East Anglia is an extraordinary region made up of the coastal counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex together with inland Cambridgeshire. It is famous for many things, including bird watching, seaside resorts, historic buildings and countryside to revive the most jaded spirits. This region used to be a kingdom, and a mega-rich on at that. Its former rulers have left their mark on today’s tourist trade.
That mark is probably best seen at Sutton Hoo, not a million miles from the port town of Felixtowe. This is a site of Anglo Saxon burial mounds, one of which was found on excavation to hold a 90 foot long wooden ship – supposedly a royal grave – along with treasures including a metalwork garment decorated with gold and gems, a ceremonial helmet, a shield, sword, lyre, and Byzantian silverware. Sutton Hoo is closed for redevelopment until March 2019, but replica treasures are touring the county throughout November.
Another link with the ancient past is Boudicca Way, a 36 mile footpath between Diss and Norwich. Celebrating the legendary warrior queen of the Iceni tribe, it passes through picturesque villages such as Shotesham, Saxlingham Nethergate and Pulham Market.
East Anglia is famous for the unique landscape of the Broads National Park, created from people’s need to keep warm. Medieval folk dug here for peat and the holes filled with water, creating more than 60 lakes linked by seven rivers. The broads are relatively shallow and much loved by boaters and birds, as twitchers well know. This unique water world is the only National Park with a city in it and no visit to East Anglia could be considered complete without a visit to Norwich.
In Elizabethan times, Norwich was Britain’s second wealthiest city next to London, thanks in large part to the cloth industry. Its busy modern scene welcomes visitors and invites them to enjoy a unique blend of ancient and modern heritage, not to mention a thriving arts scene. Why not explore ‘Constable Country’ in Dedham Vale, too, perhaps starting with a viewing an impressive collection of the painter’s works at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich.