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25 family things to do this bank holiday week

PUBLISHED: 08:54 27 May 2011

FMX event

FMX event

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The schools are on holiday and another bank holiday is upon us and there are plenty of things to do and family fun to be had not just over the weekend but over the whole week. SIMON PARKIN has a guide to 25 things to keep the whole family entertained.

1. Houghton International Horse Trails

Houghton Hall, May 27-29, 9am-6pm, Sat £9, £5 children, £25 family; Sun £7, £4, £20, www.houghtoninternational.co.uk

Trials once again take place in the grounds of Houghton Hall. Many of the world’s leading riders will take part, plus there’ll be a variety of different trade stands and plenty of entertainment for both the equestrian and non-equestrian providing four days of world-class competition.

2. Steam Engine Rally

Strumpshaw Steam Museum, May 28-30, 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. 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 and an old time fairground.

3. Guided Canoe Trail

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham, May 28/June 4 (2pm-4.30pm) and June 5 (10am-12pm), £25, £15 children, pre-book on 01603 499177, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk

With the help of your guide, the Canoe Man, you can silently explore South Walsham inner and outer broad and undisturbed tributaries, with the opportunity to see some of the Broads’ best kept secrets - kingfishers, bitterns and maybe the elusive otter.

4. Teddy Bear Weekend

Holkham Hall, May 28-30, museum entry £4, £2 children, under-2s free, 01328 713111, www.holkham.co.uk

There’s a Teddy Bear theme to Holkham Hall this weekend. There will be bears and more bears with a display in the Bygones Museum including a teddy bears’ hospital on the Sunday and Monday. An outdoor theatre production of the Teddy Bears’ Circus takes place on Saturday in the Courtyard at Holkham at 6.15pm, followed by a work-shop.

5. Summer Food Fair

Norwich Cathedral, May 28-29, 10am-5pm, free admission.

Summer brings the most delicious food and with a bumper strawberry harvest being forcast, how can we refuse? This food festival takes place in splendid surroundings of the cathedral cloisters and Upper Close.

6. Town Busking Day

Wymondham, May 28, 10am, free admission, www.wymfestival.org.uk

Wymondham Music Festival’s annual Town Busking Day will turn the town musical tomorrow. Individuals and groups are welcome to just turn up on the day and register by 12pm.

7. Nelson Monument

Yarmouth, May 28/29, £6, 01493 850698, www.nelson-museum.co.uk

During 2011 this Grade I listed monument will only be open for a limited number of pre-booked tours. And this Easter offers a rare chance to climb all 217 steps to experience the breathtaking views — Norwich Cathedral can be seen on a clear day — and to learn more about the Monument. Tours last for 30 minutes.

8. Stock Car Racing

Yarmouth Stadium, May 29, 4.30pm, £12 (£10 cons), £6 children, under-4s free, 01493 720343, www.yarmouthstadium.co.uk

Thrills, spills, crashes and smashes mean a trip to Yarmouth Stadium is a must for all young petrolheads. Races include Rookie Rods, National Banger Micro Madness and a hair-raising figure of eight race.

9. Fairy Fair

Holt Hall, May 29-30, 10am-5pm, £10.50, £7.50 children, £30 family, under-3s free, www.fairylandtrust.org

Fun, magic and nature as the Fairyland Trust’s Fairy Fair takes place for the first time in the 35 hectares of gardens, ancient woods and lakes. The fair will feature workshops in magic wands, lanterns and potions, fairy gardens, crowns and books, wizard shields, wildflower fairies and witch pets. Plus there will be drop-in art activities, craft and food stalls.

10. Happisburgh Lighthouse

Happisburgh, May 29/30 (11am-4 pm), £3, £1 under-16s, www.happisburgh.org/lighthouse

Happisburgh is the oldest working light in East Anglia. Built in 1790, originally one of a pair - the tower is more than 25m tall and the lantern is 40m above sea level. There are 96 stone steps winding up the inside of the perime-ter wall to the service room directly below the light.

11. Norfolk History Fair

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, May 29, 10am-5pm, normal admission prices, 01362 869259, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

This popular annual event will feature around 60 local history societies – from millwrights to metal detectorists, and archers to archaeologists. See demonstrations of ancient crafts such as smocking, pot-making, weaving and wild foods with a wildfowler and eel trapper.

12. Let’s Dance

Market Place, Yarmouth, May 30, 11.30am-12.30pm, free admission, 01493 846346

Yarmouth’s Market Place is the venue for the town’s 2011 world record breaking attempt. The town and The Beach radio station want to set a world record by filling Great Yarmouth Market Place for a mass dance. A poll of listeners chose Black Lace’s Agadoo as the most popular song to set a record to. It’s free for anyone to take part.

