Friday, 24 May 2013

The Graveyard Walk – meet Great Yarmouth characters from the past

Great Yarmouth Minster and its graveyard is the setting for The Graveyard Walk at 2pm on Wednesday 29 May. Meet at the Fishermen’s Hospital gates at the northern end of the market to hear fascinating stories about characters laid to rest in this large consecrated area next to the medieval town wall.

Places must be booked in advance on 01493 846346 or by calling into Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre on Marine Parade. Prices: £6.50 adults, £4.50 children (7-16), under 7’s free. 10 paying people minimum required for the walk to go ahead. Price includes refreshments in Great Yarmouth Minster.

There’s the tomb of a sailor killed by pirates and a ghost story about an Egyptian princess. Hear about James Sharman (d.1867), the first curator of the Nelson Monument. Charles Dickens based the character Peggoty in David Copperfield on Mr Sharman, who served on HMS Victory at Trafalgar as a ‘pressed man’ and claimed to have carried Nelson’s body below decks.

See the monument commemorating those who died in the suspension bridge disaster of 1845 and discover the bricked up gate where some of Nelson’s sailors took their final journey, visit the town cemetery where sailors, merchants and the odd circus owner lie side by side next to six listed memorials. Explore the Minster and finish the walk with a nice cup of tea in the church.

Starts: Fisherman’s Hospital gates, Great Yarmouth Market Place.
Length of walk: Approximately 1½-2 hours.

Download a Great Yarmouth Heritage Walks leaflet at

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Cooking up ideas for this year’s Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

Local business sponsors of this year’s Maritime Festival, organised annually by the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority, met at The Imperial Hotel, Great Yarmouth to cook up some ideas for the festival, which takes place on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September.  Dutch tall ship Morgenster will be in port, along with the historic steam tug Challenge. Norfolk celebrity chef Richard Hughes will return with a spectacular fish cookery demonstration. 

                Maritime Festival Sponsors at The Imperial Hotel

Festival goers will be able to go aboard the beautiful Dutch tall ship, the brig Morgenster, a fully square rigged sailing ship. The Morgenster’s rigging is based on American clippers from the 18th century, which made the ships far more manoeuvrable and faster.  The Morgenster was inaugurated in May 2008 and usually sails in Northern European waters, although also sails in warm winter regions across the world.

                                                       The Morgenster

Visitors will be able to visit the steam tug Challenge, a true national treasure and proud to be registered in the National Historic Fleet.  Challenge was the last steam tug to work on the Thames, but is best known for the role she played in Operation Dynamo, evacuating troops from Dunkirk in 1940.

Five passenger sailing trips will be available on the Morgenster from Thursday 5 September until Sunday 8 September. The Morgenster will sail in the early evening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with other trips available on Thursday at 9am and 2pm. Sailing duration will be dependent on tide, but will last from 2½ to 3½ hours. Tickets go on sale on Friday 31 May from 9.30am at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre on 01493 332200 or online at

Thursday 5 September at 09.00 and 14.00 – tickets cost £32 per person
Friday 6 September at 18.30 – tickets cost £35 per person
Saturday 7 September at 18.00 – tickets cost £39 per person
Sunday 8 September at 18.00 – tickets cost £39 per person.

Cllr Michael Jeal, Chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority and GYBC Cabinet Member for Tourism said: “Sailings on tall ships at previous Maritime Festivals proved very popular with residents and visitors who were keen to experience life under sail out on the high seas. The Morgenster is sure to be a great asset to this year’s annual Maritime Festival.”

Aileen Mobbs, Festival Chairman and GYTA Honorary President said: “This will be our fourteenth Maritime Festival and we’re delighted to be showcasing some more stunning sailing vessels to our visitors. We are enormously grateful to our festival sponsors who enable us to put on such a fantastic event every year. Our visitors are always delighted by the nautical nature of our festival as we celebrate the town’s maritime past, present and future.”

The Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival will also feature music, street entertainment, arts, crafts, children’s activities and refreshments. More information about this year’s festival will be released as contracts are signed and acts booked, but to keep up with developments, more details can be found at

The 2013 Maritime Festival sponsors are
Seajacks UK Ltd, E.On Climate & Renewables, 
Eastport UK, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, 
ELM Contracts, Bunn’s Fertiliser, Gardline, BDO LLP, Petrofac, Bateman Groundworks & Wellington Construction
With thanks also to MDF Transport, Regional Scaffolding and Eastern Power

The GYTA (Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority) is a unique public / private sector partnership, founded in 1994. It brings together all partners from both the public and private sector to ensure that together we can collectively provide a better resort to help businesses survive and flourish and ensure that jobs are created and sustained.  

Monday, 20 May 2013

Wymondham Music Festival Norfolk – Town Busking Day – Saturday May 25

Wymondham Music Festival's annual Town Busking Day kicks off at 10am on Saturday, May 25.  Individuals and groups are welcome to turn up on the day and register in the marquee on the Market Place between 10am and 12noon, or call 01953 333500.

