Porkstock 2017


With family fun, live music, cookery demonstrations and PLENTY of food and drink, Porkstock is held on the Royal Norfolk Showground every October to raise money for local charity Nelson’s Journey.

The daytime event is completely free (even the car parking), with plenty to entertain the whole family. Top local chefs will be giving demonstrations, live bands will be playing all day, and local food and drink producers will be there selling their wares and giving tasters. Children can enjoy all sorts of games, and most areas are undercover so the fun doesn’t need to stop should the weather turn nasty.

The evening event is one long knees up. After the hard work of the day it’s a chance for everyone to let their hair down, dancing to fantastic live music and enjoying tasty pork treats, a range of local beers and ciders, plus prosecco and gin and tonics. This all ticketed event sells out every year, and again all proceeds go to Nelson’s Journey.

Find out more about this year’s Porkstock here:


Photo: Porkstock website
castle keep redevelopment


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.

We’ve explored the keep in a previous Culture365 post.

Find out more about the vision for the project in this video.

Plan a trip to the city to see the castle keep redevelopment project as it progresses with Visit Norwich.




Fairhurst Gallery in Norwich is host to an Oliver Bedeman exhibition.

Oliver Bedeman is a figurative painter whose work focuses on imagined and often dream-like portraiture. He takes inspiration from the city through drawing, and in his studio combines this observation with a colourful interpretation of literature, music and story-telling – with figures such as Alan Ginsberg, Stephen Foster and Nature Boy recurring as silent characters.

See some of the works currently on show at Fairhurst Gallery.

There’s many superb visual art spaces in Norwich, including the Sainsbury Centre and Norwich Castle.

Plan a trip with Visit Norwich.




A brand new opera from Mark Simpson, Pleasure, came to Snape Maltings in May 2016.

Pleasure, a hedonistic gay club in the north of England, is presided over by the Baccanalian drag queen, Anna Fewmore. Val, the much-loved toilet attendant, confidante and shoulder to cry on, remains an enigma.

When Nathan, a beautiful and unpredictable young man, arrives as Pleasure and leaves a gift for Val, it marks the beginning of an emotional and violent night.

In Mark Simpson and Melanie Challenger’s first opera collaboration, Lesley Garrett as Val led the cast, and Tim Albery and Leslie Travers resumed their creative pairing for the first time at Aldeburgh since Grimes on the Beach.

Plan a trip to a future performance at Aldeburgh Music. Find inspiration with The Suffolk Coast.




In Here, a trio of inspiring performance and theatre, came to Great Yarmouth for three nights in May 2016.

On the first night, Until You Hear That Bell told the story of a young man’s quest for life-purpose, amidst family responsibilities and a passion for boxing.

The following evening, Grass came to Great Yarmouth Market Square. This dance show for young children asked the audience to explore the world beneath their feet, featuring puppetry, projection and performance to look closely at the world around them, to get mucky, and to get stuck in and play!

The trio ended with Touretteshero’s Backstage in Biscuitland. Jess Thom has Tourettes, a condition that makes her say ‘biscuit’ 16,000 times a day. Her unusual neurology gives her a unique perspective on life; one she’s unleashed on the world. Jess had recently appeared on the BBC’s Live from Television Centre, alongside the East’s very own Gecko Theatre.

Visit SeaChange Arts.

Plan a trip to Great Yarmouth, it’s full of great things to see and do, with Visit Great Yarmouth.


Georgian Holt


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.



Photo: Staithe Place (Twitter)




In May 2016, The Cut in Halesworth was temporarily home to an exhibition of British abstract painter John McLean’s work.

The exhibition featured some of McLean’s paintings and prints. The vitality in everything John McLean makes is heartfelt and engaging.

It’s possible to see some of McLean’s work on permanent display in the East, too. In Norwich Cathedral his three, large stained glass windows are installed in the North Aisle, and can be seen year-round.

Plan a trip to Halesworth to visit The Cut, where there’s a year-round programme of great performance, art and film.

Let Visit Suffolk help plan your trip.


green film festival


In 2016, the University of East Anglia took part in the UK Green Film Festival. Taking place each year over a single week, up and down the country, the festival screens some of the very best films from around the world, exploring today’s big environmental issues.

The UEA programme featured three films, including Noah Hutton’s Deep Time (pictured) which explores the geological concept of deep time, and Oscar-winning director Louie Psihoyos’ Racing Extinction, which examines the world’s most dangerous black markets.

For more information about the extensive calendar of events at UEA, visit UEA Events.

Explore the rest of Norwich while you’re at it with Visit Norwich.


sculpture trails in the east


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.


Castle Acre Ruins


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.


Photo: John Fielding (Flickr)