kids encyclopedia robot

Felixstowe facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Felixstowe beach huts.JPG
Felixstowe Beach
Felixstowe is located in Suffolk
Population 23,689 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference TM306345
  • East Suffolk
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Felixstowe
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
51°57′50″N 1°21′05″E / 51.9639°N 1.3515°E / 51.9639; 1.3515

Felixstowe ( fee-LIK-stoh) is a seaside town in Suffolk, England. At the 2011 Census, it had a population of 141,474. The Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the United Kingdom.


The 'old' Felixstowe hamlet was centred on a pub and church, having stood on the site since long before the Norman conquest of England. 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 expanded to a form beyond the boundaries of Walton alone. In the Doomsday book, for instance, only Walton is shown, and not Felixstowe, which at the time held little more than a few houses scattered over the cliff tops. Walton was a settlement on the River Orwell and in 1844 had a population of 907 compared to the relatively small Felixstowe Parish holding only 502 people. Walton had always preceded Felixstowe as a settlement as seen by the presence of Walton Castle, built by the Romans in the 3rd century, but today Walton is generally considered part of Felixstowe due to modern expansion.

The Felixstowe area as a whole provided a linchpin in England's defence, as proved in 1667 when Dutch soldiers landed near the Fludyers area and tried (unsuccessfully) to capture Landguard Fort due to strategic location. The town only became related to a major port in 1886 when the port opened to trade, following the initial construction of the dock basin in 1882.

On 11 August 1919, A Felixstowe Fury (aka flying boat), sideslipped and crashed into the sea 500 yards offshore soon after takeoff while on a test flight. It was preparing for an 8,000-mile flight to Cape Town, South Africa. The wireless operator, Lt. MacLeod, was killed, and the 6 passengers were rescued. The wreckage was towed ashore.

At the turn of the century, tourism increased, and a pier was constructed in 1905 of which is partially functional to this day as an amusement arcade. 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

Landguard Fort originally known as Langer Fort is 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 is managed by the Landguard Fort Trust to make it accessible to the public.

Felixstowe Museum

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.


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 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. The Pier was opened in 1906, and was then re-built later on.

Railway stations

The sole remaining railway station, called Felixstowe Town, was opened in 1898. in the well-preserved building which now houses a supermarket and shops. Felixstowe Radio, the local community radio station who were formerly in the building have now moved to the old Coes building at the top of Bent Hill.

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 historic 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.

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. A dock next to the pier was approved in 1879.



Aerial view of the Port of Felixstowe
Port of Felixstowe

Felixstowe is Britain's largest container port.

The main navigation channel is dredged to 47 12 feet (14.5 m) below chart datum, and a depth of up to 49 feet (15 m) 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 1 12 miles (2.4 km), equipped with 25 ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

It has 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 Port Holdings Ltd with additional land on the peninsula owned by Trinity College, Cambridge. 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 and fire service. One of the port ambulances, call sign 'Alpha 1', can also come off port to attend 999 emergencies in Felixstowe.


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


2012 at Felixstowe station - forecourt
Felixstowe Station

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

Bus and coach

The main bus operators are Ipswich Buses and First Norfolk & Suffolk. First Norfolk & Suffolk- X7, 75, 77 and 76 Ipswich Buses- 173, 174.

The National Express coach service 481 provides a connection to London with intermediate stops at other major towns such as Ipswich, Colchester, Witham, Chelmsford and Brentwood. A weekday service departs daily at 07:20 and returns at 18:00, while the weekend service departs at 07:55 and returns at 18:00.


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 to 1908.

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."

Art Deco Building, Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe, UK
Art Deco building in Undercliff Road West. Currently vacant.

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.

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.

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. It has now been converted to apartments for residents of retirement age, many with fabulous views over Felixstowe.


Felixstowe has many tourist attractions that draw visitors to the town. It has traditional seaside offerings such as Felixstowe Pier and The Seafront Gardens. There is also the Forum Amusement Centre, Ocean Boulevard and Manning's Amusements. Visitors can also see Landguard Fort, Landguard Nature Reserve, Felixstowe Ferry and find out more about the town at the Felixstowe Museum.

To cater for visitors there are a number of hotels and guesthouses, self-catering properities and camping/caravanning sites available.

Leisure facilities

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.

