Suffolk House is located in Penang, Malaysia, and it consists of two residences constructed on the same surface. The exact location of this tourist attraction is at a four-mile distance west from George Town, Penang, and the oldest building is known as Francis Light’s residence. In case you didn’t know, Francis Light was the one who founded the British settlement on Penang Island, also known as the Prince of Wales Island.
After Light’s death, Penang became the fourth province of India, and Suffolk House was replaced with another construction. However, the multiple roles of this new building didn’t last for too long, and the Suffolk House laid in neglect a long period of time before being restored.The estate in which this house was built is known as the Suffolk Estate, name which is probably inspired by the Suffolk County located in England. In fact, Light was actually born in Dallinghoo, Suffolk. Out of so many places to visit in Malaysia, Suffolk House should definitely be among your top priorities.
After Light’s death, the land was purchased by William Edward Phillips, who began the construction of a Georgian-styled mansion named Suffolk Park. Soon after the building process was started, Phillips was named governor of the island. Since then, this mansion served as a residence for several Penang governors, as well as a venue for several official and social functions. Visiting such an important historic place is one of best things to do in Malaysia, and the memories you’ll collect will be unforgettable.
Between 1810 and 1820, this mansion was used as a Government House, being basically a meeting place for different political conversations, and hosted a large number of famous political figures such as Stamford Raffles, who came to discuss the founding of Singapore. That being said, it’s no longer a mystery why visiting Suffolk House should be included on the top list of things to do in Penang.
In 1928, Suffolk House was purchased by a reverend, and soon became the local Methodist Boys’ School. The Methodist Church wanted to have Suffolk House demolished in 1956, but the president of the Penang municipal council convinced the school principals to leave the mansion intact. The Methodist Church owned this mansion no less than 46 years, until 1975, when it was declared unsafe due to its high level of deterioration. In 2000, when the restoration process began, the Suffolk House had no upper floor and roof. However, tourists who knew exactly where to go in Malaysia were attracted even back then by this outstanding tourist attraction.
The restoration work began in 2000, but the funds provided by the state proved to be insufficient to provide this building with its initial appearance. In 2004, the authorities managed to gather several donations that allowed the restoration team to refit the mansion and make it look as good as new. The Suffolk House had finally become open to the public, being managed by a non-governmental organization called Badan Warisan Malaysia. Taking into account the fact that Suffolk House is one of the most popular choices of tourists who are wondering what to do in Penang, we can state that this organization has done a great job.
Both the house and the garden are open every day between 10 AM and 6 PM. Visitors have to pay an entrance fee of around RM10, even though children aged under six can enter without being charged. If you’re visiting this tourist attraction with your friends, you can opt for a guided tour, which is organized for groups that contain at least 10 people.
Most people who visited the Suffolk House mentioned that they were impressed by its architecture, which is a combination between Euro-Indian and Georgian styles. The next time you ask yourself what to do in Malaysia, you should remember that this country is crowded with charming towns and places to visit that will take your breath away.