The region of England known as East Anglia comprises the counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Only at a second glance do the attractions is of this unspectacular, mostly flat landscape become evident: the horizon seems infinite, a glorious light falls on the fertile fields and quiet villages with half-timbered buildings and thatched cottages. Great stately homes, castles and cathedrals point to the historic heritage of this part of England. John Constable, England’s best-known landscape painter, masterfully succeeding in depicting the interplay of light, clouds and peaceful landscape in his paintings; Gainsborough and Turner were also inspired by East Anglia’s magic.
East Anglia has the lowest annual rainfall in Great Britain (21 inches/550 mm), but its good soil has permitted intensive farming which brought great prosperity to the region. Since Antiquity, it’s attracted a wide range of peoples: Celts, Romans, Saxons, Normans and Danes settled here and left their mark on local art and culture. In the 17th century, Flemings fled to East Anglia – especially to Norwich and Colchester – bringing withÂ them their weaving skills, which became famous throughout the whole country.
The gentle rolling grassland of the Brecklands and the wide plains of the Norfolk Broads are ideal for long rambles or cycling tours, while the many lakes, bays and rivers are a paradise for anglers and watersports fans. The largely unspoiled marsh landscapes of the Fens and the coastal regions have such an extraordinarily wide selection of flora and fauna that many bird-watchers and botanists spend their vacations here. Traditional seaside resorts stud the coast, offering a wide range of activities and long sand and gravel beaches. Nor should East Anglia’s tasty cuisine be ignored: fresh asparagus, Suffolk ham, good solid potato dishes, and freshly-caught fish, lobster, oysters and crab.