Ipswich Maritime Festival

238 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2015

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Travelled with

Family including children under 16

Reasons for trip

Most of the time we go to Ipswich Waterfront for the Jerwood Dance House. It was involved in the Maritime Festival too, with dancing and music on the Saturday but not Sunday. The cafe was open though, offering reasonably-priced all day breakfasts or lunch dishes, so we stopped there for a while until joined by family.

As may be expected, the Maritime Festival features all things watery, but this year it joined many another celebration to commemorate the Great War and VE Day in 1945. First War uniforms and weaponry are more photogenic than Second, so most static displays were from then. There were even small vessels of the period in the Marina: Thames sailing barges, a tug and a coaster; to come up to date there was a recently built lifeboat as well as all the pleasure craft.

On land we found a Batmobile and, for members of the Sutton Hoo Society, the pleasure of Sae Wylfing (Sea Wolf), a half-size replica of the Sutton Hoo burial ship that everyone hopes will be recreated full-size for a new museum at Woodbridge.

Recalling that mariners need their sea biscuits, all the Waterfront restaurants, bistros and bars were open as well as numerous ad hoc outlets for ice cream, drinks, seafood, chips, etc., etc. and so forth.

Fast food is almost synonymous with fairgrounds, so there were merry-go-rounds, a helter-skelter and other amusements, plus a scattering of stands for the Samaritans, Royal British Legion, Merchant Navy Association and environmental groups. Nobody had reason to be bored, even if the lookalike and soundalike Winston Churchill was given rather more than necessary prominence. Ipswich Council had done the town and people proud.

People could enjoy a short cruise on a sailing barge, visit the moored vessels to explore a steam tug in working order and listen to a variety of local musicians. For families there was face painting, and plenty of novelties like helium balloons, while some older males took the chance to pose with decorative females advertising cars.

Grey skies there may have been but threatening rain never materialised into the real thing. All ages and abilities seem to have a spendid, good natured time. What else is needed for a good inexpensive day out? Only a sign of what has been in limited supply this summer: sunshine.


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