the suffolk punch vault festival


For six weeks in 2016, Suffolk spilled into London, as The Suffolk Punch brought the finest Suffolk food and drink to VAULT Festival.

A country pub in the heart of London, open to the public whenever the VAULT Festival is open. Great people, great provenance. VAULT FESTIVAL 2016 and the Suffolk Young Producers welcomed visitors to a brand new restaurant, bringing the best of East Anglian food to subterranean London.

The food of Suffolk is shaped by the landscape, from the sea to the rivers with their fertile valleys leading to the rich arable soil of the Suffolk uplands. Over the centuries Suffolk has traditionally been a larder for London, and at the Suffolk Punch you have the opportunity to discover the very special foods in that larder and the very special young people who make it. It is a rare county where you can find small family companies of the highest quality, specialising in all areas of food production.

Find out more about VAULT Festival.

And to explore the county producing this fantastic fayre, you should Visit Suffolk.


manipulate festival kwaidan


Every year, Norwich Puppet Theatre and Puppet Animation Scotland’s Manipulate Festival comes to Norwich. The festival began in 2011, and is now an innovative international festival of visual theatre and film. The programme in Norwich includes a vibrant mix of puppetry and animation.

2016’s festival boasted a programme full of life and variety. Kwaidan (pictured here) by Rouge28 Theatre was just one of the performances to take the stage. Rogue28 were supported by Norwich Puppet Theatre in 2014-15 to develop the show via their Platform programme. Cinematic and atmospheric, Kwaidan is inspired by Japanese ghost stories and horror movies combining life-sized puppets, acting and video projections.

For more information on Manipulate, visit Norwich Puppet Theatre.

The festival runs in January/February every year – why not make a trip of it? Use Visit Norwich as your guide.


Bressingham Gardens


Just two miles from Diss is Bressingham, home to some of the most beautiful Gardens in the country.

The 17 acres at Bressingham Gardens have been a site for horticultural pioneering for over fifty years and the results that can be seen today are spectacular.

When the young Alan Bloom first began developing the garden in front of Bressingham Hall in 1953, the idea of using perennials in island beds was a radical one. Nearly 5,000 different species and cultivars were planted across six acres in the next ten years.

His son Adrian Bloom started his work in 1962, developing Foggy Bottom Garden (so called partly because of his time in the USA and partly due to the regular mists that rose from the low meadow adjacent to the river Waveney) into a wonderful profusion of conifers, heathers and shrubs that are enjoyed today by thousands of visitors.

Plan your visit to Bressingham to see this magnificent gardens (and the extensive steam museum next door) here.



Photo by Airwolfhound (Flickr)
avenue theatre, red rose chain


The Avenue Theatre is the home of theatre company Red Rose Chain. The Avenue offers a year-round programme of events, from Red Rose Chain’s own productions to stand-up comedy and music. Gippeswyk Hall, which The Avenue adjoins, is a Grade II listed property.

The theatre opened in 2014, after securing a £1 million Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, and pays homage to the barns that would have occupied the land when Gippeswyk Hall was first built.

The work of Red Rose Chain is community focused and driven, so, the company operates the theatre with an open door policy. They are keen to share this unique heritage site with the people of Ipswich, and beyond.

We explored Red Rose Chain’s Christmas show, The Tale of Mr Tod earlier in Culture365.

For more information, and the find out what’s on, visit Red Rose Chain.

There’s always something to see in Ipswich. All About Ipswich is the perfect guide to the town.

castle rising, norfolk


Castle Rising, near Kings Lynn, is one of the finest examples of 12th Century architecture in the country, and the magnificent surrounding earthworks ensure it’s a sight to behold.

The castle has had a long, varied history. It has been both a hunting lodge and royal residence, and is now open to visitors.

The earthworks around the castle occupy between 12 and 13 acres, and even after centuries of erosion and in-filling, stands at 18 metres.

To find out more, and plan a visit, see Castle Rising.

After you’ve explored the castle, why not see what else is in the area, with Visit West Norfolk.

