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Originally published 2019
The season of glad tidings is different experience for everyone: you may have had the picture-perfect-Marks-and-Spencer-TV-advert Christmas with friends and family, or you may have chosen to spend this one in the tranquil sanctuary of your own home, with Love Actually and a bag of Doritos for company.
Regardless, we’ve all made it to January in one piece, albeit a few helpings of Christmas cake heavier, and for some of us, a hangover that’ll see us through until February.
Who cares anyway now – 2019 is here, and for those of you who got new diaries for Christmas, it’s time to use them.
Pens at the ready folks; let’s make plans.
Manipulate Festival at Norwich Puppet Theatre
Feb 2 & 9
I promise promise promise you that the art of puppetry isn’t just for children. Back again 2019 is Manipulate festival, and with it the legendary Flabbergast Theatre (of Plan B fame) and German company Figuren Theatre Tubingen. Prepare to be amazed by both productions, in this extra-special venue.
Great British Beer Festival Winter – St Andrew’s Hall
Feb 19 & 23
This is the last opportunity to enjoy this amazing beer festival in Norwich, the original City of Ale. Next year, this event will move to another UK venue, so catch it while you can!
UEA Spring Literary Festival at the University of East Anglia
Feb until April
Attending by over 6,000 people per festival, this is your opportunity to hear from some award-winning (and upcoming) literary voices of the day. Previous speakers: journalists, illustrators, scientist, economists and more besides.
Viking: Rediscover the Legend at Norwich Castle
Feb 9 – Sep 8
Norwich is right at the heart of a region well known for its Viking Heritage. The kingdom of East Anglia was conquered by the Vikings in 869 when King Edmund of Bury St Edmund was martyred. This February, Norwich’s magnificent Castle hosts an exhibition in partnership with the British Museum and York Museums Trust, with some very special exhibits on display.
Magnum: The Body Observed at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Mar 23 until Jun 30
The Body Observed looks at the ways in which Magnum photographers have turned their lens to the body, presenting works that address identity, intimacy, sexuality, ritual, voyeurism and other,
Norfolk and Norwich Festival – Various Locations
May 10 – 26
Make sure you’ve got these dates; you absolutely don’t want to miss this one. This is the largest international arts festival in the East of England, and the oldest in the UK. Over 16 days see amazing, unique, uplifting, inspirational and sometimes downright weird things not just in Norwich, but across Norfolk. Arguably the highlight of our cultural calendar.
Norwich Gaming Festival at The Forum
May 27 – Jun 2
A week of gaming, learning and creativity with a programme of talks, demos, workshops, demos and a host of indie, mainstream and retro games.
The Royal Norfolk Show at Norfolk Showground
Jun 26 – 27
This is the largest annual event in Norfolk, and the largest two-day agricultural event in the country. An event which has everything for all the family, you’ll find animals, displays, machinery local gifts and more besides!
Great British Cycling Festival – various locations
Jun 27 – 30
This is BIG news for the county: this new elite sports and mass participation festival will see a 100 mile closed road event start and finish in Norwich City Centre. The pro’s race will be on the 30th – it will be a spectacular watch, so get down there and cheer!
Head Out Not Home – Various City Centre Locations
July 4 – Aug 29
Imagine it: you’ve just finished work on a Thursday – the sun is shining and you’ve got no plans for the evening. You hear the sound of live music and entertainment in the streets of Norwich as you make your way home. You decide to stay out a bit longer, and meet your friends for a beer. There’s a barn dance going on in the market place, and the couple of pints you’ve just had tells you that it’s a good idea to join in. After, you head towards St Gregory’s Green where you sit with fish and chips and watch a folk band as the sun goes down.
Head Out Not Home is a programme of free entertainment organised by Norwich BID and NORCA, which sees dozens of live acts of all sorts, take to the streets of Norwich on a Thursday evening. It’s brilliant, and a really electric atmosphere that you don’t want to miss.
Lord Mayor’s Celebrations in Norwich City Centre
Jul 5 – 7
This is a huge city centre party for the whole public to take part in, all for free. With a street procession on Saturday, entertainers, fireworks, outdoor stages, a funfair, craft and food markets, duck races and more. Phew!
Run Norwich – Norwich City Centre
Feeling fit? Feeling not fit at all? Entries are not open yet for this 10k race which sees you bound around the city ticking off landmarks such as Carrow Road, the Castle, Cathedral, and historical Magdalen Street – so you’ve still got time to decide to take part! Or just watch if you’d prefer – it’s a really great atmosphere however you want to get involved.
Norwich Pride – Norwich City Centre
This free and inclusive celebration from the LGBT community for everyone. A real party-in-the-streets, this is a great day in the city for all the family.
See it Differently at Norwich Cathedral
August 7 – 18
Quite remarkably, this summer will see a 50ft high Helter Skelter installed in the soaring Nave of Norwich Cathedral. We’re pretty certain this is the first time a fairground ride has taken residence inside the medieval Cathedral, and this will give visitors the opportunity to see this iconic landmark like never before.
Aug 30 – Sep 1
Held over 3 days in the (glorious?) end of the summer, Sundown serves up a lineup of the best in best in bass and pop music. The lineup isn’t out yet, but you can get early bird tickets on their website…
Heritage Open Days, around Norwich and Norfolk
Sep 13 – 22
This is the 25th Heritage Open Days event, and this year’s theme is ‘people power’. This is a once-in -a-blue-moon opportunity to explore some of the area’s oldest and most mysterious places, many of which aren’t open to the public at any other time of the year. Always wanted to know what’s behind that door? Now’s your chance to find out.
Noirwich Crime Writers Festival – Norwich
Sep 12 – 15
This brilliant (and brilliantly named) crime writing festival brings some of the country’s best authors to Norwich, in a serious of talks, workshops and readings. If you’re a fan of crime writing, or fancy trying your hand at penning your own thriller, this event is for you.
Hostry Festival at Norwich Cathedral
This wonderful arts festival began in 2010, and arrives each October to transform Norwich Cathedral’s magnificent Hostry into a theatre and performance venue. For 2019, the festival will be showcasing a very special performance of the iconic 60s classic, ‘The Graduate’. Perfect atmospheric entertainment for a chilly autumn evening.
Norwich Christmas Lights switch-on
As it’s just gone, it feels a bit weird to be writing about ‘getting into the Christmas spirit’ again. But if you can just picture it: cold nights, the smell of waffles, the promise of twinkling lights, fireworks, and staying up late on a school night. The perfect start to the festive season in Norwich’s historic centre.
Cinderella at Norwich Theatre Royal
Dec 17 – Jan 19
This winter, it’s the turn of everyone’s favourite rags-to-riches story, as Cinderella dons her glass slippers to waltz into Norwich. Will she make it back for midnight? Will her evil sisters thwart her plans to escape the wicked stepmother? And what household items can she repurpose for a jewel-encrusted coach, in storytelling’s best upcycling ever. Tickets are already selling for this one, so snap yours up quickly!