Thursday, 29 March 2012

Raveningham Gardens Norfolk – special Easter opening

Raveningham Gardens near Hales in South Norfolk is opening on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, 8 and 9 April, 2pm to 5pm. Daffodils and narcissi will be at their best.

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 12 April to the end of August, admission adult £4, concessions £3.50 and children under 16 free. Tel. 01508 548152,

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Tumbling Waves - New Sculpture at Wroxham Barns

Sue Windley, resident sculptor at Wroxham Barns in the Broads has created a new two-metre marble resin sculpture for the barns. Located outside the new LeGrice Roses shop and plant centre, it is highly visible to visitors as they arrive.

Liz Barnes from LeGrice Roses named the sculpture ‘Tumbling Waves’ and accompanied by Sue Windley and Ian Russell, Wroxham Barns Director toasted the new sculpture with Wroxham Barns Bitter.

Sue Windley said: "My sculpture is an abstract wave form, so Tumbling Waves is a very suitable name. I am very interested in liquid technology and the behaviour of waves. My work is primarily inspired by nature ranges in size from small pieces made to be held, up to life size model figures. I use a wide range of materials including stone, wood, plastic, resin and paint.”

A former student of the Norwich School of Art, Sue has exhibited extensively, across the UK. Her work has been shown at the Surrey Sculpture Society in Polesden Lacey, the Woodstock Museum in Oxford and locally, at the John Innes Centre and the Grapevine Gallery in Norwich.

For more information contact Sue Windley tel. 01603 781700, email,

Monday, 26 March 2012

Fairhaven Garden - Busy Bird I Spy Week and Easter Egg Trail

Head to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Waslham for the ‘Busy Bird I Spy Week’ from Saturday, March 31 to Saturday, April 7, daily between 10am and 5pm. I spy your way round the garden looking for busy birds among the trees to win a prize, normal entry charges, adult £5.50, concessions £5 and child £3 (under 5 free).

Or do the Easter Egg trail on Good Friday, April 6, between 10am and 5pm. Find out which creatures in the garden are worthy of a Gold Medal on the Easter trail. There is an ‘eggy’ prize at the end; also face painting and Easter crafts for children. Normal entry charges and an additional £1.50 per child for the Easter Egg trail.

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 (closed Christmas Day) 10am to 5pm, free entry to 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.

Fairhaven Garden – New Bird Hide Marks Full Access for Disabled Visitors

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham, in the heart of the Broads, is now 100% accessible to visitors with mobility difficulties.

A new bird hide designed for visitors with disabilities, overlooking Fairhaven’s private broad, was officially opened on March 21 by Jo Murphy (pictured), a Fairhaven Garden member who uses a mobility scooter to get around the garden’s 3½ miles of paths.

The new bird hide was funded by an access and outdoor learning project supported by Broadland District Council Community Fund, the Broads Sustainable Development Fund and gift aid donations from visitors.

The bird hide features a solar powered audio interpretation panel, which tells visitors the names of key bird species, and gives them an example of their birdsong. A similar audio panel operated by a wind up dynamo has been installed in an older bird hide on site.

The project is also funding the creation of an open-air classroom with a willow tunnel, is supporting the development of outdoor learning activities for families and schools, like the ‘Busy Bird I Spy Week’ from March 31 to April 7. It has paid for improvements to paths and the car park, with new designated parking bays for visitors with disabilities. A ‘nest box cam’ with a live feed to a monitor in the tearoom should be completed in time for the main breeding season.

Louise Rout, Fairhaven Garden Manager said: "The whole team at Fairhaven is really pleased that we have achieved 100% accessibility. We have worked hard over a number of years to ensure that all visitors can enjoy the beauty of the garden. My predecessor, George Debbage, established a sensory garden in 2006. It has matured superbly and offers an excellent introduction to Fairhaven. We opened a new tearoom in 2008, which was designed with disabled visitors in mind. But now that we are fully accessible, it means that visitors of all abilities can get around the whole garden and enjoy the full experience."

