5 great Norfolk outdoor art trails this summer

One of Nicola Anthony's piece on the Raveningham trail

One of Nicola Anthony's piece on the Raveningham trail - Credit: Nicola Anthony

What better way of making the most of the summery days than by taking in an art trail? Norfolk is home to some delightful ones, running through the summer and into early autumn, so why not have a look and see which you’d like to explore?

Raveningham Sculpture Trail  

Billed as ‘art in nature to uplift and soothe the soul this summer,’ the sculpture trail at Raveningham is now in its fifth year, providing three acres of magical semi-wild gardens for artists to create new artworks and installations. 

More than 60 artists from Cornwall, Wales, London as well as a strong showing from East Anglian based creatives are involved. 

Established artists Liz McGowan, Tobias Ford, Cindy Lee Wright, Mike Challis are returning to the trail and will be joined by artists taking part for the first time from across the UK including Nicola Anthony, Ian Gill and Stacey Beaumont. 

There will be many uplifting artworks including Suzie Hanna’s magical animation about the joy of climbing trees, a sound tunnel of bird song created in the woods by Mike Challis, as well as the deeply thoughtful and moving installation of text and glass by Laure Van Minden who has worked at a care home throughout the pandemic alongside making her artworks. 

Curator Sarah Cannell, who has encouraged artists to create work in response to the site, said: “I am so excited about the range and approaches of this year’s artists and can’t wait to see the works in situ.” 

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Alongside the trail there are two pop up gallery spaces in the Tudor farmhouse and the Ravenous Cafe will be open daily for lunches, drinks and snacks. 

The trail is open daily 10 - 5pm throughout August 2021. 

Visit raveninghamsculpturetrail.com to book a timeslot and then you can visit with a group of up to six people. 

Lisa Henshall of The Old Harnessmakers Gallery in Harleston

Lisa Henshall of The Old Harnessmakers Gallery in Harleston - Credit: Courtesy Lisa Henshall

Harleston and Waveney Art Trail 

An art collective in the picturesque Waveney Valley hosts the Harleston and Waveney Art Trail to celebrate the work of its members. Artists will fling open their studio doors across ten locations in June, accompanied by a group exhibition at The Old Harnessmakers Gallery in Harleston. 

The Meet the Makers exhibition will showcase the work of the 11 participating artists and craft makers, acting as hub for visitors to get a taste of the work on offer throughout the open studios. 

At the exhibition, audiences will get to see a selection of the artists’ work and can start planning their studio visits with help from gallery owner Lisa Henshall. 

Lisa, who is an artist, teacher, creative mentor and mum of three, said: “I can’t wait to showcase so many fabulous artists in the Harleston and Waveney Art Trail summer open studios exhibition in the gallery and as an artist I am really looking forward to sharing my studio as well as the gallery.”  

The eleven artists participating in the Summer Art Trail are Carolyn Moulton, Sara Johnson, Barbara Bernard, Paul Zawadzki, Liz Taunt, Bobbie Watchorn, Rachel Wiles, Ingrid Duffy, Nell Close, Lisa Henshall, Kath Wallace. 

The artist’s studios are dotted around the valley, in and between Harleston, Wortwell, Homersfield, Denton, Earsham, Ditchingham, Bungay and Hedenham. 

The studios will be open over the weekends of 19th and 20th June 19 and 20 and 26 and 27while the gallery will host the exhibition until July 3. 

Later in the year, an autumn trail will involve every member of Harleston and Waveney Art Trail - around two dozen artists. This trail will take place over the first three weekends of September - 4/5, 11/12 and 18th/19. 

For full details of each artist and open studio please visit the group’s website at hwat.org.uk For more information about the gallery visit oldharnessmakers.com 

Tantalising glimpse of the feet of the decorated T Rex sculptures on show in Norwich this summer

Tantalising glimpse of the feet of the decorated T Rex sculptures on show in Norwich this summer - Credit: Mark Benfield

GoGoDiscover T-Rex 

The GoGoDiscover trails are always hugely popular – and this year’s dino trail, in aid of children and young people’s charity Break, looks set to be a real treat, with 20 large Tyrannosaurus Rex on show around Norwich from Monday, July 12 until Saturday, September 11. 

