Photo by Phil Morley. Copyright National Trust
One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time, Sutton Hoo is the burial site of an Anglo-Saxon king.
Discovered in the 1930s, the site dates back to the 6th century and holds the remains of a royal ‘ship burial’, complete with a spectacular hoard of armour, weapons and artifacts that were laid out alongside the monarch, thought to be King Raedwald.
The site is located on a beautiful 225-acre estate, and there are lovely walks around the grounds and an Edwardian house to explore. A new addition is a full-size sculpture of the ship that would once have held the discovered artifacts.
Know before you go
The site owner, Mrs Edith Pretty, used to look at the burial mounds every day from the window of her cottage. In 1938, she allegedly had a dream featuring a helmeted rider and his burial in the mounds. On recounting the dream to a local schoolmaster, she was connected with local archaeologist Basil Brown who requested to excavate them.
The King Raedwald burial chamber was stuffed with more than 250 beautifully preserved artefacts, which Mrs Pretty subsequently donated to the British Museum, where they remain on display today. The artefacts in Sutton Hoo itself are replicas.
Getting there & doing it
Driving from London to Woodbridge takes around three hours. London Liverpool Street to Melton station (1.25 miles from Sutton Hoo) takes approximately 1.5 hours, changing at Ipswich. It’s just over a mile’s walk to Sutton Hoo from Melton; simply follow the signs.
Once at the site, there are maps and audio guides available to hire. It’s a short walk to the burial mounds through a pine forest. For sustenance, there’s a National Trust café on site, offering full lunches and afternoon teas.
When to do it
It’s open all year round, seven days a week. It’s usually quieter after 2pm, when the tour and school groups have departed.