There are a range of cultural activities that are accessible to the elderly throughout Suffolk. This guide will introduce some of our favourite gems including beautiful National Trust properties to explore, Silver Screenings to marvel at and museums to learn in – Suffolk has plenty to offer.
Also you should explore our Top 5 Accessible Days out in Suffolk for more day trip options that everyone can enjoy.
- 5 Stunning National Trust Properties in Suffolk
- 2 Must-Visit Museums in Suffolk
- Silver Screening in Local Cinemas across Suffolk
The Best National Trust Properties in Suffolk to Visit With Elderly Relatives
Part of the rural Suffolk coastline near Yoxford, Dunwich Heath is a perfect opportunity to get out into the fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors. Take a guided tour in the stunning expanse of rural scenery and nature, or visit the tea rooms for lunch.
Dunwich Heath has also made an effort to be as accessible as possible, given its remote location. There is free parking for blue badge holders, accessible tea-room and shop, adapted toilets and available hearing induction loops. The National Trust has suggested routes with flatter terrain and frequent stopping points and other options through which to explore their countryside. You can hire self-driven mobility vehicles or take a chauffeured guided tour in a caddy car. Find out more about accessibility and suggested routes on their website.
Prices: Car Parking costs £6 (free for blue badge holders)
Opening Hours: The Heath is open from dawn to dusk. Shop and tea room from 10:00-17:00
Parking: 150yds from the entrance
This grand palace built in the Italian style, featuring Rotunda, is a truly impressive architectural feat. It is complemented on all sides by an expanse of deer park, woodland, and formal and informal gardens. The inside of the palace is beautifully preserved. It has been made fully accessible with lifts and scooter and wheelchair hire available – which takes some of the effort out of traversing the large grounds. The National Trust has completed a full accessibility review.
Prices: Prices vary through seasons and are dependent on how much of the property you wish to visit.
Opening Hours: Opening hours vary throughout parts of the property.
Parking: Parking is located 200yds from the entrance with 20 designated spaces for blue badge holders. A transfer vehicle is available to transport people from the reception to the West Wing Entrance.
The only surviving Regency playhouse in the country, Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds is a restored Grade I listed building offering an authentic 19th century theatre-going experience.
The theatre produces three in house performances a year and the annual pantomime is always a family favourite. You can book tickets to shows or tours on the Theatre Royal Website. The theatre is well equipped to cater for accessibility needs with an induction loop (switch hearing aid to ‘T’), ramp access, audio described, touch tours, 4 wheelchair adapted boxes and spaces for guide dogs. There are also a few different types of performances with BSL sign interpretations and ‘relaxed’ performances with less intense music and lighting. The Theatre Royal is a perfect way to indulge yourself in the local culture.
Prices: Guided tours – £7.50 (Free with National Trust Membership), Performances vary
Opening Hours: Tours operate from February – November, on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 11am (Book a tour)
Parking: The nearest carpark is Swan Lane (546yrd) which is free after 6pm
Set on a 255 acre estate with excellent views over the River Deben, Sutton Hoo is home to a Royal Burial Ground – the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon King and his treasured possessions. Your cultural experience starts at Tranmer House and High Hall, with exhibits telling the story of the burial ground before you can explore the Burial Ground itself.
The National Trust has strived to make the estate as accessible as possible but given the need to preserve the site it can not be completely accessible. The buildings are all accessible and on even, level ground, however the 600m route to the burial site is along rough uneven ground – though still labelled accessible (assistance is advised). There are three powered mobility vehicles and two manual wheelchairs that can allow for easier access to the outside areas (booked through the Visitor Welcome team – 01394 389714).
Opening Hours: Varies per season
Parking: 9 Blue Badge Holder Parking Spaces
A stunningly preserved area that once inspired John Constable, Flatford is a great way to really get a feel for rural Suffolk, transport yourself back to the 1800s and learn more about the artist himself from exhibits.
We have a detailed overview Accessibility of Flatford and Bridge Cottage on our Top 5 accessible days out in Suffolk page.
Prices: Free – Parking is £5
Opening Hours: Varies per season
Parking: Disabled parking available closer to the information centre
Museums in Suffolk
The place where Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England, Framlingham Castle is stuffed full of history for you to explore in the castle itself, exhibits, and even a Tudor-inspired menu in their café. It is also well known as “The Castle on the Hill”, with thanks to pop singer, Ed Sheeran. This is not a national trust property but is run by English Heritage.
The exhibits, café, bottom and first levels of the castle are all accessible by wheelchair and via a lift, although the upper levels and wall walk can only be accessed by steep, hand-railed spiral staircases. There are accessible toilets, disabled parking (arrange in advance – 0370 333 1181), and a guided virtual tour with hearing loop is available on the ground floor in the exhibition.
Prices: Starting from £10/adult, £9/concession, (English Heritage Members go free)
Opening Hours: Varies by season
Museum of East-Anglian Life – Stowmarket
Made up of 18 historic buildings and over 75 acres of woodland, the Museum of East-Anglian Life offers a fantastic insight into the deep history associated with East Anglia. Located in the heart of Stowmarket, it is easy to get to (the train station is just 0.3 miles away) and makes for a great accessible day out. The museum has made an effort to be as accessible as possible, given the nature of the old buildings, and has a detailed overview of the accessible information for your family’s day out.
Prices: Adults – £12, Concession – £10 (family discounts are available)
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 4pm (open on Mondays on bank holidays and school holidays)
Parking: As its located in Stowmarket, you are invited to use any car parking facility there, all of which allow for 3hrs free for Blue Badge Holders.
Silver Screenings in Suffolk
Silver Screenings offer a chance for seniors to enjoy the cinema in a more relaxed environment, usually with refreshments and an interval. Presently there is only two cinemas with the full Silver Screening option (below), however, that doesn’t mean the elderly can’t still enjoy the cinema. There are many cinemas dotted across Suffolk with concession pricing and quieter showtimes. If you are willing to travel, Odeon Cinemas in Norwich and Colchester put on Silver Screenings every week – you can find out more and search for your closest one on the Odeon website.
Empire Cinemas – Ipswich
A selection of some of the best recent and classic films shown every Wednesday morning at a reduced price of £3.50 for over 60s. The price also includes tea/coffee and a biscuit.
The Riverside Cinema – Woodbridge
The Riverside Cinema in the centre of Woodbridge has ‘Silver Screen Classics’ on selected Fridays. The ticket price is reduced to £6 and includes a free tea/coffee and biscuit. We recommend that you ring to find out about upcoming Silver Screen Showtimes.
Telephone: 01394 382174