Ten of the Best East Anglian Retreats
East Anglia crops up more frequently in jokes than it does vacation plans – trust me, I am a Norfolk girl! However, with dramatic coastlines, quaint villages and beautiful countryside this unique part of Britain has everything you need for the perfect staycation. East Anglia is all about getting outside and exploring the fascinating landscape. My best childhood memories are off picnics and sailing in Suffolk and hiking across North Norfolk, and after an exhausting day a cosy b&b is just what you need to complete the experience. Here are my top ten bases from which to explore this fascinating region.
Suffolk is home to countless picturesque villages and lively coastal market towns and Kesgrave Hall Hotel is the perfect boutique base from which to explore them. The stylish hotel has 23 en-suite bedrooms boasting dreamy beds, fluffy towels and free Wi-Fi. Quote Britain’s Finest when booking a two night stay between Wednesday April 3rd and Friday August 30th 2013 and you will get upgraded to the best available room. You will also enjoy a complimentary full English breakfast and three course dinner on both days, plus one champagne afternoon tea. This exclusive package is just £190 per person.
In medieval times, the Suffolk town of Lavenham was one of the wealthiest towns in Britain, thanks to its lucrative wool trade. Today, the quaint timbre-framed town is home to a wonderful rural bolt hole; The Great House Restaurant and Hotel. The fifteenth century property has just five sought after en-suite bedrooms featuring plasma TVs and WiFi as well as a complimentary decanter of sherry for a warm welcome. Make sure you don’t miss its fantastic restaurant, voted as one of Britain’s top 100 by The Sunday Times.
Conveniently located in the heart of Cambridge, this historic building was once part of Cambridge University. Today you are more likely to find affluent couples on a romantic break than cash-strapped students studying in these walls. Having received a quirky makeover the hotel now features forty one bedrooms and suites decadently kitted out with hand sprung beds, Egyptian cotton bed linen and grand roll-top baths. As the name suggests, this hotel also has a fantastic wine collection to explore in its tasting room. Attracting over three million tourists every year, this historic university town is a great choice for culture vultures.
Located in Burnham Market, one of North Norfolk’s prettiest villages, The Hoste is the perfect pit-stop for weary walkers and wildlife lovers. The 17th century pub boasts 58 boutique bedrooms, each with their own character. Think Molton Brown toiletries, pretty balconies and decadent beds complete with goose down pillows. After a day exploring Burnham Market’s independent cafes, boutiques and galleries, head to the restaurant and work your way through their enormous wine list – 300 bottles no less! If you still have a clear head in the morning head to Brancaster Staithe for sea air and saltmarshes.
The quintessentially English town of Orford is situated on Suffolk’s beautiful heritage coast. Located on the banks of the River Ore, this ornate village dates back to the twelfth century and is a mecca for hikers, bikers and bird lovers. I love The Crown and Castle, the stylish retreat boats nineteen light and airy bedrooms, each with an upmarket country feel and most with generous 6-foot beds and en-suites. They even accept a limited number of canine friends so you can ring in advance and pack your pooch. The restaurant serves up creative dishes using the finest locally sourced ingredients.
Nestled between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds on the Suffolk border, Tuddenham Mill is a hotel with a difference. Located within a traditional watermill the striking property perfectly marries traditional oak beams with sleek modern interiors. Their spacious rooms feature refreshingly high ceilings, exposed beams and decadently comfortable bedding. There is nothing more relaxing than waking up to the sound of the mill’s trickling water and the local birdlife. Alternatively, those after an adrenaline shot can go quad biking and clay pigeon shooting at the nearby activity park, Wildtracks.
Set in over three acres of landscaped gardens, Hotel Felix offers a stylish stay just a stone’s throw from the shops, galleries and restaurants of Cambridge. The four star hotel combines tradition Victorian architecture with thoughtful modern touches. Their fifty two individually designed bedrooms feature King Size Hypnos beds, walk-in rainforest showers and pay as you view movies. The hotel’s restaurant, Grafiti, serves well-presented Mediterranean fare amidst sumptuous surroundings and with the city centre just a mile away guests are spoilt for choice for dining out.
Hidden at the end of an elaborate driveway this former merchant’s house is the perfect crash pad for those wanting to explore the tranquil Norfolk Broads. The grand Georgian property boasts commanding views across the River Bure and exudes an informal country house atmosphere. Surrounded by eight acres of riverside gardens it is the perfect place to unwind and explore the local area which is abundant with wild flowers and wildlife. The hotel has just undergone an exciting refurbishment which it will reveal to the public on April 10th 2013.
Life in the historic town of Harwich revolves entirely around its busy quayside. Having received its charter back in the thirteenth century the town is steeped in history and boasts a lively nautical scene, with the busy harbour still offering regular ferry trips to Holland. However, if dry land is more your scene, book in to The Pier Hotel. Proudly located on the quay and you can take in the nautical views from the comfort of one of their fourteen contemporary rooms. Flooded with natural light the stylishly decorated rooms offer comfy beds, private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi.