East Anglia – An ultimate 2 week itinerary

East Anglia is an area in the East of England made up of 3 counties – Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. It’s full of beautiful villages, packed with history and is home to both bustling towns and absolute rural nothingness. I also like to think of it as one of the founding areas of England. Those of you who’ve seen The Vikings on Netflix will know that the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of the East Angles which was formed in around the 500-600s. The Angles form the foundation of the name England – It was the land of the Angles, or Angland, over time becoming England.

East Anglia is my home. I’ve lived here for a decade, but have roots here on my maternal side dating back generations. My husband has also lived in East Anglia his entire life, and his family before him for literally generations and generations.

So I hope I’m qualified to pull together a 2 week itinerary to take in the area (apologies my photos are so varied, they span all the seasons and multiple years) – there’s just so much to do here it’s really worth the time, but if you can’t then just pick the days you like the best with however much time you have. Everything is close together so it shouldn’t matter too much. And throughout this post, I’ve linked in my familial ties to each place to tell my story of East Anglia too. Let’s go!


Day 1 – 5: Cambridgeshire (stay in Cambridge all 4 nights)

Day 1 and 2: Cambridge

On day 1 arrive in Cambridge and over this day and the next, explore the historic city itself. Be sure to visit the University buildings, go punting along the river, visit the Fitzwilliam Museum and walk the Backs. You could also explore pretty Grantchester and the Botanic Gardens – you can pick what you’d like to do from my list HERE, or just follow my 2 day itinerary HERE.

What it means to me: Cambridge is a special place to me – we live close by and my aunty and cousins live in the centre so I’ve spent a lot of time here. If you see Waterstones bookshop, that’s where I went on my first date with my now husband!

Day 3: Cambridgeshire villages

Start the day by driving or taking the bus from Cambridge to Houghton, and spend your morning on a beautiful walk in the Cambridgeshire countryside. You can visit gorgeous villages full of thatched cottages, have lunch in a traditional pub and take a stroll along the historic waterfront in St Ives – follow the route HERE.

After a morning walking, explore some of the other picture perfect villages of the area – Abbotts Ripton, Barrington and Bourn will all be close by (post HERE). Alternatively, head back towards Cambridge and spend the afternoon exploring an incredible stately home at Wimpole Hall (post HERE and HERE), before returning to the city centre for dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Wimpole Hall

What it means to me: The morning walk will take you past my house. This area is my true home and safe space. I love exploring but home is my place of peace – long walks, lots of conversations, major moments of my life – they’re all from here.

Day 4: Ely

Today take a day trip to Ely (post HERE) on the train, a city famous for its cathedral on the Fens. The Fens are an area across East Anglia basically built on water. The land is very flat and wet – but Ely is gorgeous and a must for any history buff as it’s the home of Oliver Cromwell, whose house you can visit. You could even time your visit for the annual eel throwing competition, marking the city’s namesake animal.

Ely’s historic cathedral

What it means to me: Ely is my favourite city in the county. My Grandpa did his clergy training to become a vicar at Ely Theological college (you’ll spot a theme through this post of my familial vicars everywhere across East Anglia), my best friend and 2 ‘nephews’ live here, my mother in law is here, and I’ve spent special nights with special people over a few too many glasses of wine here.


Day 5 – 11: Suffolk (stay in Dedham Vale 3 nights and Southwold 3 nights)

Day 5: Cambridge to Dedham Vale, via Bury St Edmunds

Wake up in Cambridge and set off after breakfast to Bury St Edmunds (post HERE). It’s a lovely market town where you can explore the cathedral, do some shopping and grab some food before heading to Ickworth House for an afternoon stroll. Continue on to Dedham Vale, which will be your overnight base for 3 nights.

Ickworth House

What it means to me: This is the area where I got married! Plus my maternal grandpa’s family are from this area and my favourite recent visit was to see my absolutely adorable goddaughter for a walk around Ickworth.

Day 6: Dedham Vale

Today head to Dedham Vale, one of the most beautiful areas of Suffolk and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s known as Constable Country as its where he painted his famous works of art. Spend the day exploring Flatford, East Bergholt and Dedham on a walk voted in the top 20 in England for picture perfect views. You can read more about it HERE.

