Coordinates: 51°57′40″N 1°21′27″E / 51.9610, 1.3576
Felixstowe beach -Suffolk -England -14Aug2008
Felixstowe Pier & seafront

Suffolk UK location map
Red pog.svg

Red pog.svg 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: UK • England • Suffolk

Felixstowe is a 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] and is owned by Hutchinson Ports UK. The town is situated across the estuary of the River Orwell and the River Stour from Harwich in Essex.

History Edit

A village has stood on the site since long before the Norman conquest. 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

It continued as a linchpin in England's defence, as proved when in 1667 Dutch soldiers landed 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 but is now unsafe. 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

The site of the last opposed invasion of England in 1667 and the first land battle of The Duke of York and Albany's 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 with a Sealed Knot celebration of the last invasion, art exhibitions and alternative theatre. Landguard Fort is in the care of English Heritage and managed by the Landguard Fort Trust.

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 Landguard Point, between the Fort and Port.

Pier Edit

Felixstowe old station

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 air force 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 - one of the few pictures of a shot-down Italian plane over the UK being from here.

By the late 1990s the pier had been neglected so badly that it was deemed to be unsafe and closed to the public. Plans have been presented from time to time since the closure of the pier for its redevelopment along with large disused areas of the seafront near the former site of the Felixstowe Beach railway station, but nothing has come of them.

Railway stations Edit

The sole remaining railway station, known as Felixstowe Town, opened in 1898 in the well-preserved building which now houses a Co-Operative supermarket, locally known as "Solar". It also houses certain mini stores, including a pub, 'Play 'n' Exchange' game and joke Shop, 'Adam and Eve' hairdressers and Felixstowe Music, which is run by Felixstowe Radio, the local community radio station. In its prime the station saw more than 20 services an hour, but now hosts only one, the 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.[2]

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.[3] A dock next to the pier was approved in 1879.[4]


Micklegate Road, Felixstowe

Micklegate Road


The main bus operators are Ipswich Buses and First Eastern Counties [5].


Felixstowe railway station is the terminus of the Felixstowe Branch Line service to Ipswich.

Felixstowe FerryEdit

The Felixstowe Foot Ferry [6]. service operates between the View Point (near Landguard Fort) in Felixstowe and Halfpenny Pier, Harwich throughout the summer. Another ferry crosses the River Deben from Felixstowe Ferry usually from May to October, with weekend crossings in the winter.

Politics Edit

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 has been John Gummer since 1983 but he has stood down from this role to be replaced at the General Election on 6 May, 2010.

Landmarks Edit

Landguard fort

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 1902–1908.

Felixstowe has a pebbly beach, which has rapidly eroded in recent years, extending from the port at Landguard Fort to Felixstowe Ferry, an old fishing hamlet on the River Deben. A 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 occupy the southern end. The pier, now disused except for a cafe and amusement arcade, stands before a leisure centre, with swimming pool, owned by the local council, now managed by a contractor.

From Cobbolds Point to Felixstowe Ferry there is a walkway and path, although it is necessary to walk inland and to rejoin the coastal path at Jacob's Ladder, where the path then runs before beach huts and the golf course. At Cobbolds Point the coastal protection work now prevents pedestrian access along the beach. At low tide from this walkway it is possible to glimpse the seaweed-covered remains of a Roman fort in the water about 50 yards from the coast.

In the very centre of the town is South Beach Mansion now in private ownership. Originally built by the Eley family (famous for the Eley cartridges); town wits called it Eley Cathedral. It then passed to the Tollemache family and was at one time owned by the King of Portugal. It was also here that Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and his family came to stay in 1893 putting Felixstowe on the international social map. Since then this grand Italianate mansion has played host to Mrs Simpson (who is reputed to have invented the Club Sandwich whilst visiting here) and T. E. Lawrence who stayed here for two years in the 1930s under the assumed names of Ross and Shaw. During the war it was an army headquarters before becoming the Felixstowe Town Hall. With Felixstowe's abdication of power to Woodbridge, the town hall was no longer needed and the property reverted to private ownership. The property has been extensively renovated and returned to its former glory in recent years.

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. It is a condition of residence that on arrival new residents are at least 55 years old.

Sport Edit

Felixstowe Rugby Football Union Club is the premier rugby club in Felixstowe. It was founded in 1930,and plays in the Eastern Counties Leagues. A.W. Brown, Chris Barbour, Steve Edwards, Steve Britchfield, Gareth Carr have played for the team.

Felixstowe Hockey Club has three men's teams and one ladies' team. The men's 1st team play in eastern league division 1.

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 two 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.

Leisure facilitiesEdit

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 that hosts a large post Wimbledon tournament. There is also a community centre, run by the Old Felixstowe Community Association (OFCA), in Ferry Road.

The library was refurbished in 2006 at a cost of 1.5 GBP and has since won national awards.[7].

The Spa Pavilion Theatre is a 900-seat art deco-style building on the promenade, owned by the district council and managed by a private contractor; Status Quo played there in the 1970s; Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Showaddywaddy, Slade and Mungo Jerry all played at the old Pier Pavilion which was demolished and is now the leisure centre. There is also a Sunday market that is larger than that at nearby Ipswich.

Felixstowe Radio is a community interest company that has broadcasts on 107.5 FM in the local area.

The Port of Felixstowe Edit

Felixstowe port

The Port of Felixstowe

Felixstowe is Britain's largest container port.

The main navigation channel is dredged to 14.5 metres below chart datum, and a depth of up to 15 metres alongside the quay, Felixstowe boasts deep-water able to accommodate the world’s latest generation of deep-drafted ultra post-Panamax vessels. There is a continuous quay of over 2.3 km, 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[8] with additional land on the peninsula owned by Trinity College, Cambridge.[9]

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 Inspector). 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. John the Baptist is a ecclesiastical parish in Felixstowe.[10].

Notable residents Edit

Famous people originating from or associated with Felixstowe include:

  • Footballer Jack Ainsley
  • Actor Sir John Mills
  • Actress Megs Jenkins
  • Actor Jeremy Kemp from the BBC's Z Cars
  • Wallis, The Duchess of Windsor - Mrs Simpson, who spent time at Felixstowe waiting for Edward VIII's abdication.
  • Broadcaster and actor Nicholas Pandolfi
  • Economist and writer Barbara Ward - Barbara Ward was a pupil of the Jesus & Mary Convent in Felixstowe
  • Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby GCB GCMG GCVO (April 23, 1861 - May 14, 1936) was a British soldier most famous for his role during World War I, in which he led the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918. Allenby Park in St. Andrews Road is named after him.
  • Iain Hook, UNRWA officer, killed in the line of duty.
  • T. E. Lawrence, 1888-1935 - 'Lawrence of Arabia' - based at RAF Landguard under the name John Hume Ross.
  • Thomas Cavendish, 1560-1592 - 'The Navigator' - Elizabethan explorer (born in Trimley St Martin)

External links Edit


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Felixstowe. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.