Thursday, 28 April 2011

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 11 - Friday, May 6 to Saturday, May 21

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 11
Friday, May 6 to Saturday, May 21

The international festival for the East of England

For 16 days in May, Norfolk & Norwich Festival presents a busy programme of international theatre, circus, dance, music and visual arts from across the globe. Take a journey from the streets of Kinshasa, to the old quarter of Tangiers and on to the great symphony halls of Russia and the grandeur of the English stately home – all in Norwich and Norfolk. Full programme at – some highlights:

Global Performers
See Staff Benda Billili, street musicians from the Congo (Theatre Royal Norwich (May 18); Mariza leading Portuguese fado singer (Theatre Royal May 15), Strut and Fret Production House from Australia (Spiegeltent May 6-9 and 11-14) the eccentric Dining with Alice from the UK (Elsing Hall, May 12-15 and 18-21), challenging political theatre from Iran’s Mehr Theatre (Epic Studio Norwich May 6 & 7), a double bill from Ballet Nacional de EspaƱa (Theatre Royal May 20 & 21), the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra from Russia (Hippodrome Gt Yarmouth May 11) and USA jazz from Charlie Haden (St Peter Mancroft Church May 19) and Kyle Eastwood (Norwich Playhouse May 9).

More UK and world premieres than ever before including two spectacular free night-time shows: The Wolves from Basque company Deabru Baltzak, a re-working of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, where Spanish Fiesta-style, the audience will be led through the streets of Norwich at night (May 6 and 7) and As the World Tipped is an aerial show from Wired Aerial Theatre (Eaton Park Norwich May 21).

There’s a new Festival commission from the Voice Project Choir, Norwich’s renowned open-access choir. The Proportions of The Temple is a composition inspired by the architecture, the human history and the stories that have woven themselves into the fabric of Norwich’s Cathedral (May 14).

NNF11 for Free
The Festival launches on May 6 (The Forum Norwich) with Andy Sheppard’s Saxophone Massive, a fanfare for 200 local saxophone players, followed by a weekend which will see Norwich city-centre taken over and packed with entertainment for families and children. There are also free events in Cromer with alternative Punch & Judy (May 14 & 15) and contemporary dance (May 18, 19, 21, 21 & 22).

Have fun… try something new
Enjoy Tea Dances in the Spiegeltent, Knowledge Emporium’s 1950’s airstream caravan where you can swap knowledge for sweets and bicycle-powered cinema in Bowthorpe.

Festival Box Office tel. 01603 766400 or book online at

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 11 is funded by Arts Council England, Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council with its principal sponsor for the 20th year, National Express East Anglia. Its outdoor performance programme is supported by May Gurney.

Photograph: Staff Benda Billili (photo Bella Kinoise).

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tagman Writers Consortium

I am going to the Tagman Writers Consortium on Friday. A new and unique grouping of present and future Tagman authors is being founded in Norwich on the day of the Royal Wedding to increase collaboration between writers and publisher.

Royal Wedding Celebrations at Wroxham Barns, Friday, April 29

The team at Wroxham Barns is preparing for a busy Royal Wedding day on Friday, April 29. New bunting handmade in Norfolk by Jane Mayhew will hang throughout the barns. All staff will be wearing buttonholes. A life-size cutout of Prince William and Catherine Middleton will greet visitors to the restaurant where they can watch the wedding on a brand new 40” HD TV and enjoy wedding cup cakes. Uncle Stuart’s Brewery has a limited edition Royal Ale on sale in the brewery’s new bar.

Williams and Kates who visit on April 29 will be given free admission to Junior Farm, ID essential.

Wroxham Barns is open 10am to 5pm, to book at table in the restaurant tel. 01603 777106, general enquiries 01603 783762,

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sew Creative at Wroxham Barns (Norfolk) Changes Hands

Sew Creative, the patchwork and quilting specialist based at Wroxham Barns has changed hands. Sylvia Graham who had been at Wroxham Barns for 11 years has retired. Barbara and Stephen Kessel, who have moved to Norfolk from Cambridgeshire, now run the business.

