Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Raveningham Gardens Special Agapanthus Weeks – August 1 to 12

Raveningham Gardens are famous for the large selection of agapanthus cultivars on display. There are special agapanthus weeks this year from Monday, August 1 to Friday, August 12, open Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm (closed Saturdays and Sundays).

See white, blue and dark purple flowers with different sizes and contrasting colours included striped blue and white. The agapanthus varieties are one of Priscilla Bacon’s legacies in the garden; she was a keen agapanthus breeder.

Also enjoy the herbaceous borders, 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses, orchard, arboretum, herb garden, contemporary sculptures, 14th century church and views across the new lake established at the turn of the Millennium.

Raveningham Gardens are also open all Thursdays, 11am to 4pm, until the end of August. Admission is adults £4, concessions £3.50 and children under 16 free. The gardens (NR14 6NS) are 10 miles south east of Norwich, signposted off the A146 at Hales, then B1136, tel. 01508 548152, email office@raveningham.com, http://www.raveningham.com/.

New Geocaching Trail at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

Four students from Fairhaven Primary School launched a new geocaching trail at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham on Friday, July 22.

The garden’s self-contained trail features 12 caches. Visitors use their own sat nav enabled smart phone or portable GPS device to complete the trail. They are given a list of co-ordinates for each cache and clues that will help them track down the small containers hidden in the garden. Free trail leaflets are available at visitor reception.

Sue Telford, Events and Education Co-ordinator at Fairhaven, who set up the trail said: “Our geocaching trail is a fun family activity. I have used a lot of puns in the clues and hope that families will enjoy discovering both the garden and the caches together. The first trail will run throughout the summer holidays, then I will devise a new trail for the autumn.”

Francesca Colman, Fairhaven Primary School said: “It was great fun to follow the GPS and then search for the caches.” Harvey Pyer added: “The caches were hard to find. I really liked looking for them and discovering nature at the same time.”

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), open until 9pm on Wednesday and Thursday until the end of August. Garden entry is adult £5.50, concessions £5 and child £3, under fives free. Free entry to tearoom and shop. Tel. 01603 270449, http://www.fairhavengarden.co.uk/.

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.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Dig Around in Ancient Norfolk this Summer

To celebrate Norfolk’s exciting early history, BBC Learning and Norfolk Tourism are co-ordinating special events and activities from mid July to October as part of BBC Hands on History, tying in with BBC’s Digging for Britain and Ancient Britain series.

Enjoy hands on archaeology at Caistor Roman Town near Norwich, Sedgeford near King’s Lynn and at events around the county. Explore the land of the Iceni (Eceni) and Boudica whose rebellion in 61AD rocked the Roman occupation. Walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers on the Peddars Way and wonder at the craftsmanship of The Snettisham Treasure at Norwich Castle. Or head to The Forum in Norwich on Sunday, September 4 for Dig! Archaeology in Action, a free event from 10am to 4pm with lots of fun family activities.

For full details of events and places to visit, pick up a Dig Around in Ancient Norfolk leaflet at TICs and libraries in Norfolk or download a copy from www.visitnorfolk.co.uk/dig.

Madeleine Forrester, Regional Manager, BBC Learning said: “Our partners across Norfolk have developed a fantastic range of special events to allow residents and visitors to dig around in ancient Norfolk. There is a great programme of hands-on archaeology, guided walks and even the chance to live for a weekend in the Iron Age. Do join us at The Forum in Norwich on September 4 for Dig! Archaeology in Action.”

Lydia Smith Director, Norfolk Tourism said: “Norfolk has a fascinating early history, which is revealed in the collections of our museums across the county, notably the amazing Seahenge Bronze Age timber circle at Lynn Museum. This is also the land of Boudica and the Iceni (Eceni) and the Roman Forts of the Saxon Shore. Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth is one of the best-preserved Roman sites in the UK and the Peddars Way follows the route of a Roman road built to control the Eceni after Boudica’s revolt.”

For more information about Hands on History see www.bbc.co.uk/history/handsonhistory.

