This is probably the most well preserved part of England, mostly because of its inaccessibility. Although the region gained its wealth during the Middle Ages with trade, mostly in wool, with Northern Europe, the area became marginalized during the Tudor, and subsequent, eras. The most northerly county, Norfolk, was a hotbed of Catholicism and this is evinced by the multitude of saints included in the names of the villages that dot the county. Mind you, by contrast there is always Garlic Street to weigh the balance. The county town of Norwich has two Cathedrals, the oldest has been acquired by the Church of England and has a 315ft high steeple, whereas the Catholic one is a reasonably modern addition and not particularly attractive. The streets of the old town are narrow and have some lovely old buildings, but if that is not to your taste then try the Sainsbury Centre. The second town is Great Yarmouth, the gateway to the Norfolk Broads, and is a pleasant seaside resort with a wonderful racecourse. If horses aren't your thing there is a good dog track as well. The Broads are very popular with the boating fraternity, and are also a haven for wildlife with various bird sanctuaries in the area.
The coastline is an almost unbroken line of beaches, but the harbours of Cromer and Brancaster land some of the finest seafood to be found in England. Although the interior of the county is relatively flat the side roads twist and turn depending on who owns the land, which is heavily farmed but the farm machinery has done little damage to the rural villages. There are several narrow gauge railways in the county; the best being the North Norfolk, which is also at the start of the Peddlers Way, a 55-mile walk through the county. As regards country houses to visit there are quite a host of them with one of the best being Holkham Hall near Wells-next-the-sea, which has a fine art collection and, although austere on the outside, has an opulent interior and various attractions in the surrounding parkland. Finally for those of a religious bent take a pilgrimage to Little Walsingham. The town was number two to Canterbury and a must visit for all Monarchs up until the Reformation. To the south is Suffolk, the county of Constable, Gainsborough, and the Aldeburgh Festival not withstanding a change of type of landscape, which is rolling and in stark contrast to the flatness of Norfolk. There is a host of Tudor architecture in the county town of Ipswich, some of the best examples of Pargetting in the country and also the chance of sampling the local beer at the Tolly Cobbold Brewery; there is a local paper, The Entertainer, which tells you of any events in the area. Untouched market towns litter the county with possibly Lavenham being the best of these with 300 listed buildings in the small town, but beware of being swamped by other tourists. The Aldeburgh Festival was established by Benjamin Britten and is the foremost musical event in the area and happens during June; the sea is gently encroaching on the seaside town so it is worth a visit before it disappears under the waves.
There are 45 miles of coastline, much of it designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and behind the beaches lie rolling dunes and then heath land. This is a haven for wildlife and there are quite a few bird sanctuaries with the most well known being at Orfordness. Inland lots of the villages are much unchanged from the time when this county was possibly the richest in England based on the quality of the wool it produced, and the centre of that industry was Sudbury. As the birthplace of Gainsborough it houses a museum with the largest collection of his works in the country and includes the only known example of a sculpture by the artist. Country Houses are plentiful, from the Tudor Manors at Melford and Kentwell, to the splendour of Ickworth possibly the most original Country Mansion in England. Built for the Hervey family, the Earls and Marquises of Bristol, the house was completed in 1821 for the 1st Marquis but commissioned by his uncle, the infamous Earl-Bishop of Derry who gave his name to many an hotel around Europe. On his travels he collected quite an amount of art, most of it captured by Napoleon, but enough made its way back to Ickworth