Each T.Rex has been decorated by local and national artists and sponsored by businesses from across the region and the 2021 family-friendly trail coincides with and celebrates another prehistoric visitor as the T.Rex arrive just days before Dippy the Diplodocus at Norwich Cathedral, meaning trail go-ers will have 21 dinosaurs to visit in Summer 2021! 

 The T.Rex will be dotted across the city at locations including Riverside, Haymarket, The Forum and Cathedral Close, with trail maps and further details released nearer the time. 

 While the trail is free, people who have enjoyed the sculptures can donate to Break via text or on the website, so that Break can continue to transform futures and change the lives of vulnerable children and young people across the region. 

 And, at the end of the summer, the GoGoDiscover dinosaurs won’t fade into extinction. They will return in the Summer of 2022, with even more T.Rex in the city. While Steppe Mammoth sculptures, will take over all Norfolk and link to the discovery and exploration of Norfolk’s deep history coast. 

For more information visit break-charity.org 

Work by Andy Jarrett from the Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail in 2019

Work by Andy Jarrett from the Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail in 2019 - Credit: Kate Royall

Norfolk Open Studios 

The award-winning Norfolk Open Studios, which sees Norfolk artists opening their doors to around 30,000 visitors each year, celebrates the county’s artists and their achievements by offering them the opportunity to open their doors to the public to exhibit, sell and talk about their work. In 2021 the scheme will take place from 25 September - 10 October.  

Ros Dixon, Norfolk Open Studios administrator said: “We are so happy to be able to confirm the return of Norfolk Open Studios, a widely loved scheme that artists and visitors look forward to each year.” 

Internationally renowned artists as well as artists new to the scheme take part each year and for many, it offers the opportunity to join a wider community of artists which helps to bring their work to new and diverse audiences, opening up discussions about their practice. 

South Norfolk Artist Andy Jarrett said: “Norfolk Open Studio's is one of my highlights of the year, it’s something very special and is really worth celebrating. For me it’s a brilliant opportunity to showcase my sculptural work to a vast and diverse audience, I have large numbers visitors from all over the county and further afield who come to see and buy my work, they often have commission ideas they want to explore as well, so it’s become an important part of my yearly income which is wonderful.” 

West Norfolk Artist Helen Breach said, on looking what the scheme means to her and looking forward to 2021: “Curse covid! No Open Studios this year. No delightful smiles, no curious visitors, no trying out the new credit card machine. No annual greetings from familiar faces. Roll on 2021, let us celebrate creativity with a truly welcoming September Norfolk Open Studios.” 

norfolkstudios.org.uk Twitter @NorfolkStudios Instagram @norfolkopenstudios Facebook @NorfolkStudios 

The Sculpture Park at the Sainsbury Centre.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Sculpture Park at the Sainsbury Centre - Credit: Archant

Sainsbury Centre Sculpture Park 

This one differs in that it is a permanent exhibition set in the grounds of the centre’s home on the University of East Anglie campus in Norwich. 

The Sculpture Park is set within the 350 acres of parkland and features outstanding art, architecture and natural beauty and is open daily during daylight hours. It includes important works by notable artists such as Henry Moore, Elisabeth Frink, Lynn Chadwick, Liliane Lijn and Antony Gormley. 

As well as the formal sculpture gardens, the park offers the peaceful Broad and Yare river valley and the natural environment includes a wide range of fauna and flora including a number of remarkable ancient oaks and is home to a population of wild rabbits and rare and endangered species. 

You can download a free map to find out more about the sculptures on display and where to find them. Families can download a Sculpture Park Pocket Map, which includes fun activities for people of all ages.