Norfolk and Suffolk summer holidays guide: the best new attractions

Faster access to Norwich and the Broads

Part of Norfolk’s charm is its inaccessibility, but slow traffic on the A11
has often made the journey there a long and tedious one, especially in
summer. Now recently completed improvements to the A11 should mean cuts in
the journey time to the north coast, Norwich and the Broads from London and
the Midlands. Over £100 million has been spent on creating a dual
carriageway between the Fiveways at Barton Mills in Suffolk and the
roundabout at the southern end of the Thetford bypass in Norfolk (including
a new bypass around the village of Elveden), a distance of just over nine
miles.


Major upgrade works to the A11 will speed journey times from London to the
Norfolk broads. Photo: Getty

This means there will be dual-carriage road from the M11 to Norwich. For more
information see highways.gov.uk.

New café-restaurant

The Dial House in Reepham is a new venture for Iain and Clair Wilson (owners
of the well-established Byfords Posh bb in Holt). Set in a Grade-II
Georgian house, the restaurant overlooks the main square of this rural
Norfolk market town, 13 miles north west of Norwich, and serves breakfast
(£10), lunch and dinner (£12 to £14 for main courses, which may include
grilled salmon with spiced sweet potato or butternut and lentil kedgeree)
and afternoon teas.


The Dial House in Reepham offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Photo: The Dial
House

Furnishings in the stylish rooms can not only be enjoyed, but bought;
everything (including tables, chairs and crockery), is for sale. Open daily
from 9am to 5pm (until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays), a speciality is its
aga-cooked cake at £3 or full afternoon tea at £15 per person. The Aga
Sunday lunch is a roast at £17.50, from noon to 4.30pm (01603 879900; thedialhouse.org.uk).

Check availability: Byfords
Posh bb

Artworks from the Hermitage

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia (UEA),
near Norwich unveils “Francis Bacon and The Masters”, which will run from
April 18 to July 26. The exhibition will transfer from St Petersburg’s
Hermitage Museum (where it runs until March 8), and on show will be a
collection of 25 works by Francis Bacon, plus works by Velázquez, Rembrandt,
Titian, Michelangelo, Rodin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Cézanne, Gauguin and
Matisse.


“Francis Bacon and The Masters” will be at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual
Arts in Norwich. Photo: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Many that have never been shown in the UK before (01603 593199; scva.co.uk)

New bb

Tinsmiths House in Aylsham is a new bb near the National Trust’s
Blickling Hall and a good base for exploring the Broads, and the east
Norfolk coast. It’s owned and managed by Paul Vater and Paul Barrett, who
both have a background in arts and design. As its name suggests, the
building was originally a tinsmith’s workshop dating from the 18th-century
and it contains many original features, including wooden panels and stone
floors. It has two guest rooms, Blofields Room with views of the garden, and
Elephant Room with views across the town’s pantiled rooftops. Double rooms
from £80 per night, including breakfast (01263 586187; tinsmithshouse.com).

Theatrical premiere

As part of the Norfolk Norwich Festival in May, WildWorks (wildworks.biz),
which specialises in dramatic landscape theatre, will take audiences on a
journey into the woods, in collaboration with the National Trust’s Felbrigg
Hall near Cromer in North Norfolk, with the premiere of “Wolf’s Child”,
described as a grown-up fairytale of love and betrayal.


Wildworks is collaborating with Fellbrigg Hall to take visitors on a journey
through the grounds as part of the Norfolk Norwich Festival in May.
Photo: National Trust

This promenade performance is one of the highlight shows of the 2015 Festival,
which takes place from May 8-24. Performances will be daily excluding
Sundays. Tickets cost £20, £18 concessions; a limited number of
tickets at £7.50 are available to under-25s (01603 766400; nnfestival.org.uk).

Anniversary celebration

As part of the Landmark Trust’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2015, the
Martello Tower in Aldeburgh, Suffolk has been chosen as one of five UK sites
for an installation by artist Antony Gormley from May 2015 to May 2016. The
exhibition, called “LAND” comprises a life-size, standing sculpture cast in
iron and there will be free public access to view it.


The Martello Tower is to host work by the artist Anthony Gormley as part of
the Landmark Trust’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Landmark Trust

The Martello Tower is the most northerly of a chain of defensive towers, built
between 1808 and 1812 and can be rented as self-catering accommodation from
the Landmark Trust. It sleeps up to four in two rooms and has a rooftop
battery area with panoramic views of the sea and stony shoreline. A
three-night stay in May costs £925, rising to £1,445 in August (01628
825925; landmarktrust.org.uk)

New coastal path

Forming part of the new National Trail which is planned to run around the
entire English coastline, a new section of the Norfolk coast path opened
this winter between the east Norfolk seaside villages of Weybourne and Sea
Palling.


Coastal walks in Norfolk will be made easier with the opening of a new 26-mile
stretch of path. Photo: Visit North Norfolk

The 26-mile stretch includes the villages of Mundesley, Happisburgh and
Trimmingham, and passes some of the region’s most scenic stretches of coast.
Currently consultations are taking place on the next phase, which will
continue the trail all the way to Hopton on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. For
more information about this and the trails network (around 1,200 miles of
walks, cycle routes and bridleways in the region) see norfolk.gov.uk/Leisure_and_culture
(click on “Norfolk Trails”).

Historic sailing boats

New for 2015, the Broads boating holiday specialist Waterways Holidays will be
offering short break holidays on the Norfolk Heritage Fleet Trust’s 1930s
sailing yachts. The boats are built of mahogany, with traditional gaff rig
sails, and the 14-strong fleet comprises some of the oldest vessels on the
Broads.


Waterways Holidays is a specialist in Norfolk Broads holidays. Photo:
Waterways Holidays

Down below there is a cabin with dining table, full-sized seats which double
up as sleeping berths, a lavatory and washbasin, plus a small hob and grill.
There’s no engine or electricity, instead the original oil lamps are used. A
week’s hire of a two-berth yacht from Ludham, off the River Thurne, starts
at £619, three-night short breaks from £358. Three-berth and four-berth
yachts are also available. Sailing experience is necessary (01252 339023; waterwaysholidays.com).

New self-catering accommodation

Two newly restored properties will be available to rent through the National
Trust from spring 2015. Barn Owl Loft, in the small village of Itteringham
in Norfolk, sleeps two and occupies the upper floors of a Georgian manor
house. The apartment, which is south facing, overlooks the river Bure, and
costs from £360 for a three-night stay. Also new to the National Trust’s
portfolio is Horringer Park Gates at Ickworth in Suffolk; it sleeps four,
has a lawned garden and is an easy walk of the Ickworth Hotel with
restaurant and café. A three-night stay costs from £465 (0344 335 128; nationaltrustcottages.co.uk).

For more general advice on booking a holiday in Britain,
see our UK
summer holidays guide
. Our guide features expert recommendations for beach,
self-catering,
heritage,
food
and drink,
activity,
camping
and cruise
holidays.


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