Festivals in Norfolk 2019: music, food and literature
PUBLISHED: 09:36 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:17 27 March 2019
We have selected some of the best festivals around the county from craft fairs to gin festivals
• Norfolk Makers’ festival (Feb 9-24)
The Forum, Bethel Street, Millennium Plain, Norwich
The Norfolk Makers’ Festival is the new name for Makers’ Month at The Forum in Norwich. Visitors enjoy exhibitions, demonstrations and free activities including knitting, sewing, embroidery, quilting, lace making, sculpting, painting, drawing, printing, felting and more.
• UEA Spring Literary Festival (Feb 13 – May 2)
Leading the line-up is Gina Miller who took the government to court over Brexit, former Everything But The Girl singer songwriter Tracey Thorn and UEA Creative Writing alumni John Boyne who wrote international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Other writers include Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James and Damian Barr.
• Great British Beer Festival Winter (Feb 19–23)
The Halls, St Andrews Hall Plain, Norwich
Norwich’s Halls hosts this CAMRA festival for the last time before it moves on to another venue. Ale lovers can enjoy summer golden and light ales, ruby and dark ales, foreign beers and ciders, all served in magnificent medieval friary halls in the heart of the city. Norwich pubs also host The Fringe, with events throughout February.
• King’s Lynn Fiction festival (Mar 15-17)
King’s Lynn Fiction festival promises to be another high-class draw for lovers of good writing. Names lined up for this year include DJ Taylor, Simon Mawer, Lydia Syson, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott and special guest Richard Blair, talking about life with his father, George Orwell.
• The Gin Society Festival (Apr 19-20)
Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn
Discover the delights of over 120 classic, contemporary and craft gins at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange. Visiting distillers will be on hand to present their gin, reveal the secrets of gin in their masterclasses and, hopefully, hand out a sample or two.
• King’s Lynn Shakespeare festival (Apr 26-28)
St George’s Guildhall, King Street, King’s Lynn
The first ever King’s Lynn Shakespeare Festival celebrates the town’s connection to the Bard, who performed here in 1592. The festival includes performances by Sir Ian McKellen plus drama, workshops and discussions.
• East Anglian Game and Country Fair (27-28 Apr)
Euston Hall, Euston, Thetford
Two-day celebration of all things country in the grounds of Euston Hall near Thetford. There’s plenty to see in the main arena, with dog and equestrian events, plus a forestry area, children’s attractions, live music, have-a-go areas, shopping and a cookery theatre.
• Norfolk & Norwich Festival (10-26 May)
Stunning circus, magical theatre, dramatic dance and awesome music return for another packed fortnight. The large and varied programme will feature performances and exhibitions across the city and county, from the popular Spiegeltent to the Sainsbury Centre and beyond.
• Let’s Rock Norwich (25 May)
Earlham Park, Norwich
Confirmed acts at Earlham Park’s nostalgia fest include Billy Ocean, Erasure’s Andy Bell, Marc Almond, Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey, Midge Ure, Go West, Nik Kershaw, Kim Appleby, From The Jam, Limahl, Thomas Dolby, and more.
• Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios (25 May - 9 Jun)
Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios 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 2018 over 450 artists took part from over 250 studios and venues.
• Red Rooster Festival (30 May - 1 Jun)
Euston Hall, Euston, Thetford
The Red Rooster Festival will take place in the grounds of Euston Hall, near Thetford. Embracing the sounds and lifestyle of the American Deep South, Red Rooster aims to become the event for fans of rhythm and blues, soul, roots and country music.
• Forest Live (20-23 Jun)
High Lodge, Thetford Forest
Thetford Forest hosts Paul Weller and Jesse Glynne, with two more acts to come. Get there early, take a picnic or enjoy the many food and drink stands, for this unique live music experience.
• Royal Norfolk Show (26-27 Jun)
Dereham Road, Norwich
The country’s largest two-day county show returns. Breath-taking Grand Ring displays, Countryside and Woodland Arenas packed with events and activities, Norfolk’s largest food hall, Flower and Garden Show and much more… Norfolk’s flagship event is a celebration of everything that is great about our county with agriculture past, present and future at the very heart of the show.
• Lord Mayor’s Celebrations (5-7 Jul)
Excitement and entertainment on the streets of Norwich. Expect food and drink stalls, fireworks, street theatre, live music, the 5km road race and so much more – and of course, at the centre of it all, the big procession on the Saturday evening.
• Dereham Blues Festival (10-13 Jul)
The four day Dereham Blues Festival features some of the biggest names in blues, nationally and internationally.
• Chapelfield Summer Circus (11-14 Jul)
Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich
The Chapelfield Summer Circus returns to Norwich with exhilarating shows to thrill all ages. The big top tent will host some of the best circus shows in the world and there will be drop in workshops and circus skills lessons for all ages.
