Horrible history walks

AS we all resolve to do more exercise and enjoy the good weather, Ipswich's Blue Badge Guides are offering a range of opportunities to do just that. This summer there are a selection of new walks for you and the kids, covering a range of interests.

AS we all resolve to do more exercise and enjoy the good weather, Ipswich's Blue Badge Guides are offering a range of opportunities to do just that. This summer there are a selection of new walks for you and the kids, covering a range of interests. DAN STEBBINGS finds out what's on offer.

TODAY there are more than a dozen Blue Badge guides in Ipswich, waiting to share their knowledge with you.

They are eager to share secrets of your town's past, from the gruesome horrors of barmaids having their hands cut off after pub brawls, to following in the footsteps of Henry VIII.

As the summer afternoons draw on, and you find yourself wanting to walk of a few calories, or even learn a bit of trivia which could come in useful in a local pub quiz, joining a guided walk is worth considering!

Ipswich Tourist Information Centre manager David Stainer said: “The special summer holiday children's walks are always hugely popular with youngsters - accompanying adults are allowed to book as well providing they are well behaved! - who enjoy discovering about the history and heritage of Ipswich in a fun and entertaining way, with the gory bits left in!

“The tour guides themselves look forward to the walks, which have been taking place during the school summer holidays the last few years, and have grown in popularity.

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“The range of childrens walks has increased as well, with new walks - such as "Windows, Walls and So Much More" being added to perennial favourites like "Horrible History".”

Here's the selection:

Heart of Ipswich - This tour offers a chance to explore the Heart of Ipswich, particularly the Cornhill and surrounding area. August 10, August 24, September 7, September 12 and September 21.

Victorian Ipswich - On this walk, attendees will find out about Ipswich during the Victorian era, including Prince Albert's visit to the town and the development of the town over these years. This walk can last up to two hours and involves a fair amount of walking so be prepared! August 29.

Maritime Ipswich - This walk focuses on the maritime aspects of the town's past, when Ipswich was a vital trading port, filled with the bustle of ships being loaded. August 3, August 17, August 31, September 14 and September 28.

Town Centre - See how Ipswich is connected with famous figures from history, including Charles Dickens and Lord Nelson. You can see a Norman Foster masterpiece and one of the finest examples of decorative plasterwork in Britain. July 25 and September 5.

Waterfront Wander - a unique opportunity to see the Waterfront as it is revolutionised by the new developments, and learn the history of the Wet Dock and the vital role it played in the development of Ipswich. This walk leaves at 11am on July 29, August 5, August 12, August 19, August 26, and September 2.

Henry VIII - Follow in the footsteps of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, as you walk to the Shrine of Our Lady from the Tourist Office. On August 1 and September 12.

Ipswich Ghost Walk - Find out about spooky happenings in Ipswich. The Ghost Walk takes place as dark begins to fall, adding to the experience of hearing the ghostly goings-on that supposedly haunt Ipswich. At 8pm on August 3 and September 7.

Figures from the Past - This walk, set in the Northgate area of the town, offers you the chance to learn about many varied and interesting characters from Ipswich's past, including Sir Christopher Hatton, Archdeacon Pykenham and Robert Ransome. On August 8 and September 19.

Old Commercial Quarter - See fine architecture as you visit the medieval churches and merchants' houses in the old commercial quarter of Ipswich. On August 15 and September 26.

Stories of Ipswich - Visit Wolsey's Gate and hear how the origins of Ipswich lie in the Saxon settlers who landed on these shores. This fully-guided trip will feature fascinating tales as you walk down to the Waterfront via St Peters Street. It is on August 22.

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Places for all these walks can be booked at Ipswich Tourist Information Office at St Stephen's Church by calling 01473 258070. Tickets may be available on the day, but it is advisable to book.

Tickets cost £2.50, or £2 for concessions, except the Ghost Walks which are £4.50.

All walks leave Ipswich Tourist Information Office at 2.15pm, unless stated otherwise.

In these days of television and video games, it may not be your child's idea of fun to go 'out for a walk.' But with walks specially designed for eight to 12-year-olds, you will surely be able to tempt your child to get outside, get an hour and a half's exercise and maybe even learn a little.

Others with a genuine interest are welcome to come and join in the fun. Parents not planning to attend must sign a consent form at the time of booking.

Walks start at 10.30am and cost £3. One parent per child is welcome to come along free of charge.

Horrible History of Ipswich - History as you never experienced it before. Discover the horrible things that have happened in Ipswich - diseases, death, executions and worse!

July 26, August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 August

Heraldry - Discover some of the basic rules of heraldry and see some of the fine examples in the town. Finish up by designing your own special Coat of Arms. July 28

Dangerous Dragons and other Fabulous Beasts - Have you seen St. George slaying the Dragon in Ipswich? Catch a glimpse of some of the fantastic beasts that adorn some of the buildings in the town. August 4.

I've Never Noticed That Before - A fun walk where you will discover all sorts of things you have probably never seen before - including a secret door! August 11 and 25.

Windows, Walls and So Much More - Ipswich has all sorts of old buildings, and all sorts of new buildings, built out of all sorts of materials for all sorts of uses. Have fun discovering all this and more!

August 18.

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