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Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > East of England > Suffolk > Stowmarket

Stowmarket

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Stowmarket is a small industrial market town in Suffolk.

Understand[edit]

  • The town's name comes from the Old English word stōw ("principal place"). A market town (charter granted in 1347), the town still holds bi-weekly markets.
  • The town lies on the River Gripping which was made navigable between the town and Ipswich in the 18th century - called the Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation. However the construction of the railway to the town in 1846 started the demise of the canal and the canal navigation was formally closed in 1832 (by Act of Parliament).
  • In recent years the town's population has grown significantly (from 3,000 in 1841 to 6,000 in 1981 to 19,000 in 2011), something that is planned to continue with further development of the town and surrounding villages. Much of the development has been taking place to the northers side of the town.

Get in[edit]

By road[edit]

Located on the A14 approx 18 miles NW of Ipswich and 15 miles E of Bury St Edmunds and at the southerly end of the A140 main road to Norwich (40 miles).

By rail[edit]

  • 1 Stowmarket Train Station, Station Road East, Stowmarket IP14 1RQ. On the Norwich-London trunk route and is served by hourly London-Norwich Intercity trains, two-hourly regional London-Peterborough trains and hourly services between Cambridge and Ipswich. Stowmarket railway station (Q2618103) on Wikidata Stowmarket railway station on Wikipedia
Journey Times
Destination Time
London 85min
Ipswich 10-15min
Colchester 30min
Bury St Edmunds 15-20min
Norwich 30min
Cambridge 60min
Peterborough 80min

By bus[edit]

There are regular bus services from Ipswich operated by First Eastern Counties. These run every 20–30 minutes and most run via Claydon and Needham Market, taking approx 50 minutes to reach Stowmarket, although some peak hour services travel via the A14 and take as little as 30 minutes. There are also hourly services to Bury St Edmunds (this takes well over an hour so it is much quicker and possibly cheaper to take the train), infrequent services to Diss and a two-hourly service to Bildeston for connections to Hadleigh and Sudbury.

By bicycle[edit]

The town is on National Cycle Route 51 (Harwich to Oxford, to Ipswich to the SE and to Bury St Edmunds to the W.

Get around[edit]

Everything in Stowmarket can be reached easily on foot, however various areas in Stowmarket can also be reached using the #87/88 buses including Combs Ford, Chilton Hall, Cedars Park and Stowupland.

See[edit]

Do[edit]

Walk through the countryside from Combs Ford to Great Finborough and John Peel's grave.

Buy[edit]

The town centre is divided into two sections. The area south of the Marketplace along Ipswich Street features various high-street chains including Boots, Superdrug and Argos. The northern side along Bury Street is more traditional with numerous speciality shops. The Ipswich-based East of England Co-op have quite a strong influence in the town with a Co-op travel agency and a small department store in the town centre, as well as a 'Co-op Neighbourhood Shopping Centre' in Combs Ford housing a pharmacy, a supermarket, a Godfrey's hardware store and a QS clothing store. There is also a large Asda superstore in the town-centre and a possibly larger Tesco close to the A14 at Cedars Park, which has had an effect on local trade. The historic street market still exists and takes place every Thursday and Saturday along Ipswich Street, the Marketplace and the Meadow Centre.

  • 1 Bi-Weekly Market, Market Place & Meadow Centre. Th Sa 08:00-16:00.
  • 2 Farmers Market, Market Place. 1st F of month.
  • 3 Tesco (Supermarket), Cedars Link Rd, Stowmarket IP14 5BE, +44 345 677 9661. M-Sa 06:00-23:00, Su 10:00-16:00. Petrol & pharmacy (different hours), ATMs, Wi-Fi
  • 4 Adsa (Supermarket), Meadow Centre, Wilks Way, Stowmarket, IP14 1DE, +44 1449 675396. M-W 07:30-21:00, Th F 07:30-22:00, S 07:30-21:00, Su 10:00-16:00. Pharmacy, opticians (different hours)

Eat[edit]

Stowmarket's food scene is fairly limited, although the only fast-food chain is a Wimpy and the only chain coffee shop is Costa Coffee which is located within the Tesco store on the edge of town. However, saying that there is nowhere to grab a good coffee in the town centre itself.

There are both Indian and Chinese restaurants in Stowmarket but they're at best average and rather overpriced.