Monday, 11 July 2011

‘Wymondham Rocks’ – Celebrating Festival Fortnight Success

Just on 5000 people enjoyed 26 events ranging from Market Place gigs to Norfolk bands in Central Hall, classical recitals in Wymondham Abbey and a musical Teddy Bears’ Picnic, during Wymondham’s Festival Fortnight, which ended on Sunday July 10.

“We have had a very busy and rewarding fortnight”, said Barbara Randall, Festival Secretary, who co-ordinates the programme. “The response from our audiences has been terrific. The SweetBeats gig at Central Hall provoked the comment ‘Wymondham Rocks’ from one happy customer. We have had similar feedback from all our concerts.”

Audience Comments: Fantastic fortnight of events! Wonderful – More of the same please! Thank you for arranging such wonderful events. Terrific event. Great mix of music.
Kit Downes Trio: Absolutely fabulous. Brilliant!
Lecture – Does Klezmer Swing? – Exceeded expectations. It was great! Perfect balance of lecture and live music.
Madeleine Mitchell, violin: Excellent, a privilege to hear her playing.
Lee Vasey Band What a brill night, thank you.
Garlic Theatre – ‘Fiddlesticks’ It was absolutely enchanting and a perfect venue. The children were enthralled.
Jon Baker’s Voice Workshop: Brilliant- great mix of technical advice, practise and singing.

John Wood, Chairman Wymondham Music Festival said: “I would like to thank all our volunteers, who gave a total of 900 hours support running the events during the Festival Fortnight. We could not stage such an ambitious programme without their help. Planning has already begun for 2012. We look forward to returning with an equally exciting mix of concerts, workshops and special events.”

Wymondham Music Festival (reg. charity no. 1081375), www.wymfestival.org.uk is run by a committee of volunteers who give their time to organise and administer the programme, and is supported by grants, advertising, sponsorship and the generosity of its patrons. The Festival began in 1996 as a small series of concerts and was called Wymondham Music Week. It has expanded to become the musically diverse festival that it is today, promoting the performance and appreciation of music, as well as offering music education for local people. The Festival committee links up with many other local music organisations to promote events throughout the summer months.

Photograph: The SweetBeats at Central Hall Wymondham

Friday, 8 July 2011

Wroxham Barns Celebrates Excellent VisitEngland Inspection

Wroxham Barns, one of the first businesses in Norfolk to join VisitEngland’s Visitor Attractions Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS), has just completed its 11th annual inspection with flying colours.

The VAQAS report, which can be read in full on Wroxham Barns’ website, commends the Broads attraction for delivering: “…a very high quality of visitor experience with the excellent range of varied activity again increased with the substantial development of the retail outlets, Funfair and Junior Farm.”

“Our aim is to provide the best day out in Norfolk,” said Ian Russell, Director Wroxham Barns. “ We are always looking to improve the quality of the visit and completed a £400,000 investment programme over the winter. This included the new piggery and Piggy’s Play Sty soft play barn in Junior Farm, as well as a new retail building for LeGrice Roses and an extension to Uncle Stuart’s Brewery with a bar and dedicated outside seating area.”

“We value the feedback from the VisitEngland assessor,” added Mr Russell, “as it helps us plan further improvements to both the visitor experience and our customer care.”

The restaurant was particularly commended in the report for providing an excellent dining experience, along with The Gallery (ladies and mens clothes and gifts) for its high quality standards.

Richard Ellis, Chairman Norfolk tourism said: "Congratulations to Ian Russell and the team at Wroxham Barns for such an outstanding VAQAS report. It is well deserved. Thirty-seven of Norfolk’s attractions are currently members of the scheme and find the process of inspection and feedback a valuable management tool, as they work to improve customer service standards and visitor facilities. I commend VAQAS to all attractions in the county."

Wroxham Barns, www.wroxhambarns.co.uk, 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.

The Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme, which is managed by VisitEngland through its network of regional assessors, has a strong reputation for instigating, modifying and shaping change to the customer experience at visitor attractions across England.

Following successful trials in 1998 in the South West and then in the East of England, VAQAS was officially taken centrally by VisitEngland in 2001. The scheme encourages participants to make VAQAS work for them as a management tool. Industry support has been consistently strong with participants eager to take on board the recommendations of their local assessor, www.visitengland.org.