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Elizabethan lookout tower
Set in old and undulating parkland of oaks, sweet chestnuts, cedar and beech trees, Freston Tower was built in the mid-1550s overlooking the broad expanse of the River Orwell estuary.
No one really knows who built the tower or indeed why, but the existing evidence points most closely to a wealthy Ipswich merchant called Thomas Gooding who bought Freston Manor in 1553. It’s crisp brickwork and distinctive blue diapering, however suggests that it was always intended to be an eye catching landmark – perhaps as a lookout tower for Gooding’s ships, or simply as an extravagant folly – making it one of the first recorded examples. It may even have been built with Royal favour in mind to coincide with Queen Elizabeth I’s progress to Ipswich in 1561.
There are no fewer than 26 windows dotted over its six storeys, arranged in careful hierarchy. Intricate brick mullions and imitation stone window surrounds no doubt tested the craftsmen of the day – as they have done more recently for its renovation.
We have enjoyed living vertically for a week – sad to be coming back down to earth
A twin and double bedroom on the third and fourth floor provide accommodation for up to 4.
Freston Tower is self-catering accommodation which sleeps up to 4 people in a twin and a double.
Shower over bath
Open grounds, garden or terrace
The kitchen is on the first floor, with bathroom above. The two storeys above are the bedrooms and the sitting room then tops the tower on the fifth floor, to take advantage of unrivalled views of the River Orwell and it’s handsome modern bridge.
All Landmark Trust properties have bedding, linen and towels provided and the kitchens are fully equipped to cater for the number of people the building sleeps plus two visitors. As a matter of philosophy, they do not provide televisions or telephones.
On the banks of the River Orwell outside Ipswich, local facilities are few, but walking opportunities along the river and towards Pin Mill abound.
Ipswich offers history as well as bustling modern day life whilst being surrounded by some of the prettiest Suffolk villages, countryside and coastline. Take a cruise down the river, from where you’ll get an unrivalled view of the tower or discover the interesting museums and architecture of the town.