The county town of Suffolk, Ipswich is one of England’s prize possessions. It dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, and an array of chocolate-box timber-framed buildings line many of the town’s streets. Without a cathedral of its own, Ipswich remains a town, despite a few attempts at trying to gain city status, undergoing a dramatic refurbishment of its docks area in recent years. The waterfront is now devoted primarily to leisure use, and includes residential apartment blocks and a university campus.
Ipswich is home to many artists and has a number of galleries, the most prominent being Christchurch Mansion. The Ipswich Museum and Ipswich Transport Museum provide a slice of culture, while the New Wolsey Theatre and Ipswich Regent Theatre ensure a continuous programme of must-see productions. The Regent is the largest theatre venue in East Anglia, and The Beatles once performed here when it was still known as the Gaumont.
Given Suffolk’s agricultural prominence, industry around Ipswich has a strong farming bias, with Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Ltd, one of the country’s most famous agricultural manufacturers, located in the town. It is renowned for building the first commercial motorised lawnmower. BT research laboratories are located at Adastral Park in Ipswich, while some of the major players in the insurance world have a key presence in the town including Axa, Churchill, Legal & General, LV and Willis. Access to a skilled and experienced workforce has also led to the establishment of ancillary businesses serving these companies, such as call centres dealing with sales and claims. As Ipswich is still a working port, handling several million tonnes of cargo each year, it offers plenty of job opportunities for the town’s residents, and new businesses have opened their doors in recent years, from luxury boat companies, to timber merchants.
Ipswich is located close to the A14 and A12 roads, and is also on the Great Eastern main line from London to Norwich, the East Suffolk line to Lowestoft, as well as the Felixstowe branch line. It is an hour from Stansted Airport, and bus services are operated by Ipswich Buses, First Norfolk & Suffolk and several smaller companies.
State-funded secondary schools include comprehensive schools and academies, alongside several independent schools including Royal Hospital School, Ipswich School, Ipswich High School and St Joseph’s College. There is also a sixth form college called One, as well as further education college, Suffolk New College. In addition, Ipswich is the location of the University of Suffolk, Suffolk’s first higher education institution, which was awarded university status in 2016.
Ipswich’s average property prices stand at around £267,442, which is a fall of 0.54 per cent in the last year. In terms of property types, flats sold for an average of £150,479 and terraced houses sold for £196,347. A popular place for commuters to live, given its fantastic rail links to the capital, former residents include Alf Ramsay and Bobby Robson, who were both successful managers of Ipswich Town Football Club (or the ‘tractor boys’ as they are affectionately known).