East Anglia

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East Anglia is an area in the east of England. The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the East Angles, a tribe that originated in Angeln, northern Germany. The area included varies but the legally defined statistical region, comprises the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, including the City of Peterborough unitary authority area.




Parts of this region of England are characterised by the flatness of the land, partly consisting of fenland and reclaimed marshland, though much of Suffolk and Norfolk is gently undulating with glacial moraine ridges providing steeper hills in areas such as North Norfolk. The supposed flatness of the Norfolk landscape is noted in Noël Coward's Private Lives – "Very flat, Norfolk" – and the history of its waterways and drainage forms the backdrop to Graham Swift's novel Waterland. The region also figures in works by L.P. Hartley, Arthur Ransome and Dorothy L. Sayers, among many others.

Major urban areas in the region include the cities of Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough. Ipswich is an important town in Suffolk. Smaller towns and cities include Bury St Edmunds, Ely, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Much of the area is still rural in nature with villages surrounded by agricultural land and agriculture has always been important in this fertile region. The landscape of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk has been heavily influenced by Dutch technology, from the use of red clay roof tiles to the draining of The Fens.

The region has a wide range of small-scale holiday resorts ranging from the traditional coastal towns of Felixstowe and Lowestoft in Suffolk and Great Yarmouth and Hunstanton in Norfolk to small fishing villages like Aldeburgh and Southwold in Suffolk. Other tourist attractions include historic towns like Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and Ely as well as areas such as Constable Country, the Broads and the North Norfolk coast.

Major rivers include Suffolk's Stour, running through country beloved of the painter John Constable, and the Nene. The River Cam is a tributary of the Great Ouse and gives its name to Cambridge whilst Norwich sits on the River Yare and River Wensum. The River Orwell flows through Ipswich and has its mouth, with the River Stour at Felixstowe. The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads form a network of waterways between Norwich and the coast and are popular for recreational boating.




Although water plays a significant role in the fenland and broadland landscapes, the area is among the driest in the United Kingdom. During the summer months, tinder-dry conditions are frequently experienced, occasionally resulting in field and heath fires.

Maximum temperatures range from 5-10 °C in the winter to 20-25 °C in the summer, although temperatures have been known to reach 35 °C in recent years. Sunshine totals tend to be higher towards the coastal areas.



Getting There

By Train

Rail links in the region include the Great Eastern Main Line from Norwich to London Liverpool Street and the West Anglia Main Line connecting Cambridge to London. Sections of the East Coast Main Line run through the region with Peterborough an important interchange on this line. The region is linked to the Midlands and north-west England by rail and has a number of local rail services such as the Bittern Line from Norwich to Sheringham.

By Car

Two of the counties of East Anglia, Norfolk and Suffolk, have no motorway links at all, with only small sections of the M11 and A1(M) running through Cambridgeshire. Main A roads such as the A12 and A47 link the region to the rest of the UK, with the A14 linking the Midlands to the Port of Felixstowe.


East Anglia Travel Helpers

  • SteveJD

    I live near Felixstowe and travel around mainly in Suffolk and Norfolk with occasional forays into Cambridgeshire. We find that East Anglia is often missed by travellers as the main routes bypass us but the area is rich in history (the richest ever Anglo-Saxon find in Britain was found only a few miles away from me at Sutton Hoo) and is a great place for bird watchers with some top RSPB sites easily accessible. I don't know much about nightclubs but there are good theatres and some excellent fooderies. Come and find us!

    Ask SteveJD a question about East Anglia

This is version 1. Last edited at 7:16 on Aug 5, 16 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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