Families urged to explore Norwich’s attractions

Our fine city is packed full of heritage, arts and culture, entertainment, great shops and a whole lot more – and the Christmas and New Year period is a great time to explore everything Norwich has to offer.

With the school holidays starting and the festive period now in full swing, it is a great excuse to discover many of the things that make Norwich special and to support the Evening News Love Local campaign.

Nick Bond, head of tourism at VisitNorwich, said: 'Part of the beauty of Norwich is that it is a city that celebrates. Behind the businesses and attractions in the city there are a host of creative and talented people working hard all year round to provide an interesting variety of attractive and different things to do and see, that are appealing to residents and to visitors travelling from outside the county.

'The choice of performance, arts and culture, workshops, free entertainment and things to get involved in for all ages is huge, which is why it makes sense for local people to take a good look at what is on offer right on their doorstep!'

Norwich Castle is one of the city's key landmarks and offers visitors and Norwich people alike a great insight into the city's history – and at the moment children are also being invited to get arty and create decorations for the castle's Christmas tree.

The castle is open every day until December 23 and reopens after Christmas on December 28. It is shut on January 1.

Rebecca Barwick, visitor services manager, said a trip to the castle was a great day out for adults and children.

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She said: 'It is fun, inspiring and educational too.'

Strangers' Hall, one of Norwich's oldest buildings, is giving people the chance to experience medieval and Victorian Christmas traditions tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, when Father Christmas will be visiting the medieval townhouse. Norwich Cathedral and the Cathedral of St John the Baptist are also inspiring places to visit and enjoy festive services.

With 21 specially designed trees dotted around the city for people to find, the NORWICHRISTMAS Tree Art Trail is also a good way of exploring the city – and if you spot 10 trees and collect stamps you could win a prize!

There are many places to visit for festive entertainment – Norwich's Theatre Royal's pantomime is Sleeping Beauty while the Maddermarket Theatre is putting on A Christmas Carol. Norwich Puppet Theatre is performing Red Riding Hood and hosting some Christmas puppet-making workshops.

Mr Bond, from VisitNorwich, added: 'This Christmas don't overlook places to visit that are not so obvious.

'The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts offers free admission, free school holiday activities, trails and a large wonderful outdoor space for everyone to have a walk or a run around.

'Fusion at The Forum is the largest digital screen in Europe – again free to enter and plenty of room for children. Go along and see wonderful film and photographic footage in a relaxed atmosphere on a huge 180-degree screen. This Christmas witness a stunning selection of winter scenes by award-winning photographer Tom Mackie plus a chance to see how Christmas has been celebrated in Norfolk over the years.

'If you haven't visited St Peter Hungate in the Cathedral Quarter, you are in for a lovely surprise. This beautiful little church, with incredible stained glass windows, offers an afternoon on Sunday where you can try your hand at making wrapping paper and tags, and see demonstrations of fancy gift wrapping for only a �1 minimum donation. 'Finally, I suggest making a visit to St Peter Mancroft on Friday, December 23 at 11am for their annual family Christmas Service with the cast of Sleeping Beauty from the panto at Norwich Theatre Royal and also the Norfolk Choir of the Year winners – Catton Community Choir.'

• Are you putting on a festive event? Email reporter Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk