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Living in Mildenhall: The local area guide

Nestled in the greenery of the Suffolk countryside, Mildenhall is a charming market town with a richly preserved history. A stroll through its meandering cobbled streets unveils historical treasures such as a Town Pump as well as a hexagonal Market Cross, both dating back to the 16th century. St Mary’s Parish Church dominates the central landscape, with its medieval stonework and meticulous carvings. Visitors can climb up to the top of St. Mary’s tower in order to view the pastoral country surroundings, including the River Lark below with its walking and cycling pathways.

Mildenhall is often synonymous with the Royal Air Force, because there is an RAF Mildenhall base just to the north of the town that’s also used by the United States Air Force. The RAF connection is important to the local economy, but in addition to this there’s a strong, welcoming community spirit in town. This can be particularly felt in Mildenhall’s lively Friday Market, established in 1412, as well as its friendly pubs, cafes, and community events.


There are approximately 10,000 permanent residents living in Mildenhall, helping it retain its unique small town charm. Mildenhall’s demographics are perhaps unsurprisingly influenced by the air force base. This airbase is the most important local employer, and because it’s also used by the United States Air Force there is a sizeable population of American residents in town.

In fact, Mildenhall boasts the biggest community of Americans in the country. At the time of the most recent census, residents born in the USA amounted to 18% of the population. The percentage of residents who are also homeowners is lower than the national average, but employment figures are higher than the national average.


There are two primary schools in Mildenhall. The first is St. Mary’s Church of England Academy, which was founded by Sir Charles Bunbury in the 1860s. It’s a Christian school with a sound reputation. The other option is Great Heath Primary School, rated in the most recent Ofsted report as ‘good’ in every category.

Also rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in a March 2015 report is Mildenhall College Academy, the area’s secondary school. It includes a sixth form as well, although this is housed separately. Mildenhall College includes a Technology, Applied Learning, and Science status. Its students perform well on average. For example, in 2015, 97% of students achieved 5 or more GCSEs at A-G, while 62% achieved 5 or more GCSEs at the A-C L2 threshold.


Mildenhall is situated in Suffolk, just off of the M11 motorway. It’s an hour drive up the A11 to reach central Norwich, or motorists can drive just an hour and a half down the M11 to access central London. National Express bus services also include daily routes into London and its various airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick.

The central bus station is newly constructed, completed in 2005. In addition to the National Express routes, there are also local services to neighbouring towns and villages, including Brandon, Bury Saint Edmunds, and Newmarket. The closest railway station is located in Kennett, a 10-15-minute taxi ride from Mildenhall.

Amenities and shopping

From independent boutiques to big-name high street brands, Mildenhall offers a vast selection of shops to explore. Highlights in town include the popular Jackie’s Fashions and Cherrytree Butchers, but you’ll also be able to find gift shops, numerous home and garden stores, and a wealth of cafes. The local Greengrocer offers fresh produce, while Charles Stebbing Shoes offers a selection of footwear.

Mildenhall’s Friday Market has been a longstanding tradition in town, and it is still held every Friday in the Mildenhall Market Place between the hours of 8am and 4pm. The number of stalls may vary from week to week, but you’re bound to find fresh local groceries and hardware among the offerings. Shoppers can also venture a bit further afield to neighbouring Bury Saint Edmunds, just 25 minutes away. Here, you’ll find retailers including H&M and Clarks in the futuristic architecture of the Arc Shopping Centre.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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