Monday, 30 January 2012

Raveningham Gardens Snowdrop Spectacular February 12 to March 4

Raveningham Gardens opens for the snowdrop season from Sunday, February 12 to Sunday, March 4. Drifts of snowdrops in the main garden will be on display daily from 11am to 4pm (weekdays) and 2pm to 4pm on Sundays (dusk if earlier) – closed Saturdays.

Admission is adults £4, concessions £3.50 and children under 16 free; proceeds go to Priscilla Bacon Lodge, a centre for specialist palliative care services in Norwich. Tea and home made cakes served on Sundays and sunny days.

Raveningham Hall is the home of Sir Nicholas and Lady Bacon. It was Sir Nicholas’ mother, Priscilla Bacon, who added snowdrops to the garden.

The 18th century Walled Kitchen Garden with its large glasshouses will be open and visitors will also be able to enjoy views across the new lake established at the turn of the Millennium and the contemporary sculpture in the gardens.

Raveningham Gardens (NR14 6NS) is 10 miles south east of Norwich, signposted off the A146 at Hales, then B1136, tel. 01508 548152,

Star Night at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

Astronomers from Norwich Astronomical Society will be at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, for a special Star Night on Saturday, February 18, from 7pm to 11pm.

Visitors will be able to star gaze through telescopes with members of Norwich Astronomical Society on hand to interpret the night sky. There will also be astronomy talks at 7.30pm from David Balcombe at 9pm from Mark Shephard.

Entry on the evening is adult £3.50 and child £2. The tearoom will be serving soup and hot drinks. Visitors should wrap up warm and bring a torch – infrared if they have one.

Saturday, February 11 to Sunday, February 19, is Signs of Spring Week at Fairhaven Garden, daily 10am to 4pm. Families can I spy their way round the garden looking for signs of spring to win a prize, normal entry charges.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction,, tel. 01603 270449. Garden entry is adult £5.50, concessions £5 and child £3 (under 5 free).

The garden is open daily all year (closed Christmas Day), tearoom, gift shop and plant sales. There is wheelchair access to the garden, including a 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.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Spring Lambs have arrived at Wroxham Barns

The spring lambs have arrived at Junior Farm Wroxham Barns. Daily indoor bottle-feeding sessions will begin on Saturday, February 11.

Wroxham Barns’ lambs are all the smallest of triplets from local farms and are currently in quarantine, but will be ready to meet visitors at half term. The lambs will consume more than 5,000 litres of milk during the bottle-feeding season to the end of July. Ewes find it difficult to look after triplets, so Junior Farm visitors who feed the lambs are helping out as surrogate mums.

There are lots of other activities at Junior Farm, from feeding guinea pigs, rabbits and pygmy goats, to taking part in pony grooming and collecting eggs at the hen house. Visitors can also watch the farm staff feed the friendly pigs in the new piggery and enjoy a quiet moment in the bird hide, with its low level viewing panel for small children. There are good hand washing facilities for cleaning up thoroughly during visits.

Piggy’s Play Sty opened in the farm last year. It’s an indoor soft play barn for young children – a great place for them to let off steam, especially if it starts to rain. Don’t forget to meet Wroxie, the farm’s life-size mechanical cow, where the whole family can practice their milking skills.

Entry to Junior Farm costs £5.50 per person, aged 2+.

As well as Junior Farm enjoy a round on the 18-hole championship mini adventure golf course – ideal for a friendly family competition. Children will also love the funfair rides. Funfair rides and golf are individually priced (rides subject to weather).

The award-winning restaurant-café serves breakfast, morning coffee, lunches and afternoon tea, all freshly made, using local, seasonal produce where possible.

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.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Olympics Tourism Summit in Norwich

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, was in Norwich on Friday 20 January for an Olympics tourism summit at Open attended by 250 businesses from across the East of England.

