The time-warped coastal town of Aldeburgh (pronounced 'orld-bruh') is one of the region’s most charming. Its picturesque streets and sweeping shingle beach are lined with pastel-coloured houses, independent shops, art galleries and ramshackle fresh-fish kiosks. Connections with composer Benjamin Britten and two festivals might also draw you to town.
One of East Anglia's most beautiful and rewarding towns, the former wool-trade centre of Lavenham is home to a collection of exquisitely preserved medieval buildings that lean and lurch to dramatic effect. Lavenham's 300 half-timbered, pargeted and thatched houses have been left virtually untouched since the 15th century; many are now superb places to eat and stay.
Both Constable and Gainsborough grew up or worked among the soft, pastoral landscape and comely villages of the Stour Valley, and the timber-framed houses and elegant churches that date all the way back to the region's 15th-century boom in the weaving trade are still very much as they were then.
Besides giving us the celebrated portrait and landscape painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88) and being the model for Charles Dickens' fictional town Eatanswill in The Pickwick Papers (1837), Sudbury is a bustling market town that prospered during the wool trade, with small-scale silk weaving surviving to this day.