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10 reasons to have a holiday in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 14:10 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:15 26 June 2018

A seagull on the beach in Aldeburgh, where things will feel a lot cooler than in recent days. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A seagull on the beach in Aldeburgh, where things will feel a lot cooler than in recent days. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

You want sun, sea, sand, good food, and award-winning attractions? OK – look no further than the broad skies and wild shores of the east of England.

Felixstowe Spa Gardens and Docks Picture: PETER BASHFelixstowe Spa Gardens and Docks Picture: PETER BASH

Royalty holiday here. Prime ministers holiday here. Ed Sheeran ruddy loves Suffolk. And even Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift have graced East Anglian beaches with their presence.

Accommodation

You really are spoilt for places to stay – whatever your budget. In East Anglia you’ll discover woodland campsites, cliff top caravan parks with dramatic vistas, spa hotels oozing glamour, lakeside fishing lodges, and self-catering within teensy fishermen’s cottages and country houses. Whether you’ve got a couple of hundred pounds to spare, or thousands, your holiday awaits.

Crown and Castle in Orford. Food review for Suffolk Magazine.Crown and Castle in Orford. Food review for Suffolk Magazine.

Food and drink

This is the home of world class breweries and distilleries, and of some of the very finest ingredients our fair isles have to offer. Free-range pork. Rare breed beef. Saltmarsh lamb. Fish and shellfish caught by day boats off the coast. Hand-picked samphire. Asparagus. Strawberries. Bean-to-bar chocolate. East Anglia offers rich pickings indeed. Michelin-starred Morston Hall can be found in Norfolk. Visit Norwich to try the food of Great British Menu star Richard Bainbridge. Or stop by restaurants such as Maison Bleue, 1921, The Unruly Pig, Pea Porridge and Tuddenham Mill for incredible eats. Over the border in Essex, Colchester’s Grain is a must-visit. That’s not to mention all the award-winning pubs, cafes and farm shops too. You will not go hungry!

Restaurant review, The Marquis, Layham: Patridge with black figs and brioche.Restaurant review, The Marquis, Layham: Patridge with black figs and brioche.

Beaches

Oh the beaches. Again, you are totally spoilt. If rugged coastlines are your thing, make for the eastern side of Essex’s Mersea Island, or the other-worldly stony shore of Shingle Street in Suffolk, where strange sea vegetables unfurl from between the pebbles, and where you could spot shark’s teeth and amber. Felixstowe has seen a tide of change in recent years and offers so much for a family day out – excellent fish and chips, gourmet ice cream parlours, a sandy beach, fantastic modern pier amusements and, of course, crabbing at Old Felixstowe. The seafront gardens are beautiful too. Aldeburgh and Southwold are tops for fashionistas and foodies. Lowestoft brings more sandy fun, as does Cromer. And the wild sand dunes of Walberswick or Holme-next-the-Sea are just stunning.

Hot weather in Felixstowe bring out thousands of beach goers. Picture: GREGG BROWNHot weather in Felixstowe bring out thousands of beach goers. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Country parks and woodlands

Simply the best for a picnic, kicking about a football or flying a kite. East Anglia has loads of country parks and woods to make the most of. We rather like Clare Castle Park, Christchurch Park, Thetford Forest, Holt Country Park and Bacton Woods.

Thetford Forest. Picture: MARK HUNTERThetford Forest. Picture: MARK HUNTER

Attractions

If you have children in tow they won’t get bored, with so much on the doorstep. Colchester Zoo, Africa Alice, Banham Zoo and Easton Farm Park have animal encounters sorted. Visit the Dad’s Army museum and ride on a train at Bressingham (the gardens are amazing too). Ride the Sheringham to Holt line under steam. Follow the trail at Dinosaur Adventure Park. Ride a boat through the boggy marshes to Bewilderwood where a magical day of treetop bridges, slides and zip wires awaits. Hire a day boat on the Broads. Or battle it out on the American-style crazy golf course at Ufford Park. Phew. There’s just too much to do.

Elephant at Colchester Zoo. Picture: PAUL BURNSElephant at Colchester Zoo. Picture: PAUL BURNS

Sport

Is fitness your thing? Let us whet your appetite. Run one of the many races put on by local clubs throughout the year. Sail, kayak and paddle board on Suffolk’s creeks or on open water at Alton Water or Lackford Lakes. Climb The Cragg at Stowmarket. Take on the Ninja Challenge in Colchester. Or bounce it out at one of the east’s trampoline parks.

Sailing in Oulton Broad. Picture: PETER WILESSailing in Oulton Broad. Picture: PETER WILES

Adventure

There are so many adventures to be had. Traverse the obstacles at The Playground in Barrow. Take on the high ropes challenge Go Ape in Thetford Forest (or go on Segway). Step inside one of the biggest laser battling arenas in the country at Planet Laser in Bury St Edmunds. Check out one of the go-karting tracks. Whizz along on dry land at Flo-Ridaz – a hovercraft driving experience in Mendlesham.

Family bike ride through the Essex countryside.Family bike ride through the Essex countryside.

Walk and Cycle

Miles and miles of off-road cycling and quiet country roads await cyclists, with lovely routes including the 69 mile Painters Trail around Constable Country, The Saints cycle around the Bungay area, and the marked paths within Thetford and Rendlesham Forests. Keen walkers will love the Suffolk Coastal Path and the Norfolk Trails network. Wherever you stay, you’re never far from a brilliant walk.

Latitude Festival is only days away. Picture: JEN O'NEILLLatitude Festival is only days away. Picture: JEN O'NEILL

Art and culture

East Anglia is the home of Constable, Gainsborough, Benjamin Britten and more recently, Maggi Hambling. There is a simply enormous arts scene, traversing music, art, theatre, literature and photography. World class facilities includes the Jerwood Dancehouse and Snape Maltings. Top acts regularly appear in the east’s theatres. Then there’s the pull of festivals such as Latitude, and literary events like Slaughter in Southwold.

Norman Tower in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: GREGG BROWNNorman Tower in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Places

There are simply too many wonderful places to visit. UNESCO city of literature Norwich. Beautiful Bury St Edmunds with its independent shops and clutch of award-winning restaurants. Medieval Lavenham (with its links to Harry Potter). Southwold, where you can ‘whack a banker’ on the pier. West Runton for fossil hunting. Horsey for seal spotting. The list is endless.

If you’re holidaying in East Anglia keep an eye on the East Anglian Daily Times, Ipswich Star, Norwich Evening News and Eastern Daily Press websites for all the latest ideas for days out and events.

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