Mr Hunt urged East of England’s tourism industry to seize the opportunities presented by the Olympics, the Torch Relay and the Cultural Olympiad. The Government is backing the GREAT promotion, encouraging UK residents to holiday at home this year. An associated multi million pound TV advertising campaign launches on 8 March, and tourism businesses are invited to get involved at

Norfolk is well placed with its direct rail link from Norwich to the Olympic Park at Stratford to be a London2012 destination. But it can also offer an escape for London residents wanting a break from the Olympics,

Pictured at the tourism summit promoting Norfolk as an Olympics destination are left to right: James Berresford Chief Executive VisitEngland, Caroline Jarrold Chair VisitNorwich, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Councillor Brenda Arthur Leader Norwich City Council, Nick Bond Head of Tourism VisitNorwich and Richard Ellis Chairman Norfolk Tourism.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Robin Welch Suffolk-based International Ceramic Artist - Wymondham Arts Centre Solo Show

Robin Welch, international ceramic artist from Stradbroke Suffolk is launching Wymondham Arts Centre’s 2012 season with a solo show, The Potter and The Painter from Saturday, March 24 to Saturday, April 15, open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12noon to 5pm, free entry,

Based in Stradbroke since 1966, Robin Welch has established an international reputation for his work, which combines his skills as a sculptor, painter and potter.

In a career lasting more than more than 50 years, Robin Welch has exhibited throughout the UK and in the USA, Australia, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway, Italy and Sweden. His work can be found in public collections in the UK, notably Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as collections in Australia and The Netherlands.

He has had spells as a visiting lecturer in art colleges and universities in the UK, USA and Australia. Commissions include six large candleholders and three sand-filled bowls for Lincoln Cathedral, dedicated to St Gilbert.

Robin Welch has concentrated on creating individual ceramics pieces and painting since 1990. Before that his studio produced a range of domestic stoneware pottery.

Professor Arthur Lucas, Chairman Wymondham Arts Centre said: “We are thrilled to have someone of Robin Welch’s international standing opening our fourth season, and look forward to seeing his work set against the backdrop of our gallery, the 12th century Becket’s Chapel.”

Commentary on Robin Welch

“He is a genuinely individual voice. There is no one else quite like him in British pottery.” David Whiting, critic in the field of applied arts and regular contributor to Ceramic Review:

“Welch has a painter’s approach to the surface of the vessel, and a sculptor’s sensibility to form, but this is wedded to a ceramist’s celebration of materiality, of the ‘stuff’ that is clay. Added to this is a deep understanding of how technique can be used, not as an end in itself, but as the means through which he is able to communicate to his viewer.” James Beighton, MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art)

“Robin Welch’s long career has displayed a relentless exploration of innovative techniques, yet, consistent and logical development. The contribution of this distinguished painter-potter to the world of ceramics is significant and, I believe, will prove to be enduring.” Christine Maltby, Maltby Contemporary Art, Winchester

Wymondham Arts Centre is at Becket’s Chapel, Church Street, Wymondham, Norfolk NR18 0PH, email,

Monday, 9 January 2012

Griff Rhys Jones with Chamber Orchestra Anglia at St Andrews Hall Norwich

12 concerts, 12 buildings, 12 months…

Chamber Orchestra Anglia (COA) heads to St Andrews Hall on Friday, February 3 at 7.30pm, for the third concert in the Norwich 12 series – an evening of music and wit with special guest Griff Rhys Jones.

Griff Rhys Jones, master of ceremonies on the evening, will sing excerpts from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado and will perform the role of the narrator in Babar the Elephant (Poulenc/D Matthews). Chamber Orchestra Anglia will also present Haydn’s, Symphony No.60 in C, 'Il Distratto' – a comic theatre symphony.

Tickets for the evening are £20 from Norwich Theatre Royal box office tel. 01603 630000 or online via

Monthly concerts are taking place in each of the Norwich 12 buildings to celebrate Chamber Orchestra Anglia’s 10th birthday, and are being organised in collaboration with Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART),

Further concerts in the series are scheduled for March 2 (The Assembly House) and April 24 (St James Mill). For up-to-date information on the programme see

Sharon Andrea Choa, COA founder and Artistic Director, said: "It is very exciting to be working with Griff Rhys Jones who is a patron of our orchestra. The event at St Andrews Hall will be a unique evening combining laughter, song and fine music in a wonderful historic building.”

Norfolk Tourism Heads for London – January Travel Shows

Norfolk Tourism with partner Broadland District Council will be promoting the county as a key countryside and coastal holiday destination at The Outdoors Show, London Excel from January 12 to 15. Then will return to London on January 28 with partners Richardson’s, Norwich Premier Inns and Holkham Hall for Excursions group travel show at Alexandra Palace.

