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SPRING GUIDE

As the days get brighter and the nights get shorter there's plenty to see and do in our region. Whether you're outdoorsy or more indoorsy, a lone traveller or come with the family and four-legged friend, there's an adventure waiting for you in easy reach of one of our pubs.


A spring field of rapeseed and open gate in the countryside



 

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

The Rupert Brooke, Grantchester and The Carpenters Arms, Great Wilbraham


A large greenhouse at Cambridge botanic garden. Blue sky and lots of flowers.

Art and Culture


The ideal place to find cover when the heaven's open in Cambridge, The Fitzwilliam Museum is a treasure-trove of exciting artefacts and artwork to be explored. Permanent collections are free to visit, with tickets only needed on particularly busy days, but they often host one-off exhibitions too; This season book tickets for William Blake's Universe running until 19th May and discover art in response to war and revolution.


If your brood is a little younger, why not create the art yourselves?! Take a trip to Cambridge University Botanic Garden as it springs to life this March and get creative making cherry blossom collages out of paper and print.


Heading out of Cambridge? The pocket-sized city of Ely is a must-visit for walks along the River Great Ouse and popping into antique shops and boutiques. Most impressive of all is the cathedral though, suspended over the city, so why not head on a tower tour for views over Cambridgeshire and beyond.


Ely cathedral standing over a field of yellow daffodils.

Out and About


A family day out at Duxford Air Museum holds so many memories - the smell, sounds of the engines and scale of the hangers. On the 5th May make your trip even more special with at least an hour of flying to watch on top of all the other activities as they celebrate VE Day; Reflecting on the role Duxford has played in aviation history, this is the first display of a series this spring/summer.


Built during the reign of King Henry VIII, Bourn Windmill is one of the oldest in the country, set amongst the backdrop of the fens. Visitors can walk to the mill throughout the year, and it looks particularly nice on a blue skied day, but if you would like to see inside and have the fun of turning the mill on its post, then you'll need to visit on a specific day.



Traditional markets are rare now, but we're lucky to have a few thriving ones in our neck of the woods. Not only does Cambridge have a bustling market all week long, we would recommend popping over to Ely on a Saturday to visit their Craft, Food and Vintage Market.


 

ESSEX

The Eight Bells, Saffron Walden and The Cricketers, Clavering


Interior of a castle keep now in ruins. Lots of flint stone.

Overground Underground

 

The first Open Day of Easton Lodge main season is coming, and a chance to see daffodils, tulips and leaves on the trees. Wind your way through the garden while listening to local musicians, visit plant and craft stalls and there's even a treehouse for littl'ens.


From above ground to underground, Royston Cave is an enigma. Theories suggest it may have been used by the Knights Templars, but there are no records of its age or purpose! Royston is home to an ancient crossroad thought to have been built just after the Norman conquest, could this be a clue to the construction of caves?

If you'd rather your feet firmly above ground, there's also 40,000 other discoveries to explore at Royston Museum.

 

Want to soak up some more history? Why not take a trip to Walden Castle and museum grounds one spring day. Built in 1141, walls of the first two stories of the keep still exist near to The Common, so enjoy a wander around the market town.



Modren architectural structure with yellow cladding and large glass windows.

Art and Culture


Fry Art Gallery will be showcasing a new exhibition from April that focuses on the art of Sheila Robinson, and her daughter, Chloë Cheese. Both ladies were educated at the Royal College of Art and drawing is at the heart of their work, amongst printmaking and illustration.


From classical music to interpretive performance, gigs to craft events, Colchester Arts Centre has an array of events on most days and evenings this spring. Our favourites? Double Emmy Award winner, comedian Fiona Allen, and singer-guitarist John Smith.








Steam train and steam gliding through the countryside near the sea.

Family Fun


On the Suffolk/Essex border is the home to a very special family-friend, Thomas the Tank Engine. Pop over to the East Anglian Railway Museum for a day out on life-sized Thomas, meet his friends Percy and Daisy, and chat to Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway. There's also a model railway display and playground perfect for youngsters.


While your children may not be most enthralled by a trip to a National Trust house, Paycockes in Coggeshall has made sure there's plenty to see and do for all the family this spring. You may want to follow the house trail where Paycocke the Peacock has listed his favourite hiding places in the house and gives children the chance to delve deeper into the history. There's also Tudor costumes for grownups and children to try on!


Hatfield Forest is one of the best surviving examples of a medieval hunting forest in the country. Not only are there woodland areas and networks of path to explore on foot, there's also plenty of Geocaching spots for you to discover, as well as a large lake and space to ride bikes or even horses!


