As a resident or visitor to Leiston, you will find the town has a huge amount to offer for entertainment, sport, retail, enterprise, civic support, history, relaxation and well being. Below are some pointers, but also check out VISIT LEISTON and THE SUFFOLK COAST website too.
Leiston offers the oldest independent film theatre in Suffolk, a modernised leisure centre, a thriving football club and a Bowls Green with facilities seen by some as one of best in the county. In addition the Waterloo Centre provides boxing and table tennis. The Long Shop Museum provides historic background of Leiston's engineering works. Visitors to the museum will encounter steam engines, WWII munitions, and the story of the Garrett family.
Located just 1 mile from the Suffolk coast, Leiston is a tourist centre in the heart of the Heritage Coast. It boasts beaches and miles of meandering paths across beautiful Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty countryside. It is a town with potential.
Leiston is blessed with a full range of education facilities. These include nursery provision, a primary school, high school (Alde Valley Academy), Suffolk College on the Coast, Leiston Abbey Pro Corda music school and Sizewell Nuclear Power Training Centre. That's not forgetting Leiston Library and its services. The Library is a key learning resource for the town, working with the community to provide reading classes for the summer and community services to the vulnerable and isolated.
The Leisure Centre offers a swimming pool along with exercise and fitness equipment. There are classes for members as well as steam rooms and squash courts.
The area benefits from a Good Neighbour Scheme that functions to assist the community. It is operated and run by community volunteers and provides essential support to susceptible members of the community.
The Leiston Film Theatre the oldest independent film theatre / cinema in the county. Built in 1914, it was almost lost in the mid 1970s until it was saved by the Town Council. It has grown and developed to become a jewel in Leiston's high street. In the last ten years development has seen the addition of a new foyer, box office and refreshment bar.
The Town Council has in the last few years taken back public land from the District Council and has developed both the Victory Road and King Georges Avenue sites. These include modern children's play facilities. In addition, Victory Road has an adult fitness suite and popular skate park. King Georges Avenue has a zip wire, cycle track, community orchard and sports field. Haylings Pond provides further communal space for picnics as well as providing fresh water fishing.
Victory Road is also home to Leiston Football Club, playing semi senior football, plus flat green bowls facilities. Leiston Town Athletic Association social club is also situated on Victory Road. On the outskirts of Leiston is second football club Leiston St Margarets.
The town boasts two large allotment areas that are full of keen gardeners, with a plot holders' shop and water provision.
A recent acquisition for the Town Council is a large proportion of what was the middle school. It is now the Waterloo Centre, providing a large hall, indoor sports, martial arts, bounce fitness and revamped kitchen and toilet blocks. Four spare rooms are available for hire for meetings, training and craft workshops. Outside is a multi use games area, plus a junior football pitch.
Leiston is ripe for tourism. Sizewell is internationally known for its nuclear power stations built on its coastline. The anti-nuclear power lobby refers to it as a blot on the landscape, but visitors to Sizewell soon forget this when they look out to sea and admire the view. Looking left on a clear day you can see Dunwich, Pakefield and even further afield the wind power turbine at Kessingland. Looking to the right you see Thorpeness, Aldeburgh and in the distance Felixstowe and the wind farms of the Thames estuary. The whole coastline is 45 miles of sea, sand, shingle and blue sky. There is also a coastal path from Felixstowe to Lowestoft.
Within the coast lies an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). This is all part of the Heritage Coast. Footpaths crisscross from Aldeburgh to Dunwich through forest, heather, marsh and open common, with ideal areas for picnics and family gatherings.
The Heritage Coast is home to the RSPB Minsmere reserve and the Lost City of Dunwich. Visitors enjoy picturesque Aldeburgh, home of Benjamin Britten, and Snape Maltings International Concert Hall and tourist shopping. Alongside these destinations are Leiston Abbey, The Long Shop Museum, and Thorpeness Meare. Thorpeness Meare is a man-made boating lake inspired by Peter Pan creator John Barrie.
Holiday accommodation is provided by The White Horse Hotel. There is also a variety of B&Bs in Leiston, and a wide range of camping and caravan sites. Leiston provides assistance to visitors with its Visitor Information Point based in Leiston Film Theatre.