Lydia Smith, Director Norfolk Tourism said: “Now that we are in Olympics year, the key message at both shows will continue to be ‘Visit Norfolk, closer than you think to London 2012’. Norfolk is the perfect Olympic and Paralympic base. Rather than stay in the London area, visitors can enjoy the historic city of Norwich, the magical waterland of the Broads, 90 miles of stunning coastline, busy seaside resorts like Great Yarmouth, Cromer and Hunstanton and the heaths and forest of the Brecks. Then head for the London Games by train direct from Norwich and Diss to Stratford and from King’s Lynn and Downham Market to King’s Cross.”

The focus at the Outdoors Show will be Norfolk’s world class outdoor activities – boating, birdwatching, canoeing, cycling, fishing, horseriding and walking,

Norfolk Tourism will be armed with the Norfolk Travel Trade Manual 2012 at Excursions. The 13th edition of the essential guide to group travel in the county, is packed with information on places to visit and stay, meal stops, guided tours and special events. Go to to plan itineraries and order a copy of the manual.

The travel trade manual provides information for coach operators and group organisers and ideas for year round visits to the county. These include the international Norfolk & Norwich Festival in spring, plus the King’s Lynn Festival and the Sandringham Flower Show in summer, followed by Great Yarmouth’s Maritime and Out There Festivals and the EDP Bidwells Norfolk Food Festival in September. Thursford’s famous Christmas Spectacular and the fabulous winter Festival of Swans at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Welney are a must later in the year.

Norfolk Tourism is the county's established public and private industry partnership. Funded by its 55 partner organisations, the partnership is designed to act as a forum for all Norfolk's tourism businesses and local authorities,, tel. 01603 222846. See our free to use 2012 image library at

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden – January Talks

Head to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, Norfolk for Friday morning garden-themed talks in January.

Talks start at 11am, cost £3 and include tea/coffee and biscuits on arrival – no need to book.

Friday 13 January: Garden Wildlife with David Boulton – illustrating the variety of wildlife in an ordinary garden.

Friday 20 January: A History of Fairhaven Garden with Ian Guest, Head Gardener – 65 years of organic gardening.

Friday 27 January: Container Gardening with Sue Allison – find out how to enrich your outdoor space and bring extra colour to your garden.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, tel. 01603 270449,

The garden is open daily all year, 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day), tearoom, gift shop and plant sales. There is wheelchair access to the garden, including a 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.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, winner of Best Broads Holiday Experience and Best Visitor attraction under 50,000 visitors) EDP Tourism in Norfolk Awards 2011.

Chamber Orchestra Anglia at Caley's Cocoa Cafe The Guildhall Norwich

Chamber Orchestra Anglia, Norwich 12 Series

Saturday 14 January 2012, Caley’s Cocoa Café, The Guildhall at 7.30pm.
An evening of music bringing archive film alive.

Programme to include music by Elgar, Percy Grainger, Martinů and the monumental but rarely performed
Kodály duo for violin and cello.

The music will accompany archive film of Norwich from the same era presented by Norwich HEART’s Digital Heritage Project, working with digitised film from the UEA’s East Anglian Film Archive. Films from the early decades of the last century will include a tram ride through Norwich streets in 1902, a visit by Royalty, a post war funeral of a Norfolk heroine and an interesting look at some of the City’s fashions in the ‘20’s.

Tour of The Guildhall available at 6.30pm

Tickets £15 from Norwich Theatre Royal Box Office tel 01603 630000 or online via

Norwich 20 Group – two-oh - for - two-oh-one-two – paintings and sculpture at The Forum

Norwich 20 Group (N20G) launches the New Year with two-oh - for - two-oh-one-two, an exhibition of new work – paintings and sculpture, in the atrium of The Forum, Norwich from 9 to 13 January, open daily 9am to 6pm, free entry,

N20G was formed in 1944 comprising professional artists from the Norwich School of Art and Design. The group is no longer limited to 20 and now has more than 70 members, several of whom exhibit regularly in the West End and abroad. All aspects of the practice of contemporary fine art are represented e.g. sculpture, print, photography and painting.

Over the years the membership has included nationally known artists, for example, Bernard Reynolds and Jeffrey Camp. Colin Self has taken an active role as have numerous art historians and architects. Mary Newcomb, one of Britain’s best loved artists, famous for her visionary ruralist paintings, who died in 2008, was a member of N20G for many years. Her work often sold at exhibitions for around £20. It now changes hands for five figure sums. Current N20G members include Andy Campbell, David Holgate, Ros Newman, Vanessa Pooley and Laurie Rudling.

Image: Walking to Turkey - David Jones