Holywells Park Suffolk – a fascinating history and full of charm


It is not every day that you come across a free day out that the entire family can enjoy, so Holywells Park in Ipswich is a real treat. Located close to the River Orwell in the heart of Ipswich, Suffolk, Holywells Park is a 67-acre green space with various ponds, fields, and woodlands. The Search for secret gardens, a lost manor house, and an intriguing historical story add to this beautiful park’s charm.

Originally belonging to the Bishops of Norwich in the 13th century, Henry VIII confiscated the land back from the church and gave it to Sir John Jermy. In 1812, British brewer and railway developer John Cobbold bought the land and used the park’s natural spring water to brew his beer. The Cobbold family sold the land to Lord Woodbridge in 1930, and he later bequeathed it to the people of Ipswich in 1935. In 1936 Holywells Park was opened to the public and is now a designated conservation area on the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens.

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Ancient history at Holywells

Holywells Park has a rich history. There’s proof of individuals living in the location for thousands of years. Flint instruments from the Stone Age have been found at Holywells, while Bronze Age axes and Roman coins have been uncovered nearby.

Holywells Park facilities

Today thanks in part to a £3.5 million grant from the national lottery under the banner “Parks for People,” Holywells Park is a beautiful open green space for the Ipswitch community to enjoy. While excavation work and archaeological finds are an exciting ‘work in progress’, there’s also plenty of modern Facilities in Holywells Park to enjoy today:

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  • A cozy cafe and visitor centre
  • A spectacular Victorian conservatory
  • A walled garden with a maze
  • Open-air theatre
  • Outdoor gym equipment
  • Toilets and changing rooms
  • A bicycle repair shop
  • A high-tech children’s play area
  • Outdoor water play park (summer only)
  • Numerous trails and paths
  • An icehouse
  • A bowling green which is home to the Holywells Bowling Club
  • Holywells Park pond

The big pond in Holywell Park is a favourite stopping-off place for both adults and children and is a great place to relax and feed the ducks. You can purchase special food for the ducks in the park shop, and because the ducks are used to being fed, they will shuffle their way right up to you.

Holywells Park play area.

The Children’s play area in Holywells Park is themed after the ship Discovery who, along with the ships Susan Constant and Godspeed, took the Colonists to Jamestown, Virginia,1607. While climbing up on the ropes may be fun for younger children, teenagers, and adults can enjoy an interactive hi-tech play area called i-play.

There is always something going on in the park for visitors to enjoy with information about upcoming events posted in the visitor centre throughout the year.

How to get to Holywells Park

Holywells Park is located not far from the trendy Neptune Marina area, around a ten-minute walk from Ipswich town centre. If you don’t fancy the walk, you can catch the number  3, 4, 60, 61, and 61A buses (inbound bus to the town centre), 76, 76A, 77, and 77A.

Car parking at Holywells Park

Disabled or mobility challenged people are allowed to park in the car park at the Cliff Lane entrance to the park as long as they can display their blue parking badge. For others, the covered car park at  Athena Hall off Duke Street is open from 08:00 until midnight and charges 0.70 pence per hour.

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Holywells Park opening times

Holywells Park Opens at 07.30 Monday – Saturday, and at 09:00 on a Sunday. The park closing times depend on the amount of daylight. During the winter, the park closes as early as 16:30, while during the summer, it can stay open until 21:30.

Holywells Park allure

Holywells Park is not just a pretty open space for the kids to play and the dogs to get their exercise. It is full of character and has a fascinating history. Suppose the maze and open-air theatre aren’t enough to tempt you in this 270,000 square meter park. We are confident that the stunning Grade II listed orangery, built in the late 19th century and the exceptional woodland, delightful ponds, and natural streams, will have you returning again and again.



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