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Suffolk's doorstep destinations

PUBLISHED: 13:04 17 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:43 20 February 2013

Brancaster beach, Norfolk

Brancaster beach, Norfolk

With so much to see and do in Suffolk in summer, it's tempting to just stay <br/><br/>put here in the county. But if you can stir yourself, it's well worth making the <br/><br/>trip over the border to our neighbouring counties

With so much to see and do in Suffolk in summer, its tempting to just stay put here in the county. But if you can stir yourself, its well worth making the trip over the border to our neighbouring counties, where a wealth of attractions are just waiting to be explored




ESSEX



Throughout Essex there are many great attractions to visit and, whatever your interests, you can be sure of many enjoyable days out. Take advantage of the longer days to discover all that the county has to offer.
Why not visit a public garden or open space? RHS Garden Hyde Hall or Beth Chattos garden near Colchester are perfect for a relaxing afternoon. If an historic building set in beautiful grounds is more appealing, try Audley End House with the new stables, Ingatestone Hall, Hylands House or Cressing Temple. Layer Marney Tower and Gardens, with the tallest Tudor Gatehouse, has the added attraction of views over the Blackwater Estuary.
Alternatively escape to one of our country parks or open spaces. With no less than 14 country parks throughout the county they are perfect for a stroll or a family picnic. The Essex Rangers have put together a great programme of events and activities for children of all ages and interests. Cudmore Grove Country Park at East Mersea has the added attraction of a quiet beach and long views over the Blackwater Estuary. Essex has one of the longest coastlines of any English county and a number of excellent blue flag beaches at Dovercourt, Brightlingsea and three in Southend-on-Sea. For more traditional fun head to Clacton-on-Sea or Walton-on-the-Naze for some fun-packed rides on the pier.
Or enjoy the train ride that takes passengers the 1.33 miles down the longest pleasure pier in the world at Southend-on-Sea. Then spend some time at Adventure Island where more than 32 rides will ensure children of all ages will have the time of their life.
Animals are always popular with children and at Colchester Zoo you will certainly find a wonderful collection. Dont miss the Dragons of Komodo and the Discovery Centre.
You and your children can handle fascinating artefacts, including an elephants tooth, a model of a lions skull, and a real snake skin from a 10ft long Burmese python.
Alternatively, for more domesticated animals, try Marsh Farm Country Park at South Woodham Ferrers or Barleylands Farm where children of all ages can meet and feed farm animals, ride the mini tractors around the farm and let off steam in the adventure play area.
Colchester has a great choice to keep kids amused from dawn to dusk. You will find things to do whether it is raining or sunny, for the whole day or just an hour or two. For those who like to live life at a fast pace, go along to Rollerworlds massive roller skating rink (the best in Europe!) and Indikarts go-cart track. Colchester Castle, Hollytrees and Natural History Museums are fun places to visit at anytime and have hands-on activities and lots of special events.


To request your new 2010 visitor guide with lots more information on things to do and places to visit in Essex please call 0845 6007373 or go to our website www.visitessex.com



NORFOLK



Norfolk with its endless skies is the place to enjoy the great outdoors. Try boating, canoeing or cycling in the Broads, Britains magical waterland, walk the Norfolk Coast Path with the help of the Coasthopper bus and enjoy some of the UKs finest birdwatching, or visit Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, home of BBC Springwatch for the last three years.
The Broads is a fragile wetland of international importance with exceptional wildlife. But it is also a sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and boating paradise with 125 miles of lock-free tidal rivers.
It is a fascinating area with a rich history, reflected in many wonderful places to visit. There are restored windmills, medieval churches, beautiful gardens and family attractions, along with miles of safe footpaths and cycling routes, as well as wonderful local food and drink.
Set between the busy resort of Great Yarmouth and the cathedral city of Norwich, with its great shopping and heritage attractions, the Broads is perfect for a day visit, short break or longer stay.
TV presenter Nicholas Crane, who sails regularly on the Broads, is passionate about the area: I always love coming back to the Broads. It is a very special place. The Broads was one of my childhood playgrounds. I rowed and canoed the rivers, capsized in dinghies and enjoyed family walks on the river banks. Today I still do all that and more, with my own children. The Broads is where I come to slow down a secret wonderland just waiting to be explored. Green tourism does not get better than this.
This magical waterland has been a popular destination for boating holidays since the Victorians discovered the pleasures of sailing its waterways in the late 19th century. Todays motor cruisers are very easy to handle and are ideal for exploring the river network. But you can also hire sailing boats and even a traditional Norfolk wherry, with resident skipper and mate, for your break.
The North Norfolk coast is an equally exciting destination. Take the train to Norwich, then The Bittern Line to Sheringham and clamber aboard the Coasthopper bus for a car free journey along the coast.
The Coasthopper stops at all the coastal villages like Blakeney, Morston and Stiffkey, along with Wells-next-the-Sea. Visit Cley Marshes Nature Reserve with its award-winning visitor centre, offering panoramic views of the coast, take a seal trip from Morston and hop on and off the Coasthopper and walk sections of the Norfolk Coast Path.
Other ideas include Holkham Hall and its vast beach made famous in the closing sequence of Shakespeare in Love and the RSPBs Titchwell and Snettisham nature reserves. There are lots of great pubs along the coast, where you can enjoy a pint or bite to eat, not to forget The Lord Nelson at Burnham Thorpe Nelsons local, where you can toast the immortal memory with a tot of rum. Nearby is Deepdale Farm at Burnham Deepdale with its backpackers hostel and campsite. Hire a tipi or a yurt for a very special camping experience.


For more information see www.visitnorfolk.co.uk or contact Norwich Tourist Information tel. 01603 213999 and Cromer Tourist Information Centre tel. 0871 200 3071.

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