East Anglia, UK

Ipswich, Suffolk

Its history can be traced back to the Roman Empire, but the town itself took shape around the Anglo-Saxon times around the harbour on the River Orwell over 1300 years ago.  The juxtaposition of ancient architecture alongside the ‘high tech’ architectural styling of Norman Foster’s Willis Building in town centre is unique to Ipswich.  We either walk through town center from our flat to work, or we walk down the quay past the desirable yachts and quaint restaurants.  On the other (north) side of town centre is Christchurch mansion established in the 16th century after Henry VIII seized the estate following the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  Today it is surrounded by 70 acres of rolling lawns and eerie trees.  You can find many happy dogs enjoying the park on a sunny day!

Norwich Cathedral

WOW!  My neck hurt after staring up at the ceiling.  The grandeur of the 900 year old cathedral is inspiring and astonishing – such as the resting place of Lady Anne (Hoo) Boleyn, great grandmother to the infamous Anne Boleyn and therefore great great grandmother to Queen Elisabeth I.  Steeped in history the cathedral has survived the ages and today still hosts regular services, all of life’s holy events (oh to be a Norwich Cathedral bride!) and even innovates with musical productions and fashion shows.  The rain didn’t even phase us during our time there (though I hope to bring my camera back on a dry day and get some landscape exterior photos) especially after the hot chocolate and brownie we enjoyed in the modern cafe set against the ancient stone walls.

Flatford and Dedham, Essex

Home to John Constable, a local Romantic artist, and the inspiration for many of his landscape paintings, an afternoon walk through the countryside may be one of the most quintessential English weekend pastimes.  The landscaped varied from the Cattaway marshes, the picturesque tea room and mill in Flatford, the meandering of the River Stour and the quaint village of Dedham.  On a warm summers day you’ll come across many locals walking with their dogs, picnicking along or paddling through the River Stour.

Southwold, Suffolk

You may have heard that there is a heatwave in the UK this summer.  We’ve had over two months of hot, dry, sunny weather.  One Saturday a few weeks ago, on an especially hot summer day, we decided it was the perfect day for the seaside.  The closer we got to the North Sea, the more the cold, blustery wind picked up and brought the misty waters of the sea inland.  You’ve got to hand it to the locals- they were still out there, hopping over the waves and building sand castles!  We strolled up and down the pier and alongside the beach huts – a cozy and very “British” way to shield from the wind or sun as well as enjoy a picnic lunch.  Southwold is a near ancient town with roots back to the 11th century as a fishing port, and today it’s a quaint resort town with restaurants, independent boutique shops, and home to the Adnams brewery.

Covehithe, Suffolk

After meandering through Southwold, we drove north up the coast just a few miles to a tiny village that boasted one of the most impressive beaches in England.  This village has even older roots, as relics which date back to the Roman and Anglo-Saxon times have been recovered from the land.  The population peaked in the middle ages, but then fell victim to coastal erosion which is consuming over 4 meters of the coast a year. England is in fact shrinking!  They have predicted that the main part of the village will be lost within the next 50-100 years.  The significance of the erosion is apparent at St Andrew’s church, which has deteriorated through the years and instead of maintaining the old church it was decided to simply construct a smaller church for the dwindling local population within the bones of the old one.  Covehithe is a stunning example of the power of nature.

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