Today I was wearing my official Tourist Guide hat. More accurately, I was wearing my enamel Blue Badge Tourist Guide badge, a very hard-earned award that took a lot of studying for, and requires regular re-assessment!
I was hired by Kevin Jackson Tours to act as a guide for a party he had brought down from Yorkshire on a week long holiday in Suffolk. As part of their holiday they were provided with a guided coach tour of Suffolk market towns and villages.
Out first stop was Sudbury (which we blogged about a couple of months ago), where the members of the coach party went their separate ways, browsing the shops, visiting Gainsborough’s House, and some made their way to the Stour.
We then headed through Long Melford, admiring the mix of Tudor and Georgian architecture, and the wonderful wool church of Holy Trinity, with the rooftops of Long Melford Hall visible. It was quite chilly, but clear and perfect for looking out of the coach windows.
We turned left and drove through the small villages of Clare and Cavendish, admiring the Suffolk Pink cottages and villages green. There wasn’t time to stop in Clare for some antique hunting or to visit the church, as the next destination was calling – Bury St. Edmunds.
It was market day in Bury St. Edmunds, with lots of traditional stalls to be admired. It was a good day to visit the town, outside of the summer holiday crowds. The cathedral was a popular destination for some of the party, many of whom were overwhelmed, partly through hearing the new organ being tested and tuned I advance of its inaugural performance on November 28th at 6p.m.
A few people went off to the Greene King brewery, and one person headed off to The Nutshell, the smallest pub in the country. Having had lunch there, the coach was boarded again, as the tour headed back to the hotel. The route back took us through Lavenham, with a short stop that gave people time to visit the Guildhall or the Church of St Peter and St Paul. Many people who went to the church were amazed at it being just a parish church – it was built to show off the wealth of the wool merchants!
We completed the tour by driving through the small villages of Brent Eleigh and Monks Eleigh.
The coach pulled up back at the hotel at 5 o’clock, seven hours after setting out, the visitors from Yorkshire expressing their admiration of the churches, the architecture, the timber framed buildings, and the big blue skies of Suffolk.
If you want a Blue Badge Guide to help you plan a tour, or to provide a running commentary on a coach tour, please email us.