From the textile trade which was at the heart of the city’s wealth to the production of shoes, chocolate and mustard, the story of how Norwich constantly adapted to changing fortunes, and coped with two World Wars is told at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell.
Today, visitors can take a step back in time and discover vintage Norwich, through an immersive experience. Celebrated vintage beauty experts Flamingo Amy and Love Moi Makeup will be in residence to share their best-kept style secrets, and the museum’s Curator of Costume and Textiles will be on hand to share objects from the museum collections, including pieces not currently on public display.
It’s hard to think of Suffolk without considering the wonderful food on offer.
Each year, at FolkEast festival, The Imagined Suffolk Food Village highlights the finest food from local producers. The village is the brainchild of David Grimwood, owner of The Froize near Woodbridge, Suffolk. Of 2015’s village, Grimwood said:
“We have taken some of the best local producers, suppliers and restaurateurs and brought them together as ‘The Imagined Suffolk Food Village’ – to provide a daily changing feast from the bountiful Suffolk larder to stimulate and nourish festival-goers throughout the whole festival. It’s reasonably priced, unpretentious, tasty, amazing local food”.
There are so many stars of the Suffolk food scene that it’s impossible to pick a headliner!
To get to FolkEast and explore the food village, visit the festival’s website.
The Suffolk Coast is full of foodie gems, discover them here.
The East was once big in textiles, making this one of the wealthiest, most influential parts of Britain. But by 1565 skills had started to become a problem: Norwich dealt with the issue by inviting thirty Flemish master weavers and their families to move to the city. These – the first of a number – became called The Strangers, and in time grew to become a third of Norwich’s population.
These families were made successful and wealthy by the arrangement, and when Queen Elizabeth I visited Norwich in 1578 she was greeted by a pageant staged by the ‘artizans strangers’. To understand the importance of this to those Strangers, it’s important to know that, in making the move to Norwich, they had also been seeking asylum, escaping religious persecution and a suppressive regime.
Aylsham, a thriving market town midway between Norwich and the popular Norfolk coast, was one of the founding towns of the British Cittaslow Movement. Cittaslow was founded in Italy, inspired by the Slow Food movement, and celebrates towns that let life, and traffic, flow more tranquilly than has become the norm.
Aylsham takes this seriously – it became plastic bag free eight years ago, and nine years ago built public loos with sedum roofs, sunpipes and waterless urinals. Now twice-weekly markets and a successful annual show continue Aylsham’s proud tradition of celebrating real food, pausing for thought and nurturing the good life. Daniel Defoe stayed here in 1732: he’d probably recognise it still.
You can find out more about the Aylsham show – which usually takes place over the August Bank Holiday – here.
The original Leiston Abbey was built in 1182 by Ranulf de Glanville, but the original site was prone to flooding so it was moved to a new site three kilometres away.
The new abbey, pictured here, was built in 1365 using many of the same materials from the original abbey. The remains include the walls of the abbey church and associated buildings, with earthworks and a moat. The most impressive remains are probably the 16th century brick gatehouse. The original Lady Chapel has been restored and is occasionally used for worship.
The nearby RSPB reserve, Minsmere, which was the home of the 2015 series of BBC’s Springwatch, offers perfect viewing of the abbey and its surrounding area.
If you’re interested in exploring the region (and are an avid birdwatcher), visit Minsmere.
The village of Wighton in North Norfolk is home to this school house, which regularly had a notable visitor.
The house has links to the family of celebrated sculptor Henry Moore. In the early 1920s, Moore spent holidays here with his headmistress sister who taught here year round. It was during these holidays that Moore discovered the sculptural form of flint nodules, which were used in a lot of his work, including the 1922 piece Dog.
Examples of Moore’s work can be found across the region, most notably at Snape Maltings, the temporary home for Moore’s own copy of Large Interior Form.
The school house was occupied by American artist Alfred Cohen until his death in 2001. It now houses regular public exhibitions of his work as the ‘School House Gallery’.
Learn more about the variety of art and culture across Norfolk at Visit Norfolk.
The iconic Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus has recently been named the Seventh Wonder of the British Seaside.
Originally built in 1903 by legendary circus showman George Gilbert, the Hippodrome is the only surviving circus building in the UK, and is one of the only venues in the country with a retractable floor, which turns the circus ring into a swimming pool, allowing a second act of water-based performance.
Orford Castle, in the heart of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has one of the most complete keeps in the country. Built by Henry II between 1165 and 1173 to consolidate royal power in the east, it has been described as ‘one of the most remarkable keeps in England’ due to its unique, Byzantine-inspired architecture.
The fact that the castle is still intact allows visitors to explore a maze of tunnels and passages across a number of floors, from the basement to the roof, where there are magnificent views of the nearby Orford Ness.
To explore the keep, including the original chapel and kitchen, visit Orford Castle.
Discover a multitude of historic sites around the county at Visit Suffolk.
The Corn Hall, in the historic Norfolk town of Diss, has been a central part of the community since it was built in 1854. Originally the economic centre of the town, where corn would be traded, the Corn Hall (like many others across the country) was repurposed for use as a public cultural venue.
In 2015, the building became an important part of Diss’ Heritage Triangle, a project that aimed to restore and regenerate three historically and culturally significant sites around the town centre. Whilst these important renovations took place the corn hall was closed until Autumn 2016, but a series of live events took place in a number of locations across the town, as a ‘Diss Corn Hall on Tour’ series.
Want to explore the heritage triangle of this historic town and its surrounding area? Plan a trip at Visit Norfolk.