Britain’s under-sung east coast

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England’s long and fascinating east coast offers a diverse range of experiences to visitors – whether you’re keen to explore the great outdoors, witness remarkable architecture or enjoy a traditional seaside break at charming resort towns. With London itself being located in the South East, and cities such as Leeds offering convenient access to the coast in the north of the country, visiting the east coast can be an excellent way to enjoy a day away from the bustle of modern city life, without travelling a great distance.

Many people who visit the east coast stick to East Anglia, popular for its unspoilt rural landscapes and rustic character, but venturing beyond the Broads can reveal a wealth of opportunities across the length of England’s eastern coastline. The Suffolk shore is popular with naturalists, sailing enthusiasts and historians alike, thanks to archaeological discoveries of Saxon wrecks including the famous Sutton Hoo, while nearby area Dunwich Heath is one of the last Sandlings heaths remaining in the country, creating a dazzling, colourful landscape in summer when the heather is in bloom.

Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the North Norfolk coast is also a feast for the eyes, with its varied landscape of marshes, creeks and sand dunes as well as the presence of old-fashioned sailing boats in its quaint ports. Nature lovers flock in droves to Blakeney Point, where many migrating birds nest in the summer, and you’ll also have the chance to spot other rare wildlife such as seals.

Taking one way car hire north to the Yorkshire Coast will bring you to the home of the British bucket and spade holiday, at historic resort towns such as Scarborough, while history lovers will be enthralled by the winding streets and abbeys of coastal towns like Whitby – the setting of Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire novel, Dracula.

Just a short trip south of Whitby lies another popular destination along the Yorkshire Heritage Coast – the charming fishing hamlet of Robin Hood’s Bay. This quiet town may be lacking in big-budget family attractions, but this is more than made up for by the solitude it offers for relaxing or romantic breaks, and great pub meals in its numerous taverns. Lovers of outdoor pursuits will also find opportunities to explore the region on horseback or by foot, especially when heading inland to discover the flora and fauna of North Yorkshire Moors National Park Centres.