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For the port, see Port of Felixstowe. For other uses, see Felixstowe (disambiguation).
Felixstowe beach -Suffolk -England -14Aug2008.jpg
Felixstowe Pier & seafront
Felixstowe is located in Suffolk
 Felixstowe shown within Suffolk
Population 29,349 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference TM306345
District Suffolk Coastal
Shire county Suffolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district IP11
Dialling code 01394
Police Suffolk
Fire Suffolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Suffolk Coastal
List of places

Coordinates: 51°57′50″N 1°21′05″E / 51.963909°N 1.351510°E / 51.963909; 1.351510

Felixstowe (/ˈflɨkst/) is an Edwardian seaside town on the North Sea coast of Suffolk, England. The town gives its name to the nearby Port of Felixstowe, which is the largest container port in the United Kingdom.[1] Nestled between the River Orwell and River Deben, visitors to Felixstowe often come to see the Historic Vehicle Run, traditional Carnival, Book Festival, Art on the Prom and Christmas Craft Market.


The ‘old’ Felixstowe hamlet (one of many in the local area) was centred round the pub and the church, having stood on the site since long before the Norman conquest. A Roman fort, later known as Walton Castle, was built by the Romans in the third century. The early history of Felixstowe, including its Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norman and medieval defences, is told under the name of Walton, because the name Felixstowe was given retrospectively, during the 13th century, to a place which had already been important for well over a thousand years.

The Felixstowe area has continued as a linchpin in England's defence, as proved when in 1667 Dutch soldiers landed near the Fludyers area and failed to capture Landguard Fort. The town only became a major port in 1886. In addition to shipping, tourism increased, and a pier was constructed in 1905 which is still running to this day. Indeed, during the late Victorian period (after circa 1880) it became a fashionable resort, a trend initiated by the opening of Felixstowe railway station, the pier, (see above) and a visit by the German imperial family. It remained so until the late 1930s. In 1953, at least 48 people died in the town in the North Sea flood.

Landguard Fort[edit]

Main article: Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort originally known as Langer Fort [2] stands on the site of the last opposed invasion of England in 1667 and the first land battle of the Duke of York and of Albany's (later James II & VII) Marines. The current fort was built in the 18th century, and modified in the 19th century with substantial additional 19th/20th century outside batteries. The Fort hosts regular military re-enactments, including Darell's Day, which is a celebration of the last invasion, children's events and open-air theatre. Landguard Fort is in the care of English Heritage and managed by the Landguard Fort Trust.[citation needed]

Felixstowe Museum[edit]

A museum telling the story of Felixstowe, with a reference library, historic maps, photo archive and 14 rooms of artefacts from Roman finds, the Martello towers, military social and domestic history through two world wars and into the new millennium is managed by volunteers from the Felixstowe History and Museum Society. It is located in the old submarine mining establishment building at the Landguard Peninsula, between the Fort and Port.


The old railway station

During the Second World War the majority of the pier, at the time one of the longest in the country and complete with its own train, was purposely demolished by Royal Engineers to prevent it being used as an easy landing point for enemy troops. Unfortunately after the war the damage was never repaired and the pier never regained its original length. Felixstowe was also one of the few places bombed by the Italians during the Blitz. Benito Mussolini's airforce proved to be no match for the Royal Air Force, who shot down a fair number of Italian biplanes over the English Channel and around Felixstowe itself. Felixstowe was bombed by a Zeppelin during the First World War.


Railway stations[edit]

The sole remaining railway station, known as Felixstowe Town, opened in 1898 in the well-preserved building which now houses a supermarket, shops and Felixstowe Radio, the local community radio station.

In its prime the railway station saw more than 20 services a day and is now served by an hourly service to Ipswich. The station now has only one platform, which has been created from the far end of one of the original platforms. Felixstowe Beach railway station was demolished in 2004 despite a storm of protest from many local people keen on saving the 137 year-old historical building which the council had branded as 'unsafe'. The station was originally opened in 1877 and was used continuously until 1959, after which it was the site of a small printers for many years until its demolition.[3]

From 1877 until 1951 there was also Felixstowe Pier railway station sited inside the area of the modern day docks at a small pier popular with pleasure boats, and paddle steamer link to London.[4] A dock next to the pier was approved in 1879.[5]


Micklegate Road


The main bus operators are Ipswich Buses and First Eastern Counties.[6]


Felixstowe railway station is the terminus of the Felixstowe Branch Line passenger service to Ipswich the line itself branches before the station going on to the Port of Felixstowe.


The Harwich Harbour Ferry operates between the View Point (near Landguard Fort) in Felixstowe and Ha'penny Pier, Harwich throughout the summer.[7] The Bawdsey Ferry crosses the River Deben from Felixstowe Ferry.


Town hall and tourist information

Felixstowe is administered by Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council, and Felixstowe Town Council. Suffolk Coastal District Council, the local authority, is based in Woodbridge, although it has a part-time office in Felixstowe, which is open Mondays and Wednesdays. The local parish council, Felixstowe Town Council, is based in the town hall, on the seafront at Undercliff Road West.

Felixstowe is twinned with the German towns Wesel and Salzwedel.

Felixstowe lies within the Suffolk Coastal parliamentary constituency. The Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal since the General Election on 6 May 2010 has been Dr Therese Coffey.


A view of Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort is a scheduled ancient monument and visitor attraction with a nearby nature reserve. At the opposite end of the town is Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club, which is amongst the oldest in the UK, having been established in 1881. The Rt. Hon. Arthur Balfour, Captain of the Golf Club in 1889, became Captain of the R&A in 1894 and British Prime Minister from 1902 to 1908.[citation needed]

Felixstowe has a recently refurbished sandy beach south from the pier, and a stoney beach north of the pier. A Victorian promenade runs along part of the beach, from the nature reserve in the southwest to Cobbolds Point (Maybush Lane in east), with traditional beach huts along most of that length. An amusement arcade with snooker halls and food outlets occupies the southern end. The pier, incorporating a cafe and amusement arcade, stands before a leisure centre, with swimming pool, owned by the local council, now managed by a contractor.

Cobbolds Point takes its name from the Cobbold brewery family who built Cranmer House on Maybush Lane in 1885. It is a Grade II mock Elizabethan mansion, by Thomas Cotman. Its listing describes it as a fine house of the period reflecting the wealth of this important Suffolk family of brewers. [8]

Art Deco building in Undercliff Road West. Currently home to Felixstowe Tourist Information Centre (2014).

The architect Thomas W Cotman (1847-1925) designed many of the most famous buildings in Felixstowe including the Railway Station, Harvest House (Felix Hotel), the Orwell and Bath Hotels, Barclays and Lloyds Banks plus many others. He also designed and lived in the original bungalow that forms the lower two floors of Cotman Lodge care home. He was the nephew of John Sell Cotman, the famous Norwich water-colour artist.[9]

The Art Deco style of architecture has been used for some buildings. The Cavendish Hotel in Sea Road, demolished in 1988, was in this style. There is another example in Undercliff Road West, which has been home to the Felixstowe Tourist Information Centre. This building was put up for sale in mid-2014, causing concern for its future.[10][11]

From Brackenberry Fort to Felixstowe Ferry there is a walkway and is the start of the 50-mile Suffolk Coast Path. At low tide from Jacob's Ladder, it is possible to glimpse the seaweed-covered remains of a Roman fort, which could possibly be the place of Dommoc, in the water about 50 yards from the coast.

Perhaps the most striking building on the front is Harvest House. Originally built as the Felix Hotel, it then became Fisons's headquarters. Now it is a home for the elderly.


Felixstowe Rugby Union Football Club was founded in 1930 and plays in the Eastern Counties Leagues.

Felixstowe Hockey Club has four men's teams and three ladies' team. The men's 1st team play in Eastern Premier League. The club was voted England Hockey's 'club of the season' in 2014 [12]

The town's only senior football team, Felixstowe & Walton United, compete in the Eastern Counties League Premier Division.

The town has a sports centre, the Brackenbury in High Road East, and football, hockey and rugby pitches, together with four bowling greens and other sporting facilities. The sports centre, owned by the council, is managed by a contractor.

Felixstowe Golf Club is a links course to the northeast of the town centre.

