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The biggest and best events in and around Norfolk in 2024

The Sainsbury Centre is staging a series of exhibitions on the theme What is Truth? Picture: Martine Gutierrez/Ryan Lee Gallery
The Sainsbury Centre is staging a series of exhibitions on the theme What is Truth? Picture: Martine Gutierrez/Ryan Lee Gallery

 

PANTOMIME AND FESTIVE FUN

Pantos are not just for Christmas!

Sleeping Beauty, the Fairy’s Tale, runs at Norwich Theatre Royal until January 7.

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Christmas Spectacular runs until January 7.

New Year’s Day is the last chance to see Jack and the Beanstalk, at the Princess Theatre Hunstanton and Cinderella, by the Dereham Theatre Company, at Dereham Memorial Hall.

See Cinderella: The Pantomime, at Sheringham Little Theatre until January 2.

Dick Whittington is at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre until January 6.

See Treasure Island, by the Thetford Players at Carnegie Hall, Thetford, January 19-20 and 26-27.

Treasure Island, the pantomime, is at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre, January 12-14.

Alice in Wonderland, by Melody Allsorts of Downham, is at Downham Market Town Hall, January 11-14.

Jack and the Beanstalk, by Hethersett Pantomime Group, is at Hethersett Village Hall, January 20-27

Don’t miss the fabulous Norfolk dialect version of Cinderella, by the Friends of Norfolk Dialect (FOND), at East Tuddenham Village Hall, on January 21.

Great British Life: Snowdrops at Walsingham Abbey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSnowdrops at Walsingham Abbey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

JANUARY

1 Cromer’s magnificent New Year’s Day fireworks explode over the pier and seafront at 5pm.

1 New Year organ recital in Norwich Cathedral. Cathedral organist, David Dunnett, welcomes the New Year with a selection of favourites. 11am, free with retiring collection.

2 The first horse racing of the year at Fakenham Racecourse is the New Year’s Raceday, with more racing on January 21.

5-21 World Indoor Bowls Championship at Potters Resorts, Hopton, near Great Yarmouth.

10-21 She Go Looks Back from behind at 2023. It’s Noo Yare and favourite Nimmo Twins character She Go (Karl Minns) is at the Norwich Playhouse to rip into Norfolk news stories of the past year. Expect fun, filth, songs and slides.

18-20 and 24-27. Sewell Barn Theatre presents Comic Potential by Alan Ayckbourn. Set in a television studio in the foreseeable future, with actors replaced by robots, everything has changed except human nature. The theatre group recently won the Dick Condon Theatre Award at the Norfolk Arts Awards.

23-27 The Norfolk and Norwich Opera Society perform musical comedy Betty Blue Eyes, based on the Alan Bennett film A Private Function. Norwich Theatre Royal.

24 onwards. The magnificent snowdrops of Little Walsingham will be on show in the Priory Gardens.

28 The boys and girls of Norwich Cathedral Choir, accompanied by harpist Elizabeth Green, sing Britten’s popular 30 minute A Ceremony of Carols at the cathedral.

27-28 and February 3-4. Unlock Unearth at the church in Bergh Apton, near Loddon, features storyteller Hugh Lupton, who worked with local people to create a drama, with music, based on linked stories set in the village from Roman times to the 1950s. Find out about the three carved heads above the church doorway, and Bartholomew Gosnold who led a group of villagers across the Atlantic to America.

FEBRUARY

Great British Life: King's Lynn Mart. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYKing's Lynn Mart. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

1-3 West Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Society perform The Sorcerer at St George’s Guildhall, King’s Lynn.

10 Norwich Philharmonic Society present a fun and informal knights and heroes concert for children aged 5-11. Based on the James Mayhew book The Knight Who Took All Day, it is narrated by composer Bernard Hughes, at the Kings Centre, King Street Norwich and includes music by Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Grieg and Prokofiev. Children can try out musical instruments during the interval.

17-24 Norwich Science Festival is a spring half term celebration of all things scientific for all the family. It includes demonstrations, exhibitions, talks, hands-on-fun and theatre shows – such as CBBC Operation Ouch! presenter Daniel Olaiya’s journey through the effects of space travel on the human body, and a musical dinosaur show.

13-24 Kings Lynn Mart brings all the fun of the fair to the town. New and traditional rides, plus children’s day on February 14 with most rides £1.50. The Mart continues the 19th century tradition when Frederick Savage of King’s Lynn displayed his latest fairground rides.

15 East Anglian Book Awards winners announced at the National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall, Norwich.

