Thursday, 25 September 2014

Nineteen New City of Norwich Tourist Guides Take Their Bow

New City of Norwich Tourist Guides at City Hall, 16 September 2014

Nineteen new City of Norwich Tourist Guides received their official badges from the Lord Mayor, Councillor Judith Lubbock, at a ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday 16 September. The guides have been trained to know everything about Norwich’s unique characters from the fictional Alan Partridge to the mercantile Robert Toppes and the medieval Lady Julian.

Their journey to qualification was an interesting and challenging one. Prospective guides had to learn the city’s history from 1066 to the present day, incorporating intricate detail about Norwich’s churches and cathedrals, its museums, its architecture and its people to name but a few aspects of the course. Practical and written exams then had to be undertaken and passed to make it to the final honour of attaining their qualifying badges.

Leader of Norwich City Council and cabinet member for culture, Councillor Brenda Arthur, said: “Our tourist guides play an extremely important role in promoting our wonderful city and it’s great to welcome new faces to this fantastic group of people. I’m sure the new guides will play their part in warmly welcoming visitors and residents alike and providing them with lively and interesting tours and talks.”

Melanie Cook, senior PR and online marketing executive of VisitNorwich, said: “It's great news that Norwich has another enthusiastic group of guides to take visitors and residents around the city. We already work closely with the existing tourist guides who have a profound knowledge of local history. Last year they excelled themselves when a brand new tour was created - Alpha Norwich, a homage to Alan Partridge. It went down so well more tours were run this year."

“As a guide you will never be able to predict what is asked of you, a great guide needs to be able to think on their feet and expertly handle all sorts of questions, something I am sure our new guides will be able to do very well.”  

Tourist Guides can be booked for various walks and tours of Norwich via the Tourist Information Centre based at The Forum, see or call 01603 213999. Information on booking guides can also be found at and on its free Discover Norwich app available on iOs and android, which can be downloaded from the website.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Raveningham Gardens End of Season Vegetable Day, Norfolk Broads

Raveningham Gardens in the Norfolk Broads is staging an End of Season Vegetable Day on Sunday 5 October, from 11am to 4pm, part of the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.

The Bacon family will be leading tours of the 18th century walled kitchen garden at 12.30pm and 2.30pm. Discover Raveningham’s vegetable gardening secrets, hear about the history of the garden and buy garden produce. Entry is adults £4, concessions £3.50 and children under 16 free.

Raveningham Walled Garden Produce Stall
Some 35 different types of vegetable are grown in the walled garden throughout the year. Pride of place in the garden goes to the 200-year old Queen Charlotte apple tree. There is also a working Victorian melon pit, along with a Herb Garden and Thyme Garden created by Susan Bacon. Grapes, peaches, figs and plants are grown in the glasshouses.

Raveningham Walled Garden - pears

Visitors will be welcome to explore the walled garden, Victorian glasshouses, arboretum and herb garden at their leisure and enjoy contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens, as well as walk round the lake created to mark the Millennium. Raveningham’s 14th century church will be open. Tea and cake will also be on sale.

The gardens (NR14 6NS) are 10 miles south east of Norwich, signposted off the A146 at Hales, then B1136, tel. 01508 548480,

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Raveningham Gardens, Norfolk Broads, Autumn Fruit and Vegetable Weeks

Raveningham Gardens near Hales, South Norfolk are open for two special Autumn Fruit and Vegetable Weeks from Monday, September 22 to Friday, September 26 and Monday, September 29 to Friday October 3, open 11am to 4pm, closed Saturday and Sunday. Entry is adult £4, concessions £3.50 and children under 16 free.

Queen Charlotte Apple Tree - 200 years old
Visitors can explore the walled garden, Victorian glasshouses, orchard, arboretum and herb and thyme garden and enjoy contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens, as well as walk round the lake created to mark the Millennium. Raveningham’s 14th century church will be open. Tea and cake will also be on sale.

