The Broads may be famed for their waterways, but did you know that the east of England is also home to some interesting history? Discover some of the best places in this post...
Somerleyton Hall and Gardens
Somerleyton Hall is one of the best-preserved stately homes in the UK – and also home to an amazing maze. As a family home, the house is only open to the public from Easter through to the end of September, and only then on a Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, but it is well worth a visit. A mansion has occupied this site since 1240AD so there is a wealth of history to uncover.
Today’s building has a carved oak entrance and plenty of historical opulence on display. There are also the gardens, which include a 70-foot pergola and the famous maze. The maze is made from yew hedge first planted in 1846. The route to the centre is 800 yards long so it’s an activity which will keep the whole family entertained for a good couple of hours. There’s also a fantastic café on site and lovely local pubs nearby.
Norwich's historic churches
There are so many churches in Norwich, each one with its own captivating history for you to explore. This includes The Humble St Julian’s, where the first book written by a woman was penned. There are also two Cathedrals. The St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Cathedral was built by Gilbert Scott and features a Tower tour that allows you to see the sights of Norwich from the skies. The other is Norwich Cathedral, located in the heart of the city. The Cathedral was first dedicated in 1101 and enjoyed a visit from Queen Elizabeth I in 1578.
Caister Castle is located right on the Norfolk, coast just north of Great Yarmouth. It was built in 1432 by Sir John Fastolf, the man who was the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s ‘Falstaff’. The castle looms over the local area with towers standing over 100 feet high; climb to the top to take in panoramic views.
Regarded as one of the earliest buildings of importance to be built from brick, a visit to Caister Castle is a real step back in time. There is also a car museum on site, which is thought to house the largest private collection of classic vehicles in the UK. Petrol-heads will enjoy seeing up close cars such as Jim Clark’s Lotus, Peter Rachman’s Cadillac and the very first motor vehicle – the Panhard et Levassor, built in 1893.
You can’t visit an area like the Broads and not visit the seaside, and with Cromer Pier you get history and sea views all in one. The pier was first built in 1901 and is now Grade II listed. In fact, records show that there was a pier on this site as far back as 1391, but the structure as we know it today was built just over one hundred years ago. It was named Pier of the Year in 2015. Pop along and enjoy the famous ‘Seaside Special’ summer shows.