Ipswich is celebrating a summer to remember - what was your favourite event?

Thea and Sebastian enjoying a family fun day at Holywells Park.

Thea and Sebastian enjoying a family fun day at Holywells Park.

As children get back to school and the holiday season draws to a close, town chiefs are reflecting on what has been one of Ipswich’s most successful summers to date.

From cycling extravaganzas to festivals of culture, tens of thousands of people have made the most of the eclectic offer of events available on their doorsteps over the past six weeks.

Bryony Rudkin, deputy leader of Ipswich Borough Council, which has organised most of the town’s summer fun, said: “We always put a lot of time and effort into ensuring our holiday activities are both entertaining and popular and we are pleased at the response from Ipswich families.

“We offer plenty of choice in sport, heritage and general fun days – no-one should say they are bored during the long summer break.

“It has been of the best summers all round and our major events like Music Day and the Waterfront celebration have again proved to be extremely popular.

The St Elizabeth Hospice 'Bubble Rush' in Christchurch Park in Ipswich.

The St Elizabeth Hospice 'Bubble Rush' in Christchurch Park in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

“It shows the commitment of the borough council to providing entertainment and sport and leisure opportunities for people of all ages.”

More than 12,000 children attended sessions at Crown Pools from the end of July to September, while hundreds of others went to Ipswich sports centres to enjoy football, roller-skating, basketball, archery and other team games. One of the most popular activities was the new cheerleading class.

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It was a very positive season for the council’s Jumpers for Goalposts initiative, which sees children taking part in sports activities including golf, football and tennis in the town’s parks – all for free.

Leading the project was Andrew Wilesmith, assistant operations manager for sport and leisure at Ipswich Borough Council. He said a total of 809 youngsters took part in the 10 different sessions throughout the summer period.

MJ Soul getting the crowds going at Ipswich Music Day.

MJ Soul getting the crowds going at Ipswich Music Day. - Credit: Archant

“We don’t charge for these activities because it really opens up sport and physical activity to everyone and takes away that cost burden for families, which is important bearing in mind the number of deprived wards we have in Ipswich,” he added.

For the first year the council also hosted free female-only sporting sessions featuring swimming, badminton and boxercise in a bid to encourage more girls to get active.

Christchurch Mansion and Ipswich Museum also reported large audiences at the Anglo-Saxon-themed ‘learning for fun’ sessions and at the regular art classes.

Museums manager Jayne Austin said: “We were pleased to see so many youngsters turn up, often with their families, to take part in a range of activities at the mansion, museum and art school gallery.

“It also gives us an opportunity to show what treasures we have here and welcome them back later in the year. In fact, our half-term activities programme is almost complete.”

A record number of people attended the free family fun days at Holywells Park throughout the summer holidays with around 10,000 visitors enjoying the newly revamped facilities.

Visitor numbers to Ipswich are rising

Ipswich is beginning to earn its title as the county town of Suffolk, according to the town’s business head.

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, Business Improvement District Company, said visitor numbers to the town are on the rise.

Mr Clement added: “It’s been a wonderful summer for Ipswich and it’s not just local people taking advantage of the events and attractions in and around the town. Ipswich is a place on the up and visitor numbers are increasing to coincide with the investment being made in the town as a result of work carried out by the Ipswich Vision. As Ipswich continues to improve and really stand up as the county town of Suffolk, we should only expect visitor numbers to increase.”

Last month three brand new bars and restaurants opened in the newly refurbished Buttermarket Centre.

This summer has also seen the launch of Ipswich’s first ever interactive art trail - Pigs Gone Wild.

The project has proved extremely popular with local, national and even international visitors coming to the town to see the 40 piggy sculptures.

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