1400 years ago, a first King of England drew his last breath. His loyal people pulled a great ship of 27 meters long straight out the River Deben. They dragged it over the crest of a tall hill before laying the King to rest inside, burying him alongside a treasure-trove of Anglo-Saxon artefacts.
King Raedwald was a 7th century King of East Anglia, a historic Anglo-Saxon kingdom. The King held a long reign of 25 years and accomplished many feats within battle and as a ruler. So famous among the Anglo-Saxons was he, that he’s even referred to within their chronicle, an ancient manuscript written hundreds of years later in the 9th century. King Raedwald is known as the first King of the East Angles to convert to the Christian faith and helped to ensure the faith survived as it passed through the other pagan Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
Until 1939 the great King lay undisturbed within his ancient burial mound, a burial saved for those of the highest status. It was just months before World War 2 when he was uncovered in what would be deemed by historians as one of the greatest archaeological finds in England. From this discovery Sutton Hoo was born!
Today Sutton Hoo has become a cornucopia of archaeological and historical interest and visitors flock to the landmark located just outside of Woodridge, Suffolk. The once busy site, poured over by archaeologists, has opened its doors to the outside world and is now an extremely popular tourist attraction.
Sutton Hoo is a wonderful place to visit and a fantastic learning experience for all the family. The best part is that it’s located just a 20-minute drive from our luxury accommodation here at Mollett’s Farm.
Your visit to Sutton Hoo.
When you arrive at Sutton Hoo, you will be greeted by some beautiful views of the Suffolk countryside. Keep your eyes peeled and you will see some of the 17 royal burial mounds, only two of which survived being robbed during the Tudor period. Fortunately for us, the Tudors missed two of the ancient mounds and one of them contained a large part of the treasure trove housed in the visitor centre today.
As you explore the visitor centre and enter the exhibition hall you will be greeted with a wealth of information about the era of the Anglo-Saxons. There are short films, information boards and even reconstructions of the burial chambers. You will feel like you have attended the ritual burial and seen just how the treasures were laid out around the King.
You can also discover some of the original artefacts discovered in mound 17 where a much-loved warrior prince was buried. His artefacts include gold, weaponry and even a comb made of bone. Did we also forget to mention he was buried with his horse! Now that is a special horse!
The interactive exhibits are fun for all the family. Dress up as an Anglo-Saxon, try your hand at writing ancient runes, and test your knowledge with the interactive quizzes. Among the exhibits is a collection of hand-crafted replica items such as helmets, made by master craftsmen, so you can see how they used to look in all their shiny glory.
So where is the ship? Well the ship was made of oak, and after 1400 years buried in the soil, all that is left are the ghostly remains imprinted in the sand. But don’t worry The Longshed are working on building a replica. Click here to find out more.
A visit to Sutton Hoo isn’t just about the visitor centre, there are also five fantastic walks and guided tours to explore, weaving through the ancient burial mounds and woodlands where ancient Kings may have walked. Some of the walks are also suitable for personal mobility vehicles too.
Now, if this hasn’t already made you want to take a visit, Sutton Hoo is about to get a whole lot better! The National Trust – who maintain this wonderful place – have been granted a whopping £1.8 million to make major changes and transform the site into an even greater place to visit. The transformation, dubbed ‘Releasing Sutton Hoo’ will begin on the 1st October 2018 and the site will closed for a few months before a grand reopening and will continue to add even more brilliant activities and installations. Check the plans out here.
If you want our top tip for visiting Sutton Hoo make sure to ask at the visitor’s desk for the ‘Hidden-Hoo’ leaflet because, for those in the know, there is a much older cemetery that was recently discovered. Don’t forget to keep a look out for the upcoming exciting events on the National Trust’s Sutton Hoo web page too.
So, why not come and stay with us here at out luxury self-catered accommodation on Mollett’s Farm. During the day you can walk in the footsteps of Kings as you explore Sutton Hoo, and at night you can sleep like Kings in our king-size beds swaddled in luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets.
Make sure to check out the rest of our blog, so that you can read about all the other great activities that you can enjoy on the Suffolk Coast during your stay with us.