Woolverstone Marina and Lodge Park

Woolverstone Marina and Lodge Park is set in 22 acres of glorious parkland in the heart of Constable Country, overlooking the picturesque River Orwell.

Just a short car journey from Ipswich, the county town of Suffolk and one of England’s oldest towns, the marina also features an on-site luxury lodge park, specially designed to extend Woolverstone Marina’s appeal as a destination for both on-water and land leisure pursuits, as well as attracting new visitors seeking a family-friendly retreat.

Coming into the MDL fold in 1986, the Woolverstone site was once part of the estate surrounding Woolverstone Hall. Lord Berners used to keep his steam yacht at the landing place known as Cat House Hard. According to local custom, smugglers gave the brick house the name Cat House in the 18th century, and if there were no revenue men about and it was safe to land contraband, the shore party would put a china cat in the windows of the house.

During the Second World War, the Royal Navy took over Woolverstone Hall and it became HMS Woolverstone for the period of the hostilities. The military laid the concrete road and slipway, which was still in use 50 years later. The facility was heavily used for the training of Army and Navy landing craft personnel, and was heavily guarded in the run-up to D-Day.

There is more fascinating history in this area; whilst digging out the foundations for the new boat bays at Woolverstone in 1960, a flint axe was found dating back to the Neolithic period of the Stone Age. It now resides in one of the local museums.

Today, there are 235 pontoon berths in the marina, accommodating power and sailing boats up to 24m, and 45 swinging moorings with a water taxi service. The extensive berthing facilities are complemented by provision of fuel, modern laundry facilities, electric vehicle charging, WiFi and Calor gas.

Berth holders and visitors to the marina can also make the most of the on-site sailing school, yacht brokerage and there are some excellent restaurants within a short walk.

As part of MDL’s Otium Loyalty Rewards programme, berth holders earn loyalty points when they spend at MDL marinas. Otium points can then be used to purchase any of MDL’s services, such as fuel and electricity, as well as on selected tenants’ products and services. Visitors can also join the programme for free and earn and redeem points on MDL’s services – sign up at mdlrewards.co.uk.
MDL‘s beautifully crafted luxury lodges provide first-class accommodation, perfect for large gatherings of friends and families, for couples seeking a quiet weekend away or relatives of berth holders visiting the marina.

The lodges, booked via MDL Holidays and Hoseasons, are truly exquisite. Each of them is unique, but they all offer the same high quality in build and furnishings, plus guests all benefit from the outstanding customer service delivered by the Woolverstone Marina team. Plus, many of the lodges cater for dogs (and come with complementary doggy treats and dishes).

They can accommodate up to eight guests with spacious open plan living and dining rooms, fully equipped kitchens, multi-channel TV and en suite and family bathrooms. All have dedicated parking, luxury linen and towels, MDL WiFi and feature woodland balconies.

By Road: From the A14, turn off at the junction with the A137 (south of Ipswich) and head towards Ipswich Central and Docks, past the dry ski slope on your right. At the roundabout, bear right onto the B1456 towards Shotley. Continue on this road passing under the imposing structure of the Orwell Bridge. After about three miles you will come to Woolverstone village. Halfway through the village, before the road bears right, the marina entrance is signposted on the left.

By Rail: The nearest Inter-City mainline station is Ipswich. London Liverpool Street to Ipswich takes approximately one hour. From Ipswich station, it is a 15-minute taxi ride to Woolverstone Marina.

By Boat: From seaward follow the Recommended Yacht Track past Shotley Point to Fagbury green buoy at the mouth of the Orwell. Keep to starboard of the buoyed channel, clear of commercial traffic, for four to five miles. Woolverstone Marina is on the south bank, one mile above the moorings at Pin Mill. Visiting yachts are asked to please call on VHF channel 80 or by mobile for a vacant berth.

With direct access from the marina, the River Orwell is particularly scenic and there are numerous creeks in Walton Backwaters to explore. To the south, the Colne and Blackwater estuaries offer varied sailing, while turning north takes you towards the River Deben where you can cruise upriver past Ramsholt to the pretty town of Woodbridge.

