The eastern counties of England are Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk.
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This area is a mix of countryside, ancient churches, nature reserves, beaches and medieval villages. The seaside offers many holiday attractions.
The Fens, a vast expanse of artificially drained land reclaimed from its natural marsh state, spreads out from the Wash across Cambridgeshire and western Norfolk. A network of waterways teems with wildlife and birds. The Broads National Park offers lots of opportunities to be on the water.
Historic mills dot Norfolkís landscape. The county town, Norwich, has a cathedral and interesting museums, not to mention 31 churches dating from the middle ages.
Sandringham, a royal residence, is in Norfolk. If you are interested in things prehistoric, a visit to Grimes Graves is a must. Priory ruins, historic homes, and interesting villages and towns complete the picture.
Cambridgeshire is famous for its county town, Cambridge, a town of colleges and home to the famous Kingís College chapel. Ely and Peterborough both have cathedrals of interest.
The town of March also has much to offer, including a 14th century church with 118 angels carved on its interior roof. Wisbech is another interesting town. In fact, the county is replete with towns and villages worth a visit. Oliver Cromwell was born in the county. Flag Fen, a bronze age archaeological discovery, is an attraction of a different kind. Duxford Air Museum is an experience in itself.
Visitors to the county of Suffolk wonít lack for historic churches and villages. Lavenham is a not to be missed example. Flatford Mill, made famous in Constableís painting, is another county attraction. Sutton Hoo, an Anglo-Saxon burial site, is located in Suffolk. Coastline views are on offer. The county has a number of gardens and historic homes well worth visiting including Kentwell Hall, Ickworth, Melford, and Somerleyton.
Although small, Bedfordshire is stuffed with scenic villages full of historic architecture. Historic watermills, gardens, and homes complete the picture. The RSPBís national headquarters is near the county town of Bedford. Wrest Park Gardens, Woburn Abbey and Grade I listed Moggerhanger Park are in the county. Thereís another attraction in this area for those interested in airplanes. Itís the Shuttleworth Collection of early aeroplanes.
Gardens and nature reserves compete with historic homes and towns for attention in Essex. Itís the home of Saffron Walden and its beautiful church. Itís also the place to find the charming village of Dedham. Thaxted village is a must for lovers of medieval buildings.
There is much of interest in the Roman town of Colchester. The castle museum, the clock museum, the Roman wall and much more make for several attraction filled days. Audley End is a Jacobean home in Essex.
The historic town of St Albans lies in the county of Hertfordshire. In addition to its cathedral thereís an excellent Roman museum. Medieval towns and churches dot the county. Donít miss Hatfield House, childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I. George Bernard Shaw was a famous Hertfordshire resident.
Photos by Barbara Ballard