Please, don’t travel to the East of England now. But you can start planning for when it’s safe! When we’re allowed to travel, Know Before You Go – ensure places you want to visit are open, see if you have to pre-book. We’ve supplied click-throughs to attractions for you to check.
Southern Broads and Waveney Valley
The quieter, more tranquil part of the Broads National Park is on the south Norfolk border with the Waveney Valley but the landscapes and wildlife are just as superb.
You can start exploring the river at its very source at Redgrave and Lopham Fen National Nature Reserve. Not far away is Thorpe Abbotts 100th Bomb Group Museum where you can learn more about The Friendly Invasion, when 350,000 US servicemen were based in the East of England during the second world war (gen up before Apple TV releases its Tom Hanks-Steven Speilberg collaboration Masters of the Air). If you like that you’ll also enjoy the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton.
There are lovely market towns to visit including Diss, Harleston, Beccles and Bungay and for water activities you can hire canoes at Outney Meadow, Beccles and at the Waveney River Centre, where you have to discover the ziggurat-shaped Burgh St Peter Church. Nearby are Carlton Marshes, 1000 acres of wildness that are gradually transforming into the southern gateway to the Broads National Park . As water flows back onto the land, nature is taking over once again.
Brecks and Thetford Forest
The Brecks and Thetford Forest has the best overall climate in the entire country – great place for a break.
If you’re after a bit of eco-friendly adventure and a chance to experience nature then High Lodge at Thetford Forest is for you. 73 square miles await with, with myriad walking and cycling trails, thrilling mountain biking courses, Segway hire, aerial ropes at Go Ape, archery and picnic areas.
In the wider Brecks visit riverside Thetford with its Dad’s Army Museum (it was filmed here), Priory ruins and huge Norman motte (climb to the top for great views), Oxburgh Hall and Grime’s Graves. Or venture out on the Pingo Trail.
Five rural market towns in mid-Suffolk make up the Wool Towns – Lavenham, Clare, Long Melford, Hadleigh and Sudbury. The five historic communities, all within an easy drive or cycle of each other, are some of the most picturesque you’ll find in the region.
Well-constructed and handsome, the towns were built on the back of the wool and weaving trade. Today, they stand testament to when the East was the wealthiest part of England outside London.
Explore higgledy-piggledy streets with timber-framed houses leaning at quirky angles, enjoy independent shops selling everything from gifts to antiques, award-winning restaurants and charming tea rooms.
In this expanse of land between the Rivers Orwell and Stour, there’s plenty to see and do, not least sailing or windsurfing at Alton Water. This expansive reservoir is a great spot for birdwatching, walking and cycling. There’s bike and canoe hire.
Head down to the end of the peninsula and seeing the ocean-going traffic from Felixstowe and Harwich. Relax at National Trust Pin Mill, visit Jimmy’s Farm and stock up on deli delights at the Suffolk Food Hall while enjoying spectacular views of the Orwell Bridge.