East Anglia - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to East Anglia

East Anglia

From half-timbered homes to stately Gothic Cathedrals, across shimmering fens and through lakes and rivers, the East of England is broad and varied, promising something for everyone. The university town of Cambridge boasts exquisite architecture and a deep heritage, while boat trips through the broads will reveal large sections of unspoilt countryside teeming with wildlife. In the ancient towns of Ely and Lincoln are magnificent Cathedrals, and King's College Chapel in Cambridge is probably the finest example of Gothic architecture in Europe. In rural Norfolk visitors can discover some of the country's finest stately homes such as Bickling and Holkham Hall.

While devoid of any giant metropolis, a holiday in East Anglia is the perfect opportunity to explore the quaint corners of smaller towns and villages; or pursue outdoor activities like horseback riding, hiking, sailing, quad biking, and bird watching.

Information & Facts

English is the official language, though visitors will be astonished by the variety of regional accents.

The currency is the pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks. Travellers cheques are accepted in all areas frequented by tourists; they are best taken in Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.

Local time in the United Kingdom is GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Blickling Hall is a splendid early 17th-century house owned by the National Trust. It is one of England's great Jacobean houses and is built in red brick with a gabled façade and elegant corner turrets. Its remarkable long gallery has an outstanding plaster ceiling and houses a superb library containing 12,000 books and throughout the house are a fine collection of family portraits, including works by Gainsborough and Reynolds, as well as textiles and good quality furniture. The ghosts of Anne Boleyn and Sir John Fastolfe (the inspiration for Shakespeare's Falstaff) are said to haunt the house and grounds. The breathtaking garden offers variety and colour throughout the seasons, with spring bulbs, magnolias, particularly dramatic displays of azaleas and rhododendrons, plus herbaceous borders and stunning autumn tints, a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon. There are miles of attractive lakeside and parkland walks, and interesting features such as the sunken garden, dry moat, temple and orangey.

Holkham is home to the Earl and Countess of Leicester and has been owned by their family since 1609. The formidable 18th century Palladian Hall is the centre of a 25,000-acre estate on the north coast of Norfolk. Within the house are some magnificent state rooms including the vast Marble Hall, which features a magnificent art collection including paintings by Rubens and Van Dyke. Visitors can also view the old kitchens that catered for the family and their enormous entourage. Within the old stables is the Bygones Museum, which displays fascinating exhibits from times gone by including a history of farming. The park surrounding the hall is popular with locals and tourists alike, as is Holkham beach, which attracts sunbathers and swimmers on warm days.

Much of the area east of Norwich is criss-crossed with a series of navigable inland waterways, known as the Norfolk Broads. It has become a popular holiday retreat for visitors hiring houseboats and cruisers to tour these waterways, which wind through quaint towns and offer fantastic fishing for keen anglers. There are many companies willing to rent boats to holidaymakers.

The University of Cambridge is one of the oldest in the world and is made up of 31 colleges, each an independent institution with its own property and income. The oldest college, Peterhouse, was founded in 1281 by the Bishops of Ely. Both Charles Darwin and John Milton were students at Christ's College, founded by the mother of Henry VII in 1505. The largest and perhaps most famous college is Trinity College which was founded by Henry VIII. The college's masterpiece is Christopher Wren's magnificent library where the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Byron, Tennyson and William Thackeray studied. There are also many museums around the University but most visitors come here to walk around the wonderful buildings, take in the history and admire the wonderful architecture.

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