Raveningham Church
Some 35 different types of vegetable are grown in the walled garden throughout the year. Grapes, peaches, figs and plants are grown in the glasshouses.

Raveningham Gardens (NR14 6NS) are 10 miles south east of Norwich, signposted off the A146 at Hales, then B1136, t. 01508 548480,

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Great Yarmouth Heritage Open Days 11 to 14 September - Norfolk

An exciting programme of free tours and drop in events is on offer in the Borough of Great Yarmouth during Heritage Open Days weekend, Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 September.

Book a tour back to World War II at ‘Blitz Street’ Scratby, or a guided walk discovering the Medieval Town Wall. Go on a tour featuring the story of the Gorleston Dolphins and get behind the scenes in Great Yarmouth Library.

Great Yarmouth Medieval Town Wall

Explore the Masonic Royal Assembly Rooms, visit the Fishermen’s Hospital and see the chapel and former ward in the Royal Naval Hospital. Visit All Saints Church Horsey, which dates back to Saxon times and Hopton Ruined Church.

Walk from Reedham to Polkey’s Mill and Reedham Marsh Steam House, or visit Morse’s Wind Engine Park at Repps with Bastwick, the only collection of historic wind pumps in the UK.

Take a tour of Great Yarmouth Minster, The Norfolk Pillar (Nelson’s Monument). Visit the Elizabethan House Museum and Tolhouse Museum and enjoy East Anglian Practical Classic Club’s classic car display.

Great Yarmouth - The Fisherman's Hospital
Cllr Michael Jeal, Cabinet Member for Tourism & Business, said: “The borough’s heritage is a topic which is extremely close to my heart. Heritage Open Days is an exciting way for us to showcase the fascinating heritage there is in Great Yarmouth, with amazing opportunities for people to get behind the scenes at many of the borough’s wonderful historical buildings.”

Pick up a Great Yarmouth Heritage Open Days leaflet at the Tourist Information Centre,
t. 01493 846346, or download a copy of the leaflet from    

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

15th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 September 2014

The 15th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival returns to South Quay on Saturday 6 September (10am to 6pm) and Sunday 7 September (10am to 5pm) 2014 to celebrate the town’s proud maritime past and our maritime future with visiting ships, live music, street entertainment, arts, crafts and children’s activities. The festival is organised by Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority in association with Seajacks UK Ltd.

Festival activities and entertainment on South Quay are free; a donation of £1 per visitor towards festival costs is welcomed.

The Minerva
Dutch tall ships the Minerva, which will also be offering sailing trips, and the Tres Hombres, the world’s only sailing cargo vessel operating without a back-up engine, will be in port. MTB102, the third last vessel to leave Dunkirk in 1940 will also be alongside, as well as steam drifter Lydia Eva, The Daybreak (1934 Humber Keel), Izambard (Dutch style barge) RASC Fast Launch Humber, RNLI Great Yarmouth & Gorleston’s Samarbeta liefboat, HMC Protector (customs cutter) and MV Confidante (Gardline coastal survey vessel).The Sowenna, a Cornish Pilot Gig and the Edward Birkbeck, the former Winterton-on-Sea lifeboat will also be on display on the quay.

Nanne and Ankie
Shanty and maritime music will be performed throughout the weekend at three different venues on South Quay. New visiting shanty groups and singers are Nanne and Ankie from The Netherlands, La Bouline from France and Jenkin’s Ear from Guernsey, along with Tom Lewis, who has returned to the UK after 30 years in Canada and Suffolk’s John Ward. Other performers at the festival are Sheringham Shantymen, Capstan Full Strength, The Mollyhawks and The Keelers from Tyneside. Wrentham Brass Band will also be there to start Sunday morning with a maritime programme.

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival Mascots
Visitors will be able to go aboard the Minerva, the Tres Hombres and the Lydia Eva, and meet Admiral Nelson and Mrs Hamilton, along with Horatio Herring, Lofty the Lighthouse and Mrs H; enjoy military re-enactments from East Norfolk Militia, street theatre from Inner State, Punch and Judy shows with Professor Pulson and face painting and balloon modelling.

