Tuesday, 30 July 2013

South Walsham Open Gardens Day, Norfolk Broads - Sunday 4 August

Seventeen gardens in South Walsham in the Norfolk Broads have clubbed together for an open gardens day on Sunday 4 August in aid of the village defibrillator appeal, which has been inspired by local resident Michael Cooper.

The open gardens day runs from 11am to 5pm and costs £5 for adults, children free. Visitors should head for the Village Hall on School Road, opposite the entrance to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, to pay, pick up a map of the open gardens and park their car.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is offering a cream tea at £4 on the day, with 50% of proceeds going to the defibrillator appeal and will also be staging a plant sale with a donation to the appeal. Fairhaven's sensory garden is included in the trail, but normal entry charges will apply for the rest of the garden and the open-air Summer Music concert in the Glade, from Norwich band The He Hews (2pm to 4pm).

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden t.01603 270449, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk, is nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off the A47 at B1140 junction.

Wherry Yacht Charter Sailings with Fairhaven Garden and St Benet's Abbey, Norfolk Broads Saturday 3 August

Wherry Yacht Charter is offering two sailings in the Norfolk Broads in partnership with Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden  and St Benet's Abbey on Saturday 3 August. For more information and to book t. 01692 630674 or email bookings@wherryyachtcharter.org,

Photograph: The Broads Authority

The trips cost £25 per person and include entry to Fairhaven Garden and depart at 9.30am and 2.30pm. Both sailings start from Fairhaven and head for St Benet's Abbey. Passengers will be transported from the garden to their wherry on board Fairhaven's boat, Primrose. When the wherry arrives at St Benet's Abbey, there will be time to explore the site before the return journey.

St Benet's Abbey: photograph Ed Grapes/Diocese of Norwich

The 9.30am sailing will return to South Walsham and passengers can then enjoy exploring the garden. Passengers on the  2.30pm sailing are encouraged to enjoy the garden first. The second sailing returns to Ranworth, with a walk back through the garden at the end of the day.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, t. 01603 270449, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

New Multi Purpose Bird Hide Opens at Fairhaven Garden, Norfolk Broads

Students from Acle Academy life skills course were at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham, Norfolk Broads, on 23 July to officially open a new multi purpose bird hide in the garden.

Led by tutor Jeremy Bryant, the students made the new hide in sections at school, then visited the garden to complete the construction work. The hide also doubles as an education space with a pond-dipping platform outside. It is fully accessible for visitors in wheelchairs, includes a door at the front, which opens out onto the pond-dipping platform and was made with funds from the Ranworth Trust, donated to the academy for construction projects.

Acle Academy students with tutor Jeremy Bryant and Jane Cator, Ranworth Trust

Louise Rout, Fairhaven Garden Manager said: “This is a superb addition to the facilities in the garden and replaces an old structure recycled from our original shop, which had seen better days. We really value our relationship with Acle Academy. The school has worked with us on a number of successful projects over the last four years. The hide and pond-dipping platform greatly improve our education facilities and provide a comfortable space for birdwatchers. It adds to the nearby willow enclosure, which was also created by Acle Academy students as an open-air classroom.

Louise Rout added: “Thank you very much to Jeremy and his team for all their hard work. You should be very proud of what you have created for our visitors. Thanks also go to students from Easton College and our gardening team who dug the new pond at the front of the hide.”

Jeremy Bryant, Acle Academy tutor said: “This has been a great experience for my students, developing and completing a construction scheme away from school.  We have been working on it since Christmas. We have been pleased to help Louise and Fairhaven, by creating a project of lasting value for the garden and its visitors.”

Tim Phillips Headteacher Acle Academy added: ”This has been an excellent real project for the students. They have developed skills that they will be confident to use in future. They can also see that their work is valued at Fairhaven and learn to appreciate this special place.”

Liam Aston (15) Acle Academy student said: “I feel really proud of our work. It’s been a very good experience. It’s great that other people will enjoy it. I’ve also got on with people from school who I didn’t really know, as we worked together.”

Jane Cator, Ranworth Trust said: “I think the bird hide is superb and has been a very worthwhile education project for the students. They have build an excellent facility.”

 Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden t. 01603 270449, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk

Monday, 22 July 2013

Great Yarmouth Heritage Walks – Summer Holiday Specials

Explore historic Great Yarmouth on two special summer holiday guided walks. Join the South Quay and St George's’ Walk on Wednesday 31 July and The Graveyard Walk on Wednesday 28 August, both at 2pm.

Places must be booked in advance on 01493 846346 or at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre, 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.

                                                   St George's Theatre

The South Quay and St George’s Walk on 31 July (approx. 2 hours) starts from the Fisherman’s Hospital Gates in the Market Place and looks the stunning architecture and stories of South Quay, once described as the finest quay in all of Europe, along with tales of the Tolhouse, the country’s oldest gaol and St George's Theatre.

The Graveyard Walk on 28 August (approx. 2 hours) also starts from the Fisherman’s Hospital Gates. Hear fascinating stories about characters laid to rest in this large consecrated area next to the medieval town wall.

                                         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 and merchants lie side by side next to six listed memorials.

For more information about Great Yarmouth’s full programme of Heritage Walks see www.heritage-walks.co.uk, or pick up a leaflet at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre.

Norwich Launches the Alpha Walk Celebrating Alan Partridge Alpha Papa Movie

Alan Partridge Alpha Papa Trailer

To celebrate the release of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in cinemas from 7 August, VisitNorwich and Norwich City Council Blue Badge Guides are launching a new walking tour of the city, designed with Partridge fans in mind.

The “Alpha Norwich” walk is a 90-minute guided tour of the city so dear to Alan’s heart. See the cloisters where he enjoys a spot of light jogging, London Street, the first conventional street to be pedestrianised in Britain and Norwich Castle where capital punishment once took place on a regular basis.  

The Blue Badge tour also takes in one of his favourite haunts, Norwich Market, and several of the locations to feature in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, including The Guildhall, City Hall and The Forum. There will be five tours running over 9-11 August, costing £6 per person (including an I Love Norwich bag, a pot of Colman’s mustard and Alan Partridge merchandise) and bookable through Norwich Tourist Information Centre (01603 213999). The tour can be booked on a private basis thereafter, costing £48 for groups of up to 20 people (£90 with goody bags).

Norwich has a long history of intriguing characters who have grabbed the headlines going back over 900 years. From AD 61 Boudicca – the Iceni Queen,  14th century Julian of Norwich, 17th century Thomas Browne, 19th century Anna Sewell and then along comes Alan Partridge.

Norwich has long had a reputation for free–thinking and good humour including strong creativity and a famous expression to “do diffrunt” taken from the local dialect. In 2012 the city became the first English city to become a Unesco City of Literature, this put Norwich centre stage once again.

Film tourism is a significant trend in England this year, VisitEngland has seen a healthy amount of tourists wishing to visit film locations - it is becoming increasingly popular. And Norwich has seen its fair share of films made in the city in part due to its large quantity of beautifully preserved historic buildings which provide stunning locations and backdrops for big screen productions as well as a keenness to work together from Norwich City Council and residents to support the British film industry.

Norwich boasts over 1500 historic buildings within its city walls, two cathedrals and a Norman Castle. It also has 33 medieval churches which is more than any other city north of the Alps.  Last year Norwich Cathedral played an important role in Jack the Giant Killer and in previous years Norwich has been the backdrop in Stardust with Claire Danes and Dean Spanley with Peter O’Toole.

Carol Robinson, Norwich Blue Badge Guide tells in her ‘Alpha Norwich’ tour as she reaches Norwich war memorial, “The war memorial was originally in front of the Guildhall – designed by E Lutyens who described it as a “jolly monument” [he also designed the Cenotaph in London plus many others]. This is (was) the only monument in Britain to emit smoke and flames.  Alan Partridge reckoned political correctness had “gone mad” when he was told naked flames were not permitted on a garage forecourt thus preventing his plans for a barbeque there.  ‘Health and Safety’ problems mean that this memorial no longer emits the smoke and flames.”