Stephen explained: "We have crafts in the blood; Barbara has always been a keen needle worker and enjoyed other crafts, my hobbies are woodwork and model making. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to take over from Sylvia, who has built up a very loyal customer base, many of whom travel from all over East Anglia and further afield to visit Sew Creative. We aim to offer the same personal service."

Barbara added: "We will continue to offer Sew Creative’s popular patchwork and quilting courses and plan to introduce new courses on Saturday mornings and family activities in the summer holidays."

Sew Creative has swapped units with Wroxham Barns’ Country Food Store (now called The Pantry). The unit now has level access from the golf course side of the building and is in the same block as the room used for patchwork and quilting courses.

Barbara and Stephen used to live in Warboys near Huntingdon. "We have been regular visitors to Norfolk over the years and last autumn moved to Mundesley," said Barbara. "Just a month later we found out that Sylvia Graham wanted to retire and visited her in the old shop. We were delighted with what we found and have achieved our dream to run a crafts business."

For more information about Sew Creative tel. 01603 781665,

Wroxham Barns,, tel. 01603 783762, is open daily 10am to 5pm, 10 miles from Norwich, take A1151 to Wroxham then follow brown and white tourist signs for 1.5miles on the Tunstead road. Free parking.

Wine Tasting Evening in aid of Welborne Arts Festival - May 6

Welborne Arts Festival is staging a fundraising Wine Tasting Evening at South Green Park Mattishall on Friday, May 6, 7.30pm for 7.45pm start with Emily Barclay of The Perfect Wine Company.

For tickets (£10 in advance), tel. 01362 858786, email Tickets on the door will cost £12. The evening also includes a wine quiz and raffle. All proceeds go to Welborne Arts Festival.

The 9th Welborne Arts Festival, the biggest village-based contemporary arts festival in Norfolk, returns on Saturday, June 18 (11.30am-6pm) and Sunday, June 19 (11.30am-4.30pm) with a packed programme of arts, music, circus, sport and dance,

Wymondham Area Schools’ Brass Band Launches Wymondham’s Summer of Music - May 7

Wymondham Area Schools’ Brass Band is performing in Wymondham Market Place on Saturday, May 7 from 10am to 12noon. The event marks the launch of Wymondham’s summer of music and the publication of Wymondham Music Festival’s 2011 programme,

Copies of the Festival booklet promoting the historic market town’s music events from May onwards, including the 16th annual Festival Fortnight, June 25 to July 10, can be picked up on the morning of May 7.

The Festival’s summer programme promotes nearly 70 events, many of them free, featuring classical, folk, world, jazz, blues, pop, rock and soul music taking place in a range of venues across the town.

Other free Market Place events staged on Saturdays from 10am to 12noon: The He Hews (May 14), Town Busking Day (May 28), Norwich Ukulele Society (June 4), Bays River Jazz (June 11), Wymondham High School Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Band of the Gymnasium Waldstrasse, Hattingen (June 25), SmokeHouse Blues New Orleans Marching Band (July 2) and Johnny Jump Band (July 9).

Highlights during the Festival Fortnight include concerts at the 12th century Wymondham Abbey featuring Mercury Prize finalist Kit Downes Trio (June 30), the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet (June 25) and Madeleine Mitchell (violin) and Andrew Ball (piano) (June 29). The newly refurbished Central Hall hosts The SweetBeats (July 2) Norfolk’s Lee Vasey Band (July 6), the Zimbabwean rhythms of the Anna Mudeka Band (July 8) and the Matt Wates Jazz Sextet (July 9).

There’s the annual Midsummer Jazz Picnic at Becketswell featuring the Dixie Mix Jazz Band (June 27). King’s Head Meadow hosts the Teddy Bears’ Picnic (July 3) with live music and storytelling.

