Situated on the east of England, the region of East Anglia is sometimes overlooked by visitors drawn to the better known beauty spots of the Cotswolds, Lakes or Peak District. Those ready to take a closer look, though, will find beautiful countryside, pretty market towns, wide sandy beaches and magnificent buildings. It’s also a must-visit location for wildlife enthusiasts, offering the best birdwatching opportunities in the country.
But where is it? The late English reality TV star Jade Goody once famously declared it to be “abroad…like, next to Tunisia”. She may have been a little off-the-mark, but the borders of the region are a cause of some debate. It takes its name from the sixth century kingdom of the East Angles which covered the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and at least part of Cambridgeshire. Today, the British Government has extended it for statistical purposes to cover the whole of Cambridgeshire, and other groups add Essex to their definition too.
Whatever the precise borders, East Anglia contains enough memorable locations for the most demanding visitor. Read on for our pick of the best.
1. The Norfolk Broads
Covering over 300 square kilometres, the inter-connected rivers and lakes of the Norfolk Broads are a haven for boating, fishing and birdwatching.
The “broads” themselves are lakes, formed from the flooding of pits dug in medieval times to extract peat, then used as fuel. Today, the waterways carry a variety of special designations protecting their unique wildlife and features.
The whole network is lock-free, making it easily navigable by every type of boat from racing yachts to motor launches, many of which can be hired in the area. While you’re there, look out for the Norfolk wherry, a traditional cargo boat dating back to the seventeenth century. Some specimens have been restored and still sail the broads today.