Nick Bond, Head of Tourism at VisitNorwich said; “We are delighted to embrace the enthusiasm and popularity of our current most popular home grown talent, Alan Partridge. And we’re thrilled that the decision to host the world premiere of Alpha Papa is going to be in his beloved city. Having the premiere here means an awful lot to many people and of course is a great boost for tourism in Norwich.  Local people made this happen and we are more than delighted to work at keeping Norwich centre stage by offering the ‘Alpha Norwich’ special Blue Badge tour for a limited period.”

Councillor Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: "I was delighted when I heard Alpha Papa was being shown at our very own Hollywood Cinema in Anglia Square, even before it hits the bright lights of London. We were thrilled when Alan and his crew turned up at City Hall during filming and used our customer service centre for a scene where he pretended to be arresting a policeman - you can't get more glamorous than that! "I really hope that people who see the film will want to come to Norwich and enjoy the fabulous offer we have here."

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford comments: "As the city's third most famous export (after Colman Mustard and Kettle Chips), it's great to see that Alan Partridge is finally getting the national celebrity status he deserves. I have no doubt that he will help drive visitors to the city - our research shows that 40% of tourists want to visit locations that they see in films - and will become to Norwich what Harry Potter is to Alnwick Castle and Lady Mary is to Highclere Castle, albeit in slacks and driving gloves."

For ideas and inspiration about what to do in and around Norwich see www.visitnorwich.co.uk.
For further information about Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa visit www.facebook.com/AlanPartridgeMovie

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Fairhaven Garden Wildlife Explorers – Summer Holidays Activities in the Norfolk Broads

Wildlife Explorers, a series of weekly Wednesday family days at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham in the Norfolk Broads start on July 31, 11am to 3pm.

Families can enjoy making bouncy butterflies and fantasy clay mini bugs, sowing sunflowers seeds in decorated pots and other mini beast activities. Normal garden entry charges apply.

Other Wildlife Explorer days are on August 7, August 14 and August 21.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk, t. 01603 270449.

The garden is open daily all year from 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and closes 4pm in the winter); also open on Wednesday to 9pm until the end of August.

Garden entry is adult £6, concessions £5.50 and child £3.50 (under 5 free); free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout 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.

Raveningham Gardens South Norfolk - Special Agapanthus Weeks

Raveningham Gardens are famous for the large selection of agapanthus cultivars on display. There are special agapanthus weeks this year from Monday, July 29 to   Friday, August  2 and Monday, August 5  to Friday, August 9, open 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 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  www.raveningham.com.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Summer Fireworks on Great Yarmouth Seafront - Norfolk UK

Great YarmouthTourist Authority is celebrating the summer with six weeks of Wednesday evening entertainment, starting on Wednesday 24 July and ending Wednesday 28 August. Each Wednesday evening culminates in a spectacular fireworks display on Great Yarmouth seafront at 10pm. 

Summer Wednesdays are a great time to visit the resort. Seafront attractions stay open until 10pm, so visitors can play crazy golf in the moonlight, wander round the illuminated Merrivale Model Village, enjoy some exhilarating thrills at the Pleasure Beach, or listen to free live music at the Sea Life Centre Gardens, Marine Parade NR30 3AH, from 8pm, before watching the fireworks.

Bands booked for the Sea Life Centre Gardens are:
24 July The Claire Barker Band
31 July Captain Scarlet
7 August NightTrain
14 August The Midnight Soul Band
21 August Ignite
28 August The Collective

Councillor Michael Jeal, Chair of the GYTA said: “Wednesday evenings are a relaxed, fun-packed, family time, with plenty for everyone to see and do until the superb fireworks finale over Central Beach, courtesy of Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority.”

For more information contact Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre t. 01493 846346, www.great-yarmouth.co.uk

Monday, 8 July 2013

Wymondham Music Festival Fortnight Norfolk Success

Wymondham Music Festival's committee is celebrating a successful festival fortnight with record-breaking audiences, quality performances across all musical styles and a kind run of weather, with only one outdoor event disrupted.