Find out about the Broads and local nature reserves and make a dragonfly, a butterfly feeder or a flying wristband with the RSPB, or have a go at making herring kites and shark’s tooth necklaces with Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Eastern Inshore Fisheries will have a tank full of local marine species to explore. Watch Ernie Childs paint a maritime masterpiece before your eyes, see lace making, spinning and gansey knitting and maritime wood carving, also have a go at making a fisherman’s net.

Enjoy the ‘Feast of Fish’, cookery demonstrations from top Norfolk chefs including at 2pm on Sunday 7 September, ‘Ready, Steady Cook’, a competition between Daniel Smith and Mark Dixon hosted by David Clayton from BBC Radio Norfolk.

Visitors in wheelchair are advised to use the accessible entrances at Middle Gate (to the right of Nottingham Way) and the South Gate at the far end of the festival. There is a 96m long cobbled area towards the North Gate which some wheelchair users may find challenging to navigate.

Minerva Sailings: There will be five passenger sailing trips between Thursday 4 and Sunday 7 September. Tickets can be purchased at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre t. 01493 332200, or the e-shop at Thursday 4 September 1pm, ticket £33, Thursday 4 September 6pm, ticket £33, Friday 5 September 6pm, ticket £36, Saturday 6 September 6.30pm, ticket £39, Sunday 7 September 7pm, ticket £39, Sailing duration depends on the tide, but will last from 2½ to 3½ hours.

Aileen Mobbs, Festival Chairman and GYTA Honorary President said: “We are looking forward to a weekend of maritime celebration, with our tall ships, a busy international shanty singing programme and lots demonstrations, hands-on activities and entertainment. We are enormously grateful to our festival sponsors who enable us to put on such a fantastic event every year.”

The Maritime Festival sponsors are Seajacks UK Ltd, 3Sun Group, Bateman Groundworks, BDO LLP, Birketts LLP, Bunn Fertiliser Ltd, ELM Contracts, e.on Climate & Renwables, Gardline, MDF Transport, Perenco, Persimmon Homes Anglia, Petrofac and Wellington Construction. The festival is also supported by EastPort UK and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

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, 1 September 2014

Tunstead Church Norfolk - Orchestra of St Paul’s Covent Garden Concert 13 September

The 26-strong Orchestra of St Paul's Covent Garden (OSP), led by Ben Palmer, with three young Norfolk soloists, will be the first professional and largest orchestra to play at the 14th century St Mary's Church Tunstead, when it performs a concert there on Saturday 13 September starting at 7pm.

Victoria Bonham
Victoria Bonham (21) from Gorleston will give the first ever performance of Piano Concerto by Norfolk composer James Kenelm Clarke (73). James Clarke heard Victoria play at a concert last year and wrote the piece with her in mind. It is his first piano concerto.

Victoria is currently in her second year of the Guildhall Artist Masters Programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She is a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire; for two seasons, beginning in September 2010, Victoria was the pianist and celeste player for the City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Matt Dunnett (20) from Norwich will perform new work by James Clarke, singing five semi-autobiographical songs: So Long Ago (The Marram Grass), Country Boy in the Corridors of Power, Jazz and Cocktails, The Sun’s Coming Up and I Light a Candle.
This is Matt’s first public solo recital.

He is a former choral scholar at Norwich Cathedral, and is currently studying English literature and Spanish at the University of Manchester. Highlights of his extensive choral experience include singing in the chorus for Beethoven 9 with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain under Daniel Barenboim, Vaughan William's Sea Symphony with the Halle at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, and most recently Mahler 8 in Royal Festival Hall under Essa Pekka Salonen.

Freddie Gavita
Freddie Gavita (27), who is originally from Norwich, will play flugelhorn on Mr Clarke’s new songs. A professional jazz musician, Freddie used to play with Norwich Students’ Jazz Orchestra and The Jonathan Wyatt Big Band. He is now based in London and has been a regular on the British big-band scene for the last eight years. He has his own quartet featuring Kit Downes, Calum Gourlay and James Maddren. Last October Freddie appeared in Downton Abbey as a jazz trumpeter, playing at a party hosted by the ‘Earl of Grantham’.