17 In its second series addressing life’s big questions the Sainsbury Centre is staging five linked exhibitions on the theme What is Truth? They explore how we can know what is true against a backdrop of fake news, scams and artificial intelligence. In Event of Moon Disaster runs until August 4 and is inspired by the title of a speech prepared for President Nixon in case the moon mission met with catastrophe. Made for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by artists Halsey Burgund and Francesca Panetta it won an Emmy. The first exhibitions also include Liquid Gender, Jeffrey Gibson: I can choose, and Rashaad Newsome: In the Absence of Evidence, We Create Stories. The final exhibition, The Camera Never Lies (May 18 to October 13) re-evaluates iconic images of the past 100 years, asking whether they have shaped our beliefs about major events.

29 Lecture by barrister, and former Norwich School pupil Tom Little KC. Criminal Justice in England - How Good is the System? One of Britain’s most distinguished KCs returns to Norwich School as part of the Norwich Cambridge Society lecture series. Tom has worked on some of the country’s most high profile criminal cases.

MARCH

Great British Life: St Winnold's Day in Downham Market. Picture: Ian BurtSt Winnold's Day in Downham Market. Picture: Ian Burt

2 Echo and the Bunnymen celebrate more than four decades of music which brought them 20 Top 20 hits and nine Top 20 albums. University of East Anglia.

9 Norwich Philharmonic Society perform Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in Norwich Cathedral. David Dunnett will conduct the Mozart as his farewell as conductor of the Norwich Philharmonic Chorus.

22-24 Deepdale Hygge Festival at Burnham Deepdale includes a barn dance, live music, activities and a guided walk.

26-30 Shrek the Musical at Norwich Theatre Royal.

St Winnold’s Parade is traditionally held on a Friday in March in Downham Market. The celebration of the town’s horse fair, once the biggest in Europe, includes heavy horses, miniature donkeys, and children from local schools.

APRIL

Great British Life: Hunstanton Soapbox Derby. Picture: Chris BishopHunstanton Soapbox Derby. Picture: Chris Bishop

2 Hunstanton Soap Box Derby. The event, first held in 1953, is back,

6 Sheringham Viking Festival includes battle re-enactments, a spectacular parade culminating in a boat burning on the beach, and a Viking village at Beeston Common, alive with creative activities. The parade begins at 7pm, finishing with the seafront boat burning.

13 The Great Yarmouth Racecourse season opens with a race day on Grand National Day.

13-21 The Norfolk Makers Festival, at Norwich Forum, is a celebration of creativity for everyone, from the curious beginner to the expert enthusiast. See everything from wood carving to weaving, sewing to sculpting, and quilting to digital art in nine days of free exhibitions, demonstration and activities.

20 The Phil Goes to the Movies. Join the Norwich Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra for a programme of popular and classic film music at the Norfolk Showground Arena.

27-28 The East Anglian Game and Country Fair brings rural fun and attractions for the all the family to the Euston estate, near Thetford. The programme usually includes motocross stunts, a parachute display team and the UK horse-boarding championships.

28 The Norfolk Marathon is new road run, starting and finishing in Cromer on closed or partially closed roads.

28, and May 5, 12, 14-17, 19, 22-24, 26-27, with Stody Classic Vehicle Day on May 19. The glorious rhododendrons and azaleas of Stody Lodge gardens, near Holt, are at their multi-coloured best in late April and throughout May. The gardens overflow with 200 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas, plus magnolias, camellias and ornamental and specimen trees. Homemade refreshments are sold in aid of local charities.

Great British Life: The Azalea Walk at Stody Lodge. Picture: Ian BurtThe Azalea Walk at Stody Lodge. Picture: Ian Burt

MAY

1 Morris dancers welcome the dawn, including The King’s Morris at Knights Hill roundabout, King’s Lynn, and Kemp’s Men of Norwich at St James’ Hill, Britannia Road, Mousehold Heath, and then the Cathedral Close. Then marvel at the colourful King’s Lynn May Day Garland Procession, with the King’s Morris, from noon in the Saturday Market Place.

10-12 Folk on the Pier, Cromer. Stars at the Pavilion Theatre include Show of Hands, Sandy Denny Project and Joe Broughton’s Conservatoire Folk Orchestra. Plus a festival fringe, traditionally featuring Cromer step-dancing.

10-26 Norfolk and Norwich Festival. See the world premiere of a circus show especially created for the Adnams Spiegeltent by Circolombia circus group. Plus Kenny Anderson (King Creosote), Norfolk-born musician Laura Cannell with the live version of her album Antiphony of the Trees, Mahan Esfahani with the Britten Sinfonia and the Aurora Orchestra, a night-time meditation featuring the music of Messiaen on the newly-restored Norwich Cathedral organ and poet and performer Luke Wright with his new show Silver Jubilee.

