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The East of England knows how to embrace outdoor living. Away from the hustle and bustle of city and town life, this is a region that’s always been loved for its countryside and wild places. It’s tranquil and uncommercialised, the skies and roads are open, and wildlife and waterways are woven into the very fabric of the landscape.

That’s not to say there isn’t plenty going on, though. The festivals and events that take place throughout the year are expert at celebrating the traditions and heritage of Suffolk and Norfolk, everything from their culture to seafaring history. Other events fly the flag for the region’s local and seasonal produce, and there’s no shortage of music and art celebrations.

Great activities in Suffolk and Norfolk

From learning about the region’s former years in museums and the treasure-filled rooms and gardens of historic estates to enjoying contemporary theatre, there are plenty of things to do in Suffolk and its northern neighbour Norfolk.

Events and festivals to enjoy in East Anglia

Whether you’re a fan of the arts and music or love getting your teeth into fresh new flavours, there are plenty of events to choose from across the east of England.

The region hosts a full timetable of carnivals, festivals and historic re-enactments. Food events and farmers’ markets major on local produce. Big events such as the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival and the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, meanwhile, attracts visitors from around the country.

Norfolk & Norwich Festival. A Maytime celebration of all the great things in the city, Norfolk & Norwich Festival is a flagship arts festival, bringing together music and dance performers and hosting an amazing selection of free outdoor events in its streets and parks. 8-24 May 2020

FolkEast. This summertime festival takes place in the grounds of Glemham Hall and packs a full weekend programme, with day tickets available. FolkEast is all about the best of folk with live music across seven stages, plus ceilidhs. 21-23 August 2020

Snape Proms. Every year in August, Snape Malting Concert Hall hosts the popular Snape Proms. It attracts solo artists from around the world and musicians from big bands, orchestras and folk groups, all performing live in concert.

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival. In early autumn, Great Yarmouth puts on its famous Maritime Festival. The two-day event takes place on the South Quay and revolves around the town’s seafaring traditions. Visitors can step aboard a wide range of vessels, listen to shanty songs and folk music, and enjoy demos and free activities.

Southwold Arts Centre. With a year-round programme of events, Southwold Arts Centre attracts a wide variety of performers from the world of stage, film, music and dance. It also hosts festivals, art and craft exhibitions and antique fairs.

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Nightlife and dining in Suffolk and Norfolk

Cafes and restaurants along the east coast really know which side their bread is buttered on. Many places to eat in Suffolk and Norfolk are proud of the produce that’s grown locally and understandably keen to feature the fruits of the land and sea on their menus. 

Smoked fish and hand-picked asparagus are just two of the specialities at places to eat in Lowestoft, and eateries also feature sweet crab from Cromer and carrots freshly dug from the Fenland soil. Cosy pubs and fine-dining restaurants in Suffolk and Norfolk invariably make the most of the views from their front (and back) doors too by offering al fresco wining and dining.

Pub brew

The Lord Nelson

A busy traditional pub in Southwold, The Lord Nelson is full of nautical vibes and stocked with locally made Adnams ales. On fine days, there are benches outside within earshot of the waves. For colder days, a blazing fire and hot food in the snug bar are perfect for warming the cockles.

Beer at the pub

The Locks, Geldeston

This former 1950s mill keeper’s cottage is set by the River Waveney in Beccles. The Locks, Geldeston is remote – it’s reached via little roads and a footpath – but that’s all part of the attraction, as are the interesting local ales, large gardens, relaxed ambience, and live music.

Enjoy fish and chips by the seaside

The Upper Deck

Slap-up fish and chips in Aldeburgh are on the menu at The Upper Deck. There’s no messing around with original flavours with the fish freshly prepared and the chips hot and crisp, the way they’ve been cooked for the past 50 years. Aldebugh Fish & Chip Shop and The Golden Galleon are sister restaurants.

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