"I would particularly like to thank Broadland District Council and the Broads Authority for their support," added Louise Rout, "along with our visitors whose gift aid donations have been crucial."

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), free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales. Mobility scooters are available. Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is organic, only garden leaf soil, farmyard manure and the product of the annual dyke clearance are used as fertilisers. There are 30 species of tree, and more than 95 species of bird, 11 species of butterfly and six species of dragonfly have been recorded. The garden was created by the Second Lord Fairhaven from 1947 until his death in 1973. A charitable trust was then set up to care for the garden, and open it to visitors.

Winner of Best Broads Holiday Experience and Best Visitor attraction under 50,000 visitors) EDP Tourism in Norfolk Awards 2011 and Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award since 2009.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Norfolk – The Great Outdoors at Easter

River trips, walking, cycling, bird watching, horseracing, exploring stately homes and their gardens, lamb feeding, and heritage railways– Norfolk is packed with great ideas for the Easter Holidays.

“We are looking forward to a very busy Easter,” said Lydia Smith, Director, Norfolk Tourism. “Norfolk with its endless skies is the place to enjoy the great outdoors. Easter is the perfect time to get out and about and go walking on our miles of sandy beaches or explore one of our 440 open historic churches. Try boating, canoeing, cycling and sailing in the Broads. Then there’s the North Norfolk Coast for birdwatching fans. In addition to all this there are many other indoor and outdoor attractions to visit. ”

Here is a selection of Norfolk’s Easter offerings:
 Explore the North Norfolk Coast and the Norfolk Coast Footpath using the CoastHopper bus
 Ride The Bittern Line from Norwich to Sheringham and hop off at intermediate stations for a circular walk
 Visit RSPB Titchwell Marsh or Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes
 Go cycling around Thetford Forest or the Broads
 Visit Wretham Lodge, East Wretham and Desert World Gardens, Santon Downham, both gardens open in aid of the National Gardens Scheme on April 8 and 9,
 Enjoy racing on Easter Monday, April 9 at Great Yarmouth Racecourse, and Fakenham Racecourse .
 Feed the lambs at Junior Farm Wroxham Barns or see the sheep milking at Bircham Windmill
 Enjoy Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile and stop off at the Pleasure Beach or Merrivale Model Village
 Take a river trip in Norwich on City Boats or on the Broads at Wroxham with Broads Tours
 Take part in the ‘Busy Bird I Spy Week’ at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden from March 31 to April 7,, Strumpshaw Fen Easter Egg-splorers (April 5), Pensthorpe Nature Reserve’s Easter Eggstravaganser (March 31-April 15) or take the Bure Valley Railway’s Easter Eggspress, April 6 to 9,

Indoor Ideas
 Visit The Queen’s Sandringham House in west Norfolk and enjoy this year’s special exhibition – Faithful Companions,
 Clive Webb and Danny Adams return to Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome Circus with ‘Circus Hilarious, Rockin’ With Laughter’, April 6 – 12,
 See Japan Kingdom of Characters at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich (to 24 June) or view Titian’s masterpiece Diana and Actaeon at Norwich Castle Museum and Gallery (to 15 April),
 Visit one of Norfolk’s 440 open historic churches

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, 20 March 2012

Norfolk’s Guide to 440 Open Churches – English Tourism Week Launch

The Diocese of Norwich’s Open Churches 2012 guidebook, the free A-Z guide to 440 historic churches across the county, was launched at Great Yarmouth Minster on Friday 16 March to mark English Tourism Week.

This essential guide to churches that are open throughout the year covers the Great Yarmouth area, the Broads and Norwich, the North Norfolk Coast, and market towns like Dereham, Swaffham, and Wymondham, as well as the Norfolk countryside. The number of churches featured in the guide has more than doubled since 2011.

