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TEN OF THE BEST EAST ANGLIAN RETREATS

Jessica Baldwin

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East Anglia crops up more frequently in jokes than it does vacation plans – trust me, I am a Norfolk girl! However, with dramatic coastlines, quaint villages and beautiful countryside this unique part of Britain has everything you need for the perfect staycation. East Anglia is all about getting outside and exploring the fascinating landscape. My best childhood memories are of picnics and sailing in Suffolk and hiking across North Norfolk, and after an exhausting day a cosy b&b is just what you need to complete the experience. Here are my top ten bases from which to explore this fascinating region.
Kesgrave Hall

Suffolk is home to countless picturesque villages and lively coastal market towns and Kesgrave Hall Hotel is the perfect boutique base from which to explore them. The stylish hotel has 23 en-suite bedrooms boasting dreamy beds, fluffy towels and free Wi-Fi. Quote Britain's Finest when booking a two night stay between Wednesday April 3rd and Friday August 30th 2013 and you will get upgraded to the best available room. You will also enjoy a complimentary full English breakfast and three course dinner on both days, plus one champagne afternoon tea. This exclusive package is just £190 per person.

The Great House Restaurant and Hotel

In medieval times, the Suffolk town of Lavenham was one of the wealthiest towns in Britain, thanks to its lucrative wool trade. Today, the quaint timbre-framed town is home to a wonderful rural bolt hole; The Great House Restaurant and Hotel. The fifteenth century property has just five sought after en-suite bedrooms featuring plasma TVs and WiFi as well as a complimentary decanter of sherry for a warm welcome. Make sure you don't miss its fantastic restaurant, voted as one of Britain's top 100 by The Sunday Times.

Hotel du Vin - Cambridge

Conveniently located in the heart of Cambridge, this historic building was once part of Cambridge University. Today you are more likely to find affluent couples on a romantic break than cash-strapped students studying in these walls. Having received a quirky makeover the hotel now features forty one bedrooms and suites decadently kitted out with hand sprung beds, Egyptian cotton bed linen and grand roll-top baths. As the name suggests, this hotel also has a fantastic wine collection to explore in its tasting room. Attracting over three million tourists every year, this historic university town is a great choice for culture vultures.

Tuddenham Mill

Nestled between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds on the Suffolk border, Tuddenham Mill is a hotel with a difference. Located within a traditional watermill the striking property perfectly marries traditional oak beams with sleek modern interiors. Their spacious rooms feature refreshingly high ceilings, exposed beams and decadently comfortable bedding. There is nothing more relaxing than waking up to the sound of the mill's trickling water and the local birdlife. Alternatively, those after an adrenaline shot can go quad biking and clay pigeon shooting at the nearby activity park, Wildtracks.

Hotel Felix- Cambridge

Set in tranquil grounds, Hotel Felix offers a stylish stay and is a five minute drive from the centre of Cambridge, renowned for its excellent shops, galleries and restaurants. The four star hotel combines traditional Victorian architecture with thoughtful modern touches. Their fifty two individually designed bedrooms feature King Size Hypnos beds, some with walk-in rain showers and pay as you view movies. The hotel's restaurant, Graffiti, serves well-presented Modern British cuisine amidst stylish surroundings and with Cambridge so close guests are spoilt for choice for dining out.

The Norfolk Mead Hotel

Hidden at the end of an elaborate driveway this former merchant's house is the perfect crash pad for those wanting to explore the tranquil Norfolk Broads. The grand Georgian property boasts commanding views across the River Bure and exudes an informal country house atmosphere. Surrounded by eight acres of riverside gardens it is the perfect place to unwind and explore the local area which is abundant with wild flowers and wildlife. The hotel has just undergone an exciting refurbishment which it will reveal to the public on April 10th 2013.

The Pier at Harwich

Life in the historic town of Harwich revolves entirely around its busy quayside. Having received its charter back in the thirteenth century the town is steeped in history and boasts a lively nautical scene, with the busy harbour still offering regular ferry trips to Holland. However, if dry land is more your scene, book in to The Pier Hotel. Proudly located on the quay and you can take in the nautical views from the comfort of one of their fourteen contemporary rooms. Flooded with natural light the stylishly decorated rooms offer comfy beds, private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi.

Rookery Barn

This stretch of coastline is often overlooked by tourists who flock to North Norfolk's more talked about towns. However, the raw beauty of this area is undeniable with sheltered sand dunes, empty beaches and hundreds of beautiful wild seals. Rookery Barn is a Grade 2 listed barn conversion with a lovely walled garden. Walk along the cliff tops to the pretty village of Happisburgh, famous for its crumbling cliffs.

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