Head to Norfolk and Suffolk and you will unlock a wealth of delights from stunning shorelines to fabulous family attractions. Whatever the season, however the weather, you’ll never be short of stimulating things to do in the east.
Norfolk is famous for its 90-odd miles of unspoiled coast and seaside towns which have made their names offering perfect conditions and attractions for fun family holidays, like Great Yarmouth, Cromer and Hunstanton.
Norfolk’s extraordinary ecology puts it in the top flight of bird watching locations in Britain and twitchers come by the busload to see the sights in winter, including Whooper and Bewick swans warming up after their Siberian tours and expert predators like harriers, peregrine falcons and merlins. They’re all at home in the local RSPB reserves.
The Broads National Park, colloquially known as the Venice of the East, is a network of lock-free rivers and lakes spanning both Norfolk and Suffolk, although mistakenly often referred to as the Norfolk Broads. The area offers peace and tranquillity to the boating public and people can cruise serenely with other people in the driving seat or take the helm themselves while they savour the attractive towns and villages on the way.
These locations include Norwich, which is the only city in a British national park and which successfully marries its remarkably complete medieval heart with modern shopping and a thriving arts scene. Not to be missed is Strangers’ Hall Museum, a maze of period settings and rooms including a Tudor great hall, a Georgian dining room and a 17th century lady’s bedroom.
Suffolk’s strengths are many but include 50 miles of superb coastline and some of the prettiest villages in England are among the ‘wool towns’ like Lavenham. These made their wealth from producing and trading woollen cloth and used the income to create great numbers of wonderful timber framed buildings, which are their modern hallmark today.
The county is also famous for horse racing, celebrated in the Palace heritage centre at Newmarket Race Course, for the remarkable seafaring history celebrated at Ipswich Maritime Museum and for Constable Country, the scenes which inspired one of Britain’s greatest landscape painters of all time and can be enjoyed on scenic trails starting from his birthplace in East Bergholt.
The local history is amazing, including the Anglo Saxon living history village in West Stow, in Thetford Forest, where visitors can dress up and learn some Dark Age skills.