Plenty of family fun to be had this Bank Holiday
It meant not seem like it, but not everything is Diamond Jubilee related this extra long Bank Holiday week. SIMON PARKIN highlights where to find some non-Royal related family fun.
Hunstanton, June 1-3, 01553 818018, free admission, www.lifestylesfestival.co.uk
This is a good weekend to visit Hunstanton – especially if you're a fan of extreme sports and vintage VWs! Lifestyles, the region's biggest extreme sports festival will see everything from kite-surfing to break dancing and BMX biking to beach volleyball. The event, which now attracted more than 20,000 people, will offer the chance to both watch the experts in action, including heats from the British Kite Surfing Association's Freestyle Grand Prix, and have a go — for free. The event aims to showcase the town as a venue for extreme sports. As well as nationally-ranked competitions, there'll be demonstrations and have-a-go sessions in the likes of kite surfing, windsurfing, skateboarding, street dance and parkour. Over the weekend there will also be live bands over two stages and plenty of partying. Reflecting the chilled out reputation of the extreme sports lifestyle, the event has its own VW car show attracts a growing number of classic campervans and Beetles - last year there were more than 300 iconic Volkswagen vehicles and organisers are expecting even more this year which will gather on the Green between 10am and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
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Framlingham Castle, June 2-5, �6.50 (�5.90 cons), �3.90 children, �16.90 family, 01728 724189, www.english-heritage.org.uk
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Framlingham Castle in north Suffolk played a vital role in a key moment in Tudor history – and you can revisit that historic time in this special event. The English Heritage site is running An Audience with Bloody Mary! when you can meet one of history's most fearsome monarchs – Queen Mary. At this unusual Jubilee celebration, you will learn how the Queen got her terrifying nickname, as well as meeting the royal executioner and hearing about his gruesome trade. Visitors will also discover Queen Mary's close links to the castle, where, as Mary Tudor, she sought refuge and rallied supporters before being later crowned queen in 1553.
GARDENING, CRAFT AND FOOD FAIR
Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, June 2-3, 10am-5pm, 01328 851465, www.pensthorpe.com
The annual Gardening, Craft and Food Fair takes place at Pensthorpe. Exhibitors will be showcasing a range of local produce from flower displays, jewellery, antiquarian books to a working blacksmiths from 10am-5pm. Admission to the Fair is �4 for adults, �2 for children – or pay a discounted rate to enter the reserve and get the event for free (adults are �8.50, seniors �6.75, children �5).
CLASSIC CAR RALLY
Bressingham Steam Museum and Gardens, near Diss, June 3, 10am-4pm, normal admission, www.bressingham.co.uk
The Norfolk and Norwich Rover Owners Club 35th annual Classic Car Rally will be held at Bressingham Steam Museum. Cars travelling for this event from all over the country and it's expected there will be around 100 on show, from the very early P2s of the 1930s up to and including the latest Rover 75s.
MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS
Norfolk Showground, June 1-5, 2pm/5pm/7.30pm, from �7, 0844856 5555, www.moscowstatecircus.com
The Moscow State Circus has put up the big top on the Norfolk Showground for the whole Bank Holiday weekend. Russia is a country synonymous with world-class circus skills, and the company's latest show – Babushkin Sekret – combines contemporary and classical forms of the genre. The show includes Yana Alievia on a revolving aerial chandelier, the breathtaking Stalkions' high wire act, the Whirlwind Rubsovsm troupe who acrobatically catapult themselves across the big top, the juggling Sherbakovs on the reverse pyramid of St Petersburg, aerialists the Doktrovs, vertical pole balancing of The Alikanov and the high flying bouncing bamboo bravados of The Perushkins. Oh, and not forgetting the slapstick of the clowns, Valik and Valerik. Tonight's show is at 7.45pm, followed by shows on Saturday (2pm, 5pm, 7.45pm), and Sunday to Tuesday (2pm and 5pm).
PORINGLAND FARMERS' MARKET
Poringland Community Centre, June 2, 9.30am-1pm, 01502 677214, www.poringlandfarmersmarket.co.uk
One of Norfolk's newest Farmers' Markets with plenty to keep the kids entertained at the same time. Along with a Jubilee theme, they will be providing free face painting in the hall for all children that come to the market. There is 20 stalls of local produce, cookery demonstrations and sampling on most stalls.
STEAM ENGINE RALLY
Strumpshaw Steam Museum, June 2-4, from 9.30am, �8, �2 children, under-12s free, 01603 714535, www.strumpshawsteammuseum.co.uk
Norfolk's premier three-day steam rally returns to Strumpshaw Steam Museum. There will be more than 50 steam engines as well as miniature steam engines, vintage and classic cars, motorcycles, commercial vehicles and stationary engines are expected. There will be also be models, fairground organs, arena events, an old time fairground, trade stands, craft tent, bar and refreshments. The entry charge includes free admission to the museum, Christie organ concerts, working beam engine and rare breeds. Gates open at 9.30am each day. You really need to see, hear and smell the combined efforts of dozens of steam engines!
NORTH NORFOLK COUNTRY FAIR
Weybourne, June 3, 10am.5pm, �2.50, under-15s free, www.northnorfolkcountryfair.co.uk
The North Norfolk Country Fair returns to the A149 at Weybourne (opposite Windmill). There will be two marquees of arts, crafts and local produce, arena entertainment (including ferrets, gun dogs, falconry and brass band – not all at the same time, presumably!), lots of stalls, displays, classic cars, vintage tractors, go-karts. a bouncy castle and more.
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, June 3, 10am-5pm, normal admission prices, 01362 869263, www.norfolk.museums.gov.uk
Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and step back in time to the 1950s during the Norfolk History Fair at Gressenhall Farm. Meet historical re-enactors and local history enthusiasts from across the county and explore the museum. There'll be two large marquees brimming full of historical societies. Relax and immerse yourself in the glamour and styles of the 1950s – flick through the books, try on some outfits from the period and enjoy make-up master classes. Why not add to the atmosphere by donning your best 1950s clothes?
THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Mid Norfolk Railway, from June 3, �12 (�10 cons), �10 children, 01362 851723, www.mnr.org.uk
It's a bumper week of fun at the Mid Norfolk Railway, which runs from Dereham to Wymondham. Not only does its ever popular summer steam service begins with the return of ex-GWR design Pannier Tank loco no. 9466 and Prarie Tank Locomotive no.5526, but there's a very special series of performances at Dereham Station of a musical version of E Nesbit's much-loved story The Railway Children. The musical, written by Julian Woodford and Richard John, is being performed by the town's Open Cast Community Theatre Company. Afternoon performances will take place around the MNR's Steam Service departure to Wymondham and its arrival back. The show features live train movements. The show runs every day of half-term (but no shows Wednesday).
Holt Hall, June 3-4, 10am-5pm, �7.50, under-3s free, www.fairylandtrust.org
One of the area's most charming family events returns to Holt Hall. Aimed especially at families with children aged three to eight, the Fairy Fair is a family day out where entertainment meets magic, nature and folklore. The event includes 45-minute bookable workshops (extra charge) including creating a Fairy Garden with real wildflowers, or making Elf Sticks from native trees. You can meet wandering musicians such as the Bug Band, stilt walking acts and 'Walkabouts' and you can visit the Pirate Fete. There'll be dropin activities Bug Bling and Fairy Houses, a woodland trail, and a Performance Tent with puppet shows and much more. You can even try Cooking for Trolls! Fancy dress is welcome. This is a very popular event, where tickets are bookable in advance - so make sure you check the website before travelling in case it's a sell-out.
GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
Norwich Puppet Theatre, June 5, 2.30pm, �7.50 (�6 cons), �5.50 children, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk
Norwich Puppet Theatre's Tuesday offering is not about a queen, but a princess. Oh, and a dragon too! Suitable for ages three and above, George and the Dragon is Garlic Theatre's awardwinning and witty production of this famous legend featuring rod and glove puppetry, masks and live music.
Oxburgh Hall, until June 13, normal admission prices, 01366 327242, www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Children from local schools have been busy making a variety of scarecrow characters themed on 'sport through the ages'. They are now on displayed around the grounds of Oxburgh Hall to make a trail for visitors to follow. Vote for your favourite.
CYCLING AND WALKING FESTIVAL
Swaffham, June 1-10, various times and venues, 01760 722800, www.aroundswaffham.co.uk
Events on this special two wheel and two legs festival include a balance bike world championship, cycle time trials, 100km bike around the Brecks cycle ride, a town walk and a range of fun activities for all ages and abilities.
Wroxham Barns, Hoveton, open daily 10am-5pm, admission to Junior Farm �5.50, under-2s free, 01603 783911, www.wroxhambarns.co.uk
They're almost grown up! This weekend one of the last times to feed this year's young lambs. Sit on the bales of hay, get your bottle of warm milk at the ready and watch as the baby lambs are led to the bottles and guzzle away. This is a hands-on experience not to be missed and it takes place on the farm three times a day. Lamb feeding takes place at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm and some feeding times can be busy so children (ages 2+) might have to share holding a bottle. There are plenty of other animals to see too and don't forget to meet Wroxie, the farm's life-size mechanical cow, where you can practice your milking skills!
LOTUS FACTORY TOUR
Lotus, Hethel, June 6, 2pm, �39, 01953 608547, www.lotusdrivingacademy.com
We'd all like to get behind the wheel of a Lotus but how about behind-the-scenes of how they are made? The company's hi-tech manufacturing facility at Hethel, is where the world class, high performance sports cars are all individually hand built. The company hosts one of its regular factory tours that shed light on the history and heritage of Lotus as well as seeing the cars being assembled, painted and checked.
