Last Updated on
East of England
IWM Duxford is a historic RAF airfield also used by the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War. It houses the Imperial War Museum's huge collection of historic aircraft and other large vehicles like tanks. Permanent exhibitions include the American Air Museum, Battle of Britain, Land Warfare and Historic Duxford (many of the buildings are original). You can get up close and personal with some of the most famous aircraft ever, including the Spitfire, Lancaster, Concorde and Vulcan. It's probably the best aviation collection and museum in the country, and enormous, so allow enough time. Air Shows are a regular feature and Duxford is also home to the Airborne Assault and Royal Anglian Museums.
One of three surviving original Eleanor Crosses of the 12 ordered by Edward I to commemorate his deceased wife, Eleanor. Eleanor died at Harby in 1290 and a cross was subsequently erected at every point where the cortege carrying her body rested on its journey to Westminster. The other three surviving crosses are at Geddington and Hardingstone in Northamptonshire; the final cross was at Charing, London. The Waltham Cross is in the centre of the town near the Pavilions Shopping Centre and has been heavily restored.
Photo Nigel Cox via Wikimedia. Post code is approximate.
Ely Cathedral was founded by Queen Etheldreda in the 7th century on the site of an earlier church. Sacked by the Danes, it was re-founded by Benedictine monks in the 10th century. The present, magnificent yet serene, cathedral dates from 11th century, was heavily refurbished in the 19th century and is partly surrounded by parkland. Do not miss the amazing octagon tower, the ceilings and the Lady Chapel.
Part of Cambridge's student life since 1920 (and now on the tourist trail), Fitzbillies is a quality bakery and café, particularly famous for its Chelsea buns. When it became known that it was heading for bankruptcy in 2011, it was saved by Alison Wright when she saw a tweet by Stephen Fry, which said: “No! No! Say it ain’t so - not Fitzbillies? Why I tweeted a pic of one of their peerless Chelsea buns but a sixmonth ago”.
The Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1816 with the legacy of the library and art collection of Richard FitzWilliam, 7th Viscount FitzWilliam. Its collections include antiquities from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; medieval and renaissance art; English and European pottery and glass, furniture, clocks, fans, armour; Chinese, Japanese and Korean art; coins and medals; literary and music manuscripts and rare printed books; paintings, including works by Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Picasso. The building itself is stunning too!
Flatford Mill and the area around it inspired the artist John Constable. The National Trust has a small exhibition nearby and there are waymarked walks which take in the places Constable knew, and painted. Guided tours are also available. Or you can hire a boat on the river Stour.
There is no public access to Flatford Mill or Willy Lott's House (pictured).
Framlingham is a late 12th century castle once owned by the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk. By the mid 16th century, it was in the hands of Mary Tudor, elder daughter of Henry VIII, and it was here that she gathered support and heard that she had been proclaimed queen in 1553. In the 17th century it became the local poorhouse. The imposing walls of the castle are still pretty much standing, though the other medieval buildings have gone. Unusually, it is possible to walk right round the walls at Framlingham, giving marvellous views. There is also a small exhibition on site and an interesting local museum, the Lanman Trust's Museum.
Great St Mary's (aka 'GSM') is a parish church and the University Church, the first home of the University in 1209. The present building dates from the 15th century. The Protestant reformer, Martin Bucer (1491-1551), preached here, was burnt nearby, and his ashes are interred in the church. Queen Elizabeth I visited the church and Stephen Hawking had his funeral service here. It is famous for its bells, which date from 1515, and its clock, installed in 1793. For a fee, visitors can climb the tower for fabulous views over the city. The picture is the view to the north, showing Gonville and Caius College in the foreground.
Preserved cold war bunker designed to help continue some semblance of government following nuclear attack. Also known as 'the secret nuclear bunker'. Not recommended.
King's College was founded by King Henry VI in 1441, the year after he founded Eton College, originally a sister college which sent scholars on to King's. It is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge and parts are open to the public. The highlight is undoubtedly the chapel, begun by Henry VI but finished by Henry VIII in 1544. The ceiling, windows and carving are breathtaking. It is also famous for the annual Christmas Eve service of Nine Lessons and Carols, introduced by Eric Milner-White in 1919 and now broadcast all over the world.