Pack your bags and head to the East of England for an unforgettable holiday
This little corner of the UK offers travellers something extra special. Beautiful beaches, luscious landscapes and villages that time forgot are a major attraction for visitors. Even during busy summer months, you can escape the crowds and find your own hideaway on golden sands or under the canopy of shady trees.
The shores of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex draw in families with its cheap entertainment of crabbing, boating and paddling in muddy creeks, while its deliciously fresh seafood and local brews attract groups of friends and couples looking for weekend getaways.
Head inland and the dense forest, heaths and salt marshes are a beautiful sight to behold. Wild landscapes are home to an array of animals, impressive bird life and colourful flora. The Broads National Park attracts tourists year round with its boating opportunities, while Thetford Forest and the pine pathways on the North Norfolk coast and are popular among walkers and cyclists.
Part of the East’s charm is captured in its history. There are few places that make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, but the colourful cottages and flint-built villages are reminders of a different life, one that makes you feel compelled to slow down and embrace your surroundings.
Throughout the region stately homes, museums, castles, churches and timber-framed towns make an enjoyable day out. Research published by Historic England at the end of 2018 revealed that the region’s heritage was a vital contribution to the East of England’s economy, generating £950m in spending by domestic and international tourists in 2016.
The pace may feel slower but the social the scene is eventful. The East of England is home to some of the UK’s biggest events. Festivals, fairs, live music, arts and more take place throughout the year so no matter what month you visit, you will find plenty to do! Visit our events listings to find out what’s coming up this year!
Where to stay in East Anglia
If you want to start planning your summer holiday or are looking for a weekend getaway, there are lots of self-catering options provided by professional holiday rentals. Norfolk Hideaways specialise in stylish properties across the county to suit all size parties, while the Blakeney Cottage Company have a huge choice of stunning, homely cottages on the North Norfolk coast. For bigger budgets, book a break with SALT Norfolk which offers a range of coastal retreats.
If it’s lazy days by on the Suffolk Coast you desire, Suffolk Secrets specialise in coastal properties with a focus on Southwold and Aldeburgh, and have already added 30 new properties this year! Boutique agency So Southwold features luxury apartments, townhouses and cottages, but if you’re looking for a cosy home in the countryside try Suffolk Cottage Holidays.
Elsewhere, the city of Cambridge is best enjoyed in style at luxury hotels such as The Varsity Hotel and the University Arms, and there’s a choice of holiday lets, hotels and camping opportunities throughout Essex, check out www.visitessex.com for inspiration.
If that’s got you thinking, take a look at our mini guide to the best holiday rentals in the East of England:
Holiday homes for families
Priory Holme, Kersey
Families will love this chocolate box, ‘quintessentially English’ thatched cottage. Step through the honeysuckle-covered porch and the inside is just as cosy, with a wood-burning stove and comfy sitting room, whilst the beautiful mature gardens are a haven for kids to play or adults to relax in. Situated at the top of the hill affords Priory Holme fabulous views over the rest of the village (famed for its ford, which kids will love splashing in or biking through), you’re never far from the rolling countryside in which to explore. Alternatively, head out to nearby Lavenham, Flatford Mill (of John Constable fame) or the Dedham Vale, one of the UK’s most beautiful valleys.
How to book: Suffolk Cottage Holidays | www.suffolkcottageholidays.com
Dog friendly accommodation
Tui Cottage, Snape
Dogs and their owners will adore this cosy cottage whatever time of year they visit. In winter, cosy up in front of the wood-burning stove whilst in warmer months, you can fling open the French doors and enjoy the private, fully-fenced garden. Modern, bright with light pouring from generous windows throughout, Tui Cottage feels like a home from home, the perfect base in which to explore the surrounding countryside. Don’t miss walking along the river Alde, which passes by the Snape Maltings complex (restaurants, galleries and Benjamin Britten concert hall), a haven for bird and wildlife and one of the best walks in the area. Alternatively, take the short drive to Aldeburgh for a run along the promenade.
How to book: Suffolk Secrets | www.suffolk-secrets.co.uk
Rentals for large groups
Chelsea Villa, Southwold
If you’re marking a special occasion then this luxurious, seafront residence will have you celebrating in style. Boasting immaculately detailed interiors, with each sumptuously styled bedroom named after a Victorian author, Chelsea Villa makes the perfect backdrop for large groups. The question is; where to gather? There’s the large sitting room overlooking the sea, a light-filled open-plan dining room, a sanctuary-like snug, complete with jukebox and, if the sun is shining, grab a bottle from the wine fridge and head outside to dine alfresco in the Mediterranean-styled courtyard. Sublime!
How to book: So Southwold | www.sosouthwold.co.uk
Wigwam Holidays Forest Park
Make the most of Norfolk’s stunning scenery with an outdoors adventure! This idyllic holiday park is set in an AONB, surrounded by 100 acres of woodland with Cromer beach close by. The site includes 12 luxury en-suite ‘Running Water Deluxe Wigwam® Cabins’, five of which are dog friendly, so the whole family can come along! New for 2019 is an onsite doggy shower, so you can ‘pamper’ your pooch after the day’s exertions. All cabins are fully heated and insulated with kitchenette, dining table and chairs and comfy mattresses for a family of four. Other facilities include an indoor heated pool, outdoor children’s play area, onsite shop and clubhouse.
The 2019 season opens 15 March.
How to book: www.wigwamholidays.com/forest-park
Adult only breaks in the East of England
The Windmill Suffolk
Originally built in 1891, the recently converted Windmill has been lovingly restored over the past two years into a lavish and luxurious adults-only holiday accommodation, ideal for those that enjoy the finer things in life. Nestled in the beautiful countryside, just two miles from historic Lavenham, it’s perfect for a romantic hideaway for two or for fun filled time off with friends. With stunning panoramic views, you can enjoy the uninterrupted sights from the comfy warmth of the top floor living space.
Relax on inviting and sumptuously oversized handmade velvet sofas, piled high with plump cushions, fluffy blankets and cosy throws. In the small hours unwind and delight in the amazing and far reaching night sky views from the outside balcony on the top floor, perhaps with a glass or two of something chilled from that very handy wine fridge!
Despite the short time frame since opening in 2016, The Windmill already boasts several accolades, scooping a handful of architectural and building awards.
How to book: www.thewindmillsuffolk.com
Best for big spenders
Live like royalty at Clarence House! Not to be confused with the London residence of HRH Prince of Wales, guests opting to spend a week in this Suffolk abode of the same name will still feel like royalty. The grand manor house, set beside a large lake, features open fires, fine antique furniture, various reception rooms, an impressive dining hall, a wine cellar, and 12 bedrooms – most of which are en-suite with roll-top baths.
There is plenty to entertain too, with a cinema room, a games room with pool, table tennis and table football, and a gym, while a tennis court can be found in the extensive 5,000 acres of shared grounds. Set in Sibton, in the Suffolk countryside, Clarence House is just a short drive from the heritage coastal towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold – perfect for a bracing walk.
How to book: The Wow House Company | thewowhousecompany.co.uk