 

NORFOLK

The Globe Inn, Wells-next-The-Sea, The Feathers, Holt, and The Wiveton Bell



Cromer Pier jutting out over the sea on a blue sky day.

Art and Culture


When you utter the words 'art and culture' it doesn't sound particularly child-friendly, but there's so much going on for all the family in Norfolk this season. Cromer Pier has a host of shows, from pirates to magicians, comedians to singers, with a lot of family nights thrown in. For even younger members of the family, the Norwich Puppet Theatre may be more suitable, with shows often on in the morning to avoid clashes with bedtime!


If you're spending a day in Norwich, why not head to the Sainsbury Centre for the afternoon? This light-filled space houses collections of ancient to modern art, but any movie-buffs will know it is also infamous with being the headquarters for The Avengers. With five pop-up exhibitions on, including What Is Truth?, there's so much to discover. Afterwards, take a stroll down to the River Yare to explore multiple walking routes.


Less interested in art installations, but more into smaller crafts? Head to Fakenham Racecourse at the beginning of April for the Norfolk Artisan Spring Fair. With hundreds of stalls showcasing the very best of the region's food, drink and crafts, its a great spot to hunt for gifts and homewares too.



Coastal path with signpost directing along the Norfolk Coast Path

Fresh Air


If you've seen the buzz around the Apple TV series 'Masters of the Air' you'll know it tells the story of the 100th Bomb Group based at Thorpe Abbots in Norfolk. This got us thinking about East Anglia's participation in the war efforts and the many museums dotted nearby that highlight the significance, so take a read of our blog post here and plan your next adventure visiting one of these historic locations.


Actually starting in Suffolk, but ending in Hopton-on-Sea, this National Trail combines two long-distance walking routes; Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path. It takes roughly eight days to complete it all, but we would recommend experiencing some of the more dramatic scenery along North Norfolk's coast this spring on some shorter sections. "Whether it’s the deep history of early man, the medieval ports and churches of the north coast, big-sky views... there’s something for everyone".


If your brood are a little younger, Roarr may be a more exciting way for them to be encouraged outdoors. It's the UK's largest dinosaur park with adventure playgrounds, theatre, small rides and lots of interactive fun.


 

SUFFOLK

The Weeping Willow, near Bury St Edmunds, The Crown, Stoke-by-Nayland, The Three Blackbirds, Woodditton, The Packhorse, Moulton, The Ship, Dunwich and The Westleton Crown.


Peaceful fishing boats sitting on the river in the sunshine with a white-washed mill in the background

Wander-ful Outdoors


Home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time and with views over the River Deben, Sutton Hoo has become a popular destination for visitors to Suffolk. If you're less interested in exploring the museum though, the Sutton Hoo Ferry Cliff Walk is a great option to get a view of the burial grounds and stretches far enough to see the Tide Mill in Woodbridge. The route is about three miles long and dog-friendly too!


Nestled in the countryside north of Sutton Hoo is the historic market town of Framlingham. Famed recently for being the hometown of Ed Sheeran, another famous resident is the castle! Once a stronghold for dukes of Norfolk, discover more about the history inside their museum and enjoy views across the countryside as you walk the walls.



Colourful bowling balls

On a Rainy Day


The Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, has a long-history of showing quality performances on its stage, from comedy to musicals, and this spring is no exception. At the end of the month it is opening its doors to Central Perk's very own Gunther, 'the seventh Friend'. Get insider stories of what happened to the characters through the highs and lows, 'love affairs and failed auditions', in the comedy Friend: The One With Gunther. Or, if you would rather a classic, watch the reimaging of Moby Dick featuring sea shanties played live on stage!


Want to get on your feet and keep moving? There's also plenty of great indoor sports facilities in the region. Try your hand at tenpin bowling with all the family, or head to the new adults-only crazy golf course, Sneaky Links.

 


White lighthouse standing over colourful cottages with blue skies above

Shop 'til You Drop

 

We're lucky to have some gorgeous market towns in our region, each with its own quirk, and the perfect spot to catch up with friends or explore with the family.


On the coast is Southwold, the picture-perfect seaside town with pastel beach huts, arcade and dreamy independent shops. Although very busy in the summer months, its a quieter spot off-season and one for all the family; sandcastles in the morning and a spot of shopping in the afternoon!


In-land is the jewel in the crown of Suffolk, Bury St Edmunds. Famed for its Abbey Gardens, the town is also a hive of activity with boutique shopping on Angel Hill and St John's Street, as well as high-street favourites.


If you're more interested in antiques and collectables, we'd recommend visiting Harry Potter's real childhood home of Lavenham.


If you're feeling inspired to visit one of these local attractions and need a place to refuel or rest your head, be sure to have a look at our collection of pubs HERE.






 


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