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Autumn adventure in the East of England

Johnny Hathaway_Autumn_2019 (27)

It’s the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and there’s nowhere better to enjoy this special time of the year than in the East of England.

Here’s our guide to the best places to visit and the best things to do…

Red deer rutting

Red deer rut Minsmere - John Evans

It’s that time of the year when the show off male deer try and out antler each other. See if you can spot this spectacular show of machismo at RSPB Minsmere or on the Holkham Hall estate.

North Norfolk coast

Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk

The days may be shorter but the sunsets here are phenomenal, like this one at Burnham Overy Staithe where Horatio Nelson learned to sail. This is the place for a long beach walks and then finding a cosy pub with a roaring fire and fresh mussels on the menu.

University Cambridge

Punts on the River Cam in Autumn, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.

Overseas visitors will be back next year so now’s a great time for a casual stroll along the River Cam as the trees divest their leaves. You could even take out a punt with Scudamores or find a riverside café or pub before exploring the characterful city centre.

Shellfish in Suffolk

Dunwich beach

The Suffolk coast is a great place to work up an appetite on shingle beaches at Dunwich or Aldeburgh. Dogs aren’t mandatory but they’re great companions. Buy fresh fish or shellfish at Southwold’s Blackshore Harbour, on Aldeburgh seafront or at Orford Ness (maybe head over to the Nature Reserve or take a look at the Castle). Or take the other option and find a characterful pub or restaurant.

Fred Sirieix Escapes The Everyday in Southwold

Gallop to Newmarket

Newmarket Gallops

How about sunrise at Newmarket, where as dawn breaks you may see many of the 2000 horses in the world’s racing headquarters out for an early morning canter on The Gallops. Then pop into the National Horse Racing Museum for a hearty breakfast and a tour.

Be a flaneur in Norwich

Autumn Quayside Norwich

Take a leisurely stroll along the River Wensum in the best preserved medieval city in the country. Enjoy the cobbled streets of Elm Hill and Tombland, the wonderful Market Place, and don’t miss the spectacular Norman cathedral and castle.

Dippy the Dinosaur at the Cathedral

Take a walk on the Wash side

RSPB Snettisham, The Wash

The annual migration of birdlife is starting to happen and there’s nowhere better to see it than at RSPB Snettisham on the estuarine Wash in west Norfolk. Get up early and if you’re there for daybreak you’ll encounter tens of thousands of birds in a mass dawn dance.

Explore the Brecks

Family at High Lodge, Thetford Forest

This area on the Norfolk-Suffolk border has the best overall daytime climate of anywhere in the UK! In Thetford Forest head out from High Lodge on walking, cycling and orienteering trails… or, if you’ve got a head for heights, try Go Ape. Neolithic Grime’s Graves will give you an adventure, or Oxburgh Hall is a bit more sedate but no less fun (discover the Priest Hole).

Fun for all the family

Thrigby Zoo, Great Yarmouth

It may be Autumn but visitor attractions are still open. If you’re after a taste of the exotic then zoos include Banham, Africa Alive, Thrigby Hall and Amazona, or enjoy the petting zoo at Wroxham Barns. If the weather is inclement, many attractions have fabulous outdoor AND indoor facilities, including Pensthorpe and Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure. And to discover an entirely different world, head for BeWILDerwood to meet the Twiggles and Boggles.

Discover our fascinating history

Visitors walking on the Royal Burial Ground in autumn at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

National Trust properties in the East of England provide a brilliant way of exploring our heritage. Our current fave is Sutton Hoo. Head up the 15m-high viewing tower to get a real sense of this Anglo Saxon Royal Burial Ground, the focus of the recent Netflix film The Dig starring Ralph Fiennes.

East of England National Trust

Head out on the water

Wherry sunset, Broads

It’s not too late to hire a day boat to explore the 125 miles of navigable waterways that are the Broads, the UK’s only man-made National Park. Far quieter than in the Summer, this is a great time to enjoy this tranquil setting and its spectacular wildlife.

Explore the Broads

Explore our dynamic coast

Winterton Dunes, Norfolk

We believe this region has the most dynamic coast in the country, constantly changing and evolving. In recent years tidal surges have revealed the remains of the largest mammoth skeleton ever found and the 850,000 year old footprints of possibly the first humans to arrive in our country – now part of our Deep History Coast.

One thing that helps stabilise the coast is marram grass which has deep roots to protect dunes. Why not head to Winterton-on-Sea which has one of the best examples of dune land in the East of England. You can see the cute seal colony too… but please keep your distance and keep dogs on leads. Or for a real adventure see the largest seal colony in the country at Blakeney Point on a boat trip from Morston Quay with Beans Boats.

Norfolk’s dynamic coast