Although it’s not until June, the full Aldeburgh Festival 2016 programme has been announced today, and it’s largely focused around three ideas: circus, birds and pianos.

This year’s festival is bigger than ever, with Britten’s Illuminations bringing circus performers to Snape Maltings Concert Hall for the first time.

Olivier Massiaen’s fascination with birds will be explored, alongside Aldeburgh Music’s proximity to RSPB Minsmere, through a 20-hour series of events. Catalogue d’Oiseaux will see a series of concerts, films and walks in Suffolk’s inspiring bird-filled environments.

Under the stewardship of Pierre-Laurent Aimard, this year’s festival features an abundance of music for piano, including a challenge for everyone to take up the piano from scratch and get to Grade 1.

These events will be accompanied by a series of fringe events at The Pumphouse and free concerts every lunchtime at the Bandstand on the Beach.

Tickets go on sale in February (earlier for Friends of Aldeburgh Music). To find out more, visit Aldeburgh Music.

There’s time to plan the perfect Suffolk getaway in June. Visit The Suffolk Coast for recommendations of where to eat, drink and sleep.

Photo: Aldeburgh Music


As part of Norwich’s celebration of the sculptor Ana Maria Pacheco in 2015 (as explored in another 365 post), Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery exhibited ‘Enchanted Garden’, a new series of eight polychromed and gilded alabaster reliefs, in its Norman Castle Keep in January 2016.

The reliefs reflect the artist’s long interest in the famous medieval alabasters in the Castle’s collection and her friendship with the late Francis Cheetham, former Head of the Museum and an expert on alabaster.

The ‘Enchanted Garden’ series paid homage to the power of human imagination, drawing on literature and the wild and magical landscapes that Pacheco knew as a child.

Pay a visit to Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

To find out more about the city’s Norman history, plan a trip and explore with Visit Norwich.


lacock cup


As part of the British Museum’s Spotlight Tour, The Lacock Cup was at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery from September 2015 until January 2016.

This incredibly rare piece of secular silver from the Middle Ages was designed for drinking wine at a nobleman’s table in the 15th century before being used as a Protestant communion cup at St. Cyriac’s church in Lacock, Wiltshire.

Also showcased at the museum are two examples from Norwich Castle’s own collection; a cup made in Ghent by Jan van Hauweghem in 1532 which was later given to Hethel church where it was used for communion until the early 20th century and a second, more ornate cup, made in 1635-6 before being donated to Beeston St Lawrence church.

To find out more visit Norwich Castle.

Explore the rest of the city with Visit Norwich.


Photo: Trustees of the British Museum

orford merman


There is a mysterious tale attached to the village of Orford in Suffolk, which supposedly took place during 12th Century – meet the Orford Merman.

One day, the fisherman of Orford caught a very peculiar man in their nets. He was naked, with a long beard and an excessively hairy chest. The fishermen took their catch to a nearby castle, where he was imprisoned.

The man underwent a series of interviews (some of which were accompanied by torture), but he refused to speak. After some time, he was allowed to return to the sea to exercise and became a popular entertainment for the local people.

Over time, interest waned, and he took this opportunity to escape his captors. He was never seen again, but some believe that the ghost of the Orford Merman haunts Orford Castle.

Want to discover the story for yourself? Plan a trip to Orford Castle.

Make a weekend out of it, and see what else there is to do with Visit Suffolk.

voice project


The Voice Project is an open-access singing project offering a whole range of creative ways to use your voice.

The Voice Project was created by singers Sian Croose and Jonathan Baker in 2008 and since then we have involved hundreds of singers in performances of great new vocal music as well as workshops designed to build vocal confidence and explore a wide variety of uplifting and inspiring vocal music.

In recent years, the project has performed new work in a variety of spaces in and around Norwich, as well as specially commissioned performances for Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Find out more, including upcoming performance, at The Voice Project.

Plan a visit to see a performance, using Visit Norwich as your guide.

painting room


An exhibition at Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury in 2015 explored the importance of the painting room in eighteenth century art.

The exhibition explored the character and use of this important place, which was usually a room in a domestic house. Distinct from the show room where visitors could view finished work, the painting room was the artist’s inner sanctum, a private world containing the tools and instruments of the artist’s practice.

This collection contained artworks showcasing the painting room, and a selection of objects, including these painting bladders found in the Gainsborough’s House attic in the 1960s.

Plan a trip to Gainsborough’s House.

Explore Sudbury and the rest of West Suffolk at Visit Suffolk.


Photo: Gainsborough’s House


In December 2015, visitors to Norwich Puppet Theatre were lucky enough to discover the story of Rumpelstiltskin: a woolly wonderland of a show with spinning, weaving, lively puppetry, music and storytelling.

Norwich Puppet Theatre is inside a converted medieval church, and is one of only three building-based puppet theatres in England. It’s worth a visit for the foyer alone, which is adorned with puppets from over 30 years of productions.

For more information about upcoming shows and workshops visit Norwich Puppet Theatre.

Extend your trip to the city. Discover lots of family-friendly activities at Visit Norwich.

Photo: Norwich Puppet Theatre

under the pier show


The product of engineer/artist Tim Hunkin’s obsession with coin-operated arcade machines; the Under the Pier Show in Southwold offers an alternative amusement arcade to visitors of the Suffolk seaside town.

The Under the Pier Show opened in 2001 with just five machines (when Southwold Pier was still being rebuilt) including The Doctor,  The Chiropodist and The Frisker.

All of the machines in the show are traditional amusements with an unexpected subversive twist. Examples include Rent-A-Dog (a treadmill that recreates all of the joys of dog walking), Mobility Masterclass (crossing a busy motorway using a zimmer frame) and Quickfit (watch a Jane Fonda exercise video whilst the machine exercises you automatically).

To find out more, and to plan a visit, see the Under The Pier Show.

Explore the pier, Southwold and the rest of the area at The Suffolk Coast.



As it’s Christmas Day, we thought it was time for this very special Culture365 post. We all know the story of the Christmas Day Truce during the First World War, but the collection of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery holds the whistle that started it all.

Sergeant Hoy, who played the whistle, tells the story:

“On Christmas morning 1914 I was in the trenches in France on the Ypres sector and I was playing some carols on my whistle, which I always carried with me. Suddenly a German called out, “Play ‘Home Sweet Home’ Tommy!” I started to play it and to my surprise a German who was near our trench produced a mouth organ and joined in with me. That started us and the Germans fraternising on top of the trench. Later a football was produced, and not a shot was fired that day.”

The Castle isn’t open today, but plan a future trip here.

Extend your stay and explore the rest of the city with Visit Norwich.

Photo: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery
panto in norfolk


In December 2015, a new exhibition at The Forum, Norwich, explored the city’s long history of pantomime. Panto in Norfolk took a look back at footage and documentation from the past 60 years.

Visitors were able to step into The Gallery to see a display of bright and extravagant Panto costumes, props and memorabilia, and dress up in lavish costumes before taking to the stage to star in their own short Panto sketch.

This free exhibition explored The Story of Panto in Norfolk through the eyes of theatre-goers and performers from the county’s many annual productions.

To plan a trip, visit The Forum.

Explore the rest of Norwich, including its many galleries, with Visit Norwich.