Friday, 25 May 2012

See East Anglia with Greater Anglia and Visit East Anglia

Greater Anglia, East Anglia’s rail operator and Visit East Anglia, the region’s private sector led tourism champions, have launched a new 2 for 1 attractions campaign aimed at Essex and North London residents, inviting them to See East Anglia by train. This is the first ever large-scale regional 2 for 1 campaign aimed at increasing leisure rail travel out of London.

Half-a-million London and Essex homes are being invited to See East Anglia, with offers from more than 70 tourism businesses across the region, in a leaflet that can be picked up at Greater Anglia stations, or downloaded from Postcards will soon be hitting doormats to promote the scheme combined with a poster campaign at Greater Anglia stations.

Punting in Cambridge, river trips on the Broads and the River Orwell, Norwich and Ipswich City Sightseeing bus tours, canoeing on the River Bure in Norfolk, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich walking tours and Cambridge cycling tours, Colchester Castle Museum and Norwich Castle, the RSPB’s Minsmere, Titchwell and Lakenheath Fen reserves, plus Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome Circus and Ipswich’s Dance East are just some of the exciting days out on offer.

The 2 for 1 scheme is the first of a range of Greater Anglia and Visit East Anglia projects aimed to raise the profile of the region as a major tourism destination and boost to the local economy. Heritage, shopping and short breaks promotions will follow soon. In addition, a Greater Anglia TV campaign in July will promote leisure travel from London.

Ruud Haket, Managing Director, Greater Anglia said: “We want to make a real difference to the region we serve and to do all we can in partnership with Visit East Anglia to promote East Anglia as the tourist destination of choice for Londoners looking for a great day-out by train or a relaxing short break. The investment in this campaign is aimed at positively supporting the region’s tourism industry and helping to give a huge boost to the local economy.”

Richard Ellis, Chairman Visit East Anglia said: “This is a fantastic example of one of the things that Visit East Anglia was created to do – to work with private sector partners to invest to grow the tourism sector in East Anglia . Greater Anglia is proving to be an innovative and exciting partner that wants to really make things happen. This is just the start of a series of joint campaigns.”

Liz Cobbold, Head of Marketing at Adnams and Director Visit East Anglia said: “Adnams is very excited to be involved in this campaign which promotes sustainable transport as well as local tourism which will boost the economy. The range of attractions on offer is a great showcase for East Anglia as a great destination for both day visits and holidays. "

Keith Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Visit East Anglia said: “The London 2 for 1 marketing programme organised by the Association of Train Operating Companies has long been recognised as one of the most successful drivers of day visit business into the capital city’s most popular attractions. Visit East Anglia together with Greater Anglia are delighted to have developed the first out of London 2 for 1 programmes with the support of some of the area’s finest attractions. With over 70 business’s participating, supported by a range of marketing activities, this programme will give a valuable boost to the growing tourism economy.” and

Raveningham Gardens – Diamond Jubilee Weekend Bank Holiday Opening

Raveningham Gardens near Hales in South Norfolk is opening over the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend on Sunday, June 3, Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5, 2pm to 5pm.

Explore the 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses, arboretum and herb garden, enjoy contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens and the huge herbaceous borders which are starting to fill with colour. Also visit Raveningham’s 14th century church. Tea and cakes on sale each day.

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

Fairhaven Garden – Diamond Jubilee weekend and half term events

Journey Stick making, a Bug Day, a Bumblebee walk and a special Jubilee Afternoon Tea are all on offer at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, Norfolk, during half term week, 2 to 10 June.

Journey Sticks Week, 2 to 10 June, 10am to 5pm, make your own Journey Stick as you travel round the garden’s 3 ½ miles of paths. Normal entry charge applies, adult £5.50, senior citizen £5 and child £3 (under five free).

Jubilee Afternoon Tea, 4 June, 11am to 4pm, enjoy a selection of sandwiches and cakes, including special celebration cup cakes with a pot of tea, £6.50 per person.

Bug Day, 6 June, 11am to 3pm, make an insect house for the bugs in your garden and create a recycled butterfly mobile; small charge for insect box, £3. Normal entry charge applies, adult £5.50, senior citizen £5 and child £3 (under five free).

Bumblebee Walk, 10 June, 11am to 1pm, walk through the garden with bumblebee enthusiast, Nick Owens from the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists’ Society, followed by an informal picnic (bring your own lunch). Normal entry charge applies, adult £5.50, senior citizen £5 and child £3 (under five free). Please book in advance (event not suitable for dogs).

There is wheelchair access to most of 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 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, also open Wednesday until 9pm to the end of August, 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. Entry charges are adult £5.50, senior citizen £5 and child £3 (under five free). 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.