The Town Busking Day is followed by two Market Place events: Saturday June 1, Matt Watson Band (former lead singer with Huck) and Saturday, June 8, Ragamuffin (folk). Both events are from 10am to 12noon.

John Wood, Chairman Wymondham Music Festival said: “The Town Busking Day is a well-established informal event. Musicians pop up all over town creating a great atmosphere. If you have never busked before do come along on Saturday, May 25 and join in the fun.”

Wymondham Music Festival is centred on Festival Fortnight, June 22 to July 7, with 40 events in venues across the town, many of them free. Tickets for Festival Fortnight concerts are on sale at the Book Fountain, Wharton’s Court, Wymondham, or online at Save £1 on tickets booked by June 15, either online, or by using the discount voucher in the Festival brochure.

For event enquiries, contact the Festival office, t. 01953 601939, e.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Raveningham Gardens South Norfolk – Spring Bank Holiday Opening

Raveningham Gardens near Hales in South Norfolk are opening at Spring Bank Holiday weekend on Sunday, May 26 and Monday, May 27, 2pm to 5pm.

Enjoy the apple blossom in full flower, including the 200 year-old Queen Charlotte apple tree, lilacs emerging, scented shrubs, and the huge herbaceous borders filling with colour. Explore the 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses, arboretum and herb garden, enjoy contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens. Also visit Raveningham’s 14th century church. Tea and cakes on sale each day.

Raveningham Gardens, Raveningham, NR14 6NS are 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,

Bluebell Season at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden - Norfolk Broads

It is bluebell season at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden until Tuesday 28 May. It is a three-mile round trip walk to the bluebell woodland at Sotshole Broad. Fairhaven is in the heart of the Norfolk Broads.

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 £6, concessions £5.50 and child £3.50 (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.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Great Yarmouth’s New Heritage Pass

Great Yarmouth's heritage attractions have combined to offer visitors a special discount pass, saving a minimum of £7 on adult entry to seven museums and English Heritage properties in the town. The package also includes the opportunity to go on one of the regular Guided Heritage Walks.

Heritage Pass launch at the Nelson Museum: back l to r, Hannah Bentley Nelson Museum, Dona Watson, Great Yarmouth Heritage Walks, Shaun Ellis English Heritage, James Steward Norfolk Museums Service, Cllr Michael Jeal, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Business Services, Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Front l to r Franchesca Derry English Heritage, Valerie Howkins David Howkins Museum of Memories and Karen Childs Great Yarmouth Potteries.

Visit the UK’s oldest gaol; find out about Admiral Horatio Nelson, the Norfolk hero; explore an atmospheric pottery built into Yarmouth’s medieval walls; experience life in traditional Row houses; discover the town’s fishing, maritime and tourism heritage and much more.

Valid for eight days, the pass features David Howkins Museum of Memories, The Elizabethan House Museum, Great Yarmouth Potteries and Smokehouse, Great Yarmouth Row Houses, The Nelson Museum, Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life and The Tolhouse Museum and Gaol.

The pass costs: adults £22.75, concessions £20.95, child £13.30 (discounts for English Heritage and National Trust members). It is on sale from 1 May to 21 September at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre, Marine Parade (opposite The Marina Centre), t. 01493 846346.

Cllr Michael Jeal, Great Yarmouth Borough Council portfolio holder for tourism said: “Uniting Great Yarmouth’s museums and heritage offer together under a heritage pass to be sold in the Tourist Information Centre is a superb initiative and creates a positive critical mass of heritage venues for tourists to visit over a week’s holiday in our beautiful seaside resort.”

James Steward, Eastern Area Manager, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service said: “We are pleased to be part of this opportunity to further develop Great Yarmouth's heritage tourism offer. The heritage pass could make a significant difference to influencing the choices people make whilst visiting the town and, of course, offers great value to families in a competitive seasonal market.”

Simon Tansley, Site Manager, English Heritage, Great Yarmouth said: “The value of the new Great Yarmouth Heritage Pass cannot be underestimated. It not only provides visitors to the town with a clear snapshot of the heritage attractions, but also gives them a great discount too and encourages them to visit as many sites as possible. The English Heritage sites are hidden gems that are tucked away down Rows 111 and 117. This new pass highlights the location of our sites perfectly. We expect holiday makers will find the passes a great way to see all the heritage sites included on the pass, whilst enjoying great discounts too."

Heritage Pass Participants

Great Yarmouth Guided Heritage Walks – busy programme of walks starting from the Fisherman’s Hospital Gates in the Market Place. Themes are Great Georgian Yarmouth, the Medieval Town Walls and Rows, Fishwives & Body Snatchers. Full details at, or pick up a leaflet at the Tourist Information Centre.

