Sutton Hoo



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A short distance from the town of Woodbridge, at Sutton Hoo, is the Anglo-Saxon royal burial site of King Raedwald, where a vast treasure was discovered in a huge ship grave. Sutton Hoo is arguably one of the most vital archaeological sites in Britain, looked on by many as the first chapter of English history. Lying on a low spur of land above the River Deben, several large mounds were excavated in 1939 and one revealed a warrior’s helmet and shield and a collection of gold ornaments in the remains of an 89 foot ship. The significance of this important discovery is incalculable. When, in the early 5th century, the Romans withdrew from Britain, it left the way open for people from Denmark, Germany and the lower Rhine to settle here, displacing and even enslaving the remnant Celtic and Roman people. These early settlers were the Anglo-Saxons, and their language formed the basis of the modern English spoken today. Two hundred years later, new kingdoms were formed: Suffolk and Norfolk becoming the Kingdom of the East Angles, and thereby setting the foundations of England as a country. Anglo-Saxon custom decreed that important people were buried beneath mounds, often along with precious goods as a sign of their wealth and importance. The burial of an entire ship is unique to East Anglia and Scandinavia, and the burial mound at Sutton Hoo was a prominent and fitting memorial to a powerful leader. The National Trust exhibition hall at Sutton Hoo houses a full-sized reconstruction of the buried chamber and relates the history of how its treasures lay undisturbed for over 1,300 years. The burial mounds form part of a much larger estate, across which there are lovely walks with estuary views, across heathland and along woodland trails.

Sutton Hoo


  • Suitable for children of all ages
  • Parking onsite
  • Cafe
  • Facilities: Ramps, electric buggy hire (pre-book)
  • Accessible toilets
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Open all year, daily. Please check website for or call for opening times

About the area

Discover Suffolk

Suffolk is Constable country, where the county’s crumbling, time-ravaged coastline spreads itself under wide skies to convey a wonderful sense of remoteness and solitude. Highly evocative and atmospheric, this is where rivers wind lazily to the sea and notorious 18th-century smugglers hid from the excise men. John Constable immortalised these expansive flatlands in his paintings in the 18th century, and his artwork raises the region’s profile to this day.

Walking is one of Suffolk’s most popular recreational activities. It may be flat but the county has much to discover on foot – not least the isolated Heritage Coast, which can be accessed via the Suffolk Coast Path. Southwold, with its distinctive, white-walled lighthouse standing sentinel above the town and its colourful beach huts and attractive pier features on many a promotional brochure. Much of Suffolk’s coastal heathland is protected as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and shelters several rare creatures including the adder, the heath butterfly and the nightjar. In addition to walking, there is a good choice of cycling routes but for something less demanding, visit some of Suffolk’s charming old towns, with streets of handsome, period buildings and picturesque, timber-framed houses.

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