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


Langer Park

The most southern park in Felixstowe is Langer Park, which lies between the railway line running north from the Port of Felixstowe and the houses running along the western side of Langer Road. Its north and south parameters are given by the Lidl superstore and Beach Station Road accordingly, giving the park a long rectangular-like shape. The park holds host to a narrow stream of which is the last remnant of the late Walton Creek, which had originally run from the Ordinance Hotel (demolished as of late 2014 to make way for a Premier Inn) to the Felixstowe Dock Basin. The park itself is mainly covered by open green space in which to partake field sports, and is also accompanied by a what once was a small play area. The current play equipment of 2015 is only present by the 'Parks for People' scheme by the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund, and is much more modernized than the pre-existing swings.

The Coronation Recreation (Sports) Ground

This park is situated alongside Coronation Drive and Mill Lane, with a sectioned off children's play area and open green space for specifically sports use. Access can be gained via a side alley at the Eastern side of Coronation Drive, through the Rugby Union entrance on Mill Lane, or by a small foot path coming off King Fleet Road. The opening of the sports ground opened on 1 May 1956 under H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh.

The grounds are home to the Felixstowe Rugby Union Football Club which as of March 2015 had a Pitchero Club Ranking of 1205th. It also provides facilities for junior football and cricket, which is home to the Felixstowe Corinthians Cricket Club. These facilities are accompanied by a small car park housing 20 spaces and changing rooms.

The Grove and Eastward Ho

Eastward Ho!, Felixstowe
Enclosed children's play area at Eastward Ho!, Felixstowe. Location is featured in Ed Sheeran's music video for the single Castle on the Hill.

The largest and most northern of the Felixstowe parks consists of a woodland named The Grove adjacent to Eastward Ho playing fields. The Grove woodland is formed mainly of ash, oak and sycamore trees whilst allium ursinum or wild garlic grows here during the spring. Eastward Ho was originally a golf course but nowadays is a public recreational space featuring a number of football pitches, changing facilities and an enclosed children's play area. This play area features in the music video for Ed Sheeran's single Castle on the Hill.

On the western side of The Grove is another woodland named Abbey Grove planted in 1998 and maintained by The Woodland Trust with permitted access to the public.

The area, though not the park itself, was suggested in November 2014 to be part of the construction site for 570 new homes as set out by the District Council's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. This proposal was formed due to the lack of available housing in Felixstowe, though Suffolk Coastal conclusively identified the land as not suitable and claimed in 2015 that there were already enough alternative sites within the town for residential expansion.

Felixstowe Skatepark

Original ideas for a Skate Park were clearly addressed in 2004 by the Felixstowe Skate Association, who organized a number of meetings and poster campaigns to start the initial project. They also brought out newsletters to help build public opinion of the idea, which attracted attention from other groups. Level Two (a local youth organization) eventually took up management of the fundraising process and in 2007 managed to secure a grant of £25,000 from the government's youth opportunity fund. Additionally by this date, the Felixstowe Town Council had already set aside £30,000 for the project, as well as £15,000 agreed upon by the Suffolk Coastal cabinet and £40,000 from the playspace fund. When completed the project took a total of £180,000, and was opened at a community event on 1 September 2009.

The original designs by the FSA included provisions for CCTV and Floodlights to ensure youth safety, and further into the design process some metal wire cages of rocks added to help soundproof the area. These safety precautions were expanded upon in 2011 to include a nightly visit from police after there were accounts of vandalism to the facilities, including the ripping out of a CCTV camera and a smashed floodlight.

Allenby Park

Named after the late Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby (see notable persons section), the park was formed in 1923 when the Allenby owned Felixstowe House was demolished at the passing of Catherine Allenby. It also used to be the site of the Eastern Counties Bible Convention from 1920-1939 until it was held inside churches. It consists of a small all-weather football playing field, a sectioned off children's play area, and winded path around the layout of the park. Park access can be gained from St Andrews Road.

Seaton Park

Enclosed between Cornwall Road, Margaret Street and Seaton Road is Seaton Park. The park is rectangular in shape and consists of mostly open space with an enclosed children's play area.


Clifftops is accessed from Cliff Road next to Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club and is the most easterly park in Felixstowe. As the name suggests the park sits atop cliffs overlooking the North Sea, Deben Estuary and golf course. This is primarily used as pay and display car parking with a large grass open area used for both recreation and for overflow parking during peak times. Toilet facilities are available on site. The beach below can be accessed on foot via steps.


Morrisons Park

Langley Avenue Sports Field (private)

Port of Felixstowe

Aerial view of the Port of Felixstowe
The Port of Felixstowe

Felixstowe is Britain's largest container port.

