Top positive review
13 people found this helpful
Essential reading if staying for a decent length of time.
on 1 June 2012
A bright and effective new look for the RG guidebooks has also been heralded by the first editions of guides to some of England's most beautiful regions. Easy to bypass, but difficult to find an excuse to leave; Norfolk and Suffolk seep quintessential English charm and the assortment of full colour, full size picture pages in the guide show it off in all its idyllic glory. The guide also packs in its fair share of maps which include a decent level of detail and, thankfully, provide labels for every road, unlike the infuriating simplistic nature of the newly-designed Lonely Planets.
Most importantly, the guide couldn't be easier to navigate. Sections are coloured and numbered and offer a wide range of sights and suggestions that are described in depth and in the easy-going, colloquial tone that RG are well known for. Straddling the eight sections that make up the guide (five dedicated to Norfolk, three to Suffolk), are the general info areas. At the front of the book, the 'Basics' section is well-informed and packed with info that will either be vital or irrelevant to you, but is useful having all the same. A guide to local beers and ales, for which the region is famous for, takes up a whole page and is a useful starting point if you fancy sampling East Anglia's many country pubs. However, the calendar of events is sparse in places, even stretching to informing the reader the dates for Hallowe'en and New Years Eve- events which certainly aren't unique, or celebrated uniquely, in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Another niggle is the faint font that 'Basics' is typed in. I felt my eyes straining to read the words although key words are in bold. The other fonts used throughout the guide are fine, if a little small.
At the back end of the book, the 'Contexts' page feels hurried and unoriginal. These sections of history, wildlife and books are never hugely important, but, if done well, make for informative reading when stuck on public transport for example. This guide dedicates a mine of info for bird-watchers and those who never studied British history in school, but otherwise it is rather redundant. The area's steep literary history is well-documented though in the 'Books' section.
Overall, if you're going to be spending a good week or more in the area then this unique guide is well-worth investing in. It's always difficult to decide whether to stick to a country guide which scratches the surface of every region or a regional guide which goes indepth, however, I think in this instance, the knowledge that Rough Guides passes on to its intrepid reader makes it well worth packing this book into your suitcase.