Ipswich has been awarded Heritage Harbour status by the national group that recognises the country's most historic working ports.

It received the recognition from the National Working Group of Heritage Harbours, which is supported by the Maritime Heritage Trust, National Historic Ships UK and Historic England.

Ipswich joins two other East Anglian ports - Wells next the Sea in Norfolk, and Maldon and Heybridge in Essex – in a confederation of 12 harbours and inland ports in the UK, and a European Network of Heritage Harbours.

Ben Good, chair of Ipswich Maritime Trust (IMT), said: “We are thrilled that Ipswich’s importance as a trading port since the seventh century, and the wharves and warehouses that can be seen today along the historic Waterfront, have been acknowledged in this international accolade.

“The Heritage Harbour award, however, does more than recognise history.

"It also endorses our plans for the future, being developed in partnership with many local stakeholders, such as Associated British Ports (ABP), who own and operate the port.” 

Paul Ager, ABP’s Divisional Port Manager, said: “Receiving the prestigious Heritage Harbour status celebrates Ipswich's timeless legacy as one of the oldest trading ports in the UK.

"This recognition, coupled with the port’s consistent ranking as the number one export port for agricultural products, highlights ABP’s enduring commitment to maritime excellence.

“And while we celebrate this legacy, Ipswich also remains at the forefront of innovation, leading the charge in integrating drone technology and AI into port operations.

"Ipswich isn't just a testament to history; it's a trailblazer shaping the future of port management and maritime progress."

Ipswich Maritime Trust has recently published a prospectus outlining plans which include preservation and display of Heritage buildings, boats, and artefacts.

It also includes a Youth Programme designed to create opportunities for young people and get them involved and an Events Programme to include talks, tours and visits, and targeting a major maritime festival potentially in 2025.