For 200 years, the eccentric, and sometimes infamous, Hervey family built a collection of art at Ickworth, including this colossal marble sculpture, The Fury of Athamas.
The subject of the sculpture by John Flaxman isn’t the most welcoming choice for an entrance hall; a furious Athamas snatches his son from the arms of his mother and throws him against the rocks; but it proudly sits in the entrance to Ickworth, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. It was commissioned by the Earl-Bishop in 1790, but was confiscated by the French before it got to Ickworth. Fortunately his son bought it back in the 1820s.
The grandeur of the sculpture is perfectly at home in the Georgian palace of Ickworth, where visitors can walk in the earliest Italianate garden in England and explore the intricately designed rotunda.
Now the last remaining Regency playhouse in the country, the Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, built in 1819 by William Wilkins, had a very different purpose between 1925 and 1960.
In 1925 the theatre could not compete with two recently opened cinemas in the town, so it was closed and used as a barrel store for local brewery Greene King. After a local group raised over £37,000 the theatre was refurbished and reopened in 1965 and is currently the only theatre open to the public in the National Trust’s portfolio.
In 2015, the theatre celebrated its 50th anniversary with a programme of commerorative events, including a new musical, A Labour of Love, which told the story of the reopening.
The Book Hive, in the heart of UNESCO City of Literature Norwich’s historic Lanes area, is a hub of literary activity. The building housed a florist for over 100 years before being renovated to become The Book Hive. It has retained its old style feel and quirky design, which creates much of the atmosphere that people have come to love about the place.
Tonight it’s host to a celebration of four of Norwich’s hottest young literary talents, two of whom are exploding onto the scene at this very moment! Join Jenn Ashworth, Sarah Perry, Benjamin Johncock and Book Hive’s very own Sally Craythorne.
There has been a pier in Cromer in one form or another since 1391. The current structure dates back to 1902, and over the years has undergone a number of repairs, most notably in 2012 when its main trusses and cross braces were replaced.
Today Cromer Pier is regarded as one of the finest examples of a Victorian pier, and is home to Europe’s only End-of-the-Pier Show, at the Pavillion Theatre.
Find out more about Cromer Pier and its history here.
Landguard Fort, just outside Felixstowe, is the site of the last opposed seaborne invasion of England in 1667. First built to guard the entrance to Harwich in 1540, the fort has served a number of functions over time.
In the early 20th Century, the fort was used as barrack accommodation, and in 1951 a section was converted into a control room for ‘cold war’ use.
Find out more about its fascinating history and plan a trip to Landguard Fort.
Easton Farm Park is an assembly of restored Victorian farm buildings set in 35 acres of rolling pasture land, normally populated by Suffolk Punches, one of the rarest breeds of horses on the planet; bred at Easton.
Every year, Easton Farm Park is home to Maverick Festival, which celebrates North American roots music from both sides of the Atlantic featuring many artists from Canada and the US, as well as homegrown UK talent. Past headliners have included names such as Billy Bragg, Andrew Duhon and Hannah Aldridge.
To find out more about Maverick Festival, visit their website.
Up a small sandy lane in Aldeburgh you will be plunged into the 1960s: Benjamin Britten’s house is presented just as it was when he and Peter Pears lived there. At the heart of this welcoming and informal site is Britten’s studio, where he composed masterpieces including his War Requiem.
Stand for a while, and let the sounds of the Suffolk Coast come to you. The cry of the gulls, the ever present thrum of the sea: this is Britten’s own soundscape.
Other features of The Red House include an interactive exhibition, guided tours – including Britten and Pears’ enviable art collection – and a newly constructed archive. Open by appointment only.
To book a tour or find out more visit the Britten-Pears website.
To immerse yourself in Britten’s Suffolk Coast for longer, explore The Suffolk Coast.
Norwich Cathedral has over 1,000 bosses, more than any other cathedral in the world. These miniature sculptures cover a wide variety of subjects, from parables to Mystery Plays. They reward close inspection and offer a real insight into the medieval psyche.
You can also find mysterious Green Men peeping out of gilded foliage (pictured here) and fearsome grotesques. Here strange creatures, half beast half human, lurk with intent.
Dragon Hall is named after the intricately carved 15th century dragon in one of the hall’s spandrels. Originally there would have been fourteen dragon carvings. Medieval Norwich was full of dragons and they can still be found all over the city in stone archways, wooden pews and painted on walls.
In 2015, Writers’ Centre Norwich moved into Dragon Hall ahead of the launch of a National Centre for Writing in early 2018. This will be an inspirational venue for locals and visitors alike and a major new cultural space in the city. www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk
To celebrate 50 years of the Landmark Trust, this Antony Gormley sculpture stared defiantly out to sea from the Martello Tower in Slaughden, Aldeburgh for twelve months from June 2015.
The tower was built in the early 1800s as a coastal defence and the Gormley figure echoes its purpose Gormley said “The sculpture’s attitude is one of defiance and indifference to any potential invader from across the sea.”
This sculpture is one of five across the country, as part of the Landmark Trust’s ‘Land’ project.