Self-Catering Cottage Holidays in East England and East Anglia
Our guide to holidays in East England and East Anglia
The area of East Anglia and Eastern England has a colourful history, not least because it was settled by the Angles and sacked by the Danes. Now however, its fens, cities and beautiful countryside are the stuff of which dream holidays are made.
Read our guide to Eastern England and East Anglia, or browse through all of our holiday cottages in East England and East Anglia
Cambridge is known worldwide thanks to its university, the colleges of which were used in the Oscar winning film "The Theory of Everything". Enjoy a punt on the River Cam as it meanders past the Bridge of Sighs, or head upstream to the idyllic village of Grantchester which inspired Rudyard Kipling to write one of his best loved odes. Architecture isn't the only art-form celebrated in Cambridgeshire - there are several superb galleries, museums and theatres.
The Cambridgeshire Fens is a green swathe of nature reserves and waterways. More than 200 miles of rivers lattice the area, providing ample opportunity for sailing, fishing and watching wildlife such as birds and water voles. Chatteris, Whittlesey, Wisbech and March are all amazing market towns and the ideal base from which to explore the region. Ely, with its impressive cathedral, is also worth visiting.
One of the many benefits of holidaying in Eastern England is the proximity to Greater London. Even if you don't live in the area, it's a transport hub and makes getting to Essex a breeze. This is a county of superb shopping and exciting nightlife, but also peaceful woods, historic buildings, cosy country pubs and 350-miles of incredible coastline.
Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea are two of the better known beach resorts in Essex, offering traditional bucket-and-spade appeal, with Southend boasting the world's longest pleasure pier - that's a lot of 2p machines! Walton-on-the-Naze and Frinton-on-Sea are lesser known, so you won't have to jostle with hordes of holidaymakers on a summer's day. While you're on the coast, pay a visit to Foulness Island. It's anything but foul, with stretches of marshland and beach.
Other activities to enjoy in Essex include touring a National Trust property such as Grange Barn or Paycocke's House; cycling through the flat and pretty countryside; admiring the largest Norman keep in Europe at Colchester Castle; and eating in the pub Jamie Oliver grew up in: the Cricketers in Clavering.
Norfolk's beaches rival any in Britain for cleanliness and charm. There are over 90 miles of coastline, including the Deep History Coast in the north, where you can see ancient footprints nomads left 850,000 years ago. It's one of the most archaeologically significant sites in Europe, with many artefacts and fossils. Other beaches include Great Yarmouth, Cromer and Winterton-on-Sea.
When Kenneth Grahame wrote "there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats" in The Wind in the Willows, he could have been referring to the Norfolk Broads. Not many people know that the landscape was created by heavy peat mining, rather than being natural. It doesn't matter how skilled (or not) you are with a tiller, the fact that there is over 120 miles of waterways without a lock makes it a joy to explore.
Norwich is a fantastic city with an impressive cathedral and beautiful parks and gardens. Great Yarmouth, Cromer and Lowestoft all have their own individual appeal, with family owned cafes, boutiques and delis stocking locally produced items plus home-interior and antique shops.
Head north over the border of Essex and you'll find yourself in Suffolk, a county of understated luxury and superb taste. History buffs will appreciate Bury St Edmunds with its magnificent cathedral and Abbey Gardens marking the spot where the Magna Carta was signed 800 years ago.
This county of coast and countryside appeals to people of all ages and interests. The water is a focal point in Ipswich, whether you're walking beside it, sailing on it, or eating the fruits of it. Aldeburgh's fish and chips are reputed to be the best in the country. Sitting on the smooth pebble beach, listening to the waves and tucking into a steaming paper-wrapped package of chips is proof that the little pleasures are often the best!
Art lovers may recognise much of the countryside from paintings by Constable. He loved the landscape and immortalised it skilfully on canvas. You can still see remnants of Suffolk's history as a vibrant wool-producing area in Clare, Lavenham, Sudbury and Long Melford, while Kervey, with its thatched cottages and pretty meadows, is possibly the most attractive village in the east of England.
Suffolk is known for its laid-back lifestyle and pretty coloured cottages, but if you fancy a shot of adrenaline then make your way to Newmarket racecourse, or Pleasurewood Hills theme park, or Thetford Forest with high ropes to climb as well as a range of mountain bike trails.
It's hard to convey in writing precisely how picturesque East Anglia and Eastern England are, so why not book a holiday cottage and see them for yourself.