There are several (chain) pubs in the town that do good and reasonably priced pub lunches

  • 1 The Oak (Pub & Food), 43 Ipswich St, Stowmarket IP14 1AH, +44 1449 612024. Free Wi-Fi
  • 2 Prezzo Italian Restaurant & Take-away (ex Dukes Head), The Dukes Head Ipswich St, Stowmarket IP14 1AZ, +44 1449 775908. Daily 12:00-23:30.
  • 3 Magpie, 1 Combs Ford, Stowmarket IP14 2AP, +44 1449 612727, . Pub: M 12:00-23:00, Tu 16:00-23:00, W Th 12:00-23:00, F Sa 12:00-23:30, Su 12:00-22:30; Food: M W-Sa 12:00-14:30 & 18:00-20:30, F Sa 12:00-23:30, Su 12:00-17:00.
  • 4 Cracknells (Fish & Chips Take-away), 6 Needham Rd, Combs Ford IP14 2AW.
  • 5 Chip Inn (Fish & Chips Take-away), 5 Combs Ford, Combs Ford IP14 2AP, +44 1449 677744.
  • 6 The River Bistro (French Restaurant), Wharfside House, Prentice Rd, Stowmarket, IP14 1RD, +44 1449 770401, . Tu-Th 18:30-23:00 (kitchen to 21:00), F Sa 18:00-23:30 (kitchen to 21:20).

Drink[edit]

There are a lot of pubs scattered around Stowmarket, most of which open daily and serve good food and beer, including local ales. Stowmarket has a strong drinking culture and most locals will know each other. The most lively pubs are the Oak and the Dukes Head in the town centre. The Magpie in Combs Ford also hosts a lot of live bands. At current, there is only one nightclub in Stowmarket - Jokers in Ipswich Street. Many younger Stowmartians will head out to Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds or Norwich for a good night out, and a Jokers crowd usually consists of a mixture of young people from the surrounding villages, and an older (i.e. above 21) crowd of Stowmartians, which when combined with poor out-dated music on a tinny PA on a sticky dancefloor causes a lot of noise and often, violence. This place is best avoided, especially on a Saturday night.

  • 1 Tall Orders (Cafe), 12 Bury St, Stowmarket IP14 1HA, +44 1449 770302. 08:45-15:30. A great independent coffee shop/cafe offering the usual selection of coffee, tea & hot chocolate. Great food too-simple but tasty & made fresh for you. Choose from jacket potatoes, panini, wraps, salads, sandwiches or freshly baked baguettes + specials. Friendly staff & a great atmosphere
  • 2 Holland & Barrett Coffee Shop, 8-10 Market Place, Stowmarket IP14 1DP, +44 1449 676046. 09:30-15:30. Only cafe not serving meat of any kind set in old building above health shop fresh homemade cakes, clean and very pleasant good value for money reasonable.
  • 3 The Willow Tree (Pub & Food), 101 Ipswich St, Stowmarket IP14 1BB, +44 1449 618090. M-Th08:00-00:00, F Sa 08:00-01:00, Su 08:00-00:00.
  • 4 The Royal William (Pub), 53 Union St East, Stowmarket IP14 1HP, +44 1449 674553, .
  • 5 The Queens Head (Pub), Station Rd West, Stowmarket IP14 1EF, +44 1449 612519. M-W 15:00-23:30, Th 15:00-01:00, F Sa 11:00-03:00, Su 12:00-22:30.

Sleep[edit]

Connect[edit]

The landline dialling code for Stowmarket is 01449.

  • 1 Post Office, 23 Ipswich St, Stowmarket IP14 1AH. In the OneStop store

Go next[edit]

Needham Market A small town about 3 miles from Stowmarket. Despite the fact that there is no longer a market in Needham Market, it is still a very attractive town of narrow streets, small independent shops including a hardware store, a butcher, a bakery and an antique centre, a couple of decent pubs and a fish & chip shop. Take a walk along the river Gipping past two historic mills and a large lake made from a former quarry. Needham can be reached by road from Stowmarket (parking at Needham Lake car park is not free, however parking at the railway station is) or on the half-hourly #87/88 bus (journey time 15 minutes) which drops off outside Needham Market church on the way to Ipswich. There are hourly train services from Stowmarket on the Ipswich-Cambridge line which take only 4 minutes to cover the 3 miles from Stowmarket and are actually cheaper than the bus. Needham Station is unstaffed but tickets are sold by the conductor on the train.


This city travel guide to Stowmarket is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.