 is an ideal year to celebrate the wealth of Tudor buildings still contributing to life in Ipswich. Heritage Open Days provides the opportunity to throw open the doors of a number of these buildings for the benefit of residents and visitors.
Ipswich is blessed with nearly 700 listed buildings including 10 listed at Grade I and we have persuaded the owners of the majority of the latter to participate. We have agreed with WTW that the Willis building will be open, one of the country’s youngest Grade 1 listed buildings, as will Pykenham’s Gatehouse, built 1471 and thus one of Ipswich’s oldest buildings.
The route from Stoke Bridge to the Cornhill (town centre) has a wealth of Tudor buildings, many of which will be open on Saturday 9th September (the first day of Heritage Open Days). Come and see the shops in St Peter’s Street, St Nicholas Street and the strangely named Silent Street. Call in at St. Peter’s church (Heritage Centre and craft market) or stop by for refreshment at the Thomas Wolsey public house or one of the many cafes or restaurants, some of which will be offering Tudor delicacies. To complete the first weekend of celebrations there will be a Tudor themed street fare on Sunday10th September. (St. Peter’s Street will be closed to traffic).
30 buildings will be open to visit: churches, theatres and other historic venues such as the Grade I listed Ancient House, Ipswich’s outstanding pargetted building.
The Ancient House and Ipswich Society Chairman John Norman.
Heritage Open Days proposed 2023 programme:
Saturday 9th Sept. 30 buildings open for public visits (including Tudor buildings in ‘The Saints’. The Saints includes St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Street, Silent Street and St Nicholas Street).
Sunday 10th Sept. A further day of ‘open buildings’; don't miss the Tudor Street Fair in The Saints.
Monday – Friday, 11th -15th Sept. Five days of ‘Walks and Talks’, walks around the historic buildings in Ipswich, talks about Thomas Wolsey, life in Tudor Ipswich and the changes to religious life in the 16th century.
Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 September: Historic buildings in the greater Ipswich area open to the public.
Please note that the decision to open buildings in the Heritage Open Days programme is the remit of individual building owners, The Ipswich Society can request that the featured building open to the public but cannot be held responsible if, for whatever reason, buildings are not open as advertised.
A free colour booklet funded by our valued members (see below) is available in the pamphlet racks in Ipswich Town Hall, Ipswich County Library in Northgate Street, Christchurch Mansion, The Hold (Suffolk Archives), The Ipswich Insitute and other venues around Ipswich.
Our volunteers regularly restock these venues leading up to HOD so be patient if any of them run out of copies.
All Ipswich Society members automatically get a postal copy or digital version.
The Ipswich Society is proud to co-ordinate the Heritage Open Days event in Ipswich again on behalf of the town and all our wonderful participants.
The buildings listed, many of which are not normally open to the public, represent seven centuries of our town’s history.
We have 30 buildings open in 2023, along with free guided walks around some of the town’s best locations and a selection of talks during the week. The Ipswich Society is grateful to all concerned for their participation and all our volunteers who make this event possible.
Ipswich Society volunteers act as guides during the weekend.
Grade I listed WTW Willis Building Rooftop, Cafe and Coffee Shop.
As usual volunteer staff of the ever popular Norman Foster-designed (Willis Towers Watson) WTW Building will be conducting free tours and the rooftop will be open again and their coffee shop cafe will also be open. New venues this year include the award winning Grade II listed Rushmere Hall School in Lanark Road and the Old Bell Inn is back with us again after a break.
The Ipswich Regent is conducting guided "Behind the Scenes" tours.
Ipswich Heritage Open Days 2023 map
Detailed model of HMS Victory made by Henry Tomkins.
Come and see Phase 2 of the St. Clement's Church restoration and conversion into an Arts, Events and Exhibition Centre with it's stunning new wall to wall oak floor. There will also be a display by The Ipswich Maritime Trust in the church and an amazingly detailed model of HMS Victory made by the late Henry Tomkins of Ipswich who died last year at the age of 94. His family recently presented the model to the church. HMS Victory was designed by Ipswich boy Sir Thomas Slade who is buried in St. Clement's churchyard with his wife. You can also see Sir Thomas Slade's grave.
St. Clement's Church
The Grade I listed Ancient House is open again this year for Heritage Open Days with guided tours.
In the late 1970s, the Ancient House was in an extremely poor state of repair and close to collapse. We owe the survival of the Ancient House pargeting and carved oak beams and posts to the fact that the house was in the possession of one family for such a long period and that Ipswich Borough Council purchased it and conducted an extensive renovation.
The Ancient House Ipswich is open for the second time.
You won’t go hungry; several buildings have refreshments on offer. In addition, there are independent cafes all around the Town Centre and Waterfront, well worth a visit.
Or you could pack a picnic and make a day of it in one of our beautiful Green Flag parks.
The Heritage Open Days event is a fantastic opportunity to discover Ipswich’s hidden heritage so please make the most of the weekend and above all, enjoy!
Our free Heritage Open Days colour booklet is now available at the Suffolk Building Society in Princes Street, the Ipswich Library in Northgate Street, Christchurch Mansion, the Ipswich Institute on Tavern Street, Ipswich Town Hall and other venues around the town.
Don’t forget to share your favourite place. Why not record your journey about the town, on social media?
The Grade I listed Unitarian Meeting House and the Grade I listed WTW (Willis Towers Watson) building both open again this year.
Many of the buildings are not open to the public throughout the year, so here's your chance to take a look inside. We have 30 buildings open in 2023, along with free guided walks around some of the town's best locations.
The Hold is open on HOD weekend. Come and see the Thomas Wolsey 550 Exhbition.
Christchurch Park, Ipswich.
The Ipswich 2023 Heritage Open Days free Colour Booklet is now available in the Suffolk Building Society in Princes Street, the Library in Northgate Street, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich Museum, the Ipswich, Institute in Tavern Street, Ipswich Town Hall and many other venues around Ipswich and East Anglia.
PLEASE CHECK THE BOOKLET FOR OPENING TIMES
Scroll down to see more below.
Over the weekend the venues listed below will be open at various times:
1. Ipswich Institute & Library.
2. The Admiral's House.
3. Ipswich Maritime Trust.
4. Ipswich Regent Theatre.
5. Mutual House.
6. Christchurch Mansion.
7. Bethesta Baptist Church.
8. Ipswich School.
9. The Old Bell Inn.
10. Ipswich Town Hall.
11. St. Margaret's Church
12. Martlesham Control Tower.
13. Fore Street Baths.
14. Willis WTW Building.
15. Unitarian Meeting House
16. Christ Church United Reform Church.
17. Masonic Hall.
18. St. Peter's by the Waterfront.
19. Gippeswyck Hall. (Avenue Theatre)
20. St. Mary at Stoke Church.
21. The Hold.
22. The Ancient House.
23. Pykenham's Gatehouse.
24. St. Clement's Church.
25. St. Mary le Tower.
26. Suffolk Energy Waste
27. St. Mary's at the Elms Church.
29. St. Stephen's Church.
30. Rushmere Hall School.