The 7 most romantic things to do in East Anglia
Want to go beyond the standard card and bunch of flowers to impress your beloved? Jump on a train for a romantic excursion for two. We’ve done the hard work and put together some truly special ideas for days out across East Anglia that you’ll both love.
For history fans: a day exploring ancient Norwich
If you and your partner love soaking up the atmosphere of historic buildings, Norwich has plenty to offer. Take in the magnificent cathedral, which is one of the finest examples of a Romanesque cathedral in Europe, then stroll over to the 900-year-old Castle Museum and Art Gallery to explore the fine art, archaeology and natural history exhibitions. Travel through the ages in the Strangers’ Hall, where you can view interlinked rooms decorated in varying historic styles and indulge your senses in the lavender-filled garden. Finish with a visit to the spectacular Marble Hall, which is inspired by Greek architecture and whose lavish interior showcases 15 types of marble.
Nearest station: Norwich
For the sweet-toothed: a chocolate-making masterclass
Forget giving your partner a box of Black Magic. At Artistry in Cocoa the two of you can make your own sweet masterpiece. This family-run chocolatier in Newmarket offers a range of workshops, including an in-depth chocolate masterclass that can be customised to your taste. Choose from a range of techniques including hand-rolling truffles, making and flavouring ganache, and chocolate sculpture. Then comes the best bit: sampling your creation!
Nearest station: Newmarket
For the quintessential English experience: go for a punt
There’s something that’s just so romantic about drifting leisurely along the water, and a leisurely punt down the Cam is the perfect way to enjoy beautiful Cambridge. Get someone else to do the hard work for you by booking a chauffeured punt – or opt for a self-hire trip if you’re feeling active. Check out this great 2-for-1 offer on a group tour, although for the ultimate romantic gesture you can book a private punt complete with a picnic, flowers and chocolates.
Nearest station: Cambridge
For the green-thumbed: explore Felixstowe Seafront Gardens
It’s because of these eight Grade II-listed gardens that Felixstowe is known as The Garden Resort of East Anglia. Stretching for almost a mile along the seafront, the interconnecting gardens were planted by the Victorians. Little has changed since then, with much of the original planting scheme still present. Take a stroll hand-in-hand with your beau along the Heritage Trail to visit all eight, which include the delightfully named Pram Walk, the flower-filled Rose Garden, and the Wishing Well and Dripping Pond.
Nearest station: Felixstowe
For rom-com fans: recreate a famous scene from Shakespeare in Love
Remember the ending of 1999 film Shakespeare in Love, when Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) is walking along the beach? That stunning stretch of sand is Holkham Beach. It’s one of the most unspoilt beaches in the country, a half moon-shaped basin that turns into a spectacular shallow lagoon at high tide. It’s bordered by Holkham National Nature Reserve, which abounds in rare flora and fauna – if you’re lucky enough, you may spot thousands of pink-footed geese.
Nearest station: Sheringham, then Coasthopper bus
For culture buffs: take a trip to the theatre
Did you know that Ipswich has six theatres and performance spaces? The New Wolsey has an eclectic programme of drama, dance, comedy, circus and more, while the Regent Theatre specialises in West End musicals and larger stage shows. If films are your favourite, the Ipswich Film Theatre is a two-screen cinema in the city’s old Corn Exchange that specialises in world and independent movies. For something unique to the region, check out the Sir John Mills Theatre, the home of theatre company Eastern Angles, whose original plays often explore East Anglian themes.
Nearest station: Ipswich
For those who want to get away from it all: a stay at the region’s most romantic hotel
The Beechwood Hotel and Restaurant in North Walsham holds TripAdvisor’s accolade of East Anglia’s most romantic hotel. It’s not surprising – four-poster beds and Victorian-style freestanding baths will make it a stay to remember, while the restaurant’s two AA rosettes means the food is sure to please.
Fans of Agatha Christie’s gripping mysteries will be delighted to know of her connection to the place. Before becoming a hotel, the house was owned by Christie’s close friends Peter and Margaret McLeod. Christie visited the house many times, writing her novels in the summerhouse during the day and discussing plot points with the McLeods over dinner. It’s no surprise that the hotel now offers murder-mystery dinners and afternoon teas.
Nearest station: North Walsham