Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Great Yarmouth Bank Holiday Fireworks and seafront lights switch-on Saturday 2 May

Great Yarmouth Fireworks
Residents and visitors are invited to Sea Life Centre Gardens, Great Yarmouth from 7.30pm on Saturday 2 May this Bank Holiday weekend for live musical entertainment from local band ‘Aftershock’ on the HEART sound stage as the countdown begins for the first of this season’s seaside firework displays and the switch-on of the new seafront decorative lighting from 9pm.

As the first big project from the new Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area, the new decorative lights will fill the large sail-shaped spaces in all 84 lighting columns along Marine Parade. The Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area have approved funding for a 5-year installation, to include an annual maintenance programme. The tender for the project was awarded to lighting company Festive Lighting who are working with local company, Cozens Electrical for the installation and maintenance element of the project.

Gareth Brown, General Manager at Haven - Caister, BID Board Member and Chair of the Facilities, Maintenance and Access Output Group said: “The installation of decorative lighting on Marine Parade, which really is Greater Yarmouth’s all-important shop window for the resort area, is an essential first project for the Business Improvement District. The lights will encourage tourists to venture out in the evening, help create a friendly holiday atmosphere and make the seafront an even better, brighter, safer place for visitors and residents to take a stroll, providing a further incentive to spend money in local businesses.”

The golden columns were installed 10 years ago as part of the £16m seafront refurbishment. In 2008 thanks to funds from the former Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority and sponsorship from local businesses, every other column had either a colourful light designed by local school children or a sparkling light. Columns in-between featured advertising banners from those companies who had sponsored the project. Funds to maintain the lighting ran dry after three years and the columns have been mainly unlit for the past few years whilst the former GYTA was working to implement the business improvement district.

Lyndon Bevan, proprietor of MB’s Funhouse Hemsby, BID Board Member said, “The significance of Saturday night’s event is great: that the BID has been implemented; that the first project is coming to fruition and that everyone will be able to see what an impact can be made when businesses, whether big or small, come together and work together to improve the borough and boost trade for everyone.

The BID board has agreed funding for a number of fireworks displays from Saturday 2 May until Christmas as follows:
Saturday 2 May – Central Beach, Great Yarmouth
Sunday 24 May – Hemsby Beach
Wednesday 27 May - Central Beach, Great Yarmouth
Every Wednesday from 15 July to 26 August – Central Beach, Great Yarmouth
Every Tuesday from 21 July to 1 September – Hemsby Beach
Sunday 26 July – Gorleston Cliff Top Festival
Date TBC – Gorleston-on-Sea Christmas Switch On

Raveningham Gardens Spring Flowers Weeks from 11 May - Norfolk

Raveningham Gardens

Raveningham Gardens’ Spring Flower Weeks are from Monday 11 May to Friday 15 May and Monday 18 to Friday 22 May, open daily 11am to 4pm (closed Saturday and Sunday).

Enjoy the array of spring flowers on the meadow: ox eye daisies, birds foot trefoil, pink campion, cowslips, meadow buttercup, sorrel, ragged robin, snakeshead fritillaries and yellow rattle on the wild flower meadow and enjoy late bulbs including tulips, forsythia and pulmonaria in the garden.  

Raveningham Gardens
The 18th century Walled Kitchen Garden with its large glasshouses and raveningham’s 14the century church will be open and visitors will also be able to enjoy views across the new lake established at the turn of the Millennium and the contemporary sculpture in the gardens.  Tea and cakes available.

Garden entry is adult £5, concessions £4.50 and under 16 free. T. 01508 548480, 

Raveningham Gardens (NR14 6NS) is 10 miles south east of Norwich, signposted off the A146 at Hales, then B1136

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Ken and Beryl Sims Retire after nearly 40 years at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens - Norfolk

Ken Sims Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens

Ken and Beryl Sims, who have been at Thrigby Hall for nearly 40 years and opened the Wildlife Gardens in June 1979, are to retire from active involvement in running the visitor attraction this summer.

Three long-serving and expert members of staff are joining Ken and Beryl as Directors of Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, to take over responsibility for the day to day management.

Scott Bird (15 years at Thrigby) is Zoo Director, Carol Payne (20 years at Thrigby) is responsible for the Shop and Tearoom and Linda Barnes (35 years at Thrigby), who started as a YTS trainee, is Head Keeper.

Ken Sims said: “We are confident that the long term prospects for the Wildlife Gardens and the wonderful animals here will be in good hands, while allowing Beryl and I to step back from daily routines. We would like to thank all past and present staff, visitors, friends and supporters, who have made our time here so pleasurable.”

 Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens is at Filby near Great Yarmouth, t. 01493 369477. The Wildlife Gardens open every day at 10am.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Bluebell Woodland at Sotshole Broad – Fairhaven Garden opens 25 April 2015

The bluebell woodland in 2014
The bluebell woodland at Sotshole Broad next to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham will be open every day from Saturday, April 25 to Sunday, May 17, 10am to 5pm. Access is via Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden.

