East Coast is the region which stretches from the south of the Wash to the north of the Thames estuary. The region is made up of relaxed traditional seaside resorts, sleepy villages and historic towns and cities such as Peterborough, Cambridge, and Norwich, which is the administrative centre. This region tends to enjoy less rain and more sun than much of the rest of the country and is a great place to explore.
Landscape of the East Coast is one of gentle flatlands, lavender filled fields and vast expanses of open space. On the coast, visitors will discover lengthy golden beaches, excellent for bathing, such as the ones found at Skegness, Great Yarmouth, Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea. There are beautiful coastal walks and fascinating nature reserves to explore, such as those found near Felixstowe.
Inland, the landscape is a patchwork of river valleys, rolling green fields, secluded woodlands and marshlands so beloved by the artist John Constable. There are rural crafts, animal collections, castles, windmills, historic houses and gardens found amongst picture postcard villages and ancient market towns, such as Bury-St-Edmunds and Thetford to name a few.
To the east of Norwich, the Norfolk Broads, a network of rivers and open waterways can be explored by land or boat. This area offers 200km of lock-free boating, spectacular scenery and a diverse wildlife. There is plenty of opportunity for fishing, birdwatching, walking or just enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
History of the East Coast stretches back to the Roman settlement of Colchester, where defence fortifications still remain to this day. East Anglia was later occupied by the Anglo-Saxons who left fascinating burial remains at Sutton Hoo and who named the region after one of their ancient kingdoms – Kingdom of the East Angles.
During the medieval period the East Coast was dotted with religious settlements, whilst the Tudors built up new towns. During the 19th century, some East Anglian resorts, such as Cromer were patronised by royalty and developed into distinctly upper class resorts, which are thankfully more welcoming to the general public today.
Towns and Cities
Ipswich Tourist Information Tel:01473 258070
The town is an extraordinary historical patchwork with over 660 listed buildings and 12 medieval churches. At the same time, it is also a thoroughly modern city, with excellent shopping, fantastic leisure facilities, cinemas and East Anglia’s largest theatre – the Ipswich Regent.
Norwich Tourist Information Tel:01603 727927
The most complete medieval city in Britain, Norwich boasts a rare blend of historic interest and modern sophistication. Explore the intricate network of winding streets and over 1,500 historic buildings, from the splendour of the Norman cathedral and castle to charming Elm Hill, with its timber-framed houses. Norwich is also home to some of the best shopping facilities in the area, from the big name stores in Chapelgate and London Street, to the hand-made goods to be found in the picturesque Lanes area.
Cambridge Tourist Information Tel:0871 2268006
The city’s university is one of the oldest and most respected in the world. With its dreaming spires, wealth of culture and architectural treasures and stunning gardens, bridges and college courts, Cambridge is a city to visit again and again.
Lowestoft Tourist Information Tel:01502 533600
Officially the most easterly town in Britain, Lowestoft is renowned for the quality and cleanliness of its beaches. The town’s first wind turbine, ‘Gulliver’, is the tallest onshore wind turbine in the UK at 80m high. The Royal Plain Fountains on the seafront provide a striking centrepiece, especially in the evenings when they form an illuminated spectacle.
Pick of the Attractions
Sandringham Estate Tel:01553 612908
The country retreat of Her Majesty the Queen, Sandringham is Norfolk’s most splendid stately home and is open to the public from March to October (except when the Royal Family is in residence).
Lavenham Tourist Information Tel:01787 248207
The town boasts a fine collection of medieval half-timbered buildings, including the splendid 16th century Guildhall of Corpus Christi and the ‘Wool Church’ of St Peter & Paul, which has one of the tallest towers in East Anglia.
Flatford Mill and Flatford Bridge Cottage Tel:01206 298260
The mill, once owned by Constable’s father, and its surroundings provided the subject matter for many of his paintings and Willie Lott’s cottage was immortalised in Constable’s most celebrated work – ‘The Hay Wain‘.
Castle Acre Priory Tel:01760 755394
One of the largest and best preserved monastic sites in the country, the Clunic Priory was established in the 11th century.
Over 200km of lock-free waterways can be explored either by boat or on land. As Britain’s largest protected wetland, the Broads is home to some of the rarest plants and wildlife in the UK, including the colourful swallowtail butterfly and the enchanting white water lily.
Gainsborough House Tel:01787 372958
The only artist’s birthplace in Britain to be open to the public shows a large collection of Gainsborough’s paintings, drawings and prints as well as temporary exhibitions. The walled garden to the rear, which contains a 400 year old mulberry tree, is used for various exhibitions in the summer months.