Tickets go on sale on May 7,, tel. 01953 601939. Tickets for concerts can also be purchased at The Book Fountain in Wymondham, . Follow Wymondham Music Festival on Facebook and Twitter. Wymondham Music Festival is supported by Wymondham Town Council, South Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council.

John Wood, Chair, Wymondham Music Festival said: “We are looking forward to a busy summer of music and hope that lots of old and new friends join us in the Market Place on May 7 to hear the Schools’ Brass Band and pick up a copy of our 2011 programme.”

Photograph: Wymondham Area Schools’ Brass Band, directed by Andrew Murray performing in Wymondham Abbey at last year’s Festival.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Raveningham Gardens – May Day Bank Holiday Openings

Raveningham Gardens near Hales in South Norfolk is opening on Bank Holiday Sunday, May 1 and Monday, May 2, 2pm to 5pm. Viburnhams (photograph viburnham carlesii) and early flowering shrubs will be on display; also explore the 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses, arboretum and herb garden, enjoy the contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens, and visit Raveningham’s 14th century church; tea and cakes on sale on May 1 and 2.

Raveningham Gardens, Raveningham, NR14 6NS is also open all Thursdays, 11am to 4pm, from 28 April to the end of August, admission adult £4, concessions £3.50 and children under 16 free. Tel. 01508 548152,

Wymondham Old Timers Classic Car Show – Wroxham Barns, Sunday, May 1

Up to 90 classic cars will feature at the Wymondham Old Timers Classic Car Show at Wroxham Barns on Sunday, May 1. Cars will start arriving at 10am and will leave at 4pm. Highlights include 1932 Rolls Royce Laundalette (photograph), 1947 Bentley Mark 6, 1936 Morris 10/6 Special and 1938 Austin Big 7. The show is raising money for the Fibre Optic Scanner Appeal, Norfolk & Norfolk NHS University Hospital.

Wroxham Barns,, tel. 01603 783762, is open daily 10am to 5pm, 10 miles from Norwich, take A1151 to Wroxham then follow brown and white tourist signs for 1.5miles on the Tunstead road.

Monday, 18 April 2011

East View Farm Cottages – National Enjoy England Silver Winners

Congratulations to Jane and John Pond, East View Farm Cottages, Ashmanhaugh, Silver winners, Self-Catering Holiday of the Year, national Enjoy England Awards 2011, Birmingham University, 15 April 2011.

Picture left to right: Lady Penelope Cobham Chairman Visit England, John Pond, Jane Pond and Sandi Toksvig.

Photograph: Graham Jepson.

Lily’s Fourteen Piglets – first new arrivals at Wroxham Barns new Piggery

Lily, one of Wroxham Barns’ resident sows gave birth to 14 piglets on 14 April, the first new arrivals at the new piggery at Junior Farm.

The team at Wroxham Barns has been very busy over the winter with a £325,000 investment scheme that has transformed Junior Farm, along with improvements to the Craft Studios in the upper and lower courtyards including Uncle Stuart’s Brewery’s new Visitor Centre (opens after Easter).

Pride of place at Junior Farm goes to the new undercover piggery and Piggy’s Play Sty. The piggery features four sties, giving visitors the opportunity to get face to face with the Lily’s new piglets. Piggy’s Play Sty is an indoor play barn – a great place for children to let of steam. Add to that the new poultry pen and hen house, where you can collect your own eggs and the all-weather pony grooming yard and stable and there is so much more to enjoy at Junior Farm, not to forget the daily hands-on bottle-feeding sessions with spring lambs.

Wroxham Barns, two miles from Hoveton on the Tunstead Road, is open daily 10am to 5pm. Tel. 01603 783762,

Saturday, 16 April 2011

De Vere Dunston Hall Success at inaugural 59 Club Golf Awards

De Vere Dunston Hall triumphed at the inaugural 59 Club awards set up to recognise excellence in UK golf. The golf team headed by Peter Briggs, Golf & Leisure Operations Manager picked up the leading performance by a golf operations team, was accredited as a four star golf service venue for excellence in customer care and achieved third place in the best golf service venue award.

