Arts and Culture

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The Scallop, Aldeburgh, Suffolk

2017 sees Hull become the UK Capital of Culture.

The east coast is astonishingly rich in arts and culture with its repertoire of local talent and crafts, its architecture, landscapes and landmarks. See what inspired Benjamin Britten, Constable and Gainsborough. Whether it’s jazz, classical, folk or blues, you can indulge in some east coast musical magic, or explore the art installations along the Lincolnshire coast. From quirky galleries to interactive museums, click through the video to design your ultimate escape.

Ideas for a 3-day itinerary
in Suffolk and Norfolk
Day 1

For a truly cultural experience, head to Aldeburgh, the heart of arts and culture on the Suffolk coast.  Explore the galleries, shops and the Red House, home of famous British composer Benjamin Britten.  Head to Snape Maltings, where music, dance and the arts is celebrated year round.  There are independent shops, galleries, live music performances and cafes all under one roof.  Spend the night in Aldeburgh where you will find a host of places to eat, featuring plenty of locally grown and produced food.  If you’re visiting in September, check out the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival.

Day 2

Before leaving Aldeburgh, be sure to see the world famous Scallop sculpture by Maggi Hambling on the beach. As you head north towards Norfolk, stop off at Southwold and enjoy the colourful beach huts and iconic lighthouse.  You’ll find small galleries in many of the villages and market towns along the Norfolk coast. Spend the night in Blakeney or Wells-next-the-Sea and, if you’d like to experience some English Folk music, check the Norfolk Folk Directory for details of local gigs.

Day 3

The pretty coastal village of Blakeney is home to galleries, shops and eateries overlooking the estuary and salt marshes. It’s also well-known for its seal colonies at internationally important Blakeney Point – well worth a visit before heading on to the ancient market town of King’s Lynn, once one of England’s most important ports and with a wealth of heritage buildings and museums. The annual King's Lynn Festival provides high quality performances of classical music, recitals, choral and jazz plus talks, exhibitions and films.

Southwold Beach Huts, Suffolk
Ideas for a 5-day itinerary
from Hull to Harwich
Day 1

The P&O Ferries crossing from Rotterdam to Hull takes place seven days a week and arrives early in the morning, so you’ll have the whole day to explore the historic town and its wealth of cultural attractions in the Museums Quarter. Take your pick of the Street Life Museum, Wilberforce House and Maritime Museum to name just a few.  Or perhaps take in Ferens Art Gallery (recently reopened) and the Oresome Gallery.  With plenty of traditional pubs and restaurants and places to stay, we suggest you spend the night in the heart of the city and take in a trip to the Hull Truck Theatre. 

Day 2

This morning drive over the iconic Humber Bridge to Lincolnshire.  See the Bathing Beauties beach huts – a series of dramatic and beautiful seaside structures from Mablethorpe to Chapel St. Leonards. Then spend some time exploring ‘Stuctures on the Edge’ at Anderby Creek. These installations were designed to help visitors enjoy the natural environment through wave watching, star gazing, climate observation and more.  Have lunch in the traditional seaside resort of Skegness before driving on to Norfolk, stopping off at Burnham Market where you can visit the Fairfax and Artmonger Galleries. Spend  the night at Wells-next-the-Sea or Blakeney. 

Day 3

In Blakeney, the Flint and Quay Art Galleries have a variety of original watercolours by local artists and ceramics to view. The traditional arts and crafts centre at Great Walsingham Barns is also worth a visit.  Have a walk along the beach at Holkham and view the traditional beach huts before exploring the 18th century Palladian Holkham Hall.  Spend the night at Sheringham or Cromer, both of which have a local theatre where you may be able to catch a show.

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, Suffolk
Day 4

The destination for today is Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings – an internationally important artistic and literary centre.  Make time to call in at Southwold on route and view the famous brightly painted beach huts, iconic lighthouse, set on the edge of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Have lunch in Aldeburgh and view The Scallop – a sculpture on the beach created in 2003 as a tribute to Benjamin Britten.  Spend the afternoon enjoying the art galleries and cafes in the area and see a show at Snape Maltings.  Spend the night in Aldeburgh.

Day 5

Before you leave Suffolk be sure to visit Flatford Mill, the inspiration for Constable’s paintings, and take a walk along the river.  Head down to Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex and view the gallery in the iconic Naze Tower.  If you don’t mind a longish drive, visit Southend-on-Sea where you will find the longest pier in Europe and some interesting galleries and museums.  Alternatively, to see a very traditional British seaside resort, visit Clacton-on-Sea before heading back to Harwich to get the Stena Line ferry home.

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