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Explore the treasure trove of East England then travel part of a highway that has connected the north to the south for 2000 years, linking pretty market villages and elegant Roman towns.
Exploring England is easy. In the countryside, the roads are excellent, well signposted and largely toll free. Distances between towns are short and driving is on the left hand side of the road, same as in New Zealand.
Day 1: London – Colchester (100km)
Colchester; England’s oldest town has evidence of a settlement as early as the 5th century BC. It’s a good base to explore the Stour River Valley towns of Constable Country, stopping in Dedham Vale, Sudbury and Lavenham.
Day 2: Colchester – Ipswich – Southwold – Norwich (137km)
The small seaside town of Southwold has a sandy beach, traditional pier, dinky harbour and a working lighthouse you can tour.
Day 3: Norwich
Wander the ancient streets to see the cathedral, sterling castle, and medieval churches. Day trip out to The Broads; or explore the seaside villages, salt marshes, dunes and shingle spits of north Norfolk Coast.
Day 4: Norwich – Kings Lynn – Lincoln (170km)
The Romans built Lincoln high on a hill; walk up 338 stone steps to the cathedral’s highest tower for views across Lincolnshire.
Day 5: Lincoln
Explore the rich history in the county of Nottinghamshire, home of legendary outlaw Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest.
Day 6: Lincoln – Stamford – Cambridge (150km)
Discover the triangle of honey-coloured stone Georgian towns; Oakham and it’s castle, Stamford with its five church spires and Uppingham’s ancient market place.
Day 7: Cambridge – Hertford – London (130km)
Pass through the cobbled streets and timber-framed buildings of Hitchin, then onto Hertford known for it’s brewing history.
Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.
Highlights worth seeing along the way
Stour River Valley – Dotted with lovely little villages, where rickety, halftimbered Tudor houses and elegant Georgian dwellings cluster around medieval churches.
Discover Ipswich – The renovated quayside, the Old Custom House, Cornhill the ancient Saxon marketplace flanked by imposing Victorian edifices, Greene King Brewery for a tour and tastings.
Fish and chips at Pleasure Beach, Great Yarmouth – Noisy arcades and fresh sea air, if you want a taste of real “traditionally British” seaside, this is the place.
Take a boat trip in The Broads National Park – To see the fascinating bird life, or explore on the network of footpaths and cycle trails.
Try the famous Cromer crabs – By the sea at No 1 Fish and Chips in this seaside town with narrow alleys atop steep and blustery cliffs.
Oxburgh Hall, Kings Lynn – A gem not to be missed, this gorgeous moated manor house is full of artefacts, and even has a priest hole.
Grantham – Walled garden at Grantham House, have a drink at The Angel and Royal, a medieval pub established by the Knights Templar.
Punting at Cambridge – Either give it a go yourself and inevitably fall in the Cam at some point, or let a trained expert do the punting for you.
Our favourite places to stay:
• Best Western The Rose & Crown Hotel, Colchester
• Best Western George Hotel, Norwich
• The Duke William Hotel, Lincoln
• The Waterman, Cambridge
Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a minimum 1.4 litre for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.
Image credit: Visit Britain & Helen Hotson