It is a four-mile round trip walk to see the best bluebells which are at the far end of the wood. Garden entry, including the bluebell woodland, is adult £6.20, concessions £5.70 and child £3.65 (under 5 free).

There is also a guided walk in the bluebell woodland on Sunday 10 May, beginning at 11am from Fairhaven Garden visitor centre. The guided walk is included in the entry charge.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden NR13 6DZ is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449.

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Fairhaven Garden Norfolk Broads 40th Birthday

Lotd Fairhaven cuts the birthday cake
Lord Fairhaven was at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, Norfolk Broads, on Wednesday to mark the 40th birthday of the garden and open a new Hydrangea path in the West Garden.

Commenting on the anniversary Lord Fairhaven said:  "I know how thrilled my father would be to know that we are gathered here to celebrate the 40th birthday of the Fairhaven Garden." 

Head Gardener Ian Guest introducing visitors to the new Hydrangea Path

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fairhaven Garden, Norfolk Broads, 40th Birthday – Join Us for Cake and an Anniversary Tour

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden - photograph Melanie Broughton

It’s Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden’s 40th birthday this month and visitors are invited to share in the garden’s birthday cake on Wednesday, April 15 and join a 40th anniversary tour on Sunday, April 19 with George Debbage, Head Gardener from 1975-2007.

Lord Fairhaven, Chairman of the Fairhaven Garden Trust will be cutting the special cake on Wednesday, April 15 at 1pm. The birthday cake will be shared with visitors on the day. Lord Fairhaven will also officially open the new Hydrangea Path, which is part of the West Garden restoration, the key project to mark the 40th anniversary. The Hydrangea Path has been designed to add colour in the garden during the summer months.

George Debbage’s guided tour on Sunday, April 19 at 2pm, is on the 40th anniversary of the garden opening to the public. The tour is included in the garden entry charge: adult £6.20, concessions £5.70, child  £3.65 (under 5 free), no need to book in advance.  

The 40th anniversary tour will feature the West Garden, where George will talk about the work that he is currently doing to help restore the area. He will also explain the impact of the 1976 and 1987 gales and will take visitors to parts of the garden that were replanted and look at how they have developed. George will also visit the Sensory Garden, which was his final project before he retired as Head Gardener and manager on January 1, 2007.
George Debbage (seated) with Ian Guest Fairhaven Head Gardener
Louise Rout, Fairhaven Garden Manager said: “I am very pleased that Lord Fairhaven will be joining us on April 15 to cut our birthday cake and open the new Hydrangea Path. I am looking forward to sharing the cake with visitors on the day to mark our birthday and also to welcoming George Debbage on April 19, who will give a unique insight into the development of the garden over the last 40 years.” 

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449.

The garden is open daily all year 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and closes 4pm during the winter), also open Wednesdays until 9pm from May to the end of August. Entry is £6.20 adult, £5.70 concessions and £3.65 child (under 5 free). Free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales. 

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and plus accessible boat trips (additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available. 

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Bressingham Steam Manager Goes Steampunk for Steampunk Weekend 11 and 12 April

Bressingham Steam is staging Norfolk’s first full Steampunk Weekend on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 April and Alastair Baker, Bressingham's manager has fully entered into the Steampunk spirit, growing and waxing his beard, shaving his head and purchasing a bowler hat to go with his all black look.

Alastair Baker goes Steampunk at Bressingham Steam
Alastair Baker said: "We are really looking forward to our Steampunk transformation at the weekend. It's going to be great fun. We hope that Bressingham will become the key Norfolk venue on the Steampunk circuit."

The Steampunk Weekend runs from 10.30pm to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, along with a special Vagabonds Ball from 7.30pm on the Saturday evening, when Crooked Theatre presents Metropolis, Gladstone and Thy Last Drop.

The weekend features a Steampunk market, magic, storytelling, steam driven gallopers, small gauge steam railways, gardens, engines, portrait photography, clothing, books, confectionery, antiques, tea duelling, umbrella fencing, Victorian games, with visiting punkery from Bee's Bizarre Bazaar, Diamantequeen Designs and Steampunk Shenanigans and much more.

Ticket prices: on the day, adult £13.99, concessions £12.59, child £9.99.
Weekend pass in advance £18.45 adult, concessions £17, child £14.45.
Weekend pass and Vagabonds Ball in advance £23.45 adult, £22 concessions.
Vagabonds Ball only in advance £10.00.

To buy tickets t. 01379 686900, online at or in person at the ticket office.

Mike Bingham who is co-ordinating all the Steampunk activities over the weekend said: “Bressingham Steam Museum and Gardens is a fantastic venue in which to bring the Steampunk aesthetic. My aim is to fill the place with top hats, bustles and extraordinary gadgets of Victorian science fiction. This is the first full weekend Steampunk event in Norfolk and I hope it will grow and become the ‘go to’ annual Steampunk gathering.”

Bressingham Steam IP22 2AA is 2½ miles from Diss on the A1066.

Bressingham Steam & Gardens, reg. charity no. 266374, was founded by the late Alan Bloom in 1961. The Steam Heritage Centre and Gardens are open daily for the main season from 26 March to the end of October.