Stowmarket in Suffolk is a market town which sits on the River Gipping. It is a small town with a population of around 19,000 people. As per its name, it is traditionally a market town and this tradition continues to this day with a market still being held twice a week in the town.
The town has some beautiful old buildings that attract visitors throughout the year, including the 14th century church of St Peter and St Mary. There is also a 16th century house used once as a vicarage. The town in steeped in history and the nearby Museum of East Anglian Life examines this history in a lively and interesting way with a series of living history exhibitions. Visitors to the Museum of East Anglian Life can explore the 75 acre site which includes woodland walks and riverside trails. The museum looks at local crafts and keeps the crafting tradition alive with demonstrations. It also takes a look at the advent of steam and how it revolutionised life for those who lived and worked in the area. The gypsy tradition is also one of the aspects of Anglian life that the museum highlights. Buildings have been placed on the site, some moved from other areas and beautifully restored so visitors can get a proper idea of what the past would have looked like in the area. From houses with exhibitions looking at the wealthier side of the area to workers cottages where visitors can get first-hand experience of how tough life in the past can have been, the museum gives a comprehensive sense of our past.
Summer in Stowmarket is a particularly exciting time with carnivals and festivals, including the recent addition of a music festival known as Stow-fest, a two day event that aims to bring local talent to the fore as well as welcoming first class musical acts from all over the world. The event is free and takes place in Chilton fields. It is gaining in popularity since its humbler beginning in 2007 when it was launched. The Stowmarket festival has gained popularity as a result of the music festival; this is a 10 day (!) festival which includes music, events and activities including a farmers market, exhibitions of artwork, comedy performances and a lot more.
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