Follow the Swallow at Junior Farm Wroxham Barns

Wroxham Barns and the RSPB have joined forces to ‘Follow the Swallow’ at Junior Farm. A ‘Swallowcam’ has been installed in the farm’s goat barn to watch nesting swallows. Live footage is being screened to visitors in the small animals barn.

Swallows began flying around Junior Farm in early May and have started building nests. It is expected that female swallows will be sitting on their eggs very soon. The birds will stay at Junior Farm until the autumn, so there will be plenty of opportunities to watch the new brood grow.

The RSPB has developed special swallow activities, which will be run by the team at Junior Farm every day over Jubilee weekend and half term, then at weekends until the summer school holidays, when they will again take place daily. There will also be monthly children’s swallow photography and drawing competitions and the RSPB will be regular visitors during the summer.

Swallows are very agile small birds with dark, glossy-blue backs, red throats, pale undersides and long tail streamers. They are in the UK from March to October and migrate south in the winter. Female swallows sit on their eggs until they hatch. There are usually four or five chicks in each brood. Feeding them is a very busy job; five chicks can eat about 6,000 insects every day, so adult swallows can be seen flying around Junior Farm all day.

Ian Russell, Director Wroxham Barns said: “We are really pleased to be working closely with the RSPB at Junior Farm. We opened our hide three years ago to help visitors understand more about the birds on site and have had excellent support and advice from the RSPB. Our ‘Swallowcam’ will give both children and adults a greater appreciation of the natural world around them. It will also be fun watching the swallow chicks develop over the summer months.”

Joanne Hand, Regional Projects Manager RSPB said: “Follow the Swallow’ at Wroxham Barns is part of a busy programme of family activities being organised by the RSPB in the Broads this summer. We are bringing people and the wonderful broadland wildlife together wherever possible – both at our nature reserve at Strumpshaw Fen and in local communities and at Broads-based visitor attractions”.

Junior Farm is open daily 10am to 5pm; entry charge is £5.75 (under 2 free). Wroxham Barns,, tel. 01603 783762 is 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, 21 May 2012

Great Yarmouth Diamond Jubilee Celebrations - 2 to 5 June

Great Yarmouth’s residents and visitors are set for a fun-filled weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee from Saturday 2 June to Tuesday 5 June at the start of the Whitsun half term holiday.

On Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 June, red, white and blue bunting and Union Jack flags will decorate St. George’s Park in the centre of Great Yarmouth where a quintessentially British village fête and food fair will take place, with lots of activities for everyone to enjoy. Donkey rides, traditional maypole dancing, Punch ‘n’ Judy, welly-wanging and a special sheep shearing show along with face painting and a pig race are all confirmed activities.

A number of other traditional stalls such as hoopla and ball in the bucket will also be run with the assistance of Great Yarmouth Lions. Time honoured tradition of seaside brass band performances will be marked with musical entertainment from Great Yarmouth Brass on Saturday and Wrentham Brass Band on Sunday. Children will be able to make kites in the colours of Commonwealth nations in a special children’s craft marquee hosted by SeaChange Arts.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy a mini-food festival featuring all sorts of local food producers from Borough and immediate area including Norfolk Sausage, Hemsby Herring, The Little Fudge Stall, Bradwell Butchery, Blackfriar’s Brewery, Norfolk Preserves, Mojo Sauce, Coast Café, Dabs ‘n’ crabs and Ronaldo’s ice cream. The village fête will be open from 10.30am until 4pm on Saturday and from 10.30am at 3.30pm on Sunday. The event is being run by Greater Yarmouth Tourism on behalf of Borough Council. Admission is free, but visitors are encouraged to give a donation of £1. Any surplus will go to the Mayor’s charities.

Anchor Gardens on the seafront will host Bank Holiday Monday’s Jubilee festivities with the lighting of the beacon and a special Jubilee Firework show courtesy of Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority. The HEART road show will be on site at Anchor Plaza overlooking the gardens from 8pm with entertainment, bands and music. A parade led by Winterton TS Fearless Marine Cadets marching band will leave Maritime House Tourist Information Centre at 9.30pm and will process along the slow lane towards Anchor Gardens before Her Worship the Mayor Cllr Colleen Walker lights the beacon at 10.15pm.

On Tuesday 5 June, the official Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday, a special Civic service will take place in Great Yarmouth Minster to mark the occasion at 2pm to which everyone is invited. A parade led by Winterton TS Fearless Marine Cadets marching band will leave the Town Hall at 1.40pm and process to the church. Great Yarmouth Racecourse will host the special family fun Diamond Racing day so that residents and visitors can really make the most of the extra long Bank Holiday weekend.

