Stately homes, glorious gardens, castles and art through the times, the East of England has plenty for history lovers to enjoy. Learn more about East Anglia’s heritage with our pick of 10 educational and fun days out for families.
Ickworth House, Parkland and Gardens
The Rotunda, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP29 5QE
A Georgian Italianate palace in an idyllic English landscape Ickworth’s impressive Rotunda – a magnificent showcase commissioned by the 4th Earl of Bristol to house his priceless treasures collected on tours around Europe in the 18th-century – is an architectural marvel. The Rotunda is enveloped in 1800 acres of Parkland and Gardens where you can explore, discover and rediscover something new every season in Ickworth’s gardens, a place of contrasts, tranquillity and enchantment.
During spring and summer months Ickworth continues its tradition of grand entertaining with outdoor theatre and cinema. Bask in the early dusk, with the Rotunda as the stunning backdrop for your evening performances. Bring your family to the brand new Country Estate Fayre held at Ickworth; a chance to celebrate the traditions and skills of old and new, as well as live music, storytelling, games and much more! For those wet weather days, watch the past unravel around you in the 1930s Servants’ Quarters, and when the sun does decide to show its face explore the 1800 acres of historic gardens and parklands, with one of the many walks and paths available to discover.
Long Melford, Sudbury CO10 9BA
Explore this beautiful home which has been lived in for over 500 years. Most of the house can be viewed, while the extensive gardens offer many ancient features including a moat, 17th century walled garden and yews of a great age.
24 Castle Meadow, Norwich NR1 3JU
A visit to Norwich will bring you to the very heart of East Anglia, one of the finest heritage cities in the land where you’ll discover over 1,000 years of history, a buzzing cultural scene and superb shopping destination. Make sure a trip to Norwich Castle Museum & Gallery is top of your list. The Keep and selected spaces are closed for refurbishment however there are still plenty of fantastic treasures to explore including changing exhibitions and displays. Check out ‘The World We Live In: Arts and the Urban Environment’ exhibition, available to view from 21 May until 4 September 2022.
Henry Moore Foundation
Dane Tree House, Perry Green, Much Hadham SG10 6EE
Experience Henry Moore’s iconic work against the backdrop of the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside with a visit to the artist’s former home, studios and sculpture gardens. There are regular exhibitions and art events throughout the open season.
Quy Road, Lode, Cambridge CB25 9EJ
A trip to this National Trust property is a great summer’s day out. From Lord Fairhaven’s collection in the House, which took 40 years and a vast fortune to acquire, to the amazing collection of plants in the garden, there’s plenty to see and do. There are a number of walks to enjoy. Explore the Cambridgeshire countryside, passing waterways and the Quy Fen or opt for Anglesey Abbey Dog Walking Trail, a short walk which takes in the countryside near the Abbey and the village of Lode.
Hatfield Park, Hatfield, Herts, AL9 5NB
A gem in the Hertfordshire countryside, the stunning estate offers plenty for visitors to enjoy. Explore the Jacobean craftsmanship throughout the House and visit the gorgeous gardens, which feature a number of sculptures, creative landscape designs, colourful fauna and flora, a maze and walkways. Finish your visit with a browse around the Stable Yard shops and tea and cake at the River Cottage Kitchen & Deli. The House hosts a popular events programme throughout the year including monthly farmers’ and antique markets, the outdoor theatre in July and Battle Proms.
Duxford, Cambridgeshire, CB22 4QR
This museum is a must for all with an interest in aviation and the Second World War. Walk through the impressive hangers and buildings, marvel in awe at some of the world’s most famous aircrafts such the B-52, Spitfire and Lancaster. Feel the thrill of flying with a Classic Wings flight experience or if you’d prefer to stay on the ground visit during the annual Duxford Air Festival.
Peterborough PE1 1XS
Peterborough Cathedral is situated in beautiful surroundings in the heart of the cosmopolitan city centre. As well as still operating as a thriving Christian Church, today the Cathedral offers a wide array of activity including an interactive exhibition, fascinating historic and Cathedral tower tours, an exciting mix of arts and crafts based events, and a popular coffee shop.
Silsoe, Bedfordshire MK45 4HR
Wrest Park is a spectacular country house which was designed to look like a grand French chateau. Visitors can explore the evolution of the English garden with a stroll through three centuries of landscape design at Wrest Park. From dazzling parterres and fragrant borders, to sweeping views and woodland walks, the 92 acres of award-winning gardens are a real treat for the senses. The house also has a remarkable history and operated as a military hospital and convalescent home during WW1.
Woburn Abbey & Gardens
Woburn, Bedfordshire, MK17 9WA
Woburn Abbey is a must visit. Dating back to 1145, it was originally a religious house for a group of Cistercian monks. Located on the Woburn Estate, visitors can explore 22 rooms within Woburn Abbey and over 28 acres of award-winning Humphry Repton inspired gardens, all set within 3,000 acres of deer park. The attraction is currently undergoing refurbishment and is due to re-open in 2023.