Ipswich is one of the UK’s oldest towns, but is also now considered to be one of the most up-and-coming places to live in the country. It’s Suffolk’s county town, with a strong community spirit and some great architecture, both old and new. There’s a thriving retail sector and plenty of places to eat and drink, without breaking the bank.

If you’re relocating to Ipswich as a graduate or apprentice, we’ve put together this guide to Ipswich life, to help you make your money go further and have some fun at the same time.

Where to Live

Unlike a lot of UK towns, Ipswich has managed to maintain a lot of individuality, with buildings from throughout its long history which are still in use all across the town.

The Christchurch Park area has period conversion flats and houses whilst the marina area has modern apartments and town houses, as well as stacks of places to eat and drink. Terraced houses for sale and rent tend to be found in areas such as Derby Road and Boston Road, with large Victorian terraced houses scattered through the town centre.

Sharing a house is a cost effective way to get to know a new location. Before you decide where in Ipswich to call home, visit for a few days and explore.

Where to Fill your Fridge and Eat Out

If you’re looking for somewhere for great value and tasty food to eat out, Ipswich has a brilliant café culture, and there’s plenty of independent coffee shops and cafés to choose from. The Waterfront Café on Loraine Way is really popular, with great value light meals and snacks, and fantastic breakfasts. And make sure you seek out the Biryani Hut, which serves up brilliant Indian and Asian street food from a small shack on Queen Street. Look for the queue and you know you’ve found it. There’s also more great fish and chip shops than any town could ever really need.

If you’re looking for something special to cook for a birthday dinner, a date, or for when you parents are visiting, head for the supermarket “reduced” sections. There’s great savings to be made on food and drink that’s close to its “use by” date. You’ll find ready meals, fresh meat, vegetables, desserts and much, much more.

Shopping at one of the growing number of European discount supermarkets can be up to 20% cheaper than one of their UK competitors. They can be cheaper on a huge range of essentials. The brands may not be household names in the UK but all offer great quality at a great price.

Another great option is the award-winning Ipswich Market. Open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the market has a great range of local traders offering fantastic fresh and local produce such as free range eggs and fresh bread. It’s been running for 700 years, and there’s always something delicious to discover.

Where to Drink

Ipswich has a lively nightlife and a great pub scene. There’s a big selection all across the town, and there’s something for everyone.

Venues like the Cock & Pye, P.J.McGinty & Sons and The Woolpack are amongst the oldest pubs in the town and have a fantastic atmosphere. The Woolpack also has the distinction of being one of the most haunted pubs in the UK, with all sorts of ghosts spotted in the bar. The K Bar combines its own selection of spirits with live music and great steaks, whilst Dove Street Inn has a huge range of real ales for the connoisseur.

Cocktail lovers are truly spoilt for choice in Ipswich, with some kind of “Happy Hour” or discount deal on offer at plenty of bars. Aurora Bar and Restaurant has a fantastic waterfront location and a cool, chic feel. The Cosy Club is full of character, and offers some weird and wonderful concoctions alongside more traditional cocktails. For a quiet chat over a cocktail or two, visit Degeros and escape the busy streets.

Where to Shop

Ipswich has plenty of choice when it comes to shopping, and with plenty of choice there’s often a lot of competition and bargains to be found. Head for the Sailmakers Shopping Centre for a nice mix of both big brand stores and independents. There’s live entertainment and leisure facilities, too.

Ipswich High Street is also great for major retailers, whilst the Saints area is home to a wide variety of independent shops and boutiques, as well as being one of the oldest parts of the town. The independent shops that run along St. Nicholas Street and St. Peters Street team-up regularly as The Saints Artisan and Craft Markets. The cafés and restaurants get involved too, so it’s a great mix of food, clothes, gifts, homeware and art.

Where to Exercise

If you’re the sporty type, Ipswich has plenty to keep you moving. There’s five gyms, two pools, tennis courts and all sorts of fitness classes, many of which are provided by Ipswich Borough Council, as well as private membership gyms and sports clubs.

And don’t forget the waterfront and outdoor spaces such as Holywells Park. They’re beautiful, get you plenty of fresh air, and don’t cost a penny!

Ipswich has so much to offer, it’s no wonder it’s becoming such a popular place to live. With great rail links as well, it’s accessible and easy to get out of town every now and then and visit other places. In fact it’s only an hour’s train ride to London if you fancy a trip to the city at the weekend.

We hope this brief guide to living affordably in Ipswich is useful. Ask your colleagues for their tips and ideas, too, and you’ll soon feel at home.

If Ipswich sounds like a place for you, why not apply to our graduate roles or apprenticeship roles

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