Great Yarmouth Classic – Beach Volleyball - 26 and 27 May

Great Yarmouth’s Central Beach will welcome more than 50 top-class beach volleyball players, on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May as Volleyball England’s Beach Tour kicks off in the resort with the first tournament of the season, the Great Yarmouth Classic. Many of the players will be hoping to be in the Great Britain team at the London 2012 Olympics.

Played over two days, men’s and ladies teams made up of two players per team will give visitors to the seafront the opportunity to watch a superb display of quality beach volleyball, as they battle it out to win points in the Volleyball England Beach Tour league, before the 2012 final in Bournemouth and the Olympic Beach Volleyball matches on Horseguards Parade in July.

The Great Yarmouth Classic is also being used as a test event for the Beach Volleyball Games Makers. These volunteers, aged 16-19, will be responsible for looking after the volleyball court at Horseguards Parade.

Cllr Valerie Pettit, Environment portfolio holder said: ”Just because you may have missed out in the Olympic ticket lottery doesn’t mean you also have to miss out on watching this very exciting sport in person as Great Yarmouth Borough Council brings it to your doorstep once again this summer. No tickets are necessary to watch the Great Yarmouth Classic, just turn up and take a seat.”

Staff from Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Tourism Team and Culture, Sport and Leisure Unit have worked closely with Volleyball England’s Beach Tour team to host and promote the Great Yarmouth Classic every year since 2006. This popular free weekend event pulls in huge crowds who are able to watch play from a large 250 seat grandstand that is erected on the beach behind Joyland near Britannia Pier especially for the tournament.

It’s Magic – British Magicians Choose Great Yarmouth for September Convention

The International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring Number 25 is coming to Great Yarmouth for the first time since 1991 for its annual convention from 26 to 30 September.

More than 500 magicians will descend on the Norfolk resort for a packed programme of competitions, lectures, public events and magic in the community.

Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee will headline the gala show at the Britannia Theatre on Saturday, September 29, which will also include Norfolk magician, Roy Davenport, performing his ‘sawing-in-half’ illusion.

Other magicians booked to perform during the convention are Andrew van Buren, Michael Vincent, Nick Einhorn, Scott Penrose, Craig Christian and Richard Cadell & Sooty.

Alan Carr, Head of Tourism Great Yarmouth said: "It is going to be a truly magical five days. We are really looking forward to welcoming back the International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring. There’s going to be a real buzz in Great Yarmouth in late September with the magicians taking over the Britannia Pier, Hollywood Cinema and the newly refurbished St George’s Theatre for their special events. We are delighted that they will be bringing magic into the community, giving those unable to attend public events a taste of the best of British magic."

Brian Miller, President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring said: "We are delighted to be back in Great Yarmouth and look forward to enjoying the much improved facilities that have been provided since our last visit. We hope the local community will support our top class Gala Show on September 29th where they will see some of the best of Britain's magicians." and

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Norwich 20 Group – Looking into 20 – paintings and sculpture at The Forum, Norwich

Norwich 20 Group (N20G) returns to the atrium of The Forum, Norwich for its spring show, Looking into 20, from Monday 14 May to Thursday 24 May. This exhibition of new work by more than 50 artists, whose ages range from early 20s to early 80s, features all aspects of contemporary fine art, notably sculpture, print, photography and painting. The show is open daily 9am to 5pm, free entry,

Louis de Bernières, author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin and The Partisan’s Daughter will officially open the exhibition at an evening reception, 6.30pm on 14 May.

Martin Battye, Chairman Norwich 20 Group said: “From our early years in pubs around the city, the group has combined lively discussion of the arts with an energetic programme of exhibiting both within the county borders and without. As we approach our 70th year it’s difficult to ignore the fact that some members have arrived there first. What gives so much life to the group is that many members are producing the freshest, most dynamic work to be seen.”

“At the other end of the spectrum we have the challenges of youth, and it would no doubt have given pleasure to that great stalwart of N20G, Mary Newcomb, to see her grandson exhibiting as a member.”

“The occasion of this show has been shadowed by the death, in April, of Keith Pomeroy. With his work growing in stature and authority, it is an added sadness to be deprived of following the progress that he was undoubtedly going to make.”

N20G is also taking part in the Bury St Edmunds Festival, with an exhibition on the theme Festival at The Apex Gallery, from Wednesday 16 May to Saturday 28 July, 10am to 5pm daily.

N20G was formed in 1944 comprising professional artists from the Norwich School of Art and Design (now Norwich University College of the Arts – NUCA). The group is no longer limited to 20 and has more than 70 members, several of whom exhibit regularly in the West End and abroad.

Image: Cow Tower, Norwich 2011, David Jones