The David Howkins Museum of Memories, purpose built in 1912, has hundreds of items on display including Royal memorabilia, Great Yarmouth souvenirs, toys, dolls and teddies, needlework tapestries of Yarmouth’s historic buildings and the story of the Elephant Man (Joseph Merrick).

The Elizabethan House Museum (owned by The National Trust, but run by Norfolk Museums’ Service). Experience the lives of families who lived here from Tudor to Victorian times.  Discover Victorian life 'upstairs and downstairs'. There are also links with the Civil War and the death of King Charles I.

Great Yarmouth Row Houses(English Heritage). These beautifully presented houses depict life in Yarmouth’s traditional Rows in 1870 and 1942 (just before the incendiary bombing); also explore the nearby Greyfriars Cloisters – the remains of an early Tudor friary church.

Great Yarmouth Potteries and Smokehouse is a fully working pottery, built into the 700 year-old town walls. There’s also a herring smoking museum, and a gallery of nautical oil paintings, carvings and sculptures.

The Nelson Museum, housing the Ben Burgess collection, tells the story of Horatio Nelson's life, from Norfolk childhood through to his famous battles and his heroic death. There’s also a special exhibition 'Nelson's Women: Philanderer or Family Man?' about Nelson’s personal life.

Time & Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life is housed in a converted Victorian herring curing works. Follow Great Yarmouth’s transformation from a sandbank to the present day, through times of boom and bust and war and peace. Wander through a Victorian Row and see inside a fisherman's home. Experience the heady atmosphere of a 1950s quayside, take the wheel of a coastal Drifter and hear tales of wreck and rescue on the high seas.

Tolhouse Museum and Gaol is the UK's oldest gaol, dating back to the 12th century. See the cells and find out about the thieves, smugglers, witches, pirates and murderers who were confined here.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Raveningham Gardens – Spring Flowers Week – Broads Outdoors Festival

It’s Spring Flowers Week at Raveningham Gardens, near Hales in South Norfolk from Monday, May 13 to Friday May 17, daily 11am to 4pm, part of the Broads Outdoors Festival.

Enjoy the copper beeches in full leaf, pear and apple trees in blossom, including the 200-year old Queen Charlotte apple tree in the Walled Garden, magnolias, viburnhams and other scented shrubs.

Explore the 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses, arboretum and herb garden, enjoy the contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens and see cowslips and fritillaries on the wild flower meadows. Raveningham’s 14th century church is open.

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

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sue and Karen’s Race for Life – Sunday 19 May

Sue Telford, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden's Events & Education Co-ordinator, is running the Norwich Race for Life at Norfolk Showground on Sunday, May 19 with friend of 30 years, Karen Devaney.

                                           Sue Telford (left) with Karen Devaney 

Sue explains: “Karen and I have been best friends since school. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer four years ago. Thankfully she is still with this and I am so pleased that we are running together. I did the race a few years ago, but this time it’s personal. I want to raise as much as I can for Cancer Research UK.”

Sue Telford’s Race for Life sponsorship page is at Donations can also be left at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, School Road, South Walsham NR13 6DZ marked for Sue Telford’s attention.

Friday, 3 May 2013

The Theatre of Limited Facilities - new novella by Roger Chamberlain

The Theatre of Limited Facilities, debut novella by North Norfolk Author Roger Chamberlain, published by The Tagman Press  on Friday 24 May - order now here.

“Roger’s recipe for magic: take a large portion of reality, add memories, imagination, dreams and love, stir until the ingredients are completely blended then serve on paper.” Geoffrey Atkinson OBE, former professional actor

Roger Chamberlain was born in the small holiday resort of Sheringham on the North Norfolk coast. In 1960 his father George, who was the deputy town clerk, helped set up a modest professional summer repertory theatre. Roger watched events unfold at The Little Theatre through the enchanted eyes of a seven year-old boy – and this moving fictional novella has been created around his own real-life experiences. 

The story begins on windswept Beeston Bump. There, a small boy and an old man meet. The old man speaks quietly of events from his past, which strangely also turn out to be part of the boy’s future. He remembers the town as it was 50 years ago when his young life became indelibly entwined with the dreams of the young actors and actresses of The Theatre of Limited Facilities.

The old man’s life is ebbing, while the boy’s is seemingly just beginning. Yet their paths are destined to cross again. Not on a windy seaside hill, but in a more glamorous time and place that has already been chosen for them. Can the old man and the young boy magically join forces to bring past dreams to fruition before the final curtain call?

“Roger has captured the magic of the time - a part of our past, which we both remember with deep affection.” Brian Ager, Sheringham reporter, Eastern Daily Press 1960

“As the director of one summer season at the Little Theatre I remember its limited facilities very well. I found this little book enchanting. I couldn't put it down. True memories in a phantasmagorical wrapping.” Jolyon Booth, former director, Sheringham Little Theatre.