The A1214 follows the old route of the A12 through Ipswich, or rather along the town's northern bypass, which became part of the A12 in 1935.
The road starts at Copdock Interchange, a standard grade-separated and partially signalised roundabout interchange with the A12 (for which it is J33) and A14 (J55). The former now proceeds to multiplex along the latter to the east over the Orwell Bridge and the road north is the A1214. It proceeds as D2 with a 40mph speed limit past a large supermarket complex and meets a roundabout providing access to the retail area and the district of Pinewood. After a long right-hand curve the former A12 (now an access road from the Park and Ride station) merges in. At this point the barriers in the central reservations disappear to be replaced with a wide grassy verge with trees. The road then meets the A1071 to Hadleigh and Scrivener Drive at a signalised junction, starting a multiplex with that road. Almost immediately afterwards the left-hand lane of the northbound carriageway becomes a bus lane. This entire stretch is called London Road.
The road then meets Robin Drive at another signalised junction. After the junction, the bus lane ends and the road becomes S3, with two lanes uphill. A cycle lane is also provided northbound. A 30mph speed restriction then comes into force. After descending the hill, the A1214 meets the B1075 Ranelagh Road (to the station) and the now-unclassified former A1071 Hadleigh Road at another signalised junction near the Sainsbury's supermarket.
The road is then a dual carriageway for a short while over the River Orwell to reach a set of traffic lights. The A1071 reappears here to continue ahead into the town centre along the pre-1935 A12, whilst the A137 which goes to Colchester via Manningtree turns right. The A1214 TOTSOs left here onto Yarmouth Road. It continues parallel to the Orwell for a short time with some new flats on the left followed by a bridge over the River Gipping. Just before a signalised junction with the B1067 Bramford Road we pass a Territorial Army complex on our left. The road then continues as Chevalier Street before meeting the A1156 (former A45) at a double mini-roundabout junction. The surroundings then become more suburban as the speed limit changes to 40mph, with trees and green spaces on both sides of the road.
We ascend the hill on Valley Road and the development becomes more dense as we pass Henley Road and Dale Hall Lane at signalised junctions next to a block of flats. This stretch recently had cycle lanes installed in both directions. The next stretch is arrow-straight eastwards as it meets the B1077 Westerfield Road at a roundabout. It then continues onto Tuddenham Road, with service roads for houses until the next roundabout. The road then curves to the right as we pass over the Ipswich to Felixstowe Railway line. The A1214, now called Colchester Road, straightens out again and meets Sidegate Lane at a roundabout. After a few curves we end up back on the original A12 (now A1071) at what used to be a double roundabout interchange, although the first roundabout no longer provides complete access. Traffic from here wanting to go back into town on the A1071 must go to the second roundabout and U-turn. This junction also provides access to the A1189 for Felixstowe.
After the second roundabout a 30mph speed limit comes into force again and lasts until the end of the road. The road then travels through heathland for a short while before entering the suburbs once again through an 'Ipswich overspill' housing area. This is generally thought of as the most unpleasant stretch of the road, with a 30mph speed limit, seemingly endless development, bus lanes (due to the Park and Ride near Martlesham) and many traffic lights. There are two roundabouts on this stretch, one of which was previously signalised.
The road finally terminates on a signalised roundabout with the A12. The old route of that road used to continue straight on through the village of Martlesham. Today one turns left onto the A12 D2 Martlesham bypass to head up towards Woodbridge and eventually Great Yarmouth where the A12 terminates. Turning right onto the A12 takes you down towards the Seven Hills Interchange, J58 of the A14.