3 of the Oldest Pubs in Suffolk (And How They Compare to 3 of the Newest)

A pint of IPA being poured

Last Updated on March 9, 2023

When it comes to Suffolk, two things we do really well are history and pubs. Always keen to combine the things which make the area such a special place to enjoy a holiday, we thought it would be well worthwhile to produce a list of some of the more established drinking holes and see how they compare to some of the newer ones. Of course, historic and modern pubs offer two completely different experiences, but it never hurts to be aware of the best places to enjoy some refreshments when enjoying one of our Barns and Barges for rent.

The Spread Eagle, Ipswich

Once upon a time in the 16th century, there were four pubs which occupied the junction of Fore Street in Ipswich. Today, only one remains. Whilst it was lovingly and appropriately restored back in 2015, the Spread Eagle maintains a historic charm. Counting Charles Dickens as one of its more unlikely regulars, the Spread Eagle owes its Tudor charm to its quirky floorboards, striking wooden beams and wide fireplace. Whether you visit in the summer to enjoy the sun trap that is the courtyard, or cosy up with some mulled wine in winter, you won’t go wrong by choosing the Spread Eagle for a tipple.

The One Bull, Bury St Edmunds

A town famed for its range of historic buildings, it’s well worth checking out the One Bull, the pub believed to be the oldest in Bury St Edmunds. Situated on Angel Hill, the origins of the One Bull stretch all the way back to the 15th century. Though it had its exterior rebuilt in the early 18th century, the old timey charm is still very much alive and kicking. Nowadays, the establishment has earned an enviable reputation as a wine bar, so certainly even more attractive to those after a splash of red or white. Another interesting tidbit relating to the pub is that it was once home to a 9 ft long rattlesnake, the largest ever seen in England. This was back in 1801, mind, so you should be safe stepping inside these days.

The Four Horseshoes, Eye

Only a short distance from our Barns for rent in Suffolk, the Four Horseshoes is widely considered to be the oldest pub in Suffolk. Dating back to the early 12th century, the distinctly traditional pink building crowned by a thatched roof gives off a decidedly historic aesthetic. Boasting a large pub garden and cosy interior, any excuse is a good excuse to dive into this historic spot in Suffolk. 

With a view to the future, the following three pubs have recently reopened in Suffolk and offer a more modern alternative to the more established establishments.

Ye Olde Bell & Steelyard, Woodbridge

It would be remiss of us to produce a list of recently reopened pubs and neglect to mention that Ye Olde Bell & Steelyard in Woodbridge welcomed new owners to a pub just down the road from our Barns for rent. Bringing fresh life to the 12th oldest pub in the country, this idyllic pub in what we consider to be one of the best Suffolk towns is totally unmissable.

The Swan, Worlingworth

Back in 2015, it was with disappointment that the Swan in Worlingworth closed its doors. Thankfully, however, two new owners came along earlier this year to restore this Suffolk favourite to its former glory. Now complete with a farm shop – a decidedly modern addition – the Swan is a must-visit for food and drink lovers making a trip to Suffolk.

Old Chequers, Friston

Another fantastic addition to freshly updated pubs in Suffolk is Old Chequers in Friston. Recently taken over by a music loving couple, you can expect regular live music nights to keep you entertained when visiting. Another point worth noting is that the couple have retained the services of an award-winning chef whose dishes come very highly recommended.

Whether you plan to enjoy one of these modern or traditional pubs, make sure you do so with a comfortable retreat to return to. To book now, simply take a look at the availability of our Barns and Barges for rent in Suffolk.