Things to do this autumn on the Greater Anglia network

Friday, 26 October 2018
Days Out

We head out across the network to get the locals’ recommendations for the essential experiences everyone should try over the season ahead...

Interviews by Matt Havercroft

Photos by Will Slater

Dana Bradunaite, florist at Flower Station, 
Liverpool Street Station

“I love to go shopping and the best place to go in east London is Brick Lane. You can find anything you want there and, after you’ve finished exploring the shops and markets, there are loads of great bars and restaurants serving every kind of food. It’s a nice place to go on your own or with friends. It’s probably my favourite part of London and there’s nothing better than sitting in one of the pub gardens on a sunny day.”

While you’re there: Don’t miss the chance to take a walk around the stalls at Old Spitalfields Market – east London’s oldest – with its mouth-watering selection of street food and achingly hip shops for fashionistas.

Wes Westwood, captain of the Sailing Barge Victor, Ipswich Marina

“For the ultimate autumn wildlife experience, I would recommend a visit to RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk as the winter birds start coming in. You get all of the migrating birds coming from Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle to the warmer climate over here. It’s a wild place and an area of outstanding natural beauty with lots of different kinds of habitats, from reedbed pools to heath and grassland.”

While you’re there: Head north to the seaside town of Southwold on the Suffolk Heritage Coast, where you can take a stroll on the historic pier, catch a film at its old-fashioned cinema or take a river trip along the Blyth estuary.

Duane D Bartolomeo, co-owner of 
Grosvenor Fish Bar, Norwich

“I would recommend a visit to the Plantation Garden in Norwich. It’s basically a secret garden that was opened to the public in the 1980s and is run by volunteers. Everything was overgrown but when they started clearing it out they found a huge fountain and other features. It’s a really beautiful place now – you’re in the city but it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere.”

While you’re there: If you like the Plantation Garden, you could also visit the Bishop’s House Gardens – a four-acre private garden in the city centre that belonged to the Bishops of Norwich for over 900 years.

Sally Shaw, director of Firstsite, Colchester

“I would suggest going to Flatford Mill and having a fantastic 
walk in the countryside around it. Art is a big thing for me so 
I love that this is Constable country, where the artist John Constable once walked and created his incredible masterpieces. 
At Flatford Mill you can literally stand in the view that he captured in his painting The Hay Wain. There is also an exhibition, where you can find out about Constable’s connection to the Dedham Vale and the Stour Valley, while taking in the scenes that so inspired him.”

While you’re there: If you want to extend your visit, don’t miss the chance to book a stay at the Secret Meadows, a nature reserve just outside Woodbridge, where you can book a night’s glamping in a spectacular natural setting.

Matt Saunders, director of Chambers Cocktail Company, Norwich

“It’s well worth making a trip to Wyken Vineyards in Suffolk. 
The wine they produce on the estate is fantastic and they have a fine dining-style restaurant with a café next to it, where you can have breakfast or lunch. There’s also a shop and the vineyard itself – it’s a lovely place just to have a walk around. I used to live nearby so I’ve been there many times throughout the year. Suffolk is beautiful in the autumn, which is just after the grape harvest so the vines are low and you can see out over all of the fields. It’s a really cool place.”

While you’re there: Just a short drive away from the vineyard 
is Thetford Forest Park, Britain’s largest man-made lowland 
forest, with just under 19,000 hectares to explore.

James Read, stall holder at Mike, Debs and Sons Fruit and Vegetables, Norwich Market

“I think the best thing you can do – especially in autumn – is go 
to Holkham Beach. It’s a fantastic place with miles and miles of open beach and countryside. My wife and I enjoy taking our dog for walks there. If you’re coming from the city you can leave the concrete behind and you’ll find nothing but sand and sea – it’s amazing. It’s the best beach in the UK and totally different to everywhere else as it’s just so vast. In autumn all the trees are starting to change and the sea is usually fairly calm so it’s a really nice time to visit.”

While you’re there: Step off the sand to visit Holkham Hall, a spectacular 18th-century mansion surrounded by rolling grounds. Close to the village of Holkham, it’s rich in history, fine architecture and wildlife.

Kelly Peters, customer service host for Greater Anglia, Ipswich Train Station

“I would recommend going to Alton Water in Suffolk. It’s a huge man-made reservoir just a short drive from Ipswich with lots of adventurous stuff to do on and around the water, including cycling, sailing and kayaking. Until September there’s also a huge inflatable aqua park out on the water with loads of obstacles, climbing walls and slides. My son loves going there to get out and about, rather than being stuck indoors, and to try all of the activities. He wants to go there again and again. In autumn you can do everything – it’s a great family day out.”

While you’re there: Pay a visit to Pin Mill, a hamlet on the banks of the River Orwell near Chelmondiston, Suffolk, and enjoy an autumnal stroll around the woodland and heathlands managed by the National Trust.