Releasing the Story of Sutton Hoo

Sutton Hoo burial mound at sunrise

We've spent the last few years planning an exciting transformation of your visit to Sutton Hoo. Work on a wide range of developments is now underway and we can't wait to show you everything we've been doing.

With thanks to the £1.8million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and all the support from our visitors and supporters through our fundraising events, Sutton Hoo is undergoing major changes across the site, transforming the way we tell the story of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.

The project, called ‘Releasing the Sutton Hoo Story’, will enable the National Trust to create an experience that helps visitors discover more about this internationally significant site and how its stories have captured the imaginations of people the world over.

Visual of proposed viewing tower at Sutton Hoo
Visual of proposed viewing tower at Sutton Hoo
Visual of proposed viewing tower at Sutton Hoo

Plans include building a 17 metre high observation tower to give views over the entire burial ground and to the River Deben beyond, revealing the fascinating story of this evocative landscape.

It was from the River Deben that an Anglo-Saxon ship was hauled up the valley before it formed the burial chamber found in Mound One, where the famous treasure was discovered.

Work on the observation tower began in May and June 2018 with our archaeological excavation of the tower’s footprint marking the first physical work to take place on site. The excavation marked the first time a dig has taken place so close to the Royal Burial Ground in almost 30 years.

Led by a team of archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), the dig also saw Sutton Hoo staff and volunteers taking hands-on roles to work alongside the experts throughout the work.

Setting out with the archaeological dig at Sutton Hoo
A man setting up for the archaeological dig at Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge
Setting out with the archaeological dig at Sutton Hoo

As well as the tower, a new route around the site will allow visitors to walk in the steps of the Anglo-Saxons, tracing part of the route the ship may have taken up towards the Royal Burial Ground.

Tranmer House, the former home of Edith Pretty who instigated the dig that would lead to the discoveries, will be transformed with a new exhibition exploring a timeline of multiple discoveries and the ongoing research at this and other archaeological sites.

Enhanced guided tours, thought-provoking activities and installations, innovative interpretation and creative programming will all sit alongside a school education programme.

In addition, partnership working with archaeological bodies, the British Museum and the local community will all help to bring both the landscape and Exhibition Hall to life.

The Trust has also been given permission for plans to transform the welcome centre, café and shop.

In total, £4million will be invested at Sutton Hoo thanks to the generosity and support of National Trust members and visitors. As well as the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, the National Trust is aiming to raise a further £560,000 in order to complete the project.

With multiple elements to the new experience, we'll be gradually revealing it to visitors in stages throughout the late spring and summer of 2019. Early visitors will be able to see behind-the-scenes work continuing, such as the viewing tower being constructed, whilst those planning their visit for the end of the summer will be able to explore the complete new Sutton Hoo experience.

Latest updates

05 Mar 19

Sutton Hoo car park renovations get underway

Renovations are now underway on the Sutton Hoo main car park, improving even that very first experience you will have here with us.

Sutton Hoo carpark renovations

13 Feb 19

Books by the Wheelbarrow full!

We're temporarily moving out all of our books (and their shelving!) from our second-hand bookshop, ready to begin some much needed TLC and floor renovations. The books are being wheeled out by the wheelbarrow full to be kept safe as the current floor of rugs and board gets fully replaced and transformed to look wonderful.

Moving the books from the Sutton Hoo bookshop out by the wheelbarrow full along with the shelving

23 Jan 19

Work begins in the Exhibition Hall

Work begins in the Exhibition Hall, the floor is coming up ready for new screed to be put down. You can even see where the old boards used to be on the walls! Soon everything will be ready for us to begin transforming this place into something new and wonderful!

The inside of the Sutton Hoo Hall with the flooring broken up to be replaced