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What's on and things to do in Norfolk in April

PUBLISHED: 12:12 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 26 March 2019

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake (photo: Johan Persson)

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake (photo: Johan Persson)

Johan Persson

We have gathered some of the top events from around the county this month

• Time travel (27th Mar)

Multi award-winning acclaimed show Passionate Machine by Rosy Carrick explores what you would change if you could travel through time and the realities of what it would it all mean. Funny, poignant, sad and playful, her show has won rave reviews; now see it at the Norwich Arts Centre.



• Saxophone concert (28th Mar)

BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist Rob Burton performs a lunchtime recital at the Assembly House, Norwich. Currently in his second year at the Royal Academy of Music, studying classical saxophone, Rob has strong family links in Norfolk and his growing reputation has seen him play at a series of high profile events.

1pm, assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk/events


• Concert (30th Mar)

The Clarkson Singers, a mixed voice choir with members from across East Anglia, will perform at St Peter’s Church, Walpole St Peter. £10, includes light refreshments.

Book on 01945 588874, eventbrite.co.uk


• Night run (30th Mar)

Head out for a unique running adventure through ancient woodland after dark. The Night Run on the Blickling Estate near Aylsham features a 3km or 7km trail.

4.45pm, £6- £14, booking required, nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate


• Women’s history (31st Mar)

Celebrate Mother’s Day by learning more about the fascinating women of Oxburgh Hall and their role in the rich political and religious history of the magnificent 15th century moated manor house. The talks happen throughout the day, 11.30pm to 2.30pm



• Headline hilarity (5-6 Apr)

Gigglesome headlines are the inspiration for a lol-tastic exhibition featuring the work of local journalists and artists.

Lolcal News showcases the work of 28 local designers, illustrators, artists and photographers – each inspired by a different quirky Norfolk headline.

The woman behind the headline hilarity is Norwich designer Sinead Birmingham, who has been collecting favourites for a year. The headlines included in the exhibition will be revealed on April 4 and Sinead said: “The standard of the work will be as high as the headline humour.” See more headline lols on instagram @lolcal_news

Profits from sales of tickets and prints will go to the OPEN Youth Trust for its arts initiatives with children and young people.

OPEN, Bank Plain, Norwich, 10am-4pm. Tickets £5 (under 12s free with a paying adult) from OPEN, 01603 763111. opennorwich.org.uk


• King’s Lynn Shakespeare Festival (26-28 Apr)

Celebrate Shakespeare during a new festival based at St George’s Guildhall, where Shakespeare is believed to have acted in 1592 and which is now Britain’s oldest working theatre. Highlights of this first Shakespeare Festival include drama, walks, talks and two sold-out guest performances by Sir Ian McKellen.



• Henri Matisse exhibition (27 Apr - 18 May)

An exhibition of prints by Henri Matisse includes beautiful line drawings and portraits, plus the vibrant colours of his later work.

From 1900 until his death in 1954 Matisse completed more than 800 etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, linocuts, and monotypes and is widely recognised as one of the greatest and most diverse printmakers of the 20th century.

His 1947 series of paper cut-outs have been called the visual counterpart of jazz, with the circus providing the inspiration for more than half of the motifs.

The Coltishall exhibition is the second time the gallery has shown rare prints. Last summer’s Alice in Wonderland exhibition featured prints by Sir John Tenniel and drew visitors from across the county and beyond.

Gallery owner James Sparshatt said: “Matisse was an obvious choice for our spring show, given the wide range of prints he produced over his lifetime. We hope the exhibition will delight collectors, fans and students alike as well as giving people the opportunity to hang original prints in their homes.”

Henri Matisse, Master of Print at the Capital Culture Gallery, Church Street, Coltishall. Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-1pm. 01603736954. capitalculture.eu


• Where’s Wally (28 Apr)

Crowds of Where’s Wally? fans in fancy dress, will be roaming the lovely gardens at Stody Hall.

The event also includes a butterfly trail, a treasure map, games on the lawn and homemade teas.

