Miles of wide, open sandy beaches, vast, sweeping skies - the unspoilt east coast of England is a coast-lovers paradise.
From Mersea Island in Essex to Covehithe, Suffolk, dine in style on succulent seafood, kick back and relax at seafront eateries, welcoming pubs and feast on the very best fish and chips. Just taste that sea air!
Start your exploration of East Coast Life in Essex, a short hop from London on the train. Visit Mersea Island, approached by a causeway from the mainland and cut off at high spring tide. With dramatic views across the estuary, visitors can relax on the beach, go crabbing from the jetties and feast on fresh native oysters. Have lunch at the Company Shed before heading on to Southend, home to the longest pier in Europe. Overnight in Southend, in nearby Brightlingsea or Clacton-on-Sea.
Drive up into Suffolk and visit Sutton Hoo, the renowned Anglo-Saxon royal burial site near Woodbridge which is run by the National Trust. Have lunch in the pretty seaside town of Southwold, famous for its colourful beach huts and with a range of local food and drink venues. Take a walk along Covehithe beach – one of Suffolk’s best kept secrets – before visiting St Peters Brewery in Bungay where you could join a brewery tour. Spend the night in Lowestoft, the most easterly town in England.
Continue your tour into Norfolk and explore Somerleyton, one of Britain’s most well-preserved stately homes and gardens (check opening times), before heading to the traditional seaside town of Cromer for lunch. Visit the Henry Blogg Museum and find out about the history and significance of the lifeboat service here. Make sure you include ‘Cromer Crab’ in your lunch. Round off your day with a walk along the wild and beautiful Norfolk coast – the nearby seaside village of Mundsley is a good starting place for lots of circular walks.
P&O Ferries arrive in Hull – the UK’s City of Culture 2017 – early in the morning, so start your day at the waterfront watching the bustling harbour while you have breakfast. Visit The Deep, a spectacular aquarium home to more than 3,500 fish and other sea life. Spend some time walking round the Old Town and exploring the Museums Quarter. Drive up to the traditional seaside town of Bridlington for the night where you can enjoy fish and chips at the harbour side, try a local seafood restaurant or traditional pub.
Get down to the harbour early in the morning to see the catch arriving; there are still a number of fishing boats operating in Bridlington. Drive out to magnificent Flamborough Head, walk along the cliffs and enjoy the dramatic scenery. Take the iconic Humber bridge over the river and visit the Grimsby Fishing Centre before spending the night in the attractive Georgian market town of Louth.
Spend some time exploring Louth which is a gastro delight for ‘foodies’ and a good place to sample speciality cheeses and famous Lincolnshire Plum Loaf. Then travel on to Boston on the edge of the famous Wash. Boston was once a centre of trade, second only to London. Discover the medieval lanes, the Boston Guildhall and “The Stump” (St. Botolph’s Church), a landmark for miles around. Spend the night at Hunstanton or Heacham – one of the few places on the east coast you can see a sunset over the sea.
Today explore the delightful coastal towns of north Norfolk, stopping off at fabulous Holkham beach and nature reserve, Wells-next-the-Sea, Blakeney or Sheringham. Spend the night at Cromer, a traditional seaside resort famous for its Cromer Crab. If you arrive early enough, take in the RNLI Museum and learn all about Henry Blogg, the most decorated lifeboatman in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's history.
Time to start heading back to Hull, but make sure to spend some time exploring the Lincolnshire Wolds – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and experience a brewery tour before catching the P&O ferry back to Holland.