Known in its formative years as 'Gippeswick', the present-day town of Ipswich lies in a long-settled area once frequented by Stone Age travellers.
After a period of Roman occupation, the town's obvious potential as a port serving the North Sea and northern Europe became apparent and Anglo-Saxon settlers took advantage of this - when East Anglia was a kingdom in its own right, Ipswich was its main town. In later years the town achieved some notoriety for Protestants burnt at the stake in the mid 16th century known as the Ipswich Martyrs, as well as Chaucer's lampooning of local tradesmen in his 'Canterbury Tales'.
During the 17th century Ipswich became the main port of transit to New England across the Atlantic, indeed many of those emigrating would later reside in Ipswich, Massachusetts.Apart from Chaucer, the town has other literary - not to mention artistic - connections: both Gainsborough and Constable - two of the nation's finest painters - were residents, and Dickens set parts of 'The Pickwick Papers' there.
Lord Nelson and his wife were also one-time residents of Ipswich, indeed he was given the title of High Steward of Ipswich in 1800.
One of football's most heated rivalries exists between Ipswich Town FC and 'neighbours' Norwich City, both of whom in recent years have dropped down a division from the Premiership. Ipswich themselves have an illustrious past, with an FA Cup and a European title to their name, but fans insist nothing beats that local derby.
Ipswich has long been home to the renowned Tolly Cobbold brewery, which represents one of the country's finest examples of a Victorian brewing works. Set up by Felix Cobbold in the mid-1700's, the brewery remains a favourite source for enthusiastic amateurs and real ale aficionados alike.