East of England
The East of England is the most eastery region of England and indeed of the whole United Kingdom. It lies broadly to the north of London, the Thames estuary and South East England, to the south of the Wash (the square shaped indentation in England's east coast) and to the east of the East Midlands. The most easterly parts of this region are known as "East Anglia", which at its strictest definition only includes Norfolk and Suffolk but often includes all or part Cambridgeshire and at its loosest definition covers the entire East of England.
The East of England is a largely flat region consisting of the following counties:
Towns and cities
Listed below are ten cities and towns of greatest interest to travellers:
The East of England is historically a rural region of small capitals, market towns and picturesque villages. The character of the flattish landscape has been heavily influenced by the people that live on it - most notably with the draining of the Fens transforming marshland into fertile farmland, and the ancient excavations that resulted in the waterways of Norfolk's Broads.
Proximity to the capital city and good farming has long made the region relatively prosperous, and much of the southern area of the region now serves as a base for commuters to London. The effect of this London overspill has been the rapid growth of suburban housing in the regions towns and the construction of purpose-built "New Towns" such as Letchworth, Welwyn Garden City, Stevenage.
The East of England is an English-speaking region, and travellers should have little difficulty in understanding locals, who generally speak in an accent similar to that of London and most of South Eastern England. The exception to this is Norfolk, in which a strong local dialect persists.
The region is served by London Stansted airport (in Essex) and London Luton airport (in Bedfordshire) with regular flights from Europe, and the small international airport in Norwich. The region is best reached by air via one of the London airports. Stansted airport serves a large number of destinations in Europe thanks to the low cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet. There is even has a daily service to Kuala Lumpur, operated by AirAsia.
There are ferries from continental Europe to Harwich on the east coast
The region is particularly well connected in a North/South direction London, notably by the Great Eastern line linking Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester, and the main East Coast line which passes via Peterborough to Scotland, linking up . St Albans and Bedford lie on the Midland line and there is also a smaller line from London to Cambridge. Routes heading West are more limited and pass via Peterborough
Long distance bus services connect the region's major centres of population, although the convoluted road network makes them a slow option
The region is well served by rail services in a North/South direction, less so in an East/West direction.
Rural bus services operate in most parts of the region, and tend to offer good service. National Express offer infrequent long distance coach services.
The regions road network is generally in a good condition and relatively traffic free in most areas, though what appears to be a major trunk route in a map often turns out to be a windy rural road passing through villages.
For a slower pace, it's possible to hire boats to take on the region's waterways. Boat is the best way of experiencing the Broads
The East of England is a prosperous and predominantly rural region presenting relatively few hazards to the traveller, but a little common sense can go a long way. See the England page for more general safety tips in England
Drivers should be careful on the region's roads, which often have deceptively sharp corners and are flanked by deep, unfenced drainage ditches.
Take a train to enjoy the faster pace and greater cultural diversity of London