The rest of the programme is Britten, Simple Symphony, Elgar Serenade for Strings and Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.

Ticket are £10 on the door. To book in advance t. 01692 538041, or online at The concert is promoted by The Davenport Trust and Norfolk Music Publishing Ltd and is in aid of Tunstead Church.

Tunstead Church
James Kenelm Clarke said: “We are going to have a wonderful evening at Tunstead and look forward to a full church! Victoria, Matthew and Freddie are brilliant young musicians. It will be real treat to hear them perform with Ben Palmer’s marvellous Orchestra of St Paul’s Covent Garden. Tunstead Church is a wonderful setting for live music and it’s without doubt the first time that a professional orchestra will play within it’s 14th century walls.”

"I'm really excited about bringing the orchestra to Tunstead," said OSP Artistic Director Ben Palmer. "We last performed in Norfolk in 2010, at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, so it's wonderful to be coming back, and especially to give a concert in the beautiful setting of Tunstead church. We're very much looking forward to working with three outstanding local soloists, and to giving the first performances of these two wonderful, jazz-inspired pieces by James Kenelm Clarke."

The Davenport Trust takes its name from Shaun Davenport, a 17 year-old student at Hewett School, Norwich, who faced a bright future, yet took his own life in January 2003. The Trust aims to support and encourage young people in Norfolk, in the early stages of careers in the arts and the media.

James Kenelm Clarke - by the age of 19, James Clarke was writing TV production music and also wrote the signature tune for Associated-Rediffusion’s current-affairs programme This Week. But he wanted to be a TV director, so with the help of Sir John Woolf, went to Anglia TV as a researcher from 1960-67.

He then moved to the BBC and worked for Desmond Wilcox on Man Alive, Braden’s Week and That’s Life. Desmond Wilcox made him a producer and he directed Esther Rantzen, Joan Bakewell, John Pitman, Dennis Tuohy and Desmond Wilcox himself. James still composed music, writing the signature tune for Braden’s Week and That’s Life.

He took a sabbatical from the BBC in 1974 to make his first feature. James put all his money into a film called Got it Made, which was set in Norfolk, starring Lala Ward and Fabia Drake, but couldn’t get it distributed.

Then in 1976 he left the BBC and founded Norfolk International Pictures. He made eight films, including three starring Fiona Richmond and backed by Paul Raymond, most notably Exposé (The House on Straw Hill), which has achieved cult horror film status.  He also directed Robert Powell in The 39 Steps. His last film (1985) was Going Under Cover with Chris Lemon and Lea Thompson.

In the late 1980s James moved to Los Angeles and wrote scripts, before returning to Norfolk in 1995 and his first ‘love’, composing music. He established Norfolk Music Publishing and has written a great deal of ‘library’ music, but has moved onto longer works like his new opera Jessie and Piano Concerto. His next project is a cello concerto for Morwenna Del Mar.

The Orchestra of St Paul's Covent Garden is one of London's most dynamic and versatile chamber orchestras; under the baton of artistic director Ben Palmer, OSP has developed a reputation for imaginative programming and exciting, stylish performances. Resident at the famous Actors' Church in Covent Garden, the orchestra appears regularly at the Southbank Centre and St John's, Smith Square, and performs at prestigious venues and festivals throughout the UK, and internationally.

In addition to his work with OSP, Ben Palmer is in demand as a guest conductor with orchestras throughout the UK. In June 2014 he made his debut with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, at the Hampton Court Palace Festival; other orchestras he has conducted include the London Mozart Players, the Halle, Britten Sinfonia and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He is regularly invited to work as rehearsal conductor with the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra, preparing Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique for Sir Roger Norrington and, in May and June this year, Mahler's Seventh Symphony for Bernard Haitink.