Norfolk has more historic churches (629) per person and per hectare than anywhere in the UK and Europe. Each has a story to tell and increasing numbers of local volunteers are ensuring that churches are open and welcoming visitors throughout the year.

Jennie Hawks, Historic Places of Worship Support Officer, Diocese of Norwich said: “We are delighted with the growing numbers of churches in the Diocese that now open year-round thanks to the support of dedicated volunteers. Norfolk is full of the most beautiful, mainly medieval churches, every one with a treasure to discover and a fascinating story to tell. Wherever you are in the county there is a church tower, from tiny Saxon parish churches to the great cathedrals of Norwich, our new Minsters at Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn and the Shrines of Walsingham. Whether you travel by train, car, bike, boat or on foot you will find a historic church. Our Open Churches guidebook is the perfect accompaniment to a day out in Norfolk.”

Brandon Lewis MP for Great Yarmouth said: “Norfolk is blessed with a brilliant collection of churches, many of which are the centres of our communities and a living testament our great heritage. I am delighted that this guide has been produced as it demonstrates just how lucky we are to have such a fantastic legacy.”

Art Alive in Churches returns for the fifth year, in June, July and August. A travelling exhibition, The Painters and Carvers of Angels, Medieval Art and Craft in Norfolk will be at The Narthex, Norwich Roman Catholic Cathedral, Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 June 10.30am to 5pm, and Sunday 17 June 1pm to 4pm.

The exhibition will then travel to All Saints King’s Lynn, during the King’s Lynn Festival, from Monday 16 July to Sunday 22 July, open daily 10am to 4pm, and will be at St Catherine’s Church Ludham from Sunday 5 August to Sunday 12 August (open 10am to 5pm), during Open Churches Week.

Open Churches Week from Saturday, August 4 to Sunday, August 12, is the main celebration of the year with a busy programme of special events and activities across the county. The week starts with the annual Ecclesiastical Classic Car Rally on 4 August, and annual service at St Benet’s Abbey on August 5.

Information about Open Churches Week and Art Alive in Churches will be available at The Open Churches guidebook is available from libraries and tourist information centres throughout Norfolk.

Pictured left to right Jennie Hawks Historic Places of Worship Support Officer, Diocese of Norwich, Revd Chris Terry Team Rector Great Yarmouth, Brandon Lewis MP Great Yarmouth, Revd Andrew Avery Team Vicar Great Yarmouth and Ivan Barnard Open Churches Ambassador.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Norfolk Mps Commit to Broads Quality Pledge - English Tourism Week

A host of Norfolk MPs have given their support to top quality sustainable tourism in the Broads in an event at Westminster marking the start of English Tourism Week.

Broads businesses Hoseasons, Norfolk Broads Direct, Wroxham Barns and The Waterside Rollesby headed to Parliament on Tuesday, March 13, armed with Broads Tourism’s Quality Pledge. The Broads is one of four pathfinder destinations selected by VisitEngland for special promotion to ensure they gain international recognition as great holiday areas.

The meeting with five of the county’s MPs (Norman Lamb, Brandon Lewis, Keith Simpson, Richard Bacon and Chloe Smith) was organised by Broads Tourism to promote their drive to improve quality in the area. The MPs were presented with a virtual hamper of experiences at the Broads businesses and demonstrated their commitment to the Broads by signing the Broads Tourism Forum’s Quality Pledge. Norwich South MP Simon Wright has also signed, although he was unable to attend the meeting.

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk said: “We are very lucky in Norfolk to be home to such a wonderful destination as the Broads. Whenever I tell anyone about the constituency I represent, I always talk about the beauty of the Broads. Tourism is hugely important to jobs in the area and I am pleased to see businesses working together to promote what the Broads has to offer.”

Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland said: “As someone who has enjoyed the Broads since I was a child and who now represents part of this important area of Norfolk I warmly endorse the Broads Quality Pledge. The Norfolk Broads combines a wonderful natural environment with a healthy tourism business which is crucial for those who live and work there. Hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy the Norfolk Broads and we want to encourage them to return.”

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North said: “Norwich and Norfolk are wonderful places. I grew up in Norfolk and would recommend visiting the Broads to anyone for a myriad of reasons. Norwich is the gateway to the Broads and welcomes you with a great and cultured city in beautiful surroundings. Tourism is important to many jobs in our city and county and it is a winning sector.”

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth said: “Norfolk has a brilliant location for tourism. The Broads are one of Britain’s greatest treasures; it is an incredibly beautiful and inspiring eco-system. I would recommend the Broads to anyone wanting to go holiday.”

Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South said: "I'm very pleased to support the Broads Tourism quality pledge. I urge local businesses to sign up and work together to get the maximum benefit of being based in one of the most attractive parts of the country."

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk said: “Tourism is so important for our county and the Broads are not just the jewel in Norfolk’s crown, but also a magnet for holiday makers who are looking for something different. We are rightly proud of the Broads and I am delighted to sign Broads Tourism’s Quality Pledge”.

Barbara Greasley, Chair Broads Tourism and Director Norfolk Broads Direct said:
“We are passionate about ensuring our visitors have the best possible holiday experience in the Broads and were delighted when Visit England gave the area a boost, by selecting us to be one of only four Pathfinder Destinations in the country. The support of our local MPs is vital as we continue to develop and improve the Broads as a top quality sustainable holiday destination.”

John Dalgleish, General Manager Holiday Boating, The Hoseasons Group said: “Hoseasons continues to be the largest UK domestic specialist holiday company. An important part of this is the Broads, as it’s a magical place that continues to remain one of the top UK holiday destinations for our customers. More than 150,000 of our customers enjoy the Broads annually, returning year after year. This is thanks to a combination of the unique natural environment, high standards of accommodation and innovative owners, who continue to play a key role in meeting consumer demand for new and exciting ways to explore the area.”

“We are fully committed to Broads Tourism’s quality pledge,“ added John Dalgleish, “and encourage all Broads businesses to sign up and work to make Britain’s Magical Waterland the best holiday destination in the UK.”

Photograph: With the Broads quality pledge at Westminster left to right are: Belinda Minors The Waterside Rollesby, Barbara Greasely Norfolk Broads Direct, James Berresford Chief Executive VisitEngland, John Dalgleish Hoseasons, Norman Lamb MP, Brandon Lewis MP, Richard Bacon MP, Keith Simpson MP, Chloe Smith MP, Clare Weller Broads Authority and Ian Russell Wroxham Barns.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Mother’s Day Guided Walk at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

Head Gardener Ian Guest is leading a Mother’s Day guided walk at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, Norfolk, at 11am on Sunday, March 18. All mums will receive a complimentary Fairhaven primrose plant. Normal admission charges apply for the walk: adult £5.50, senior citizen £5 and child £3, under fives free.

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,

There is wheelchair access throughout 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.

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.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Get hand-on in the Broads - Fairhaven Garden volunteer day

Volunteers of all ages are invited to help the gardening team at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, Norfolk, on Saturday, March 10, from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

Tasks are helping out with the annual leaf gathering exercise and planting willow to create a willow sculpture that will eventually form part of an outdoor classroom.

The garden’s annual leaf fall is collected and moved into large holding bays where the leaves gradually decompose into leaf soil. This potent natural product, along with farmyard manure, is the only fertiliser used in the garden. Bags of leaf soil are also sold in Fairhaven’s plant sales area.

Volunteers are asked to phone the garden on 01603 270449 to confirm their attendance and help with planning the day. Soup and a roll is provided for lunch and volunteers are asked to bring their own gloves.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, The garden is open daily all year, 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day). The garden is open until 9pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays from May to the end of August.

There is wheelchair access throughout 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.

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.