The golf team has also received a trophy for most improved team from De Vere for work on introducing the new De Vere Club flexible golf membership.

The 59 Club provides a ‘mystery shopper’ benchmarking service that monitors the whole golf experience from initial phone enquiry, to arrival and the standard of the course as well as the overall experience of a day at Dunston Hall.

Denis McEvoy, General Manager, De Vere Dunston Hall said: “I am delighted with the golf team’s success. They work very had to provide a top class golf experience for our members, guests and visiting golfers. Our golf business has grown – membership, special events and visiting parties. We are looking forward to a very good summer season.”

Dunston Hall Golf is hosting a charity Golf Day (May 25) and May Ball (May 27) in aid of the Variety Club’s Children’s Charity. For more information contact Richard Tidy tel. 01508 473897 or email, .

Photograph: left to right Peter Briggs Golf & Leisure Operations Manager, Richard Tidy Golf Sales Manager, Tom Browes Golf Membership Adviser and front Stephen Crabb Course Manager with the awards.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Primrose Spectacular at Fairhaven Garden, South Walsham

It is wild primrose time at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham. Thousands of wild yellow primroses will be at their best until early May. The garden is open daily from 10am to 5pm.

As well as wild primroses visitors will see massed white wood anemones and can also enjoy three miles of footpaths (all easy walking), intersected with water filled dykes.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction. The garden, tearoom and shop are open daily all year, 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day), tel. 01603 270449, Admission charges: adult £5.50, senior citizen £5 and child £3, under fives free. There is wheelchair access to most of the garden, including the Sensory Garden. Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance. Mobility scooters available. Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Norfolk's East View Farm Cottages Ashmanhaugh – National Tourism Awards Finalist

East View Farm Cottages, Ashmanhaugh near Wroxham, is a finalist in the self-catering category in this year’s national VisitEngland Enjoy England for Excellence awards. East View won both the East of England and Tourism in Norfolk self-catering awards in 2010. The winners of the Enjoy England for Excellence Awards will be revealed at a ceremony in Birmingham on April 15. Jane Pond of East View Farm Holiday Cottages said: “My husband John and I are thrilled to be in the VisitEngland finals. To get to the national final is wonderful recognition for all our hard work in ensuring that our guests have a memorable stay in Norfolk. I love Norfolk and want everyone who stays with us to share my passion for the county.” East View Farm Cottages, comprise two self-catering cottages, Plum Tree Cottage (sleeps six) and Nutmeg Cottage (sleeps two), in luxury barn conversions. The cottages have the Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme for their eco-friendliness. A unique aspect of East View Farm Cottages is the Ashmanhaugh Light Railway. This private 7¼-inch gauge railway set in the fields behind the holiday cottages is run by a group of amateur enthusiasts. It was begun in 2002 and now has three circuits of track, a signal box, platform, carriage shed, ticket office, and a wildlife pond surrounded by wildflowers. There are six open days each year: on the first Sunday in the month from May until October, 2pm to 5pm. The Ponds also link with Northrepps based Wildlife Tours and Education to provide wildlife and photographic tours for guests and have linked up with Wroxham Barns to offer craft courses. Lydia Smith, Director Norfolk Tourism said: “Jane and John Pond are top class ambassadors for Norfolk’s tourism industry. I wish them luck at the finals in Birmingham and hope that they return with the national accolade that they deserve.”

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Raveningham Gardens – special Easter openings

Raveningham Gardens near Hales in South Norfolk is opening on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, 24 and 25 April, 2pm to 5pm. Daffodils, narcissi, viburnhams and early flowering shrubs will be on display.

Explore the 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses, arboretum and herb garden and enjoy the contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens, also visit Raveningham’s 14th century church; tea and cakes on sale on Easter Sunday and Monday.

