Holidays may be looking a little different this year, but thankfully East Anglia has plenty to offer if you’re thinking of booking a mini break.
Read our guide to the best staycation locations in the UK. Here are our favourite beach destinations, countryside escapes and chic city breaks in the UK, complete with accommodation and dining recommendations.
Holidays in Norfolk
If you’re looking to escape the crowds on the North Norfolk coast set up base at Cley-next-the-Sea. Generally quiet, even during peak times, the sleepy coastal village is lined with flint cottages. The Cley windmill, which offers accommodation and a restaurant, stands proud on the marshes. Pick up local produce at the Cley Smokehouse or Picnic Fayre. It’s a great location for long country and coastal walks, where you could potentially not see a soul for miles!
Eat: Dun Cow, Salthouse
Stay: Cottage rental via the Blakeney Cottage Company
Neighbouring Brancaster and Hunstanton often steal the limelight of this tiny village on the North Norfolk Coast. There’s beach for days. Run wild and care-free for miles and miles. In the distance you’ll see the colourful cliffs and lighthouse of Hunstanton. It’s great for a dog-owners as there’s no restrictions and plenty of long walks along Holme Dunes and Norfolk Coast Path. There are very few facilities, perfect for social distancing. Pack a picnic and watch the sunset!
Eat: Old Town Beach Café, Old Hunstanton
Stay: Lavender Barn, available to rent via oceanbreaks.com
Beccles and neighbouring Bungay, are two gorgeous Georgian towns, nestled in the Waveney Valley. Suffolk’s coastal towns may pull in the crowds, but Beccles and Bungay offer an enjoyable weekend away too. Rent a boat and navigate the southern Broads, follow the Beccles Marsh Trail along the river, find a hidden treasure in the local antique stores or learn about the local history with the Bungay Town Trail. You can also sample local tipples at Flint Vineyard and St Peter’s Brewery in Bungay.
Eat: Graze at The White Horse, Beccles
Stay: Waveney House Hotel, Beccles
The timber clad buildings, cobbled streets and colourful cottages of Lavenham and Long Melford will make you feel as though you have been transported back in time. There’s a photo opportunity around every corner! Spend a slow morning drinking and eating in one of the many tearooms, shop in the boutiques and art galleries and wander around the local countryside. Stop by Kentwell Hall, a Tudor mansion with pretty gardens and walking routes. There are often seasonal events which brings history to life.
Stay: The Swan at Lavenham
Staycation in Essex
There’s no loud amusements or buckets and spades, instead expect rustic shores with pretty pastel beach huts and seafood shacks. Embrace your active side with paddle boarding, kayaking and sailing. The jetty is the perfect location for enjoying a spot of crabbing. Tuck into fresh fish and chips, seafood platters or oysters – a local delicacy. As the sunset sets take a boat trip or nab an outdoor seat at one of the restaurants and sip Champagne. West Mersea is also home to a vineyard if want to try a local tipple. Nearby Colchester offers excellent shopping opportunities and Constable Country is only 30 minutes away too!
Stay: The Victory at Mersea
Saffron Walden, Essex
If you’re looking for a country escape but still want amenities on your doorstep, then book a weekend break in Saffron Walden. The small market town has plenty of tearooms and restaurants. Shop at the twice weekly market, boutiques or antique stores. Explore the 17th century Audley End House and Gardens, Bridge End Gardens and Audley End Park. If you have little ones in tow hop aboard the Audley End Miniature Railway or visit Stansted Mountfitchet Castle. Saffron Walden is surrounded by pretty villages with lovely country walks and cosy pubs.
Eat: The Coach & Horses Pub, Newport
City Breaks in Cambridge
Cambridge is a popular city to visit at any time of year. The cobbled streets, colleges, parks and riverbanks are great for wandering. Admire the changing seasons through the parks, cycle along the riverbanks and country trails, hire a punt or book a college tour. Back street pubs and cosy coffee shops offer the perfect place to refuel. Enjoy an evening at a cocktail bar or dine with views of the city, tucking into local hearty produce.
Stay: University Arms Hotel