The East of England is made up of the coastal counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.
From undulating sand dunes and sleepy countryside to buzzing towns and cities, the region offers it all; there really is something for everyone.
Travel and industry
The leading industries across the region have traditionally been agriculture and tourism, but more recently there has been an influx of industries such as pharmaceutical, electronics and consumer goods, which offer a variety of employment opportunities.
The south of the region offers easy access to London and the plethora of entertainment and culture it provides, while to the west of the region, Stanstead Airport ensures mainland Europe and holiday destinations are just a hop, skip and jump away.
In sharp contrast, the north of the region offers a relaxed pace of life with the beautiful seaside resorts of Great Yarmouth, Clacton on Sea and Lowestoft, which form part of 500 sandy miles of coast line and not a motorway in sight.
Food and drink
With such an expanse of coast line the dining experiences in the east of England are understandably dominated by seafood delicacies, such as locally sourced lobster, sea bass and eels. The tidal creaks and saltmarshes of Norfolk also provide the perfect habitat for mussels and oysters which are caught daily and enjoyed across the country. So whether you prefer Michelin star restaurants or fish and chips on the beach, you’ll be catered for.
The great outdoors
But you don’t need to head to the beach to get onto the water; many visitors and locals alike hire a narrow boat and meander through Britain’s magical waterland; the 300km of rivers and lakes which make up the Norfolk Broads.
Others take a more relaxed approach to the water, with a punt on the River Cam in Cambridge, slipping past the historic buildings of Cambridge University on a warm summer afternoon.
Education and history
There are actually eight universities in the area, but the University of Cambridge is by far the most prestigious. As well as its academic accolades, the university is known for its amateur dramatics with the Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club, commonly known as Footlights. The club has provided some of the best actors in the country, including Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkinson. Many former members have gone on to the world stage and have amassed a collection of Oscar and BAFTA awards.
The university also has a sporting legacy. Trinity College, Cambridge is known for drawing up the rules of football in 1848. Other sports with a presence in the area include motorsport, rafting and horse racing at the historic Newmarket racecourse; founded 350 years ago by King Charles II. The Newmarket racecourse is affectionately known as the global headquarters of horseracing today. The ‘Town Plate’, a race which in a law passed by King Charles II must be run ‘for ever’, is held annually on the original three-and-three-quarter mile course on which it was inaugurated.
The whole region is steeped in history; Colchester is the oldest recorded town in England and was once the capital of Roman Britain. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live in the 11th Century, a visit to Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village will show you; immerse yourself in history and see, feel and even smell what it was like to live in the ‘olden days’. There are also fantastic stately homes and spectacular gardens to explore; such as Audley End, Hyde Hall and the Beth Chatto Gardens.
Another fascinating place to visit is the Norfolk Castle Museum, which displays the remains of a mammoth discovered on a Norfolk beach, known as the West Runton Elephant. The 900,000 year old Fossilised footprints which were discovered on a nearby beach at Happisburgh are the oldest evidence of early humans outside of Africa.
Further inland in the fields of Cambridgeshire, the deep peat, naturally fertile soils of the Fens are home to an abundance of crops. In particular celery is very successfully grown. Fenlands celery was the first vegetable in England to be awarded the prestigious Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. This status is to protect the reputation of regional products, so consumers can buy with confidence. Another vegetable which benefits from the excellent soil conditions is asparagus. Every spring, East Anglia is one of the largest producing areas of asparagus in the UK.
From bustling cities to sleepy country side the East of England offers something for everyone. With its rich history and cutting-edge arts sitting alongside the scores of farmers markets and festivals which run throughout the year, who wouldn’t want to live and work in the east of England?