Christchurch Park is in the heart of Ipswich, and was originally the grounds and gardens of Christchurch Mansion (which is also well worth a visit while you're there). There are many things to see and do in Christchurch Park including a visitor centre, butterfly garden, fountains and monuments, The Wilderness Pond, and a children's play area.
Without a doubt, this is the most popular spot in the Park for children up to the age of 14.
This well-fenced, well-designed play area is a model of its kind, and provides all sorts of brightly-painted climbing, clambering, sliding and swinging equipment to amuse them.
The Children's Playground provides a clean, bright and safe area for children up to the age of 14. You can find the Playground more or less in the centre of the Park, at the top of the hill above the Reg Driver Visitor Centre. The 1898 Refreshments Pavilion is just 100 metres to the east of the Playground (adjacent to the recently rebuilt Toilet block) and is often an important part of a child's visit!
The Children's Orchard, next to the Playground, is part of the Ipswich Traditional Orchard Project aimed at re-introducing traditional Suffolk fruit trees into various locations around Ipswich.
Primarily an educational space, it was planted on the site of the old leaf yard in 2011 with plum trees, crab-apples, pears, apples and cobnuts .
One very special tree in the orchard will be a graft of a Ribston Pippin apple from Fonnereau’s original eighteenth-century orchard.
The new viewing platform in the Orchard gives excellent views into the tree canopy of the Wildlife Reserve below. Encourage children to bring binoculars to see what they can see!
Teen Play Area
Next to the Ark in the Lower Arboretum is the teen play area, a hard court suitable for various ball games.
Finding your way to the Park is quite easy.
The Tower Ramparts Bus Centre is a short walk from the Fonnereau Road or Soane Street entrances. To get to the Henley Road entrance take Route 19, or for the Bolton Lane or Westerfield Road entrances, take Route 31.
There is limited disabled parking at the Henley Road entrance and a larger disabled car park at the Bolton Lane entrance. There is no other parking available in the Park, however free, on-road parking can be found around the Park, particularly on the northern and eastern sides.
Free to visit
Refreshments in the Park
These are at the rear of Christchurch Mansion and serve a range of hot and cold drinks and snacks, which are also available to take away. During the summer school holidays they will be open every day of the week. Otherwise, from spring until early autumn, they will be shut on Mondays. (when Christchurch Mansion is also closed).
Throughout the day the snack selection includes fresh sandwiches, tea cakes, scones, chocolate bars and crisps. There are two outdoor seating areas: inside the Mansion courtyard and the Triangle. The Triangle has recently been restored with funds provided by the Ipswich Society and the Friends of Christchurch Park and is used both as a seating area for the tea-rooms (wheelchair accessible) and the venue for the game of pétanque (see the Sport & Leisure page for details).
Opening hours in 2011 are: 19-27 February, 11.00 to 15.00, 5-31 March, 11.00 - 15.00 and 1 April to 27 November 10.00 to 17.00.
The Pavilion Cafe
Together with the Children’s Playground not far away, this is a hugely popular spot in the summer months for its drinks, ice creams and other refreshments. It was built in 1898 and, in common with many of the Park’s other facilities, was restored as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund improvements programme. There is a seating area provided in front of the Pavilion. Opening hours vary according to the weather and the season, but are generally 10.00 to 18.00 during the summer.
The Ark, situated in the Lower Arboretum on the western side of the Wilderness Pond, offers a selection of snacks and drinks. Opening hours vary (contact the RDVC for details).
- Outdoor Activities
- Parks & Playgrounds
- Walks & Picnics
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