• The King’s Lynn Festival (14-27 Jul)
The festival has brought high quality performances of classical music, recitals, choral and jazz, plus talks, exhibitions and films, to the town for almost 70 years.
• The Holkham Country Fair (20-21 Jul)
Set in the grounds of Holkham Hall, there are grand ring displays, stalls and stands, entertainment and plenty of opportunities to get involved with many traditional country activities and sports.
• Holt Festival (21-27 Jul)
One of the highlights of the Norfolk arts calendar, bringing comedy, music, dance, theatre, politics, journalism, literature and poetry from around the globe, it attracts big audiences to venues across the town.
• The Sandringham Flower Show (24 Jul)
The 138th Sandringham Flower Show in the grounds of the Queen’s Norfolk residence is one of the biggest horticulral events in the East of England, showcasing the best in locally grown vegetable, fruit, flowers and floral art; watch talks and demonstrations and the entertainment in the main arena.
• Wells Carnival (26 Jul - 4 Aug)
Enjoy a week of traditional seaside family fun at the Wells carnival. There is carnival day procession around the town on August 3, featuring floats, fancy-dress, vehicles and so much more. Throughout the week there will be all sorts of activities including sand castle competitions and gillying on the quay.
• Old Buckenham Airshow (27-28 Jul)
Old Buckenham Airfield
Witness spectacular aerial displays, marvel at iconic planes from another age as they fly by and watch rare aircraft take to the skies. There is also a huge amount to do on the ground too, from aircraft, military vehicles to stalls and stands and many displays.
• Sheringham Carnival (3-11 Aug)
Summer is carnival season and Sheringham will be alive with fun events, crazy competitions and family entertainment throughout the week, culminating in parade day on Wednesday 7, when the procession will make its way through the town.
• Wayland Agricultural Show (4 Aug)
Brandon Road, Watton
Celebrate country life at the Wayland Agricultural Show. Learn more about farming, meet animals, discover country crafts, watch displays and visit stalls and stands, with plenty of entertainment for all.
• Classic Ibiza (9 Aug)
Pack your picnics (and your umbrellas) and soak up the cool, chilled-out vibes at the Classic Ibiza Proms at Blickling Hall. Featuring the Urban Soul Orchestra and internationally renowned DJs and vocalists.
• North Norfolk Music Festival (9-17 Aug)
The North Norfolk Music Festival, now in its 15th year, is growing in prominence with an impressive programme of classical music with renowned performers and up-and-coming talent.
• Cromer Carnival (17-23 Aug)
Carnival fever comes to Cromer with a week of events for all the family, from daredevil displays, exciting events in the grand ring and fun competitions for all ages on the beach and promenade to live music and entertainment, stalls and sales, and so much more. The biggest day of carnival week is procession day on Wednesday 21.
• Hunstanton Kite and Classic Car Festival (18 Aug)
The annual Hunstanton Kite and Classic Car Festival is a lively, colourful event with spectacular kite displays over the cliffs and sea, a fascinating collection of classic cars, a craft fair, displays and entertainment. It is a great way to spend a day at the seaside.
• Maritime Festival Yarmouth (7-8 Sep)
South Quay, Great Yarmouth
The seafaring festival sails back to Yarmouth for its 20th year with boats, entertainment, food and drink.
• Heritage Open Days (13-22 Sep)
The festival which throws open the doors to some of our most spectacular history, for free, will run for 10 days in its 25th anniversary year. This year’s theme is People Power.
• 1940s Weekend (14-15 Sep)
Step back in time to the days of the blitz, rationing and utility clothing with events in Holt and Sheringham and all along the North Norfolk Railway linking the towns.
• Out There Festival Yarmouth (14-15 Sep)
SeaChange Arts, The Drill Hall, York Road, Great Yarmouth
This, the 12th edition of the annual festival, promises to be another action-packed weekend of street arts, comedy, circus and music.
• Oktoberfest (11-12 Oct)
OPEN, 20 Bank Plain, Norwich
OPEN Norwich, will be transformed into a little bit of Germany for a beer festival.
• Norwich Science Festival (TBC October)
The Forum, Bethel Street, Millennium Plain, Norwich
Norwich Science Festival is a week of amazing events, demonstrations, shows, talks and presentations, starring some of the biggest names in popular science.
• Norwich Beer Festival (21-26 Oct)
The Halls, St Andrews Street, Norwich
Norwich Beer Festival at St Andrews and Blackfriars Halls is back for another year of fine ales and ciders.
• Restaurant Week (28 Oct - 8 Nov)
Celebrate Norfolk’s vibrant culinary scene, fine food, and the people who produce it. Every restaurant which takes part offers its usual high standard of food, but at an incredibly tempting price.
• Antique and collectors fair (2-3 Nov)
The Norfolk Antiques and Collectors Fair comes to the Norfolk Showground with antiques, furniture, vintage and retro products in an exhibition hall plus furniture pavilions and outdoor stands.