Perfect cottages

Day 7: Lavenham & Long Melford

From your Dedham Vale base, drive north to Lavenham – one of the most famous places in East Anglia. Home to ancient timbered houses which were even used in the filming of Harry Potter, beat the crowds and arrive early. Spend the morning there before heading on to Long Melford (post HERE). In Long Melford, visit Melford Hall, a favourite haunt of Beatrix Potter. Also stroll up to the church and across to Kentwell Hall if you have time.

Melford Hall

What it means to me: In Long Melford, one of my ancestors was vicar. And in Lavenham, my Uncle is the current vicar. If you need help at any point, head to the nearest vicarage – they’ll probably be housing or know one of my relatives!

Day 8: Dedham Vale to Southwold, via Woodbridge

Leave Dedham Vale and head north to Southwold, but first stop off at Woodbridge (post HERE) to explore the town and most importantly visit Sutton Hoo, the world famous Anglo Saxon burial ground. If you have time, also make a stop off in Framlingham to visit its incredible castle, which once imprisoned Mary Tudor.

At Fram Castle

What it means to me: Woodbridge was where my grandpa was vicar in the 1990s, and I spent many childhood holidays sailing my boat on the pond and visiting the toy shop. My grandpa was also vicar at Framlingham for 15 years and it’s where my Mum grew up. Fram castle is a special and emotive place for me – the photo above was taken on the day of my beloved Granny’s funeral.

Day 9-10: Suffolk Coast

Spend the next 2 days enjoying some of the best beaches in England (post HERE). In Southwold enjoy the Pier, beach huts, lighthouse and picture perfect streets – maybe even take a walk via the passenger ferry to Walberswick where the beaches are quieter. Also head down the coast to Orford and its historic castle and postcard houses, and take a walk between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness to see the ‘House in the Clouds’ and the windmill. Along the way, tuck in to seaside fish and chips, a stick of English rock and sample the local breweries.

Southwold beach huts

What it means to me: I have the happiest of memories of exploring this area with my Granny and Grandpa as a child, eating fish and chips on the beach and long walks. My uncle was also vicar here until this year (I know you’re shocked!).


Day 11 – 14: Norfolk (stay all 3 nights in Burnham Market)

Day 11: Southwold to Burnham Market, via Norwich

On day 11, head north in to Norfolk and to your base for the final 3 nights – in or around Burnham Market in North Norfolk. Instead of driving straight there, stop off in Norwich for the day en-route. Here be sure to explore Elm Hill, visit the castle and enjoy the huge cathedral and its famous close. After spending the day there, continue on to your hotel.

Elm Hill

What it means to me: It might surprise you (not) but my great grandpa was also in the church – actually as a Bishop. Whilst his most exotic post was most definitely as Bishop of Singapore, his last church post was in Norwich. He was able to live and retire in Norwich’s beautiful Cathedral Close. As a child I used to think it was the most beautiful big house and I loved visiting.

Day 12-13: Norfolk Coast

Spend the next 2 days meandering along the Norfolk Coast from your base in Burnham Market. You can go on a boat trip to see the seals at Blakeney Point, visit one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the country at Holkham, as well as explore Holkham Hall. Wells-next-the-sea is also a must visit, with a ride on the mini steam train to Walsingham a fun way to spend an afternoon. You can see my full write up HERE.

What it means to me: The Norfolk coast is a healing place for me and where I tend to come for long walks alone to clear my head. I’m so grateful for having this close enough for me to escape to.

Day 14: Sandringham and departure

It’s time to head out of East Anglia, but before doing so, head to Sandringham (post HERE). You can’t visit Norfolk and not go and visit the royals! Sandringham is the Royal Family’s Christmas retreat and you can visit the grounds and inside the house. If you have time, you could also pop down the road to Oxburgh Hall (post HERE), which is one of the most picturesque old houses in the country.

Beautiful Oxburgh in the sun!

After all that exploring it’s time to head home – after a hopefully brilliant 2 weeks in East Anglia.


Other Options

If there are things here that don’t appeal to you (or you want to stay for longer!), then you could also substitute days with some of the ideas below:

Cambridgeshire:

  • Take a trip to Peterborough to see where Catherine of Aragon is buried, and visit Burghley House, a gorgeous stately home.
  • Do some more countryside walks, perhaps taking in Anglesey Abbey, Grafham Water or another of the county’s beautiful villages such as Bottisham. You could even explore the Fens, a naturally beautiful but very wet area of the country.
  • Visit another of the area’s incredible museums – why not try the Polar Museum, or Duxford Imperial War Museum. You could even tour the country’s first eco-mosque.