12 Norfolk Cycling Events holds its Spring Classic Sportive at Swanton Morley with rides of 12, 27, 57, and 68 miles ensuring there is something for cyclists from young families to the super-fit.

14-18 Northern Ballet brings Romeo and Juliet to the Theatre Royal.

17-19 Cromer Crab and Lobster Festival celebrates the town’s famous shellfish with art, music, cookery and entertainment.

26-27 Fairy Fair, Bradmoor Woods, West Acre, celebrates the magic of nature with craft, music, games, and storytelling. The family day out particularly designed for young children includes the chance to make wildflower fairy gardens and magic wands.

28 Take That at Carrow Road.

25 onwards, dates tbc, Great Yarmouth’s Out There Festival will host international outdoor arts and circus during half term week.

30-June 1 Red Rooster Festival at Euston Hall, near Thetford.

JUNE

Great British Life: Sam Steggles showing at the Royal Norfolk Show. Picture: Denise BradleySam Steggles showing at the Royal Norfolk Show. Picture: Denise Bradley

1-2 Hanseatic Festival of Watersports, The Quay, King’s Lynn, includes powerboat and jet ski racing and waterskiing.

8 The Norfolk Superhero Challenge, Burnham Overy Staithe. See teams swim, kayak, cycle and run through sand, sea, mud and marsh for charity.

9 The 200-mile Round Norfolk Epic cycling sportive circles the county from Great Yarmouth Racecourse.

9 Open Farm Sunday. Local farms will be welcoming visitors and hosting rural activities.

10 Ladies Day at Fakenham Races.

15-16 Hingham 1940s Weekend includes music, historic military vehicles, a jive dance and outdoor cinema showing classic Second World War films.

22 Sting performs at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, as part of the annual Forest Live series of concerts

22-23 First Light Festival, Lowestoft, marks the summer solstice with free music, dance, theatre, science, comedy, sports and community activities – including a sunrise programme as dawn breaks across the beach.

24-29 Best new musical winner Everybody’s Talking About Jamie returns to the Theatre Royal

26-27 The Royal Norfolk Show. Hold on to your hats for an extravaganza of farming, food and fun for all the family.

28 Tom Jones performs at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, showcasing some of his most-loved songs from the past 50 years. He will be joined by Gabrielle

29 Cromer Pier Show opens in the Pavilion Theatre - the only end-of-the-pier theatre with its own in-house summer and Christmas shows. The variety show for all the family with song, dance, magic and comedy runs until September 28.

29-30 Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival sees the seafront packed with beautifully maintained classic and contemporary cars and bikes

29-30 Caister Festival, Caister-on-Sea.

Late June and early July. Festival Too in the Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn. Free unticketed pop festival over two weekends, regularly attracting big names.

JULY

Great British Life: The pink ladies tractor run. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BONDThe pink ladies tractor run. PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Early July – the Norwich Lord Mayor’s Weekend with a parade, live music and street theatre across the city.

Early July. The Pink Ladies’ Tractor Road Run sees women drive a convoy of beautifully decorated tractors through the Waveney Valley and has raised more than £1 million for Cancer Research UK’s breast cancer appeal.

6-7 Sheringham Potty Festival brings Morris dancers and folk music and dancing from across the country to Sheringham.

6 Wymondham Jazz Picnic with Simon Nelson’s DixieMix at Becketswell Meadow.

14-27 King’s Lynn Festival fortnight brings performances of classical music, jazz and folk, plus talks, walks, films and exhibitions, to historic venues around the town.

4-7 Folk in a Field Festival at Bradmoor Woods,West Acre, near Swaffham.

13-28 Holt Festival attracts national stars of music, drama, comedy, visual art, literature and cinema.

17 Ladies Day and Ladies Evening at the races at Great Yarmouth Racecourse horseracing, fashion and entertainment.

19-21 The Norfolk Motorhome and Caravan Show at the Norfolk Showground includes four nights of camping and entertainment with a retro weekend of jive, dance rock’n’roll and rockabilly.

25-28 Latitude Festival at Henham Park, including Duran Duran.

27 Norfolk Day is celebration of life in our wonderful county.

27- August 10, the Dartington Summer School Festival of classical music, held in Devon for 75 years, moves to Gresham’s School, Holt.

27-28 Worstead Festival is a celebration of rural life for all the family

27 Norwich Pride is a celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community for everyone with events aimed at helping all feel safe and proud to be themselves.

31 Sandringham Flower Show.

AUGUST

2-11 Wells-next-the-Sea Carnival traditionally includes fancy dress competitions, a parade, raft race, sandcastle competitions and live music. Main carnival day and parade, August 10.

