For centuries, the Ipswich Dock has played a vital role in the town’s economic success.
The docks sit on a bend in the River Orwell and have been in operation since at least the 8th century, in fact, when the wet dock area was constructed in 1842 it was the biggest enclosed dock in the UK.
The vision of the Victorian town fathers has produced a facility that is still important for commerce and now as an attraction for local people and tourists.
In 1997 the port was sold by Ipswich Ports Ltd to Associated British Ports and soon after new facilities were built, bringing about the first wave of the Waterfront regeneration.
The next wave came in 2000, when a £1.9m agribulk storage facility opened, new automated lock gates were installed and the 180-berth Ipswich Haven Marina opened – bringing the yachting fraternity to Ipswich.
The Old Custom House was refurbished and restored and new buildings began springing up along the quaysides and beyond, including The Salthouse Hotel – Ipswich’s only 4-star hotel, University Campus Suffolk, which opened in 2008, and controversial development The Mill, which is East Anglia’s tallest building.
The Jerwood DanceHouse brings an artistic touch to the Waterfront while Isaacs, The Waterfront Bistro, Aurora, The Last Anchor and Coffee Link all offer food, drink and entertainment.
There are regular events celebrating the past, present and future including the summer Maritime Festival.