The Vagaband, Wymondham Central 4 July - photograph Anna Meek 

John Wood, Wymondham Music Festival Chairman said: “We had extremely good audiences this year, with The Vagaband attracting 175 people, our biggest ticketed event ever. Audiences of 150 also came to see Jazz in the Abbey with Peter King, Megson’s Folk at the Regal night and international concert pianist Rupert Egerton-Smith. We had nearly 1200 at the Jazz Picnic, when the weather had not been very promising throughout the day. Some of our lunchtime recitals also attracted more than 100 people.”

“Last year we made a loss, but this year, with the added energy and support from new younger committee members, we will make a surplus on our activities, which gives us great confidence to look forward to 2014 and beyond. Introducing online ticket sales has been a great success, helping to attract concert-goers from all over Norfolk and north Suffolk.”

Dixiemix at the Jazz Picnic - photograph Anna Meek

 "I would like to thank local councils, businesses and individual patrons for their generous financial support. A big thank you also goes to the many local music enthusiasts for supporting our events. Without all this superb backing, our festival would just not be possible."

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Maids Head Norwich Launches Oldest Hotel in Britain Claim

The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich today launched a claim to be the oldest hotel in Britain. The claim is based on the hotel’s site being used continuously for hospitality since the early 12th century.

A proclamation making the claim, announced by Bob Lloyd, Deputy City Crier, was officially signed by The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Keith Driver, Caroline Jarrold, Chairman of VisitNorwich and Christine Malcolm, General Manager the Maids Head Hotel.

Christine Malcolm explained: “The Maids Head has a long and illustrious history and can trace its origins to a guest house established by the early Norman Bishop’s of Norwich for visitors to the Cathedral.  By making this announcement, we hope to stimulate debate with other claimants to the oldest hotel title, and further enhance Norwich’s reputation as a heritage destination.”

Norwich historian Walter Rye, who also owned the Maids Head from 1889 to 1895 considered it to be: “the oldest Norman site in the city after the Castle”.

Historian Rev. Francis Blomfield explained that the hotel was built on the site of a house owned by the early Norman bishops. It was this house that became a guest house for visitors to the Cathedral. This eventually became the Murtel Fish or Molde Fish Tavern, the predecessor of The Maids Head. The tavern is first mentioned in Norwich records in 1287. John Paston recommended the Maids Head as good place to stable a horse in a letter dated 2nd November 1472, confirming the change of name.

The hotel has had some famous visitors over the years. Edward the Black Prince, the eldest son of King Edward III, was entertained at the Murtel Fish in1350 when he attended a joust in Norwich.

Queen Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, was at the hotel in 1520. During Kett’s rebellion in 1549, both the rebels and the royal armies occupied the Maids Head. The Marquis of Northampton breakfasted here before he lost a skirmish and was forced to retreat. Robert Kett then used the hotel as temporary headquarters before being forced to leave the city by the Earl of Warwick’s army. The Earl of Warwick then had breakfast at the hotel before defeating Kett at the Battle of Dussindale.

Queen Elizabeth I visited Norwich in 1587. One of the hotel’s legends is that she slept there. In 1599, William Kemp, a member of William Shakespeare’s company, recovered at the Maids Head after his nine-day dance from London.

Councillor Keith Driver, Lord Mayor of Norwich said: “The Maids Head and its predecessor have been at the heart of Norwich life for centuries. I am pleased to support the hotel’s claim and wish Christine Malcolm and her staff success in their debate with ancient hostelries.”

Caroline Jarrold, Chairman VisitNorwich said: “Norwich is one of the UK’s top heritage destinations. We have magnificent historic buildings including the Cathedral and Castle and 32 medieval churches – more than any city north of the Alps. We are very lucky to have, in the Maids Head, a hotel with a long historical pedigree to complement our wonderful built heritage.”

For more information about the Maids Head Hotel see www.maidsheadhotel.co.uk,
t. 01603 209955.  

Photograph left to right: Bob Lloyd Deputy City Crier, Caroline Jarrold Chairman VisitNorwich, the Lord Mayor of Norwich Councillor Keith Driver and Christine Malcolm General Manager the Maids Head Hotel