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Sudbury

Thirty-two kilometers (20 miles) south of Bury St. Edmunds along the A134 is Sudbury, a town that has prospered through the ages thanks to its sheep (the wool industry) and its prime location along the banks of the River Stour. A handful of medieval half-timbered buildings and Georgian homes attest to the town's ripe old age. Its most famous native son is Thomas Gainsborough, who was born in 1727 and went on to become one of England's most beloved painters.

His birthplace, Gainsborough's House, 46 Gainsborough St. (tel. 01787/372958; www.gainsborough.org), is a museum and arts center that has many of his works of art on display. Visitors will notice that several different architectural styles make up the house, and there is a walled garden in back worth seeing. It's open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and bank holiday Sundays and Mondays from 2 to 5pm. Admission is £4.50 adults, £3.60 seniors, £2 children ages 5 to 18 and students, but it is free during the month of December (and year-round for children 4 and younger).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.