In and Around Mildenhall
Mildenhall, a town mentioned in the Doomsday Book 1086, is an attractive, small medieval market town - surrounded by the River Lark.
The town centres on the Market Place with its 16th century hexagonal distinctive Market Cross - used for hanging criminals years ago - and the Town Pump. The parish pump still stands in the market place, as a reminder that piped water was not available until the 1940's. A market is held here every Friday and was established by Royal Charter in 1412. It is typical of small markets around East Anglia offering a variety of goods for sale from fruit and vegetables to clothing and tools.
St Mary's Parish Church stands off the Market Place and is considered to be one of the finest in West Suffolk. It was rebuilt in the 15th century yet retains many original features dating back to 12th and 13th centuries including its angel roof, wide aisles, woodcarvings and ornate East window. The spectacular ceiling has exquisitely carved angels and the 112 feet tall square tower provides the opportunity to view the surrounding countryside including the River Lark and its riverside walks.
In 1931, Mildenhall was selected to be the home of the first of the Royal Air Force's new style bomber bases and the base was officially opened in 1934 just after the famous Great Air Race from Mildenhall to Melbourne. During the Second World War, Mildenhall was an important bomber base. Since 1950 it has been home to the United States Air Force and is now one of the most important American installations in this country. For aviation enthusiasts, occasional low flying aircraft can be spotted in the area. RAF Lakenheath is a few miles away and is still operational as part of The United States presence in Europe.
The Mildenhall Museum situated in King Street contains displays of times past, the local wildlife, the history of the RAF base since its opening in 1934 and a replica of the 'Mildenhall Treasure' a world famous horde of thirty two pieces of 4th century Roman silver tableware found nearby near West Row in 1942 - this was rated amongst one of the top ten treasure finds in Britain and the original 4th century tableware is to be found in the British Museum. Visitors can also learn about the great Mildenhall to Melbourne Air Race.
Wildlife and Countryside
The Forest Heath area covers approximately 380 sq km and contains unique contrasting landscapes of brecks, fens, chalk downland and clay downland, as well as Britain's largest lowland pine forest. Thetford Forest is a short drive or cycle ride away and offers miles of public footpaths and bridleways for ramblers and riders to enjoy.
Mildenhall, lying on the banks of the River Lark has many species of animal, flora and fauna. There are miles of public footpaths and bridleways for ramblers and riders to enjoy, including a short one mile walk to Barton Mills or for those more energetic walkers the Lark Valley Walk a longer ten mile one along the River Lark to Bury St Edmunds.
Tourist Information Point
Inside the newly renovated Bus Station plenty of tourist literature can be found about Mildenhall and the surrounding area. There is also a small range of gifts and souvenirs available to buy, including the Mildenhall Town Trail - a guide walking you around the town centre, giving you the history of the town and the buildings within it. An ideal way to spend a sunny summer's day.
Mildenhall Tourist Information Point moved from it's previous home within the Mildenhall Museum, across the road to the Mildenhall bus station, and opened on the 1st April 2009. The TIP will be open from April 1st until September 30th, and during the winter months tourist information will be available from the bus station staff. This is a central point for both visitors and locals to gather local and regional information, and the staff are able to access information on the rest of the UK at your request.
Mildenhall is an ideal place to stay to visit other nearby historic towns such as Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Lavenham, Newmarket, and the university city of Cambridge. Thetford Forest is a short drive or cycle ride to enjoy walks and wildlife. Local buses run from the bus station on a regular basis to various destinations and taxis can also be hailed making it a very convenient place for visitors to get about.