Suffolk:

  • Spend longer in Dedham Vale, taking in more of the beautiful area.
  • Take to the roads and visit more of the postcard perfect English villages in the county.
  • Enjoy a day in Ipswich, the main town in Suffolk. A day here could be spent shopping, enjoying art galleries and visiting Christchurch Mansion which has a surviving Tudor kitchen.

Norfolk:

  • Visit the birth place of Anne Boleyn at Blickling Hall.
  • Hire a boat and take to the Norfolk broads for a day on the waterways, even trying a stay at a windmill.
  • Visit Thetford Forest for brilliant walks and outdoor activities like horse riding, ziplining, segways and mountain biking


What do you think of East Anglia? I hope I’ve done some justice to the beautiful area in which I live and which most of my family still calls home – and that you think it might even be worth a visit. I hope you can see that every place here has a connection to who I am, and I couldn’t be more proud that this is my little piece of the world to call home. Stay safe and happy travelling everyone.

42 Comments

  1. Two-weeks in sight seeing heaven, I think. Such wonderful history – the country, and both families! Older structures certainly have an appealing character, each unique. East Anglia looks like an amazing place to live, and to visit! Thanks for sharing your always interesting adventures, Hannah ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Hannah, what a beautiful place to call home! Every description and photo is just perfect. I am saving this excellent post for when we get to visit England/East Anglia one day. Iโ€™m not sure I will ever want to leave once I see it in person though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad youโ€™re showcasing a part of England that often gets overlooked, and especially of your childhood home! Cambridge looks like the dream, and I hope to have more time next time Iโ€™m back in England to check it out! Thanks for sharing, Han. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, I can see why you love your home so much. Itโ€™s quaint and lovely, with so many beautiful nearby places to escape to. This sounds like a very relaxing two week itinerary. I think Iโ€™m perhaps most intrigued by the eel throwing competition. It soundsโ€ฆ strange haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thanks Diana, I do feel very lucky to call it home…though it hasn’t the mountains and hiking you have at home that’s for sure ๐Ÿ™‚ Hahaha that made me chuckle, thankfully nowadays it’s with fake eels – it used to be with the real thing as the whole area is largely built on wetlands so they were the main thing in people’s diets back in the day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So many amazing places and so little time! I would love to visit the East of England one day in order to explore many of its historic cities, beautiful countryside, stunning coastline, and abundant wildlife. I’d be very keen to see the seaside towns of Norfolk as well as Cambridge with the world-renowned University of Cambridge. Thanks for sharing and have a good day ๐Ÿ™‚ Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the personal heart and soul that you shared with each of these places. The places we live really help shape who we are and what a beautiful area that has done that for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is an excellent itinerary that youโ€™ve put together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Meg, I totally agree. This is my home and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else permanently, even though I quite enjoy escaping regularly hehe. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amazing! You have visited so many important places that are connected to your family. This is great!
    Sorry, I missed a lot of your posts, but Iโ€™ll do my best to catch up for it.
    Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‹๐ŸŒž

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An excellent overview, Hannah. I always love to see new perspectives of Cambridge, a city I have been to so many times. I was also overjoyed to see a mention for (at long long last) an English village that I have also been to, Barrington. Ickworth House, what an incredible place to get married in!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Everything about East Anglia, that youโ€™ve shown here, is absolutely gorgeous! The only time Iโ€™ve ever been to the area was for a University of East Anglia open day several years ago. I didnโ€™t see enough of the place to do it justiceโ€ฆ but now thanks to you, itโ€™s on my list of places to explore!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you so much Janet for your lovely words. My husband went to UEA! I’m so glad to put it on your list, there’s so much to see here and it’s a perfect staycation area of the country ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a lovely weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a beautiful place to call home. It sounds like you have a lot of family history here and fond memories of visiting these places over the years. We went to the UK nearly a decade ago and I believe a return trip is in order. Hopefully we can someday visit some of these spots on your itinerary. Thanks for sharing. Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I’m so lucky to call it home I think. I really hope you get to return to the UK soon and if you do, you know where I am to show you round the best spots ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a beautiful place to live. You are fortunate to have a history here and lots of stories in those lovely towns. Iโ€™m sending this on to a friend who will be in England later this year.

    Liked by 1 person

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