Raveningham Gardens, Raveningham, NR14 6NS is also open all Thursdays, 11am to 4pm, from 28 April to the end of August, admission adult £4, concessions £3.50 and children under 16 free. Tel. 01508 548152,

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Enjoy a Royal Easter in Norfolk

With the Royal wedding approaching, Easter gives visitors to Norfolk the perfect opportunity to discover the county’s royal associations, as well as enjoy many of the fun family events on offer and explore the North Norfolk Coast’s award-winning attractions. Royal Links Visit Sandringham, HM The Queen’s private home in West Norfolk (closed Good Friday) and enjoy the house, museum, gardens and estate walks. Or head for The Thursford Collection,, which hosted Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first public engagement last December. See the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs, hear Robert Wolfe play the mighty Wurlitzer and ride on fairground carousels and the gondola. The Custom House, home of King’s Lynn Tourist Information Centre,, is staging a Royal Connections exhibition (runs 9 April to July 22) featuring photographs dating back to 1946 (many loaned by the Lynn News) plus commemorative china, magazines and memorabilia. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron of the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust There’s an Easter eggs-travaganser at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve from April 9 to April 25 – a family fun trail round the reserve. HRH The Prince of Wales opened the gazebo/viewing tower at The National Trust’s Sheringham Park,, in February 1988. Climb the tower for fabulous views of the North Norfolk Coast. There’s also a special Easter family trail in the Park from April 9 to April 25. The Forum,, Norwich’s landmark Millennium building was officially opened by HM The Queen on 18 July 2002. Visit the Master of Art Easter Exhibition, including artwork from artists working in all media, in The Forum Atrium from April 21 to April 24. Coastal Winners Walk sections of the Norfolk Coast Path,, voted Best Coastal Path in the 2011 Coast Awards promoted by Coast Magazine and use the Coasthopper Bus, Visit Holkham Beach voted Best Beach for the third year running. Cromer Pier was also voted Best-Loved Pier in the awards. The pier is home to The Pavilion Theatre, which is staging Thank You for the Music, featuring the music of Abba and the Bee Gees on April 23. Family Fun RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, has an Easter Egg-splorers trail on April 21, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, has an Easter Egg Trail on April 22 and the Bure Valley Railway, is running the Easter Eggspress daily from April 22 to 25 April. Circus Hilarious, starring father and son duo Clive Webb and Danny Adams, returns to Yarmouth’s Hippodrome Circus from April 22 to April 26. Great Yarmouth Racecourse has its Easter Family Fun Day on April 25, the first race meeting of the season (racing begins at 2.10pm), Fakenham Racecourse also has an Easter Monday meeting, April 25 with racing beginning at 1.50pm, For more event and days out ideas see

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Canaries Anthem 2011 - charity single released

The Canaries Anthem 2011, a charity re-recording by Norwich band The O’Fenders of the Norwich City FC 1972 promotion song, is now on sale on iTunes worldwide. CDs are on sale in Jarrold’s Norwich book department and at Jarrold’s The Forum. All proceeds will go to three charities, The Foundation for Liver Research in memory of BBC Radio Norfolk’s Roy Waller, Norwich City Community Sport Foundation and Mancroft Advice Project Norwich.

The song can also be purchased via

Nick Applin who masterminded the project with The O’Fenders said: “My late father, Chic Applin, co-ordinated the original recording of The Canaries in 1972, written by Don Shepherd and Johnny Cleveland. We have produced this re-recording as a tribute to Roy Waller, BBC Radio Norfolk’s former football commentator, who sadly died in summer 2010 and hope to raise a substantial sum for our three charities.” “I would like to thank David Clayton BBC Radio Norfolk for his support and Johnny Cleveland for adding his vocal chords to the chorus, along with EDP and BBC Radio Norfolk journalists who sang when we recorded the song with The O’Fenders at BBC Voices in Norwich.”

“Thanks also go to The O’Fenders for their energy and enthusiasm for the project, Gary Standley and the team at BBC Voices for their patience, Katherine Mager at East Anglian Film Archive and my colleagues at Ouch Creative who designed the cover.”

Read about The Canaries Anthem at the BBc Norfolk website