Top 10 Museums in East Anglia

The Ipswich Museum

Who knew that in the centre of Ipswich you could find Anglo Saxon treasure or an ancient Egyptian tomb? How about gorillas, rhinos, and even a woolly mammoth? Well, if you head down to the Ipswich Museum on the High Street, you’ll discover these and so much more. There are plenty of hands-on activities for the children to get to grips with, and special events are a regular occurrence.

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

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 while the setting sun dips into the River Orwell.

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

One of the city's most famous landmarks, Norwich Castle was built by the Normans as a royal palace over 900 years ago. Now a museum and art gallery, it is packed with treasures to inspire and intrigue visitors of all ages. Be ready to be astounded by Egyptian mummies, Norwich's famous Snapdragon (which was paraded round town on the annual guilds' day procession), displays on Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and Norfolk’s warrior queen Boudicca, and stuffed animals that include tigers and a roaring polar bear. The castle has regular guided tours that take you out on to the battlements – and down to the dungeons.

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!

Moyse’s Hall Museum

Now this really is a historical museum. Stood in the centre of Bury St Edmunds, just the building itself is over a thousand years old, and houses an eclectic collection of artefacts and exhibits which range from clocks to paintings, military items to prison paraphernalia. Workshops, lectures, and activity days are held regularly, allowing you to immerse yourself in history.

Where to stay: In the heart of this historic market town sits The Angel Hotel, a 4 star award-winning Georgian coaching inn formerly frequented by Charles Dickens, and boasting a unique, art-filled Eaterie.

Where to eat: One of Suffolk’s most outstanding eateries, Pea Porridge is a local favourite whose down-to-earth style and delicious food earned it a place in the Good Food Guide 2015.

Cromer Museum

It's easy to imagine what it was like to live in Cromer at the end of the 19th Century, when you step inside this cosy Victorian fisherman's cottage. There's an amazing collection of fossils in the Geology Gallery – all found in Norfolk. Fascinating displays reveal why Cromer is renowned as a geological area of international importance. Find out about the amazing discovery of the famous West Runton elephant, Britain's oldest and most complete elephant fossil. Marvel at a cast of the skull of a Mosasaur - a huge marine reptile common in the seas that covered Norfolk over 80 million years ago. Around the corner is the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum.

Where to eat: No 1 Cromer is a fish and chip restaurant with stunning views over the pier. Otherwise find a café where you can get a fresh crab sandwich – you can taste the sea.

Where to stay: Try a traditional seaside hotel like Virginia Court Hotel or the award-winning Georgian Grove.

Museum of East Anglian Life

Set within 75 acres of beautiful Suffolk landscape, and containing over 32,000 items, Stowmarket’s Museum of East Anglian Life is one of the grandest museums in the area. It’s a great place to discover how the region’s people lived, worked, and socialised down the centuries.

Where to stay: Idyllically located in the heart of rural Suffolk is Creeting House, a Victorian Rectory which is the quintessential English stay, with spacious bedrooms providing all the right things to help you relax into Suffolk life.

Where to eat: The Crown at Stowupland, just 2 miles from the centre of Stowmarket, embodies the great British pub. A talented team of foodie experts with an authentic pizza oven at their disposal will serve you a sumptuous meal made from locally sourced ingredients, in the surroundings of this 14th century pub.

The Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life

The museum is set in a handsome Tudor house – a rare survivor from the period. The atmospheric hall has beautiful carved ceiling timbers and a stunning decorative fireplace. Film, audio guides and animation bring you in touch with local people from Thetford's past from the famous revolutionary philosopher, Thomas Paine, Sikh hero Maharajah Duleep Singh to rabbit warreners and railway workers.

Where to eat: The Elveden Courtyard uses food from the estate, include game… and squirrels!

Where to stay: Try the Elveden Inn, a lovely boutique hotel.

Woodbridge Tide Mill Living Museum

Woodbridge Tide Mill on the River Deben offers older generations the chance to see the mill’s rare machinery in action, while little ones can get hands-on dressing up as the miller and his family, and playing with the interactive exhibits. Experience the sights, sounds and drama of the mill as wheels and stones turn, grinding the grain as they have done for many hundreds of years.

Where to stay: On the main thoroughfare in the heart of Woodbridge, you’ll discover The Crown: a boutique, marina-styled hotel with a reputation for serving award-winning delicacies, and a bustling bar not only the locals enjoy.

Where to eat: If The Crown doesn’t take your fancy, head to The Table, a relaxed style brasserie brimming with character, serving anything from home-cooked British favourites to something a little more exotic.

King's Lynn Museum

The stunning centrepiece of the museum is a life-size replica of Seahenge. This astonishing Bronze Age timber circle was discovered on a West Norfolk beach and you can see the actual timbers on display. Find out how this ancient wooden structure amazingly survived for 4,000 years. Look closely and you’ll even see the marks made by the bronze axes of the people who meticulously crafted the timbers.

Where to eat: The riverside Marriott’s Warehouse has a good café.

Where to stay: The Bank House in King’s Lynn is a unique Grade II Georgian town house hotel situated by the river in the historic centre

Christchurch Mansion

This beautiful Tudor mansion is the jewel in the crown of Ipswich's historic past, boasting over 500 years of history. Explore the period rooms from the Tudor kitchen to the sumptuous Georgian saloon and the beautifully detailed Victorian wing. Gaze at the fine collection of art from Suffolk artists, including the biggest collection of Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable paintings outside of London.

Where to stay: Relax in total comfort in the cool surroundings of Kesgrave Hall, a magnificent Grade II listed mansion turned country hotel set within the beautiful Suffolk countryside.

Where to eat: As this is a foodie destination, stay put and sample some of the fayre on offer, coupled with a fine bottle of your favourite.

Time and Tide Museum

Set in one of the UK's best preserved Victorian herring curing works, Time and Tide traces Great Yarmouth's history from its Ice Age origins to the present day. Learn about the town’s rich maritime heritage and its development as a popular seaside resort. Wander through an atmospheric re-creation of a typical 1913 'Row' and see inside the homes of a local fisherman and his neighbours. A re-created 1950s fish wharf takes you back to the heady days when the quay was buzzing with fishermen and herring girls.

What to eat: You’re at the English seaside – fish and chips, obviously. On the other hand, Gt Yarmouth has a number of good Greek restaurants too.

Where to stay: The Burlington Palm Hotel is on the seafront, just a few minutes’ walk from the action, and if you don’t want to go in the sea, it has its own swimming pool!