MDL’s Chatham Maritime Marina, situated on the River Medway in Kent, is just a day’s cruise away. A little further up the coast is the Ore/Alde River, where a fast tide sweeps you past Havergate Island, up to picturesque Orford and on to Aldeburgh. If you would like to go further afield, Ostend in Belgium is only 92 miles away from Woolverstone, whilst Holland and France are also within easy reach.

With something for all the family, there are some fantastic places to visit in the local area. The more historically and culturally minded can explore Christchurch Mansion, a Tudor mansion within Christchurch Park, with a fabulous collection of pottery, glass, contemporary art and paintings by artists including Constable and Gainsborough. Or, there is the historic remains of the Blackfriars monastery, the last of five which once stood in Ipswich. The town itself provides an eclectic mix of eateries, bars, coffee shops and independent boutiques.

For those more interested in the natural world, 100 different creatures from capybara to crocodiles, pigs to pelicans and even monkeys can be found at Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park. Visitors can hand feed some animals and get even closer with the special animal talks and activities held every day.

And if this is not enough, Colchester Zoo is not far away with its 180 species set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes. You can experience the different habitats and see animals from around the world, including Komodo dragons, white rhino, giraffes, ostrich, zebra and kudu.

“If you are coming with family, I recommend Suffolk Leisure Park where you can enjoy a range of exciting activities, from a dry ski slope where you can ski or ringo, to high ropes, climbing, obstacle courses, a driving range and mini golf. There is also a cinema complex nearby with all the latest releases,” said Shane Cheshire, marina manager.

The Butt & Oyster: Just down the road is one of the best-known waterfront pubs on the East Coast. It has an amazing panorama of the River Orwell, and you can enjoy quality food and drink in unique surroundings. The Butt & Oyster has a rustic character which is a reflection of its wonderful surroundings and its history. www.debeninns.co.uk/buttandoyster

Red Lion, Chelmondiston: Close to Woolverstone Marina and set in the attractive Suffolk village of Chelmondiston, the Red Lion serves affordable fayre with the emphasis on flavour and quality of ingredients. www.redlionchelmondiston.co.uk

Shipwreck Pub, Bar and Restaurant: Uniquely positioned with views of Felixstowe and Harwich, the River Orwell and the Stour estuary, the Shipwreck Pub, Bar and Restaurant has a warm welcome for everyone, from local residents to visitors and sailors. As well as serving tasty home cooked food it is a Free House committed to quality beers, lagers and wine. shipwreckpub.co.uk

Sail and Cover Ltd: Specialises in high quality made-to-measure boat covers, spray hoods, stac systems, sails and upholstery. Products are tailor made to specific requirements and onboard consultation is offered.
Seapower Marine Ltd: A marine engineering specialist providing new engines, generators, exhaust systems to commercial boat builders, shipyards and recreational marine users.
Shearwater Sailing School: Offering a full range of RYA practical and theory courses, Shearwater Sailing School is a family run sailing school specialising in providing a friendly, fun and quality sailing experience.
Suffolk Yacht Services: A family run business selling new and used boats and associated services. It is also the exclusive UK distributor for Viko Yachts.
Volspec Ltd: A marine engineering firm, Volspec Ltd specialises in the sales and support of power solutions from Volvo Penta.

“We have been berth holders at Woolverstone since 2007 and love the atmosphere and the location. The marina is a very welcoming place set in beautiful countryside with walks and parkland with easy access to some great village pubs. 

“The Woolverstone team are excellent, attentive and always on hand to help or answer any questions you may have, and are frequently found on the pontoons helping boat owners and crews. The location is on the beautiful River Orwell, offering shelter, great scenery and views, with high quality security and facilities for berth holders and visitors alike.”
Nick & Terri Rainsley – Inspiritus


Shane Cheshire – Marina Manager
Woolverstone Marina
Woolverstone, Ipswich, Suffolk IP9 1AS
T: 01473 780 206
E: woolverstone@mdlmarinas.co.uk
W: www.woolverstonemarina.co.uk

More news from All At Sea

Haslar Marina

A boater’s paradise at the heart of the Solent, Haslar…

Torquay Marina

In the heart of the English Riviera, tucked away from…

Liverpool Marina

This month we are in the north-west visiting Liverpool Marina…