Constable Country in Essex

Top 10 Art to see in East Anglia

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery is not just an historical gem, one of the best preserved Norman castles in the UK, but it also has impressive art galleries and is home to some superb fine art, such as Norwich River: Afternoon by founding master of the Norwich School John Crome. The Castle recently hosted a Jeff Koons exhibition, which made it into CNN's worldwide list of top 19 events 'worth travelling for'.

Where to stay: After all the city excitement head out to Sprowston Manor Hotel on the edge of the Broads.

Where to eat: Norwich Market Place chips – deep fried in beef fat, liberally doused with vinegar and salt. Heaven!

The Lookout, Aldeburgh

Lookout Tower inspires artists in Suffolk. The bonds between Aldeburgh, art, and the sea have always been strong ones. The Aldeburgh coastline has captured the hearts of many artists through the centuries, and The Lookout on Aldeburgh beach is a place where artists can spend the week, stay in basic living conditions and absorb the influences of the Suffolk coast.

Where to stay: The Landmark Trust offers unusual holiday properties. One that sticks out is Martello Tower at Aldeburgh: the biggest of these defensive towers ever constructed.

Where to eat: The Seafood & Grill restaurant at The Brudenell Hotel not only offers panoramic sea views and al fresco dinning and has recently been awarded 2 AA rosettes.

Houghton Hall

Built in the 1720s by Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's Prime Minister, Houghton Hall is one of the country's finest Palladian houses. The gardens and park are also beautiful and include some stunning modern artworks including pieces by James Turrell and Richard Long. Look out for the Model Soldier Museum too.

Where to stay: Congham Hall is an elegant Georgian manor with spa facilities, set in gracious parkland.

Where to eat: The Dabbling Duck at Great Massingham – it’s a favourite of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

Maggie Hambling's Scallop at Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk

Aldeburgh Beach

A controversial figure if ever there was one, Maggi Hambling CBE is one of Suffolk’s most famous artists, and the sculptor of the iconic stainless steel scallop on Aldeburgh beach. As many Suffolk artists before her, Maggi developed a strong association with the river-carved landscape of south Suffolk. Her portraits gained her worldwide recognition in the 1980s with many now housed in London's National Portrait Gallery, The British Museum and Tate Collection.

Where to stay: Located on the beachfront at Aldeburgh is the whitewashed White Lion Hotel, ideal for recharging the batteries and experiencing the surroundings.

Where to eat: The Seafood & Grill restaurant at The Brudenell Hotel not only offers panoramic sea views and al fresco dinning and has recently been awarded 2 AA rosettes.

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art is a world-class exhibition site at the University of East Anglia, designed by Norman Foster. The Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection has modern European art interspersed with works from across the globe, spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. Look out for works by Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas and Amedeo Modigliani. There are also special exhibitions, which change every few months.

Where to stay: The 17th century King's Head at Bawburgh is close to the Sainsbury Centre, and set in an idyllic riverside village.

Where to eat: Sugarbeat has a traditional country inn look but is a modern diner inside. 

Horses at sunrise in Newmarket, Suffolk

The Jockey Club Rooms, Newmarket

Newmarket in Suffolk is the birthplace and home of British horseracing and home to the new multi-million pound visitor attraction National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art opening summer 2016. Temporary held exhibitions will don the walls, but you don't need to wait until then to see some magnificent pieces. The Jockey Club Rooms is a place to unwind and absorb the heritage of this amazing sport; stay and eat or just eat, and spy many a piece by the masters Stubbs and Munnings.

Where to stay: Stay at The Bedford Lodge Hotel, an 18th century Georgian hunting lodge turned luxury hotel.

Where to eat: Sample the unique opportunity of dining at the Jockey Club Rooms, a private members club that opens its doors to those in the know. 

The MO Sheringham Museum

The Mo Sheringham Museum tells of the town’s history through its people, boats and art. As well as three lifeboats, which served the town over 150 years, there are fishing boats and crab boats made by local boat builders. Displays about the history of Sheringham include wonderful objects, such as the zeppelin bomb which hit the town in the first world war, paintings The Fishing Smack Gannet by John Craske and The Holiday Season by Campbell Mellon.

Where to stay: Try the Victorian Links Hotel that has recently been refurbished.

Where to eat: Get an ice cream and take a walk along the promenade (where there are also many cafes and pubs).

Gainsborough's House, Sudbury

Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury explores the life and art of Thomas Gainsborough, and in its walled garden you can spot the ancient mulberry tree planted by the master himself in order to produce silk. Unfortunately, it is not the right kind of mulberry tree and today you can purchase the jam proffered from this famous natural landmark. Explore inside the house, ‘a most excellent Brickt Mansion’ from the 1700s, where some of his finest works are on display, as well as works of art by his contemporaries.

Where to stay: The Mill Hotel in Sudbury is nestled in breathtaking Suffolk countryside on the banks of the River Stour. 

Where to eat: To be truly authentic, dine in one of the buildings that existed around Gainsborough’s time, such as The Black Boy Hotel or The Angel.

Norwich Cathedral in the glorious sunshine

Norwich Cathedral

There are many reasons to visit Norwich Cathedral, but don’t miss the treasured 14th century Despenser Retable behind the altar of St Luke’s chapel. The painting, depicting the death and resurrection of Christ, went missing for 300 years after the Puritan days of the 16th century. It was only rediscovered in 1847 when someone in the cathedral dropped something on the floor underneath a table, looked up… and there it was! To save it from being destroyed, someone had nailed the painting face down to hide it!

Where to stay: Breckland B&B is a few miles outside the city, by the beautiful Norfolk Broads.

Where to eat: The Refectory Restaurant in the cathedral precinct.

Constable Country, Ipswich

Ipswich has long held the largest collection of Constable works outside London, with over 30 works on permanent display at Christchurch Mansion, resulting in a unique collection of Constable’s life and work. After immersing yourself in Constable’s paintings in Ipswich, you can explore the landscape that inspired them. 

Where to stay: Right on Ipswich’s marina waterfront stands the Salthouse Harbour Hotel. Expect modern art and design, and knock-out views.

Where to eat: The Mariners is a floating French brasserie moored in Ipswich’s iconic marina.