Photo: John Fielding
lacons great yarmouth sign


Nestled in the heart of Great Yarmouth, the Lacons Brewery dates back to 1760. At its peak it operated over 300 pubs across East Anglia and London, and produced over 80,000 barrels of beer annually. The brewery was floated on the stock market in 1952, and by 1952, Whitbread, a fellow brewer, held 20% of the shares.

By 1965, Whitbread bought the entire brewery, in a deal that equated to approximately £50 million and in 1968, the original Lacons Brewery was closed. Over the following decades, all of the brewery buildings were demolished, but their legacy remained visible, with Lacons emblems on buildings to this day.

These emblems intrigued local businessman Mick Carver who, after 18 months of negotiations, secured the registered trademarks of the brewery.

The new Lacons Brewery opened in 2013, brewing a range of new ales using the brewery’s original yeast. The brewery has gone from strength to strength, winning numerous national and international awards in 2014 and 2015.

Today, curious beer connoisseurs can take a trip to the brewery’s Visitor Centre, featuring a museum dedicated to the brewery’s history, and a shop.

To plan a trip, visit Lacons.

Pop to Great Yarmouth for a pint, and explore the rest of the region with Visit Norfolk.

Revisit the previous Culture365 post about Southwold-based Adnams.

fierce light simon armitage


In January 2016, as the centenary of the Battle of Somme approached, Writers’ Centre Norwich, 14-18 NOW and Norfolk & Norwich Festival co-commissioned a major new project, Fierce Light.

Poetry is commended for capturing the terror of the First World War, and this major commission invited a collection of international poets and visual artists to explore the war and its legacy in the 21st Century.

The opening night of Fierce Light (and the opening night of Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2016) saw Simon Armitage (pictured), Paul Muldoon, Daljit Nagra and Jo Shapcott read their own poetry, alongside excerpts from a series of specially commissioned short films.

This opening night event was supported by an exhibition of films, poems and images at Norwich University of the Arts’ East Gallery.

To find out what’s on at the moment, visit Writers’ Centre Norwich.

Norwich is home to a wide array of cultural delights. Plan a trip to the city with Visit Norwich.


waterland cover


Published in 1983, Graham Swift’s Waterland is set on the Norfolk Fens, and tells the story of a man named Tom Crick alongside the history of the Fens.

The novel focuses on Crick’s childhood, and his mother’s family, the Atkinsons, who were Norfolk brewers.

Whilst many elements of the narrative are recognisable as Norfolk, certain aspects of the Fens are fictionalised throughout the novel. Crick lives in a cottage on the banks of the (fictional) River Leem, which most readers consider is similar to the (actual) River Ouse.

The Fens have inspired huge amounts of culture, including The Goob and 45 Years.

Explore the Fens at Visit West Norfolk.

Plan a trip to the rest of this inspirational county with Visit Norfolk.

St Mary's Church roof


St Mary’s Church in Huntingfield hides one of the most ornately decorated chancel ceilings in the region.

Painted in the nineteenth century by rector’s wife Mildred Holland, it took eight months to complete. Each of the twelve large panels in the chancel depicts an angel holding a scroll or an emblem of the crucifixion, such as the cross, and the hammer and nails. Bible verses are inscribed, and there are also pictures of the Lamb of God and the Keys of Heaven. Three years later, Holland took to the scaffolding again, this time adorning the nave roof with the twelve apostles and two female saints. The work, including restoration and preparation of the roof cost £247.10s.7d., (around £23,000 in today’s money), £72 (£6897) of which was just for colours.

To learn more about this spectacular ceiling visit the website where you can find out more about the church and how to visit.


Photo by: Spencer Means (Flickr)
Holkham Beach


The wide swathes of sand at Holkham Beach on the North Norfolk Coast have been popular with locals for centuries, but they gained a far wider audience in 1998 when they appeared on movie screens across the globe.

Location scouts had been searching for the beach with the right look for weeks when they stumbled on this Norfolk gem. A few months later Gwynneth Paltrow was delicately leaving footprints in the Norfolk sand as she filmed the closing scene of Shakespeare in Love.

Why not visit Holkham for yourself? You can find out more about the whole area at the Visit North Norfolk website.



Photo by Ian (Flickr)