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Suffolk and Essex are a daytripper’s paradise – a week’s worth of ideas for family days out

PUBLISHED: 12:32 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:32 16 August 2017

Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

 Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Archant © 2017

If you are on holiday – whether visiting the region, on school hols or on a local staycation – Suffolk and Essex offer a huge variety of attractions for daytrips. Whether it’s the seaside, museums, shopping, castles or tea and cake, here’s a week’s list of ideas to get you out and about.

Museum of East Anglian Life - staff members, left to right, Lisa Harris, Catherine Tournay, Jo Rooks and Chloe Brett. Picture: GREGG BROWN Museum of East Anglian Life - staff members, left to right, Lisa Harris, Catherine Tournay, Jo Rooks and Chloe Brett. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Explore the region’s agricultural history at the Museum of East Anglian Life. The museum, in Stowmarket, offers a full day-out with a mixture of exhibits and living history demonstrations, trails and tours, special events, and plenty for even the youngest visitor to enjoy.

Felixstowe is a must for those wanting to spend a day by the sea. If you don’t want to play on the beach and in the waves, there are coastal walks, the recently renovated seafront gardens, the new pierhead to visit, traditional seaside amusements, while Landguard has a fort, museum, nature reserve, restaurant and port viewing area.

The new Felixstowe pierhead is now open to the public. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN The new Felixstowe pierhead is now open to the public. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds are a perfect place to relax and enjoy some beautiful and quiet surroundings, while the town boasts a thriving shopping centre with a bustling market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and plenty of places for tea, coffee and cake.

For those who love animals Africa Alive! provides an exciting day out – and a chance to see a wide variety of birds, reptiles and mammals big and small across the 100-acre park and get close to the creatures and learn more about the animals and work to protect and conserve them.

The famous Abbey Gardens are a must see this summer. Picture: MARTIN GRAYLING The famous Abbey Gardens are a must see this summer. Picture: MARTIN GRAYLING

Harwich might seem a long journey ... but it’s only a mile from Felixstowe via the foot ferry from the port viewing area at Landguard. The historic maritime town can be explored on a heritage walk, with places to visit including the spectacular Napoleonic Redoubt Fort, Ha’Penny Pier and Electric Palace Cinema.

Our region is awash with history and some marvellous heritage attractions. Colchester Castle, Orford Castle and Framlingham Castle offer great days out. Kentwell Hall offers a brilliant glimpse into Tudor times, Leiston Long Shop explores our fascinating industrial past, and Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich looks at 500 years of history.

A Zebra foal at Africa Alive.

 Picture: NICK BUTCHER A Zebra foal at Africa Alive. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

No visit to Suffolk and Essex would be complete without a day-trip to Constable County, straddling the two counties’ border. Easy to follow river and country walks take in Willy Lott’s House and the scene of the Haywain and other paintings at Flatford, and there is a John Constable exhibition, tea rooms, boat trips and boats to hire, and an excellent RSPB wildlife garden.

The Hawich Redoubt: The great circular battery built as Napoleon attempted to bring together an invasion fleet. Picture: MIKE PAGE The Hawich Redoubt: The great circular battery built as Napoleon attempted to bring together an invasion fleet. Picture: MIKE PAGE

Colchester Castle. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER Colchester Castle. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Willy Lott's House captured by John Constable's in his famous painting The Haywain is everyone's perfect image of Constable Country. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO Willy Lott's House captured by John Constable's in his famous painting The Haywain is everyone's perfect image of Constable Country. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

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