The locals' guide to summer

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Richard Bainbridge, chef patron of Benedicts, Norwich

“Norwich is the nicest city to walk around, especially in summer; from the Norwich Lanes to the beautiful parks including Chapelfield, Wensum and Waterloo. You could lose a day just wandering around the independent shops. You’ll be amazed by the plethora of street food available from Norwich Market, including the Orient Express serving blow-your-head off authentic Thai curries. For something more traditional, you can’t go wrong with The Grosvenor Fish Bar, which has been in the same family for 120 years. In the summer there’s nothing better than going alfresco and sitting on the picturesque St Gregory’s Green.

Throughout the season, the Plantation Garden hosts the Picturehouse Outdoor Screenings, a lovely night out. Alternatively, take in a performance at The Playhouse, a little theatre with a riverside bar, the perfect place for a sundowner before a delicious dinner at three AA Rosette-awarded Benedicts on St. Benedicts Street.”

Nearest station: Norwich

Sinead Gray, graphic designer, Cromer

“Hire a stand up paddleboard from the surf school on Cromer’s East promenade. You could even paddle down to Overstrand and back, to work up an appetite for lunch at the Rocket House Café. They do delicious seasonal salads, wraps and sandwiches - as well as a great kids’ menu – all served in a light and airy restaurant, with a terrace overlooking the sea.”

Nearest station: Cromer

Norfolk surfing school

Lizzie Starling, Senior Marketing Officer, Norwich University of the Arts

“Explore the quirky independent stores of the Norwich Lanes, with a Cafe Gelato chocolate and raspberry ice cream cone. Stop off at The Plough and soak up some sun in its beer garden. If you’re up for a little exercise, but with a twist, then have a go on one of the Pub and Paddle trips where you can canoe along the river, stopping off at various pubs”

Nearest station: Norwich

Ice creams in Norwich

Ruth Butler, artist, Sheringham

“At low tide, large stretches of sand are revealed on Sheringham’s Blue Flag beaches. Walk along them towards West Runton exploring the rock pools on your way; afterwards, return to the promenade for delicious crepes, waffles and coffee at the East Beach Coffee hut.”

Nearest station: Sheringham

Galton Blackiston, chef patron of Morston Hall

“In summer, I like to go to the beach and walk the stretch between Cromer and Sheringham with Bubbles, my working cocker spaniel. Then it’s back to No1 Cromer for fish and chips with views of the sea – it’s beautiful. Finally, I like to get rid of my loose change on the slot machines on the pier.”

Nearest station: Cromer


Mark Cordell, CEO, Bury St Edmunds

“There is so much to do in Bury St Edmunds in summer. A highlight has to be the fabulous Abbey Gardens with its tremendous floral display, manicured lawns, plus the remains of a 1000-year-old Abbey. There’s also a café, an aviary and a children’s play area. The town has some wonderful restaurants; additionally, there is the oldest operating Regency theatre, Theatre Royal, and The Apex concert hall, offering a wide range of entertainment.”

Nearest station: Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds Abbey Gardens

Emma Lightfoot, Orwell Lady river cruises, Ipswich

“Ipswich is special to me as it offers very different experiences. You can enjoy the waterfront, walk through Christchurch Park, look up at the historical buildings and enjoy a wide array of restaurants. My favourite things to do are shop on The Saints, watch a film in a reclining seat at the Empire, sit in the deckchairs on Cornhill square on a sunny day, meet my friends for Sunday brunch and wind down after a week at work with a trip along the river.”

Nearest station: Ipswich

Helen Cutting, Visit Suffolk coordinator, Bury St Edmunds

“Suffolk is one of the best places to be in summer. The varied coastline and the vibrant seaside resorts of Lowestoft, Aldeburgh and Southwold are great to go to cool down and have the most delicious freshly-caught fish and chips. Newmarket, the home of horseracing, offers the chance to walk in the footsteps of royalty and discover the history behind why this is such an important town for the sport. See the horses on the gallops at dawn and then enjoy a day at the races.”

Nearest stations: Lowestoft, Saxmundham, Darsham, Halesworth, Newmarket


Sam Leppard, Visitor Information assistant, Colchester

“The best thing about Colchester in the summer is Castle Park. There are often fairs or festivals taking place on the weekends, and it’s got wonderful gardens if you just fancy a short walk, or a picnic. If the weather takes a turn for the worse you can explore the free Hollytrees Museum, or even the Castle itself!”

Nearest station: Colchester

Richard Chambury, photographer, Wanstead

“A favourite summer’s excursion has to be Southend-on-Sea. Once there we grab fish and chips or a giant ice-cream from Rossi’s.”

Nearest station: Southend Victoria

fish and chips at Rossi's

Hester Cooper, teaching assistant, Stratford

“When the weather gets warmer I often jump on a train to the Essex coast, specifically the seaside town of Frinton-on-Sea. It is the perfect antidote to the city. The beach is delightful, and the greensward is the perfect spot to dry off after a swim in the sea. Avenue Bistro on Connaught Avenue – once known as the ‘Bond Street of the East’ - serves a Meditteranean-style menu; bag a table on the outdoor terrace for a sun-drenched meal. Catching a production at Frinton Summer Theatre, at the town’s McGrigor Hall, is the perfect end to the day.”

Nearest station: Frinton-on-Sea

Frinton-On-Sea seafront


Nora Gardner, tour guide, Ely

“I love the summer months when a walk along Ely’s riverside really comes alive. Cows grazing alongside the towpath, nesting birds, rabbits and deer can all be espied, along with an abundance of dog roses and wildflowers attracting butterflies to the hedgerows. Exercise, beauty and tranquility right next to the city. You could even walk as far as Cambridge, which is 12 miles, of just do a nice circular route around Ely.”

Nearest station: Ely

Ely riverside

Rebecca Mobey, antiques dealer, Cambridge

“You can’t spend time in Cambridge and not venture out on a punt. While there are companies that will take you on a tour of the River Cam, we like to hire a punt for ourselves and pootle along the river at our own pace. The Backs is a popular spot and can get busy; instead, punt along the Upper River towards Grantchester. It’s so peaceful and picnicking on the riverbank, under a willow tree, feels like stepping back in time.”

Nearest station: Ely

Picnics on the riverside