East Anglia – Adventure in the English Arctic

I wouldn’t have thought this possible but on the third day the bad weather took an even further turn for the worst.  I was the first up and opening the curtains was greeted with a carpet of gleaming snow and flakes falling like Autumn leaves.  If I was so minded I could have built a snowman.  I wasn’t.  Prospects were bleak.

But one good thing about English weather is that it is surprisingly changeable and by late morning the snow had gone, the temperature had risen by half a degree or so and to avoid so to cabin fever after we had cooked up a breakfast we wrapped up, closed up and went for a drive to nearby Oulton Broad.

Even though we were in Suffolk, Oulton Broad is generally included in the geographical feature  known as the Norfolk Broads.  No one is really quite sure about the origins of the Norfolk Broads but a recent theory is that they are the result of flooding following medieval peat cutting.  They are quite shallow I understand.  They are a designated National Park of the UK and the smallest at only 0ne hundred and twenty square miles, just behind the New Forest at two hundred and twenty five.

The largest National Park in England is the Lake District at almost a thousand square miles and the largest in the World at three hundred and seventy five square miles is Northeast Greenland National Park.  You couldn’t visit that in a single day for certain.

I imagine that Oulton Broad is a very fine place when the sun shines but sadly today it didn’t and although thankfully the rain and sleet stayed away it was bitterly cold.  The best thing about the visit today was the chance to see a real Banksy portrait which appeared one day in 2021 after a nocturnal visit by the artist.

After Oulton Broad we drove to nearby Lowestoft.

I didn’t find Lowestoft that thrilling I have to confess, it looked much like Grimsby to me where I live, a run-down sort of a place urgently in need of some investment and a make-over but there was one interesting place to visit while we here – Ness Point, the most easterly place in the British Isles.

For such a significant place I would have expected it to be something special, a bit like Four Corners in the USA but sadly not a bit of it.  There is no visitor centre, no souvenir shop and it is difficult to find located as it is on the edge of an industrial estate and close to a sewage treatment works and a massive wind turbine called Goliath (it was once the biggest in England). 

There is only a circular direction marker known as Euroscope, marking locations in other countries and how far away they are.   I felt like an explorer about to set sail.

I rather liked the sculpture but we didn’t stop for cake and moved on instead to nearby Southwold.  Southwold is ridiculously picturesque and quintessentially English, a town of Tudor houses and thatched roofs, so English that it is high on the list of filming locations for English film and television.

The fictional Southwold Estate, seat of Earls of Southwold, is the country estate of the family of Lady Marjorie Bellamy in the drama Upstairs, Downstairs and the town and its vicinity has been used as the setting for numerous films and television programmes including Iris about the life of Iris Murdoch starring Dame Judy Dench,  Drowning by Numbers by Peter Greenaway, Kavanagh QC starring John Thaw, East of Ipswich by Michael Palin, Little Britain with Matt Lucas and David Walliam, a 1969 version of David Copperfield and the BBC children’s series Grandpa in My Pocket.

There were no film or TV celebrities around today, way too cold for filming I imagine and on a bitterly cold day there isn’t much else to say about Southwold except that George Orwell once lived there.

We drove now to the Suffolk town of Framlingham which is a fine town with a small market place and charming streets with coloured houses, is the home town of the overrated Ed Sheeran and has an impressive medieval castle with imposing walls and towers which was once the home of the Dukes of Norfolk who were forever scheming and stirring up rebellious trouble in Tudor England.

This must once have been a very fine castle.

It is good but not the best, it reminded me of Richmond in Yorkshire, there are no internal buildings left, all long since demolished but there is an impressive stone wall and 360° walk around the top of the castle walls and defences from which there are fine views of the town and the surrounding countryside.

It was so cold that my travelling companions refused to leave the car so I had thirty minutes or so to myself.  I was especially keen to visit Framlingham because this was where the TV comedy drama  series “Detectorists” was filmed and I was happy to find the house where one of the principal characters, Lance, lived.

With little prospect of any weather improvement we returned directly to the Caravan Park, opened a bottle of wine, prepared an evening meal, turned the heating up to full and settled in for the evening.  Tomorrow we would be leaving and we hoped for better weather in Bury St Edmunds and Thetford.


30 responses to “East Anglia – Adventure in the English Arctic

  1. Brrr. I feel your pain. Grit your teeth and damn’ well enjoy yourself. You’re on holiday! Be British!


  2. I can remember Mick being seriously bored on Oulton Broads one year. He said that reeds did nothing for him!


  3. I have only been there a couple of times when I twitched rare birds, but I must admit, there wasn’t a great deal to do in this area. Even in the Norfolk Broads, you needed a boat for a holiday there.


  4. Now I know the size of my forest. Thanks, Andrew


  5. Ah now this is a part of the world we know very well from all of our visits to Michaela’s Mum. Southwold and indeed Walberswick are very quaint (decent fish n chips at the former) and we actually did a post about Framlingham a few months back. I’m kicking myself now because I could have recommended to you my favourite two pubs in the Lowestoft area, both of them are towards Kessingland. I apologise!


  6. Ah, bad luck with the weather, but stiff upper lip! Of all the places you mention, Framlingham is the one I have visited, castle worth a short visit, impressive curtain walls (think that’s what they’re called)


  7. Did they have metal detectors for rent?


  8. I have been to a few of the places you mention, but not in March! Whatever possessed you to holiday in that month?


  9. With a little luck, Andrew, we should be just opposite of Oulton Broad in Amsterdam in a couple of months starting our journey up the Rhine River on a vacation from our full-timing it in North America. Once again, we are enjoying the beautiful Soutwest, not all that far from the Four Corners you just mentioned. We are at Bryce Canyon now with Death Valley, Las Vegas and Zion behind us. –Curt


  10. It’s kinds grim! At least you could be cosy in the caravan.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.