There is an electoral ward named Leiston. Its population at the 2011 census was 6,360.[7]

Leiston Film Theatre, a half-timbered building with street front shops, is the oldest purpose-built cinema in Suffolk. The cinema is owned and run by Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council and supported by the Leiston Film Theatre Support Club, which has raised money for stage refurbishment and enabled the cinema to install the latest digital 3D projection system.[8]

Read the match report from the Leiston vs Dulwich Hamlet game here: There’s dancing on the grass as Dulwich Hamlet claim victory in faraway Leiston

New fitness equipment installed on Victory Road Recreation Ground

If I hadn’t been at the football match, the Knodishall Village Fun Day and Dog Show would have proved an irresistible attraction.

The afternoon featured an open-air band concert of music of the First World War period community stalls, and children’s activities.

Leiston was once a thriving manufacturing town dominated by Richard Garrett & Sons, owners of the “Leiston Works,” who made steam tractors and a huge variety of cast and machined metal products  in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

There was an awful lot of England flags and Union Jacks flapping around Leiston.

Pumping is the art of managing pressure to minimize impacts and generate propulsion. Basically, you get heavy on the backs of bumps and light on the fronts of bumps. If you’ve ever skateboarded in a bowl or skied moguls, you’ve pumped.

The 14th-century remains of Leiston Abbey lie north-west of the town.[2]

The somewhat trashed frontage of Bertie’s Barber Shop.

Vintage car waits at the lights opposite the White Horse Hotel on Station Road.

The town has a traditional Anglican church, St Margaret's, with an ancient tower and an unusual 19th century nave. In addition there are Roman Catholic and Baptist churches on the edge of the town.

With a generous selection of accommodation, you can expect a warm welcome from the numerous guest houses in the area and for those who prefer to be independent, a selection of quality holiday rentals and well maintained caravan and camping sites provide a base for a relaxing break, remaining close to all that Leiston and its surrounding villages have to offer.

The R.S.P.B. Minsmere Reserve, as featured on the BBC TV series Spingwatch, can be easily discovered only four miles from Leiston and is the ideal location for those who enjoy a spot of bird watching. Combined with a visit to the striking ruins of the 14th century Leiston Abbey and a sampling of traditional Suffolk ales in one of the numerous public houses close by, you’ll find this an ideal way of spending time when the weather is fine.

Victory Road Leiston Suffolk IP16 4DQ View with Google Maps 

The purpose of my trip was to see the mighty Dulwich Hamlet take on the local team – see the match photos here – but I made time from the pub to go on a quick wander around the town. Here’s some photos from my travels.

There’s a small park opposite the club, guarded by these intricate iron gates.

On occasions when umbrellas are needed, head for indoor attractions including Leiston Leisure Centre, the Long Shop Museum, or the Leiston Film Theatre.

In the 1960s, Leiston became famous as the home of the Summerhill School, founded by A.S. Neill in the 1920s as the first major "free school" – referring to freedom in education.[6] Children are not required to attend classes and discipline is given by pupil self-government meetings. Summerhill has inspired a large "free school" movement and, more recently, democratic schools in several countries. The school occupies the former mansion of Richard Garrett, owner of Leiston Works.

A pump track is a continuous loop of round bumps and banked turns that you ride not by pedaling, but by “pumping.”

Alde Valley Academy is a secondary school and sixth form with academy status. The school was formerly known as Leiston Community High School, changing its name to Alde Valley School in September 2012 following a reorganisation of schools in Suffolk. This saw the closure of Leiston Middle School and the school convert from a 13-to-18 school to one taking pupils from the age of 11.[11] The school converted to academy status in January 2015 and renamed Alde Valley Academy.

Leiston & Thorpeness Rugby Club was in existence in the late 1980s and early 1990s; unfortunately the club closed in 1995. However the club was revived in March 2010 as Aldeburgh & Thorpeness Rugby Club, with many previous Leiston Rugby Club members.

Leiston also has a leisure centre, a skate park and several parks.

The parade in Leiston partially followed the route of the town’s H company of the 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, on their way to Leiston station to set off for wartime service on August 5, 1914, the day after war was declared.


The town is well served with residential accommodation and some recent, carefully planned, developments have provided attractive dwellings.  The Suffolk Heritage Housing Association has two complexes of sheltered accommodation in the town and there are three privately run elderly persons' residential homes.  

The Grade II listed museum building dates from 1853 and was originally used as an engineering workshop for the manufacture of portable steam engines.

With the Leiston Works closing in 1981, the site was reused as a mixture of housing, flats and industrial uses, with the Long Shop Museum displaying the history, vehicles and products of the works.

The interesting Victorian architecture of the White Horse restaurant.

The nattily punned Reactor Tattoos on the High Street.

Leiston has direct bus services to Ipswich, Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Halesworth.

Sunday night is quiz night. Another attraction I was going to miss.

Leiston Film Theatre (or Leiston Picture House as it was originally named) first opened in October 1914 and has stayed open ever since.

On Saturday, I visited far-flung Leiston, a small town in East Suffolk situated a couple of miles from the North Sea.

In 2001 the school became a Specialist Technology College, and in following years it was named as one of the most improved schools in England. It is the lead school in the Schools Energy Network based at the Orbis Centre in Lowestoft[12] and has strong links with Sizewell nuclear power stations.[13]

Leiston's High Street serves as the business and market hub of the surrounding agricultural district. The town's facilities include a post office, library, banks, pubs and a range of shops and other services.

In many parts of the world, people observe a one or more commonly a two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. local time as a sign of respect in the first minute for the roughly 20 million people who died in the war, and in the second minute dedicated to the living left behind, generally understood to be wives, children and families left behind but deeply affected by the conflict.

The Town boasts a substantial number of shops and service outlets, mainly within the centre of the town principally along High Street and Sizewell Road, which provide for the needs of the local and surrounding community.  The town is well provided with parking, with local authority pay-and-display car parks at High Street and Sizewell Road and "free" car parks at Main Street and Valley Road, the later being "long-stay". 

The venue now boasts a 294 seater auditorium with Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround EX sound and Dolby 3D, and there’s a series of celebrations lined up to commemorate its 100th anniversary .

A railway branch spur from the Great Eastern Line, known as the Aldeburgh Branch Line, went from Saxmundham to Aldeburgh, with intermediate stations at Leiston and Thorpeness. On 12 September 1966 British Rail withdrew all passenger services to Leiston and beyond.[9] However, the line to Leiston remains active for the purpose of removing nuclear materials from Sizewell power station. This was expected to cease permanently by 2012.[citation needed]