Ipswich is one of the oldest towns in England and its history can be traced back to Roman times. The location made it strategically important from a trading and supply perspective because of the close proximity to the Orwell and Gipping rivers. The development of the town really took place in the Middle Ages, particularly with the creation of Ipswich Dock in the 8th century.
The long history of the town is reflected in the architecture. There are buildings from many different periods, ranging from 15th century churches all the way to modern office buildings. Visitors with a passion for architecture will find many great things to see in the town.
The Ipswich Unitarian Meeting House is a great place to start if you plan on seeing some of Ipswich’s stunning buildings. The property opened in 1700 and is believed to be the only remaining Dissenting Meeting House with a timber frame from the period. It is Grade I listed and retains many of the incredible original features.
You can see an even older timber framed building if you take a short ten minute walk across the town. Pykenham’s Gate was built in 1471 and is Grade I listed too. The brick four-centred arch is particularly attractive and makes the property well worth a look.
The Ancient House is possibly the most famous property in Ipswich, and also enjoys Grade I listed status. It was built in 1567 and purchased by the Sparrowe family in 1590. They owned it for 300 years and made it the noteworthy building it is today by adding incredible pargetting to show their royalist support.
Ipswich Town Hall and Corn Exchange definitely shouldn’t be missed. The properties were built in 1878 and are a fantastic example of grand Victorian style architecture. They serve as a focal point for the town and visitors can enjoy both the exterior and the interior. They currently houses two art galleries and have space for private functions too.
A tour of the architecture of the town can’t be complete without taking in the Willis Building. It was designed by celebrated architect Norman Foster and was one of his earliest properties when construction started. It was completed in 1975 and became a stunning example of the new high tech architectural style. In 1991 it was granted Grade I listed status and became the youngest building in Britain to achieve it at the time.
If you are planning a tour of the architecture of Ipswich you may need to set aside the whole day. To ensure you have enough time, why not stay overnight at The Gatehouse Hotel? The property is in a great location and puts visitors just 10 minutes drive from the Willis Building and the town centre. It is built in the Regency style, so if you’re looking for hotels in Ipswich, this unique place is fitting for this kind of trip.