While many cultural and arts venues aren’t yet open, there’s still lots to enjoy, if you know where to look. Luckily, we’ve done the digging for you…
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery
If you’re going to prove you’re the Conquerors, then a really good way to do that is build a huge earth mound and plonk a whopping great castle on it. Who are the dirty old rascals now, eh?
Built as a Royal Palace 900 years ago on the orders of William the Conqueror, the castle now hosts a fabulous museum and art collection, featuring everything from one of the largest teapot collections in England to a superb natural history gallery, a Snapdragon, and paintings from the Norwich School.
Today, the exterior of Norwich Castle is regularly transformed with incredible projections celebrating national days and Christmas, as our photo demonstrates. (If you think the castle is in good nick for a 900-year-old building, we’ll let you in on a little secret – it was re-clad by the Victorians.)
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum
If you want to teach your kids that they don’t know they’re born, this is the place for you. The Victorian workhouse buildings bring to life grim Oliver Twist reality of daily life for the poor who lived there, the drudgery of daily life, the horrible food and punishments for minor indiscretions. They’ll never complain again about being given limited time on the X-Box.
Oh, and it’s great fun too!
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
If you’re familiar with Marvel movies, you’ll recognise The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on the University of East Anglia campus at Norwich as the upstate New York HQ of The Avengers.
Norman Foster’s first major commission, the centre houses a wonderful collection of art and sculptures from around the world, including works by Francis Bacon, Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso.
If the weather’s nice head out on the Sculpture Trail around the Broad and trailing through lovely woodland and by the riverside.
Gt Yarmouth Hippodrome
Dubbed one of the wonders of the British seaside, the Hippodrome is Britain’s only surviving total circus building and one of only three in the world with a circus floor that sinks into a pool.
Famous for its circus shows and for hosting acts and performers as diverse as Charlie Chaplin, Houdini, The Berlin Symphony Orchestra and BBC Question Time, the venue now has regular shows through the year. You’ve got to go, if only for the Water Spectacular.
Constable Country and paintings
Dedham Vale and Stour Valley are known as Constable Country. Cycling or walking around there and on the Shotley Peninsula is an absolute delight, seeing where he took his inspiration. Afterwards, head to Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich where you can see the largest collection of his paintings outside London.
Built by Herbert de Losinga as penance from the Pope for bribing his way to the Bishopric, Norwich Cathedral is one of the wonders of Norfolk.
The cathedral, built by the Normans with stone brought from Caen, has the largest medieval cloisters in the country, and the second highest spire after Salisbury.
Look out for graffiti made by the original masons, the story of the Despenser Retable, and the ornate ceiling.
Time & Tide Museum
Built in an original fish smokeworks, this award-winning museum tells the maritime history of Great Yarmouth, in particular from the days when the port was at the centre of the east coast herring industry. You can still smell the smoke!
Inside is a recreation of a Row, where people lived cheek by jowl in tiny houses with just a narrow passageway between them, just wide enough to get the fish carts through.
Live music will be returning soon, but in the meantime just soak up the atmosphere of this fine establishment.
The shops and eateries are open again, and there’s nothing better than walking the grounds, enjoying the sculptures, and taking in the views of the Alde estuary. If you want to stretch your legs take a walk to Iken Church and back along the waterside.
Moyse’s Hall Museum
Once the town’s workhouse, Moyse’s Hall Museum has taken pride of place in Bury St Edmunds marketplace for nearly 900 years, becoming a museum in 1899.
The museum documents Bury’s history, from the Abbey’s troubled past, from creation to dissolution, to bygone prison tools and apparatus to various objects and items which provide gruesome and macabre insight into witchcraft and the country’s mistaken obsession with the occult and superstition.
Please, before you travel to the East of England, 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.