Eastward Ho! Golf Club, Felixstowe (now defunct) first appeared prior to WW1. The club closed at the time of WW2.[13]

Leisure facilities[edit]

The town has two main leisure facilities: the Brackenbury Sports Centre in Old Felixstowe and the Felixstowe Leisure Centre adjacent to the pier. There is a bowls club and a tennis club has hosted a large post-Wimbledon tournament. There is also a community centre, run by the Old Felixstowe Community Association (OFCA) in Ferry Road which is the home to around thirty user groups from the surrounding area including sports sections and clubs for the very young to adults and senior citizens. The centre also houses several halls which are available for hire to the public.

The library was refurbished in 2006 at a cost of £1,500,000 and has since won national awards.[14]

Felixstowe Radio is the community radio station that has broadcasts on 107.5 FM to the local area and via the internet.

The Port of Felixstowe[edit]

Main article: Port of Felixstowe
The Port of Felixstowe

Felixstowe is Britain's largest container port.

The main navigation channel is dredged to 47½ feet below chart datum, and a depth of up to 49 feet alongside the quay, Felixstowe boasts deep-water able to accommodate the world’s latest generation of deep-draughted ultra post-Panamax vessels. There is a continuous quay of 1½ miles, equipped with 25 ship-to shore gantry cranes.

It has congested road links to the Midlands via the A14 and to London via the A12 road. The single-track railway line to Ipswich has recently been upgraded to allow larger containers, and many containers are now transported by rail.

The port is owned by Hutchison Whampoa Ltd[15] with additional land on the peninsula owned by Trinity College, Cambridge.[16]

The port has its own Police Authority, which also currently has jurisdiction over the area local to the port (with permission from Suffolk Constabulary's Chief Constable). Alongside the Port Police, they also have their own joint ambulance & fire service. One of the port ambulances, call sign 'Alpha 1', can also come off port to attend 999 emergencies in Felixstowe.


St. Felix is the Catholic Parish in Felixstowe.[17]

St. John the Baptist is an ecclesiastical parish in Felixstowe.[18]

Notable residents[edit]

People originating from or associated with Felixstowe include:

  • Clemence Cheng, owner of Felixstowe.
  • Sir John Mills CBE (22 February 1908 – 23 April 2005), born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills, was an English actor who appeared in more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades.
  • Jack Ainsley, footballer
  • Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, soldier, Allenby Park in St. Andrews Road is named after him
  • Iain Hook, UNRWA officer, killed in the line of duty
  • Megs Jenkins, actor
  • Jeremy Kemp, actor, Z-Cars
  • T. E. Lawrence, 'Lawrence of Arabia', based at RAF Landguard under the name John Hume Ross
  • Nicholas Pandolfi, broadcaster and actor
  • John Cyril Porte, Station Commander, RNAS Felixstowe
  • Wallis, The Duchess of Windsor, Mrs Simpson, spent time at Felixstowe waiting for Edward VIII's abdication
  • Barbara Ward, economist and writer, pupil at Jesus & Mary Convent in Felixstowe
  • Simon Clements (born 1956), cricketer
  • Dawn Addams (21 September 1930 – 7 May 1985) was an English actress, particularly in Hollywood motion pictures of the 1950s and on British television in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Len Evans AO OBE (31 August 1930 – 17 August 2006) was born in Felixstowe, England, of Welsh parents. He was a distinguished Australian promoter, maker, judge, taster, teacher and drinker of wine.

Offshore radio[edit]

Radio from a ship from the North Sea outside the territorial waters of England.

Radio Caroline ship M.V. Caroline was outside the 3-mile limit at Easter 1964. To start as the very first UK Radio Station on board of a ship in the middle of the North Sea and to break the monopoly of the National BBC. Radio Caroline had about 7 million listeners in the first week on air. The transmitter had a power of 10 kW on 199 meter – 1.520 kHz. And the ship moved to Isle Of Man in the summer of 1965 to become Radio Caroline North, wile the M.V. Mi-Amigo of Radio Atlanta 201 m became Radio Caroline South first on 199 later on 259 m – 1.178 kHz with 50 kW of power on the MW Band. Later the ship moved to Clacton-On-Sea, Essex.


External links[edit]