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With a coast line that runs around more than half the area, there are a wealth of seaside options in East Anglia.

The Essex coast is home to the brash but fun seaside resorts of Southend-on-Sea and Clacton-on-Sea, with their fairground rides, amusement arcades and lively nightlife. But Essex also offers a more peaceful stretch of coast, with traditional fishing villages and sailing hot-spots.

The Suffolk coast is home to many sleepy, traditional fishing towns and villages, with colourful boats and houses and wooden shacks selling fresh seafood. Popular stops include appealing Aldeburgh – previous home of the well-known composer, Benjamin Britten, and host of his arts focussed Aldeburgh Festival – and upmarket Southwold, with its photogenic beach huts and pretty setting, but it is also worth investigating the less well-known villages in the surrounding area.

Not far inland, the charming village of Framlingham is home to impressive twelfth century Framlingham Castle, where Mary Tudor took refuge as she fought for the throne following the death of her brother, Edward VI.

The north Norfolk coast is an interesting mixture of traditional, and in some cases fading, resort towns, some stunning stretches of beach, excellent bird and sea-life watching, and a host of picturesque villages to the west with upmarket pubs and eating options. There are also two impressive country estates in the area: the Queen’s country retreat of Sandringham House and the Palladian house and vast grounds of Holkham Hall.

Image: © VisitBritain / Rod Edwards