The main navigation channel is dredged to 47 12 feet (14.5 m) below chart datum, and a depth of up to 49 feet (15 m) 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 1 12 miles (2.4 km), equipped with 25 ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

It has 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 Port Holdings Ltd with additional land on the peninsula owned by Trinity College, Cambridge.

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 and fire service. One of the port ambulances, call sign 'Alpha 1', can also come off port to attend 999 emergencies in Felixstowe.

Offshore radio

One of the first pirate radio stations operated from a ship anchored off Felixstowe.

Radio Caroline ship MV Caroline was outside the three-mile limit at Easter 1964. It was the very first UK radio station aboard a ship in the North Sea, and intended to break the monopoly of the BBC. Radio Caroline had about seven million listeners in its first week on air. The station's slogan was Your all-day music station, and it initially broadcast from 6am-6pm, seven days a week. The transmitter had a power of 10 kW on 199 metres – 1.520 kHz. The ship moved to waters off the Isle Of Man in summer 1965 to become Radio Caroline North, while MV Mi-Amigo of Radio Atlanta on 201 metres became Radio Caroline South, broadcasting on first 199 later on 259 metres – 1.178 kHz with 50 kW of power on medium wave. Later the ship moved to waters off Clacton-On-Sea, Essex.

Later Felixstowe Museum installed an offshore radio display.


Felixstowe was identified by Author M.R. James as the location upon which the fictitious town of Burnstow was based. Burnstow appeared in both of James' short ghost stories Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad and The Tractate Middoth originally published in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary


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

The town's only senior football team, Felixstowe & Walton United, compete in the Isthmian North Division (Step 4). Felixstowe and Walton also have junior teams as well as a reserve team.

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 the First World War. The club closed at the time of the Second World War.

Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club is located beyond the golf course at the Bawdsey Ferry end of the town. It sometimes plays host to national and international championships for various dinghy classes, and has its own clubhouse with bar and dining facilities which were refurbished following the tidal surge of December 2013. The clubhouse is available for hire and has views of the sea and the river Deben.

Notable residents

Jim Paice MP, Minister for Agriculture
Jim Paice MP, 2011
Glenn Howerton by Gage Skidmore 3
Glenn Howerton, 2013

People originating from or associated with Felixstowe include:

  • Sir John Hayward (c.1564–1627) an English historian, lawyer and politician
  • Henry Stebbing (1687–1763) English churchman and controversialist, became Archdeacon of Wilts
  • Sir Henry David Jones (1791–1866) a British Army officer who became Governor of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst
  • Henry MacLauchlan (1792–1882) a British military, geological and archaeological surveyor
  • John Cyril Porte (1884–1919) flying boat pioneer and Station Commander, RNAS Felixstowe
  • Wei Wu Wei (1895–1986) aka Terence James Stannus Gray, was a theatre producer
  • Barbara Ward (1914–1981) economist and writer, pupil at Jesus & Mary Convent in Felixstowe
  • John Bridgeman (1916–2004) an English sculptor
  • Sir Thomas Hinde (1926–2014) a British novelist.
  • Len Evans OBE (1930–2006) Australian promoter, taster and drinker of wine
  • Robbie Vincent (born 1947) an English radio broadcaster and DJ
  • Iain Hook (1948–2002) UNRWA officer, killed in the line of duty
  • Sir James Paice (born 1949) a Tory Party politician, MP for South East Cambridgeshire 1987-2015
  • Mark Fisher (1968–2017) cultural theorist, author and blogger
  • The Shadow Project (formed in 2003) an English electro rock band
  • Sir John Mills CBE (1908–2005), an English actor who appeared in more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades
  • Megs Jenkins (1917–1998) actor
  • Dawn Addams (1930–1985) an English actress in Hollywood in the 1950s and later on British TV
  • Christopher Strauli (born 1946) film, television and theatre actor, went to school in Felixstowe
  • Noma Dumezweni (born 1969) Oliver Award-winning British actress, grew up and went to school in Felixstowe.
  • Nicholas Pandolfi (born 1970) broadcaster and actor
  • Glenn Howerton (born 1976) American actor lived in Felixstowe for several years in his childhood.
  • Simon Clements (born 1956), cricketer
  • Matt Bloomfield (born 1984), footballer, plays for Wycombe Wanderers
  • Jack Ainsley (born 1990) local footballer
  • Arnold Allen (born 1994) professional MMA Fighter in UFC

Images for kids

kids search engine
Felixstowe Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.