Anything of special interest in Cambridge UK and Norfolk surrounds?
April 22, 2015 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Heading to East Anglia for a couple weeks in late May; have lined up Cambridge (Scott Polar Research Institute!) followed by Cromer and the north Norfolk coast, Holkham, King's Lynn. Any local six-fingered denizens with suggestions for off-beat or interesting things to do and see?

And I have webbed feet so should be alright.
posted by henry scobie to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Might be a bit too much of a trek, but Orford Ness is very cool. Assuming you like beautiful shingley desolation, wildlife and weird top secret military detritus.
posted by sobarel at 8:54 AM on April 22, 2015

The Centre for Computing History is my favourite museum in Cambridge. It's fairly new and a bit hacked-together, but they've got a ton of interesting hardware and lots of games set up. It's fun! Don't be put off by the fact that it's hidden at the back of an industrial estate.

If you like stuff that's generically old and fancy, Saffron Walden ticks both boxes and you can get a decent lunch there. Downside: it's in Essex.
posted by terretu at 8:55 AM on April 22, 2015

Saffron Walden is full of interesting historic stuff as well as several mazes, both turf and hedge. Technically, it's in Essex, but it's close enough to the Cambridgeshire border that you can visit without having to get a spray-on tan.

Up near Sheringham, there's a place where you can drive a tank, if you're so inclined.

A bit further south in Southwold, there's an exhibit of oddball gadgets called Under the Pier -- built by Tim Hunkin of "Secret Life of Machines" fame.

Castle Acre has castle and priory ruins to wander.

Norwich itself is a surprisingly interesting city. I love the atmosphere of The Library restaurant.

If you have any interest in aviation, the collection at Duxford is a must-see.
posted by penguinicity at 9:11 AM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Visit Norwich whilst you're in Norfolk, it's a lovely town. Also, if you're driving all the way up to Cromer you may want to think about extending your trip into Suffolk. Bury St Edmunds is lovely as are Southwold, Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings. Sutton Hoo is very historical, near the lovely little town of Woodbridge. None of these would take you any longer to get to than Cromer.

You may or may not be aware that the last Monday in May is a bank holiday and most people will have a long weekend. Unless the weather is really bad anywhere touristy and the coast will be very busy that weekend. Just one thing to consider when plotting your itinerary.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:20 AM on April 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Depending on where you are, you might like to visit the Bronze Age site and museum at Flag Fen, just outside Peterborough. If you like small and rather dull museums (I do) there's the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon.
posted by paduasoy at 9:24 AM on April 22, 2015

Here to back up Norwich.
I'm from Norfolk/Suffolk and lived in Norwich when I moved out of my parents house.
I LOVE it. I miss it (I live in the US now).
There are 2 beautiful cathedrals and more churches/pubs than you can imagine. Walk around Elm Hill. There's old timber framed houses. Hundreds of years old. The market is pretty awesome and the city center is full of great architecture. There are rivers to walk along and they're super pretty.
Ely cathedral is also an amazing visit. Really anywhere in Norfolk is such a quick drive. Norfolk is incredibly beautiful. You could rent a boat and sail around the Broads.
Agree with someone else above, Southwold is a great place to visit. Also Dunwich beach.
Cambridge is such a beautiful place too. You could walk around for hours. Walk around the University.
At Cromer get fish and chips. Sheringham is near by and I actually think is nicer than Cromer.
I personally wouldn't bother with Kings Lynn. It isn't an old town and it's not a great place IMO.
posted by shesbenevolent at 9:33 AM on April 22, 2015

We go on holiday to Cromer for two weeks every year and absolutely love it. Here are a few of our favourites:
North Norfolk Railway - lovingly preserved steam railway running from Sheringham to Holt, just along the coast from Cromer.
Davenport's Magic Kingdom at North Walsham- an excellent 'living museum' which deals with the history of stage magic and is run by several generations of magicians.
Amazona Zoo - a small but very good specialist zoo just outside Cromer that focuses solely on birds, animals and reptiles from South America.
posted by Chairboy at 4:07 PM on April 22, 2015

I reckon you can manage day trips to pretty much anywhere in East Anglia from one location or the other, provided you have a car. So the question is, what are your interests?

(I'm going to try not to duplicate suggestions others have already made...)

Do you like ancient history? There's an Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow in Suffolk, a prehistoric flint mine at Grimes Graves in Norfolk, and a scattering of Roman remains in Colchester, Essex.

Do you like mills? There's a tide mill in Woodbridge, Suffolk, a water mill in Lode near Cambridge and windmills at Bourn, Swaffham Prior and Wicken, also in Cambridgeshire.

Do you like the power of steam? There's a pumping engine at Stretham, Cambs., and a museum of technology in Cambridge itself.

Do you like castles? There are interesting ones at Castle Rising in Norfolk, Orford and Framlingham in Suffolk and Castle Hedingham in Essex. Plus Colchester and Norwich castles, both of which house museums, and Stansted Mountfitchet Castle in Essex, a reconstruction of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle.

Did you see this recent FPP about the crooked houses of Lavenham? That's in Suffolk.

Finally, do you like secrets? Would you like to visit a secret nuclear bunker? Essex has you covered. Or how about a 15th-century manor house with a priest's hole? That'd be Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:18 PM on April 24, 2015

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