13. Geology Rocks

West Runton, May 30 (11am)/June 3 (2pm) £3.50 per child (accompanying adults free), 01603 625540, www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk

North Norfolk has fascinating geology. Here you can join experts from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust to explore the seashore. Find out about brilliant barnacles, marvellous mussels and the other amazing creatures creeping around in the rock pools. Meet outside the beach café.

14. Half Term Activities

Sainsbury Centre, May 30-June 5, 11am-4pm, free admission, www.scva.org.uk

Plenty of half-term fun lined up at the Sainsbury Centre. There’s no need to book, just drop in and take part in the creative activities for families to do together. Activities are inspired by objects in the collections. This time round the object is the fascinating whistling bottle, a bird-shaped bottle from Ecuador that makes a whistling noise when liquid is poured out of it.

15. The Princess and The Pea

Norwich Puppet Theatre, May 30, 2.30pm, £7, £5 children, £20 family, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk

Catch Banyan Theatre’s production of that much-loved fairy tale. Suitable for ages three and above this 45- minute show is a quirky and inventive adaptation of Hans Andersen’s bedtime tale played out among sheets and blankets with puppets, objects and dreamlike projections.

16. Half Term Activities

Dragon Hall, King Street, Norwich, may 30-June 3, 10am-4pm, normal admission prices, 01603 663922, www.dragonhall.org

Lots of half term activities at Dragon Hall, with self-guided family fun and crafts in every corner of this unique 15th century Merchant Hall. Read stories of dragons, knights and princesses. Put your hands on history and feel the past at your fingertips. Or play the fool with our dressing up costumes.

17. Upton Adventure

NWT Upton nature Reserve, May 31, 11am-12pm, free admission, 01603 625540

Discover the weird and wonderful wildlife of NWT Upton Broad and Marshes on this adventure ramble through different habitats in the hope we will find snakes, butterflies, birds and dragonflies. It may be muddy so explorers, you don’t forget to take your wellies.

18. RAF Air Defence Museum

RAF Neatishead, Hoveton, 10am-5pm daily, with the final free guided tour setting off at 3pm, £5, £3.50 teens, £1.50 children, under-7s free, www.radarmuseum.co.uk

RAF Neatishead was at the front line of potential aerial warfare for more than 50 years. Its servicemen and women played a key role in the winning of the Second World War when its then new radar technology allowed enemy bombers to be tracked. This fascinating museum tells the story.

19. Rhododendron Tour

Sheringham Park, May 31/June 1, 2pm, £5, 01263 820550

Stroll with the head gardener amongst the spectacular display of flowering plants and discover how 80 species of rhododendron and azalea came to be present at Sheringham Park.

20. Filmmaking Workshop

Norwich Art Centre, May 31-June 1, 10.30am-4.30pm, £65 (both days), 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk

Learn the basics of filmmaking and turn your ideas in cinema. Bring any props or costumes you might want to use. No previous experience necessary.

21. Try Yachting

Barton Turf, June 1, 9am-4.30pm, £15, £10 children, £45 family, 01603 782897, www.trysailing.com

Have a go at yachting on the picturesque Barton Broad with the ‘Try Sailing’ sailing school in the company of an RYA Qualified skipper and instructor. Each session is one and a half hours long. Suitable for ages 8+.

22. Dunes in June

Holkham Hall, June 1/2, 1pm-3pm, pre-book on 07825 377652

This family guided walk is the perfect chance to explore the magnificent dune wildlife, including butterflies, lizards and beetles, of Holkham National Nature Reserve. You’ll also get to make a footprint you can take home. Places limited to 20, so book now.

23. Paddle, Walk, Discover

Salhouse Broad, Salhouse, June 1, 10am-1pm, £15, £7.50 children, 01603 722775

Explore the Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve, home to a variety of wildlife and habitats including swallow-tails and marsh harriers, in three ways. Enjoy a relaxing guided paddle downstream in a canoe, then meet the reserve manager for a guided walk before returning by canoe.

24. Rampaging Romans

Norwich Castle Museum, June 3, 10.30am-12pm/2-4pm, normal admission prices, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Popular family drop-in event the Rampaging Romans return to Norwich Castle Museum. Visit next Friday and you can meet a centurion, who’ll do his best to get you to sign up to the Roman Army... or do you fancy your chances with those rebellious Iceni? No need to book.

25. Freestyle Motocross Championship

Rougham Airfield, Bury St Edmunds, June 4, £12.50 adv/£15 gate, ££10 adv/£12.50 gate children, 07766 567007, www.boldogfmx.com

Daredevil riders from across the UK will dazzle crowds as they compete in the UK’s only freestyle competition. Riders will jump 40ft in the air to perform death-defying stunts at the Freestyle Motocross (FMX) Championship. It’s the first extreme event of its kind in the region, and is expected to draw FMX fans from across the country.

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