Horses at sunrise in Newmarket, Suffolk

Top 10 Arts & Culture venues in East Anglia

Norwich Castle & Museum

Norwich Castle & Museum is one of the top cultural attractions in Anglia, attracting world class touring art such as Jeff Koons as well as fantastic permanent exhibitions. Look out for paintings by the Norwich School of Artists, founded in 1803 in Norwich, and the first provincial art movement in Britain. Artists of the school were inspired by the natural beauty of the Norfolk landscape and owed some influence to the work of landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age such as Hobbema and Ruisdael.

Where to eat: The cafeteria at the Castle has excellent freshly-made cakes, quiches, soups and stews.

Where to stay: The Old Rectory is a Grade II Listed Georgian house set in mature gardens with lovely views over the River Yare.

Aldeburgh Music at Snape Maltings

It’s remarkable that lying amidst breath-taking views of reeds, marshes, sea and vast skies is one of the world’s great musical centres, Aldeburgh Music, created by composer Benjamin Britten, and attracting visitors from around the world to its year-round programme. Britten wrote some of the most popular classical music of the last 100 years and created a festival, concert hall and creative campus in and around his home town, Aldeburgh.

Where to eat: The Plough and Sail gets top billing and is onsite at Snape Maltings, the Victorian set of buildings dedicated to culture, shopping and eating

Where to stay: For convenience, base yourself in one of Snape Maltings many stylish self-catering cottages. Expect great walks, shops, galleries, deli, café and a pub, all onsite.

Sheringham Little Theatre

The Sheringham Little Theatre is exactly what it says… a little theatre! Quaint, cosy and charming, this is a slice of tradition in a pretty traditional seaside town, offering entertainment all year, with shows, films, music, celebrity evenings and art exhibitions.

Where to eat: Look out for a restaurant or pub serving the local delicacy – Sheringham Lobster.

Where to stay: Try The Beaumaris in Sheringham.


Horses at sunrise in Newmarket, Suffolk

National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art

Newmarket in Suffolk is the birthplace and home of British horseracing, and the location of the historic Newmarket Racecourse. With Discover Newmarket, you can slip behind the scenes of racing’s sacred institutions: the Jockey Club Rooms, Tattersalls auction house, the National Stud and the new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and British Sporting Art which will house temporary exhibitions and thoroughbred horses’ onsite and opens in the summer.

Where to stay: Stay at The Bedford Lodge Hotel, an 18th century Georgian hunting lodge turned bolthole for owners and spectators who enjoy a little post-race luxury.

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 Princess Theatre

The Princess Theatre at Hunstanton was originally built as a cinema but has been hosting theatre for over 80 years. The theatre was renamed after Princess Diana in 1981, and members of the Royal family have often been spotted in the audience. The theatre’s unique look is down to its construction of Norfolk Carrstone.

Where to eat: Head along the A149 coastal road and you’ll find many excellent pubs serving shellfish and seafood. A bowl of moules et frites is always a good choice!

Where to stay: Heacham Manor Hotel has great facilities including a golf course and spa, and Le Strange Arms Hotel is close to Hunstanton beach.

John Peel Centre

John Peel was a national household name on radio, spanning some forty years until his death in 2004. In that time he became known for his eclectic taste, his warmth, and the way he championed new artists and unheard music. During the last three decades of his life, he lived with his family in the village of Great Finsborough, just outside Stowmarket, Suffolk, in the home he affectionately called Peel Acres. Expect an eclectic programme and non-elitist view of art at The John Peel Centre, housed within an attractive and restored historic building in the centre of Stowmarket.

Where to stay: Idyllically located in the heart of rural Suffolk is Creeting House, a Victorian Rectory which is the quintessential English stay.

Where to eat: The Crown at Stowupland, just 2 miles from the centre of Stowmarket, embodies the great British pub. 

Fakenham Racecourse

How about watching National Hunt horse racing at Fakenham Racecourse? There’s nothing like the excitement and buzz of a day at the races from the autumn through to early summer. There’s also racing at Great Yarmouth.

Where to eat: Head to medieval Little Walsingham for a range of pubs and tea rooms.

Where to stay: Try Jex Farmhouse B&B or Oyster House B&B.


Red Rose Chain

This entirely independent theatre group is slowly developing a national reputation. Backed by a truly creative team and writer, Red Rose Chain matches up their exciting plays with the natural environment, such as their Theatre in the Forest season. Due to popular demand they have converted a Victorian hall into their formal residences, although still use external venues to enhance certain plays. Informal, talented and creative can easily describe this theatre company.

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. The dishes are superb and exquisitely presented, and best enjoyed on deck!

The Theatre Royal - Norwich

The Norwich Theatre Royal is one of the top provincial theatres in the country, attracting the very best productions from the world of drama, dance, opera, musical theatre, comedy, music and shows for the young and young at heart.

Where to eat: The theatre has very good restaurants and cafes, but many local restaurants also offer pre-theatre meal deals.

Where to stay: Sprowston Manor Hotel is just outside the city on the edge of the Broads.


Gainsborough's House

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. 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.