NORWICH GHOST WALKS
Adam and Eve, Bishopsgate, Tues/Thurs, 7.30pm, �6 (�4 cons), 07831 189985, www.ghostwalksnorwich.co.uk
Experience the shadowy recesses of a forgotten Norwich, disturbing the sleep of the long departed, and stirring the City of the Dead once more into ghostly, ethereal life. Experience these highly acclaimed tours on foot as you are guided by The Man in Black. The walks have been thrilling visitors since 1997 with the real-life stories of macabre goings-on, hauntings and the tragic events of yesteryear. Until the end of June, they are being held on Tuesday and Thursday starting at the Adam and Eve. All walks include the usual crowd of added spectres and ghouls waiting to scare the unwary.
WHERRY OPEN DAY
Potter Heigham, June 5, 10am-4pm, free admission, 01692 630593, www.wherryalbion.com
Wherry Albion has the first free open day of a series during the summer on at Potter Heigham. Built as a sailing trading barge for the Broads and launched in October 1898, Albion is made from oak, about 60ft long and 15ft wide with a 50ft mast, and carried 40 tons of cargo propelled by one vast black sail. Learn more about the colourful history of wherries and their crews, and to find out how Albion makes a living now, come along and meet the modern crew.
JAPAN: KINGDOM OF CHARACTERS
Sainsbury Centre, until June 24, Tues-Sun10am-5pm, free admission, 01603 593199, scva.ac.uk
A celebration the growing interest in Japanese sub-cultures such as manga and anime. This vibrant exhibition offers the chance to encounter characters from television, computer games and comics. Many have become much loved household names around the world including Pokamon and Hello Kitty.
The Forum, Norwich, Sundays, �6.15 (�5.75 cons), �5.15 children (7-15 years), pre-book on 0370 9011227, bbc.co.uk/showsandtours
What goes on in the BBC's Norwich outpost? The BBC offers a fantastic chance to gain access to the rarely seen world behind the TV and radio programmes on its behind-the-scenes tours every Sunday. The events include a visit to the Look East TV studio and production gallery, a peek into the presenters' dressing-rooms, a wander through the Radio Norfolk studios while they are broadcasting, plus a look at the new purpose-built Open Studio that gives the chance to try a hands-on interactive studio experience.
Millennium Plain, The Forum, Norwich, June 6, 10am-10pm, free admission, www.theforumnorwich.co.uk
Millennium Plain will be alive with the sound of music — for 12 hours! This charity sing-athon will be taking place outside The Forum to raise money for Future radio. Stop by and take a seat on the steps to show your support or enjoy a very tuneful break.
EXPLORE THE SHORE
West Runton, June 6, �3.50 per child, accompanying adults free, www.norfolkwildlifetrust.co.uk
Explore the Shore at West Runton Beach is back by popular demand. Once again there's the chance to join the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, as they rummage in rock pools in search of life between 2-4pm. Pop along with sturdy shoes, keen eyes and help the experts carefully investigate the secrets of the seashore. Meet outside the Beach
REALLY WILD RANWORTH
Ranworth Nature Reserve, June 7, 11am-2pm, �2 per child, accompanying adults free, 01603 625540, www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk Norfolk Wildlife Trust has lots of half-term fun in store at Ranworth. Really Wild Ranworth is a chance to go searching for wildlife between 11am to 12pm. The same afternoon, 1.30-3.30pm, What Lies Beneath is a drop in session at the dipping platform, �1.50 per child, accompanying adults free. Plus all week it's the Broadly Speaking Quiz Trail, 10am to 5pm. Do you know your Bishy Barnabee from your Pollywiggle? Have you ever seen a harnser sitting by the water?
Norwich Puppet Theatre, June 6, 11am/2.30pm, �7.50 (�6 cons), �5.50 children, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk
A show that has been delighting boys and girls (and their grown-ups) for the best part of two decades returns to Norwich Puppet Theatre. Thumbelina is Joy Haynes' delightful take on the Hans Christian Andersen's tale of a girl no bigger than a thumb and her encounters with a frog, mouse, mole and swallow. This show, suitable for over-twos only, is a gentle introduction to the magic of live performance.
THE SELFISH CROCODILE
Norwich Arts Centre, June 8, �7 (�5 cons), �20 family, 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk
Blunderbus Theatre present The Selfish Crocodile based on the best-selling book by Faustin Charles and Mike Terry. This is the funny tale of a brave little mouse and a very snappy crocodile. Deep in the forest, by the banks of a great river, lived a very selfish crocodile that wouldn't share his river with any of the other creatures. But one day the crocodile had a toothache. It's aimed at 3-7 year-olds.