Stody Lodge gardens are not normally open to the public and this special event is a chance to see some of the garden’s huge variety of spring flowers.

The orchard, planted with 11 tonnes of daffodil bulbs, is an incredible blaze of yellow every spring, and the four-acre water gardens are believed to be the largest single planting of azalea mollis in the country.

Dressing up is not compulsory but anyone dressed as Wally (with a minimum of a hat and a top) gets in for free and there will even be a Shetland pony in Where’s Wally? fancy dress.

Other activities include games on the lawn, homemade teas, and a group Wally photo. The event is in aid of The Benjamin Foundation, which has helped many thousands of young people since being set up in memory of the founder’s son 25 years ago.

For non-Wallies, entrance is £7, children under 12 free. Dogs on leads welcome. Stody Lodge Gardens, near Holt, 1-5pm. stodylodgegardens.co.uk


• Spring gardens (7, 21, 22, 28 Apr)

Some of Norfolk’s loveliest gardens will be showing off their spring colours this month – and making money for good causes as part of the National Garden Scheme. Stroll through water side gardens and woodland glades at Gayton Hall, near King’s Lynn on April 7. See stream banks carpeted with primulas, daffodils and the prehistoric-looking skunk cabbage flowers!

Mannington estate, near Aylsham, is celebrating 40 years of opening for the and will be welcoming visitors on April 14. The lovely gardens are set around a moated manor house.

Wretham Lodge, at East Wretham, near Thetford, will be open for the NGS charities on Easter Sunday and Monday. See a meadow full of fritillaries, seek out hellebores and marvel at the multi-coloured display of tulips in the walled garden.

The gardens at The Old House at Ranworth, beside the Inner Broad, near Acle, and the three acres of gardens at Chestnut Farm, West Beckham, near Sheringham, will both be open on April 28.

The money raised at all these gardens helps the charities supported by the National Garden Scheme, including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, Parkinson’s UK and MS Society.



• Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (2-6 Apr)

Matthew Bourne’s legendary Swan Lake returns with a fresh look for the 21st century.

It became famous for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, shattering conventions and taking the dance world by storm.

Retaining the iconic elements loved by millions around the world, Matthew Bourne has re-imagined his powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece.

Tickets £10-£45. Box Office 01603 630000. theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk


• Natural art at Pensthorpe (2-9 Apr)

Young Norfolk artist Emily Rose works in pastel pencils to produce vibrant, detailed, life-like paintings of birds including kingfishers, starlings and turtle doves. See original drawings and prints – and meet Emily Rose, who will be working in a pop-up studio throughout the exhibition.

Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham. Exhibition is free and runs 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday. pensthorpe.com


• Half marathon in Norwich (7 Apr)

The City of Norwich Half Marathon takes place on a rural closed-road single-lap route, starting and finishing at the Norfolk Showground, through Easton, Honingham, Colton, Barnham Broom and Marlingford.



• Nat King Cole tribute (11 Apr)

Singer Jeff Short will be celebrating the centenary of the birth of Nat King Cole with a concert of some of the great American singer and jazz pianist’s most popular music.

The Unforgettable Songs of Nat King Cole features live musicians and singers.

Aylsham Town Hall, 2pm, Tickets are £10 including refreshments from 01263 733845 or J B Postal & Son, Aylsham Market Square


• Craft fair (13 Apr)

Craft and produce stalls, refreshments, and a tombola are all part of St Peter’s Market, St Peter’s Church, Church Road, Walpole St Peter. 1-3pm.

Free entry and parking. 1-3pm


• Easter woodland and waterside walks (5-22 Apr)

A fortnight of family Easter scavenger hunts runs from April 6-22 at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Gardens. Fit as many tiny objects as you can into a small container. 10am-5pm. Included in admission.

An Easter Egg hunt on Good Friday, April 19, 11am-4pm is the chance to scour the garden for colourful eggs. The day also includes face painting and crafts for children. £2.50 extra per child for Easter egg trail, book online.

Take a walk on the wild side with wildlife warden Trevor Taberham, 9-10.30am, on Friday, April 5. Booking essential. Included in entry price.

