Releasing the Story of Sutton Hoo

Project
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 now lets you 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, has been 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 all sit alongside a school education programme.

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

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've been 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 autumn will be able to explore the complete new Sutton Hoo experience.

Latest updates

05 Aug 19

The High Hall and Tranmer House open!

The latest additions to the new Sutton Hoo experience have opened! The High Hall exhibition is resplendent with several new replica items and even more original items from Sutton Hoo. Meanwhile Tranmer House has been transformed exploring the story of archaeology and excavations at Sutton Hoo.

The replica helmet at Sutton Hoo

30 May 19

A new home for an old icon

Almost as photographed as the real thing, the Sutton Hoo helmet sculpture now has a new home. It's now waiting to greet you as you arrive.

Moving the helmet sculpture

19 Apr 19

Re-opening!

After a winter of building work the site has re-opened to visitors for an Easter weekend with glorious weather. It is fantastic to see so many families enjoying the first stage of the new Sutton Hoo experience, with so much more still to come...

Fun for all the family at Sutton Hoo Easter 2019