Published: 21.09.2023

What East Anglia Offers for Self-Catering Holidays

Norfolk Broads, East AngliaSearching for a cottage break in East Anglia and want to know what this area has to offer for breaks?  Whether you want to discover Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk or Suffolk, Country Cottages Online can help you guide you on some of the best of East Anglia.

Which part of East Anglia do you want to holiday in?

Discover what each part of East Anglia offers for cottage breaks:

Why Holiday in East Anglia?

East Anglia has a charm all of its own that is matched only by the Cotswolds. In addition to all those historic villages which are full of half-timbered, thatched and colour washed or pargeted houses, East Anglia offers a stunning coastline punctuated by seaside towns, fabulous sandy beaches and colourful boat yards. The waterways of the Norfolk Broads are a popular holiday destination for boating and angling holidays.



What is East Anglia Best Known for?

Overall, East Anglia is best known for its pretty rural landscapes, medieval villages and interesting market towns, its countryside and coastline.  There are nature reserves galore in East Anglia, in Norfolk, Suffolk, the Cambridge fens and all the way south to Essex.

With the exception of Cambridgeshire, all counties share a coastline, with surprisingly good sandy beaches to be found further north at Clacton on Sea, Frinton on Sea, and Walton on the Naze in Essex, and many more good sandy beaches in Suffolk and Norfolk.  Sailing is popular in many of the coastal towns and estuaries - there are yacht clubs galore, fishing, crabbing and pleasant coastal walks. If this sounds like your kind of holiday, do read about the various types of holiday cottage rentals. The accommodation can be booked for short breaks over a weekend, mid week or an entire week at a time.

When people contemplate cottage holidays in East Anglia, most think of the seaside resorts on the north Norfolk Coast such as Wells-next-the-Sea or Southwold in Suffolk, or Walton-on-the-Naze. All these seaside towns offer very good seaside holidays in East Anglia but the countryside should not be overlooked. Much of East Anglia is flat and ideal for cycling or gentle rambles. It is also attractive to look at and has much to offer for photographic holidays and rambles with dogs.  Throughout East Anglia, you will stumble across charming villages with a green and frequently the obligatory duck pond complete with ducks.  Often a church or pub overlooks the green which is the central point of the village.  Anyone interested in antiques will find a host of antique shops, centres and fairs throughout East Anglia.  A considerable number of boot fairs are held on Saturday and Sunday mornings. East Anglia is a bargain hunter's delight.  Find a holiday home to rent in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk or Cambridgeshire and experience one of the very best holidays you could ever have in Britain. 

Let us guide you through the highlights of the various counties that make up East Anglia.  Each of these counties has a different character. 


- best known for the historical city of Cambridge, the city of Ely and the Cambridgeshire fens.


– is renowned for its proximity to London and for the seaside towns of Southend and Clacton, which are popular for short coastal breaks.  Essex is also home to many hidden gems, including the unspoilt countryside of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Northern Essex. 


is famous for its long sandy beaches and for the historical city of Norwich, as well as the Norfolk Broads which is a renowned watery wonderland.


– is home to historical gems like the wool town of Lavenham, as well as the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB and stunning seaside towns like Aldeburgh and Southwold.


What Holiday Areas are in East Anglia?

East Anglia is home to Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.  Each of these counties has its own unique attractions and character for self-catering breaks.


What to Discover on a Self-Catering Holiday in CambridgeshireEly Cambridgeshire

Visit Cambridgeshire and Cambridge University, which holds a central place in English history.  Marvel at the historical architecture, walk Cambridge’s cobbled streets, take a boat trip along the River Cam, and enjoy shopping and eating out galore in the city.

Enjoy canalside walks in the Cambridgeshire fens and visit the city of Ely to marvel at its stunning Cathedral.

Read our guide on Cambridgeshire and find out more about what this area offers for self-catering breaks.





Where to Explore on a Holiday in EssexDedham, Essex

Essex is brilliant for lively cottage breaks because it offers good seaside resorts from Frinton-on-Sea to Clacton, plus the frippery and commercial glare of Southend-on-Sea which has one of the best value funfairs in England at Adventure Island.

The charm of Constable Country, olde worlde villages and historic towns such as Colchester with its castle and zoo, meet with mass retail and leisure opportunities for a thrilling experience at Lakeside. There are more sedate and refined activities such as visiting gardens at RHS Hyde Hall near Hanningfield and Beth Chatto’s garden on the outskirts of Colchester, the biggest antiques centre in east Anglia at Battlesbridge in addition to tourist attractions galore and more shopping centres and eateries than can be fitted in, in just the one Essex self-catering cottage holiday.

Interested in a self-catering holiday in Essex?  Read our guide to Essex.


What to Discover on a Self-Catering Holiday in NorfolkNorfolk Broads

Norfolk is home to beautiful countryside, unspoilt sandy beaches, the historical city of Norwich and the Norfolk broads, so is a popular choice for tourists.

One of Norfolk’s best areas of countryside is Thetford Forest; a magical outdoor space for mountain biking, picnics, rambling and aerial activities in the trees is a popular family weekend haunt. Book a cottage in Thetford to straddle the Norfolk Suffolk border and make the most of a holiday in northern east Anglia that combines coast and country.

For dining out, shopping and historical appeal, the city of Norwich is not to be missed.

The Royal family have their own holiday home in Sandringham in Norfolk, not far from Dersingham and the deep sandy beaches and nature reserves of the north Norfolk coast. A string of coastal towns with beaches, piers and interesting places to visit welcome summer visitors. Dine on crabs at Cromer and walk the pier, ride a steam train from Sheringham, spend happy hours at Wells-next-the-Sea on the Norfolk coast or revel in the huge swathes of sand at Hunstanton.

Want more hints and tips on what Norfolk offers for holidays?  Read our Norfolk holiday guide.


Where to Discover on a Cottage Break in SuffolkSuffolk coastline

Suffolk, south of Norfolk is another east Anglian county that stands out in its prettiness and charm. Anyone holidaying in Suffolk soon senses the meeting of ancient with contemporary, the amazing old cottages that date back centuries, the hundreds of flint churches in the heart of the villages. Suffolk is a joy for a cottage break, also to explore. There is little need for tourist attractions because each village and town is fascinating and offers much to look at and do.

Discover historical gems such as Lavenham with its impressive range of medieval buildings.

For holidaymakers who love the coast and countryside, head to the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB and discover its heaths, sandy beaches and estuaries.  Do a spot of bird watching at RSPB Minsmere and for fun by the seaside visit the coastal towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold.

For hints and tips on the best places to discover in Suffolk, read our holiday guide on Suffolk.

There are lots of really good quality places to stay in East Anglia, in both cottages and pine lodges. Many of the Suffolk log cabin holidays with private hot tubs are ideal for relaxing breaks.

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