Enjoy a magical dawn boat trip to get extra-close to the wildlife. Hear the dawn chorus from 6.15am on Saturday, April 6, and tuck into a cooked breakfast afterwards. £14 adults, £9.50 children. Booking essential.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. 01603 270449. fairhavengarden.co.uk


• Pottery mania (6-21 Apr)

See scores of fabulous pots created by more than 75 ceramic artists, from hand-thrown pots to clay-based jewellery and sculpture.

Members of the Anglian Potters will transform the Undercroft, beneath Norwich’s War Memorial at the back of the Market, into an Aladdin’s Cave of contemporary and traditional studio ceramics. Purchases can be taken away on the day.

Free entry. Anglian Potters spring exhibition, daily 10am to 4.30pm, The Undercroft, Market Place, Norwich. anglianpotters.org.uk


• Walk with the experts at Pensthorpe (12-30 Apr)

New events for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts include a dawn-chorus walk, night-time moth and bat tours and guided garden walks.

Hosted by experts including Pensthorpe head gardener and reserve manager, the sessions reveal life behind the scenes at the nature reserve.

Deb Jordan, of Pensthorpe Natural Park, said: “These events will lift the lid on some of the wonders of the natural world. They are intended to charm and inspire our visitors whilst demonstrating some of the special wildlife and habitats we have here in our unique Wensum Valley location.”

The Four Gardens Spring Walk, 3-5pm, Friday, April 12, is an afternoon walk around four of Pensthorpe’s contrasting gardens. £11.95. Includes refreshments.

A Dawn Chorus Walk on Tuesday, April 30, begins at 4.30am and ends with breakfast from 7am. £16.95.

Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham. pensthorpe.com


• JS Bach’s St John Passion (13 Apr)

Hear Norwich Cathedral Choir and Norwich Baroque, conducted by Ashley Grote, perform Bach’s dramatic setting of the Passion according to St John.

Book on 01603 630000 or cathedral.org.uk


• Easter at the zoo

Amazona Zoo is home to more than 200 tropical animals including birds of prey, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, monkeys, snakes, caimans, flamingos, tapirs, and a toucan.

It also has a guinea pig village, tunnelling leaf cutter ants, indoor and outdoor play areas – and an Easter egg for every child on Easter Sunday.

10am-5pm, Hall Lane, Cromer, 01263 510741, amazonazoo.co.uk


• Snape at Easter (19-21 Apr)

A weekend of Easter activities includes concerts, free family fun, an Easter egg hunt - and an Easter farmers’ market on Saturday April 20 featuring food and drink from some of the region’s best independent producers, 9.30am-1.30pm.

The full Easter weekend programme runs from Friday, April 19 to Sunday, April 21. snapemaltings.co.uk


• Songs from the shows (27 Apr)

Hear mezzo soprano Susie Turner and pianist Annette Jude in An Evening of Songs from the Shows. The concert, with A Class Act, is part of the 2019 Bittern Concert series.

Tickets £10, including refreshments, from Rev Darleen Plattin, rector of The Bittern Benefice, 01603 720966 or on the door. 7.30pm at Holy Trinity Church, Rackheath.


• Singing women Spixworth (27 Apr)

Enjoy a choir concert with Lemon Tuesday, female voices in harmony, singing jazz, show tunes, pop, folk and light classical music at Spixworth Hall Barn. Drinks 6.30pm; music from 7pm.

Free, donations welcome, for St Peter’s Church building fund. Book on 01603 898190 or 891236


• East Anglian Game and Country Fair (27 & 28 Apr)

Attractions include a parachute display team, horseboarding, mountain bikers, lots of shopping stands, craft halls, gift marquees, music and refreshments.

East Anglian Game and Country Fair takes over the Euston estate near Thetford.

Tickets from ukgamefair.co.uk


• Craft fair (28 Apr)

Giant craft fair in aid of Blofield Tennis Club, 10am-3pm.

Margaret Harker Hall and Scout Hut, Yarmouth Road, Blofield, NR13 4LE

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