Sunderland

Visit to Suffolk

Tuesday 25th May saw the departure of 15 U3A members for a 3 – 4 day trip to Suffolk.

We broke our journey at Gainsborough for lunch and a guided tour of Gainsborough Old Hall. The Hall itself is a remarkably well preserved medieval manor house dating back to 1460, and was well worth the visit.

Wednesday we explored Flatford Mill and Constable Country. The Mill is very much as it was in Constable’s lifetime and you can trace the spots where he stood or sat to sketch out many of his most famous paintings.

In the afternoon we visited Lavenham, which is an excellent example of a well preserved medieval town. Our final visit of the day was to Holy Trinity Church at Long Melford, which dates back to the 15c and has a splendid Lady Chapel set apart from the main body of the church.

On Thursday morning we visited Thaxted – another well-preserved town of timber framed buildings. Here, the church of St John the Baptist again impressed with its size and is a landmark visible for miles around. The Guildhall, a medieval lime washed timber framed structure, nestles amongst quaint streets of buildings leaning at unlikely angles. After lunch in Saffron Walden we had a guided tour of Audley End House (EH). Together with the garden and stable yard it was a truly fascinating visit enjoyed by all.

Friday morning saw us at the church of St Andrew at Greensted-Juxta-Ongar. This was a little gem – the oldest wooden church in the world and probably the oldest wooden building in Europe.

Our lunch stop was at Cambridge, where we marvelled at the grand colleges, chuckled at the antics of the punts on the river. By 2.30 we were back on the road and heading home to Sunderland. It had been a truly action packed few days and everyone enjoyed it.

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