Top 10 Historical sites to visit in East Anglia

Sutton Hoo

Thought to be the final resting place of Rædwald, King of the East Angles, the Sutton Hoo ship burial contained a horde of undisturbed riches. In the burial chamber itself, archaeologists uncovered a metalwork suit of armour, a shield and sword, a lyre, pieces of silver plate from the Eastern Roman Empire, and a now famous ceremonial helmet. Today Sutton Hoo still sets the imaginations of aspiring time travellers alight, with a fascinating exhibition, solstice celebrations and historical talks.

Where to stay: On the main thoroughfare, in the heart of Woodbridge, you’ll discover The Crown – a boutique, marina-styled hotel.

Where to eat: If The Crown doesn’t take your fancy, head to The Table, a relaxed brasserie brimming with character.

Strangers Hall

Strangers Hall is named after Flemish weavers, who migrated to Norwich to escape religious persecution, but also to lend their skills to the city’s growing textile industry. They brought with them Canaries, after whom the Premier football club Norwich City are nicknamed.

Where to eat: Wander the streets of the small city centre until you find somewhere you like – there’s lots of choice.

Where to stay: The Old Rectory B&B is a Grade II listed Georgian house dating back to 1754, close to the city centre and river.

West Stow Anglo Saxon Village

In the 1960s and 70s, a group of architects spent several years uncovering an astonishing discovery in the Suffolk village of West Stow. They had found an ancient village, complete with 69 houses and 7 halls, once home to about 700 Anglo-Saxon people. Part of the settlement has since been recreated and is now a functioning village where time travellers can learn about ancient ways of life, watch re-enactments, and even dress up as Anglo-Saxons themselves!

Where to stay: Set within 1800 acres of protected parkland, The Ickworth Hotel is a family country retreat that prides itself on entertaining the very young to the very old.

Where to eat: Stay put and dine at Fredrick’s whilst the children are tucked safely up in bed. Grab a table overlooking the Italianate gardens whilst sampling European cuisine.

Castle Rising

One of the largest, best preserved and most lavishly decorated keeps in England, surrounded by 20 acres of mighty earthworks, Castle Rising near King’s Lynn was started in 1138 by William d'Albini for his new wife, the widow of Henry I. In the 14th century it became the luxurious exile-place of Queen Isabella, widow (and alleged murderess) of Edward II. Castle Rising comprises three baileys, each defended by large earthworks, covering a total area of 12 acres.

Where to eat: There’s good food at Marriott’s Way on the South Quay at King’s Lynn.

Where to stay: Bank House is a unique Grade II Georgian town house hotel, set on the quay side in historic King’s Lynn.

The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art

A major new UK visitor attraction opening summer 2016 will celebrate the home of horseracing and Newmarket’s Royal history, which spans over 350 years and dates back to Charles II. Visitors can interact with retired equine heroes, view art by famous masters from over the centuries as well as temporary exhibitions, and explore the story of people and horses involved in racing from its Royal origins to its modern heroes. More than a museum, this is a unique destination showcasing Britain’s rich heritage of horseracing.

Where to stay: Stay at The Bedford Lodge Hotel, an 18th century Georgian hunting lodge. Today it’s a 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. 

Castle Acre

Castle Acre near Swaffham was founded after the Norman Conquest in the 1070s by William de Wavenne, who was awarded the land by William the Conqueror. Although there is not much built stone left the earthworks are still very impressive and together with the priory and walled town comprises one of the best examples of Norman estate planning in the country.

Where to eat: CoCoes Deli in Swaffham has gorgeous home-made food.

Where to stay: Strattons is an award-winning quality boutique hotel in Swaffham.

 

Landguard fort

Landguard Fort has played a key strategic part in the defence of the British Isles since the 1500s, near the Port of Felixstowe on the Suffolk coast. After facing the invasion of the Dutch, changing with the architectural influences prevalent in the time of Henry VIII and the Victorians, and providing service through the two World Wars, Landguard Fort’s role as a military base came to an end in 1957. Today the fort is the most striking venue for military re-enactments, spooky events, daily intriguing tours and art exhibitions.

Where to stay: Built in 1903, the Fludyers Hotel is an inviting, vibrant and recently restored Edwardian seaside hotel situated on Felixstowe beach front.

Where to eat: Take a brisk walk to the Hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry and travel back in time to the cosy Ferry Boat Inn, situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Burgh Castle

Watching the sun set behind the marshes from the Burgh Castle is an unmissable experience. There are massive Roman flint walls overlooking Breydon Water, just inland from Great Yarmouth. Parts of the gateway and defences of another fort can also be seen at nearby Caister-on-Sea. Amazing to think that in Roman times Burgh Castle and Caister fort guarded the entrance of a mile-wide estuary to the open sea, before Great Yarmouth was even there! At that time the river here led to Venta Icenorum Roman town near Norwich.

Where to eat: The Fisherman’s Arms at Burgh Castle looks out across the water.

Where to stay: The delightful Fritton Arms is part of the Somerleyton Estate. Take a stroll around the lake.

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. 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. Get ready to explore the countryside right on your doorstep, or watch others from the warm and cosy bar area.

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.

 

The Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads aren’t natural, they’re actually the result of medieval digging for peat to use as fuel. As water levels rose they became inundated with water. Nowadays they’re great for exploring by foot, cycle or by hiring a day boat, and the wildlife is unrivalled. Read more about the history of the Broads.

Where to eat: The Fur & Feather at Woodbastwick is the brewery tap of Woodforde’s Ales. Try the fantastic Yorkshire Puddings!

Where to stay: Sprowston Manor Hotel is close to all the main sights of the Broads.