2-5 Holkham Festival of Sport is a weekend of family fun with national and international sporting legends for families with children aged five to 17 who can enjoy sports for the first time and receive world-class coaching in sports such as rugby, hockey, cricket, football, netball, rowing, athletics, trampolining and archery.

3-4 Gorleston Clifftop Festival includes free family fun, music, arena shows and sports.

3 Classic Ibiza at Blickling Hall is an open-air celebration of White Isle-inspired house music, reinvented by the Urban Soul Orchestra, live vocalists and headline DJs.

4 The Wayland Show at Watton is one of the oldest one-day agricultural shows in the country and will include livestock competitions, gardening and cookery displays and competitions, a dog show, main ring displays, children’s rides, vintage vehicles and tractors, a shopping village and a food hall.

7 Sheringham Carnival Day is the high spot of a week of carnival fun.

8-11 Gone Wild Festival with Bear Grylls at Holkham Park. Join Bear for four action-packed days with more than 100 outdoor activities, inspirational speakers and top live music performances including Example, Sam Ryder and McFly, supported by Scouting for Girls and Reef. Campsite plus pre-pitched camping and glamping.

8-11 The Houghton Festival brings electronic dance music to the grounds of the stately home near Fakenham. (The Princess of Wales was spotted enjoying the festival last year.)

8 Blakeney Greasy Pole – part of the Blakeney Sailing Regatta. The free family fun starts at 10am, with a tug-of-war as the tide comes in, swimming races, then the traditional greasy pole challenge, with contestants balancing along the pole, over water. Plus gillying (crabbing) and a sandcastle competition.

9-11 VW Whitenoise Festival at the Norfolk Showground is a celebration of music and retro motors.

17-23 Cromer Carnival, with Carnival Day on Wednesday August 21.

9-16 The Norfolk Music Festival brings classical concerts to South Creake.

18-24 Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Week. Britain’s biggest tennis tournament, dating back to 1920, takes place across 38 grass courts. An open tournament for everyone from enthusiastic beginners to experts and children to veterans.

23-25 Maui Waui Festival of music, performance and the arts at Hill Farm, Gressenhall, near Dereham will include bands from around the globe, Americana, body painting, local talent competitions, circus shows, theatre, DJs, workshops, creative activities and children’s entertainment.

25 Festival of Bowls opens on Britannia Bowling Greens, Great Yarmouth seafront. The largest outdoor bowls tournament in the country runs until September 30.

26 The Aylsham Show brings farming-themed family fun and entertainment to the Blickling estate.

30-September 1 Sundown Festival, Norfolk Showground.

31-September 1 North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, the Walled Garden, Holkham.

SEPTEMBER

East Anglian Food and Drink Awards finals.

8 Run Norwich. The popular 10k moves to a new autumn date.

6-15 Heritage Open Days. Free admission to some of our most spectacular historical buildings.

7-8 The Sandringham Game and Country Fair is packed with crafts and food stalls plus outdoor demonstrations of country sports.

14 Norfolk Churches Trust sponsored bike ride and walk to raise money to look after our treasury of churches.

14 Opening of Nature's Cosmic Medicine, part of the Visionary Art of the Amazon: Should people take drugs? season at the Sainsbury Centre.

20-21 Holt and Sheringham 1940s weekend celebrating the wartime efforts of Allied forces and the resilience of those on the home front, with entertainment and events along the North Norfolk Railway and throughout both towns.

OCTOBER

4-6 Mannington Book Bash – attracting national and international authors, hosted by The Book Hive bookshops of Norwich and Aylsham in the gorgeous grounds of a moated manor house.

4-6 Aylsham Slow Food Festival three days celebrating local producers, chefs and businesses.

Autumn Festival of Norfolk, including the Norfolk Arts Awards and the central drama which runs October 28 to November 2.

King’s Lynn Literature festival – dates to be confirmed.

NOVEMBER

2 Hunstanton cliff top fireworks and bonfire and Downham Market fireworks at Stradsett Hall are just two of the Guy Fawkes events around the county.

12-16 Birdsong, the acclaimed play based on the novel by Sebastian Faulks, staged at Norwich Theatre Royal, 110 years after the outbreak of the First World War.

8-23 Thursford Christmas Spectacular.

DECEMBER

25 Christmas Day begins with a bracing dip in the sea at Hunstanton with swimmers in fancy dress raising money for charity. Head to Hunstanton Central Prom to join the fun. Organised by Hunstanton Round Table.

26 A Boxing Day dip traditionally takes place in Cromer, in aid of Cromer Community Hospital and Friends, and organised by North Norfolk Beach Runners, and in Mundesley.



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