The East received some great news in May 2016, when the Norwich Castle Keep redevelopment was given the go-ahead.
In the medieval period Norwich Castle was one of the most important buildings across the whole of Europe and, architecturally, it was one of the most elaborate of the great Romanesque keeps. The project aims to re-present the historic Keep as it appeared during its heyday under the great Norman kings. As a result of the redevelopment, visitors will be able to engage fully with the building through greater access, exciting new displays and innovative learning and event programmes.
Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of King Henry I’s lavish Castle by exploring the recreated Great Hall, complete with a banqueting table and minstrels’ gallery, King’s chamber and chapel. Newly-exposed Norman archaeology and architecture will tell previously untold stories of the Castle’s fascinating past and a unique battlements experience will offer stunning views of medieval and present-day Norwich.
It’s expected that the key plans will be in place by the end of 2017, with construction beginning in 2018.
The town of Holt on the North Norfolk coast is often considered one of the finest in the area, with particular regard for its array of Georgian buildings.
Holt owes its architectural magnificence to a devastating fire in May 1708 which virtually destroyed the town. The silver lining was that this gave the community a blank canvas to work with. Even before the rubble had been cleared away plans were being made to rebuild, and the strict regulations of the day ensured that the whole town was built in balance and proportion, rather than the piecemeal style that abounds in most towns and cities.
The people of Holt are rightfully proud of their heritage, and there is even a Society for the Preservation of the Georgian Centre of Holt. Find out more about their work here.
We’ve featured a great number of public sculptures across the region in Culture365, and in this post, we’re taking a closer look at a way to join them all together, with sculpture trails in the East.
The Recording Archive for Public Sculpture in Norfolk and Suffolk (RACNS) is a project that aims to make a record of all of the superb sculpture in the East. Started in 2006 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the archive contains entries by Richard Cocke, with photographs by Sarah Cocke.
The sixteenth edition of the archive was published in 2013, but monuments are regularly re-photographed to keep the content up to date.
Trails that cross the East are downloadable from RACNS, and feature both area-specific and themed routes.
Plan a trip to tackle a few of the routes, and use Visit East Anglia to find out where to eat, where to stay, and what else to do while you’re in the area.
Take a trip to discover one of England’s largest and best preserved monastic sites, one that goes all the way back to the 11th century.
Don’t miss out on this chance to experience this piece of history by walking through the recreated herb garden, which grows the same type of herbs that monks would have used for culinary, decorative and medicinal purposes. There is also an opportunity to experience the exhibition and peruse the display of artefacts accompanied by an audio tour.
To find out more about the Castle Acre ruins, visit here.
Lowestoft Museum is a seventeenth century Grade II Listed building set in a pretty public park, a few metres away from Oulton Broad, where white-sailed yachts pass serenely by, and young children throw bread to well fed ducks and swans.
Inside the museum is a wide range of items and artefacts that relate to the history of the area. Amongst the treasures is a large collection of 18th century Lowestoft Porcelain, local fossils dating back 700,000 years and items related to famous residents such as Benjamin Britten and George Borrow.
Find out more about the Lowestoft Museum, including opening hours here.
There’s nothing like fish and chips by the seaside, and Aldeburgh Fish and Chips are arguably “the best fish and chips in the world” (The Times). It’s largely due to their use of locally sourced ingredients. Fried the same way since 1967, they use fresh fish from the East Coast and delicious local potatoes to make their own chips.
It’s not just The Times that are fans. The Guardian heralds it as “the finest chippie in Suffolk, and quite possibly the universe” and the Sunday Mirror has also given it glowing reviews.
Make sure you get there early though, as there are often long queues at the weekend! Find out more information (and those all important opening times) at Aldeburgh Fish and Chips.
After you’ve feasted on the finest fish and chips in the world, why not explore The Suffolk Coast.
The small village church of Wissett, between Southwold and Halesworth in Suffolk, is probably not a place you’d expect to find a historical relic of national significance.
But cast your eyes towards the eleventh-century flint parish church that serves the village and you’ll notice the circular tower attached to the west end. Inside it has a floor that has been dated back to the 12th century, making it the oldest recorded church tower floor in the UK.
Find out more about Wissett here. And if you’re interested in exploring the rest of the beautiful Waveney Valley you can get more information on their website.
WW2 saw thousands of American servicemen arrive in East Anglia, using the region as a base for their sorties across the continent.
There are several places across Norfolk and Suffolk where you can find tributes to these brave men, such as the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, in Thorpe Abbots near Norwich. The museum is a moving testament to the Americans who were stationed in Thorpe Abbot during the war. It consists of the control tower, the engine shed and several other original buildings, plus thousands of exhibits.
To plan your visit to this fascinating and atmospheric site, visit the museum’s website.
In previous 365 posts we’ve looked at Norwich’s strong literary links, including Julian of Norwich and Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, but today we’re taking a closer look at books in Norfolk through the variety of fantastic book shops in the county.
Norfolk Children’s Book Centre (pictured) in Alby has been established for over 30 years, and its team of ex-teachers, librarians and book lovers select the best children’s literature for their customers.
Avid naturalists favour the Crabpot Bookshop in Cley. which stocks a wide range of books about the natural world as well of thousands of secondhand books, including classics and contemporary literature.
Kett’s Books in Wymondham is quite a unique find. It’s a community-ran, not-for-profit bookseller, which was saved from closure by a group of enthusiastic volunteers for the benefit of the whole town. Staff get to know their core customers, and offer recommendations based upon previous purchases.
This is just three highlights in a county that’s a book-lovers paradise! Explore the county to your heart’s content with Visit Norwich.
St Mary’s Church, East Bergholt, has the heaviest peal of five bells currently being rung in England.
They are housed in a medieval bell cage, which was originally built as a temporary measure in 1531, in the expectation that the tower would be completed and the peal would be moved into their new home. However the tower was never finished, and local legend points the finger of blame squarely at Anne Boelyn.
Cardinal Wolsey was said to be the financier of the building project, but when he failed to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so the King could move on to his new flame, Anne, the Cardinal fell from favour and could no longer afford to fund the tower. Originally the cage was on the south side of the church, but in the 17th century it was moved to its current position as the family living in the Old Hall objected to the noise of the bells.
The bells themselves weigh around 4,400kg, the largest over a tonne. And as they’re in a cage rather than a tower, they are rung by hand rather than using a rope.
To find out when you can see the bells being rung, and get more information about the church visit their website
To see more about Constable Country itself use this link.