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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Lowestoft is Britain's most easterly town, at the heart of The Sunrise Coast. It provides a mix of wide expansive award-winning beaches, rich maritime heritage and Broadland links.
The most easterly point in Britain, known as Lowestoft Ness is marked by the Euroscope - a unique circular platform that shows the direction and distances of major European towns and Great Britain's other cardinal points.
At the centre of Lowestoft visitors can discover the once flourishing fishing port, two yacht marinas, fish market & docks and traditional smokehouses together with a Heritage Vessel Mooring, which has a changing programme of visiting craft throughout the year.
Lowestoft is renowned for the quality & cleanliness of its beaches, considered to be some of the very best in Northern Europe.
An exciting development to the seafront at Lowestoft is the 'Royal Plain Fountains'.
The fountains consist of 74 individual interactive water jets with variable lighting, which forms a striking centrepiece to the Royal Plain area.
The fountains (right) provide interactive play for children of all ages and form an illuminated spectacle during the evening hours.
Another addition to Lowestoft is the town's first wind turbine named 'Gulliver', at Lowestoft Ness.
Lowestoft Tourist Information Centre can be found on the seafront esplanade and is housed in the East Point Pavilion. This impressive glass structure, modelled on an Edwardian Pavilion, also contains a restaurant and Mayhem Adventure Play - a children's themed soft play area.
Running alongside the esplanade you will find a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions and you will also find the classic seafront gardens, which complements the traditional seaside image of the town.
The seafront has two excellent piers: The South Pier (to the North) & The Claremont Pier (to the South).
The town offers a diverse shopping experience, which is split into three distinctive parts. Centrally, the recently regenerated pedestrianised town centre provides a mix of well-known high street stores together with a number of specialist and local shops.
Heading north of the town you will find the historic High Street & Triangle Market Place, which offer a wide range of traditional, independent and unusual retail outlets.
The Triangle Market Place with its unique architectural market canopies 'The Eastern Sails' hold regular specialist/ weekly markets and various events throughout the year.
The industrial area to the east of the Historic High Street was once known as the Beach Village - the most easterly community in Britain, which grew because of the booming fishing industry. It suffered heavy flooding during the 1950s and was destroyed.
History of Lowestoft
Long ago, the land was a sandy island. The sea receded, the river changed course, and by the 11th century the island became part of the mainland and the town's development began.
Throughout the Middle Ages the herring brought wealth to Lowestoft despite the fact that the town had to overcome Yarmouth's strong opposition to its trade.
It was not until 1400 that Yarmouth bowed to the inevitable and realised that Lowestoft could not be prevented from trading. By that time Lowestoft vessels were fishing in Icelandic waters.
The fishing industry is still vital to the life of the town - but tourism, too, now plays its part.
In 1768 a Mr Capon, emulating Brighton, introduced the first bathing machine to Lowestoft. Between then and 1900 the town vied with Cromer as the genteel watering place of East Anglia.
In 1885 the Lowestoft Journal declared proudly: "Lowestoft, until recently a small and insignificant town, is now coming more into note every year, and will, doubtless, before long, take its place among the favourite English watering places as a healthy and attractive summer resort."
The story of Lowestoft's historic origins and colourful past is depicted through a number of museums and workshops throughout the town.
Lowestoft was originally built on top of the cliffs overlooking the North Sea. The ancient pathways running down to the sea are know as the 'Scores'.
These were used as ways of access from the high ground to the beach area and they were also used as carriageways by fish merchants during the height of the booming fishing industry.
Lowestoft Porcelain has become prized by collectors across the world - and often pops up on the Antiques Roadshow!
It dates from the 18th century, and examples can be seen in the Lowestoft Museum, Broad House Oulton Broad and at the Norwich Museum.
Lowestoft porcelain is a cherished part of the area's history. The factory was in production for 42 years in the 18th century, using local Gunton clay to make a whole range of soft paste porcelain items which are highly collectable today.
The original Lowestoft factory produced a range of soft paste porcelain ware, including sauce boats, jugs, mugs, knife handles, spoon trays, eye baths, figures and animals. Souvenirs, sometimes inscribed "A Trifle from Lowestoft," were also made in large numbers.
Some are very well painted and provide a unique record of the Lowestoft area and contemporary events. The factory is perhaps best known for its distinctive blue and white designs, which were the only items produced up to 1768. After this date, enamels were introduced into the range. Lowestoft is popular with collectors.
The service, which had a blue and white floral design in the Meissen style, was among several items of Lowestoft porcelain sold at the auction.
One of the world's finest collections of Lowestoft Porcelain can be seen at the Lowestoft Museum in Broad House, Nicholas Everitt Park.
The museum offers a good cross section of local history and features flints left by Neolithic man, evidence of the Roman occupation and artefacts dating from the Middle Ages.
It also provides an insight into the area's agricultural history, Victorian Lowestoft and the town's important role in the war.
A number of attractions are located in or just outside the town and include: Africa Alive - African Animal Adventure, situated in approximately 100 acres of tranquil parkland, with its new lion enclosure, and home to many rare and endangered animals, Pleasurewood Hills, the area's biggest and brightest attraction, home to 40 rides, shows and attractions and Somerleyton Hall and Gardens - an impressive early Victorian stately home featuring lavish architecture and 12 acres of beautiful gardens including the famous 1846 Yew hedge maze.