4 Fabulous day trips from RAF Lakenheath

Norwich | Photo by Helen Hotson
Norwich | Photo by Helen Hotson

4 Fabulous day trips from RAF Lakenheath

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

With stay-at-home orders and various lockdowns, there’s been plenty of time for those of us working from home to dream about where we’d like to go once restrictions are eased. While it’s easy to dream of the far-off locations (and really just about anywhere but home), the reality is many places are still going to be off-limits to travelers — including many countries in mainland Europe. However, there are still so many great places to see and explore locally. Here are four spots less than two hours from RAF Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Feltwell worthy of a day trip.

Norwich. For more than 700 years, Norwich was the second-largest city in England. A mere 45 miles northwest of Lakenheath, this industrious city boasts an amazing medieval city center — one of the most complete of its kind in the U.K. Quaint half-timbered houses and buildings line the uneven cobblestone streets and alleys which wind their way through the center toward Norwich Castle. Once a mighty fortress, the castle is now a history museum full of artifacts and exhibits proudly on display.

Ispwich waterfront | Photo by Lance Bellers  

Ipswich. A short 40-mile journey southwest will lead you to one of the oldest towns in England. Situated on the River Orwell approximately 10 miles from the confluence of the river and the North Sea, Ipswich has long been associated with maritime trading. However, the docks and waterfront look quite a bit different than it used to. The Ipswich Waterfront is home to a marina, lively bars and local restaurants, as well as the main campus of the University of Suffolk. If the waterside isn’t your cup of tea, take a stroll through Holywells Park. Acres of lush gardens, serene ponds, playgrounds and splash pads are there for visitors to enjoy.

Colchester Castle | Photo by Chris Dorney

Colchester. Also in the running for the oldest city in England title, Colchester clocks in at more than 2,000 years old. A little under 90 minutes southeast of Lakenheath, this hidden gem thrives on its history. Roman ruins dot the landscape, including the Balkerne Gate and walls surrounding the town. The Colchester Castle has one of the largest Norman keeps in Europe and is still very much intact from the 12th century. The stunning castle is built upon the ruins of the Roman Temple of Claudius. For those with little ones, pop over to the East Anglian Railway Museum. With plenty of steam locomotives, interactive displays and model trains, there is something for everyone.

Beach huts near Southend-on-Sea | Photo by Susan Chillingworth 

Southend-on-Sea. Just shy of two hours south of the base, Southend-on-Sea — or Southend, as locals call it — is nestled right at the mouth of the River Thames and the North Sea. Once a small, quiet fishing village, Southend enjoyed a Victorian-era heyday as a seaside resort town. While visitor demand has declined in recent decades, it’s still worth a trip. Visitors can walk along the world’s longest pleasure pier, a whopping 1.33 miles long. Thrill-seekers can get their fix at Adventure Island, a theme park taking up residence on the pier. Complete with rollercoasters, a drop tower, flume rides, mini-golf and a Sea Life Aquarium, you could probably spend most of your day here. If you need a break from the rides, hop on the Cliff Lift. The Southend Cliff Railway has been operating a funicular along the steep cliffs for more than 100 years. Catch your breath and drink in the spectacular views along the way.

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