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Whether you’re visiting Norwich for the first-time, or you’ve visited so much you’ve lost count, there’s some absolute must-sees for every time you’re here. But if you’re looking for something new, or even the best way to get involved with the local scene, look no further than the exciting events on throughout the summer.
Great for all ages, these events are fun, affordable, and most of them only come around this time of year, so you don’t want to miss them! From outdoor cinemas to after-dark dino-hunting, the City of Stories has something for everyone. Here are some of our top picks of the best family events in Norwich & Norfolk this summer!
Be warned, this blog doesn’t feature all that is on throughout Norwich & Norfolk this summer, there’s way too much for one blog! For even more great ideas on how to spend your time in our fine county, give our ‘Free Things for Families to do this Summer‘ blog a read!
Sundays in the City of Stories are about to get much more exciting. Introducing Norwich Summer Sessions, a programme of FREE street entertainment across the city. Starting from 12:40pm on Sunday, July 30 and taking place every Sunday throughout summer until Sunday, September 3, you can find five stages across the city hosting some incredible acts, from the best local musicians to exhilarating Covent Garden Entertainers.
In fact, if you’ve been to Norwich in previous summers, you might have already had a taste of what to expect. Formerly known as ‘Head Out, Not Home’, this event by the Norwich Business Improvement District is celebrating its tenth year running with the brand-new name and even brighter colours.
So, expect the same jaw-dropping acts and incredible performances, only this time with a little bit more oomph and festival atmosphere across the city every week! The five stages you can find these acts on are: The Forum, Westlegate, St Gregory’s Green, London Street, and Gentleman’s Walk.
So, make your time in Norwich that much more exciting by planning to see all five stages and the incredible acts performing on them. Visit our huge range of independent businesses, pop into our delightful cafés, or settle down for lunch with our tasty restaurants, and enjoy a Sunday like you’ve never known!
The programme for Norwich Summer Sessions is managed by NORCA, including a large range of both national and local acts, with a performer from each of the last ten years returning once again. For more information about Norwich Summer Sessions and what acts are returning, click here!
Who doesn’t love a trip to the cinema? There’s nothing quite like losing yourself in a great story with thrills, laughs, and so much more. It’s a good way to spend some time with the family, while finding a new favourite watch! But sometimes a trip to the cinema means we can’t make the most of that summer sunshine… Or can we?
Enjoy the outdoors, watch some of cinema’s biggest blockbusters, and wind back the clock as Eaton Park host Pop Up Pictures Outdoor Cinema this summer! Starting with back-to-back screenings of Matilda the Musical and The Greatest Showman on Friday, August 25, you can watch both movies on one ticket! (£10.99 for early bird general admission.)
Or maybe you’re feeling a bit more action? Start the day with some live music as the Avi80rs play all the 1980’s hits, then catch the high-octane thrills of Top Gun: Maverick on Saturday, August 26! (£10.99 for early bird general admission.) Still feeling the musicals? Not to worry, you can watch one of the most famous musicals of all-time, Grease, on Monday, August 28. (£13.20 for early bird general admission.) Finally, what better way to finish than with the hard-hitting biopic Elvis on Tuesday, August 29? (£10.99 for early bird general admission.)
Choose between bringing your own picnic to enjoy with the family in the sunshine or grab some delicious bites from up to eight street food vendors. Plus, there’s a fully stocked, licenced bar. Both are available before and during these smash-hit screenings, so no one misses out!
Ticket prices vary with each movie screening, but every adult admission gets a child in for FREE! And with early bird sales going on right now, you absolutely can’t miss out on what promises to be some amazing nights at Eaton Park!
Have you seen Plantation Garden before? If not, now is your chance to see it in style! One of Norwich’s best kept secrets, this 3-acre Grade-II English Heritage registered garden was established over 100 years ago in an abandoned chalk quarry, just 600 yards from the city centre.
Here, you’ll find a giant gothic fountain, beautiful flower beds, woodland walkways, a ten-metre long Victorian-style greenhouse, and rustic bridge. It costs just £2 to enter, and it is gorgeous. And for the summer, Plantation Garden’s ever-popular summer events return!
First, how does their Music & Tea Sunday Programme sound? Join in the fun with tea, coffee, and home-baked cakes from 2pm – 4pm every week from Sunday, July 2 – Sunday, September 10. Each week will feature different live, local music too, which creates an amazing atmosphere as you enjoy everything Plantation Garden has to offer.
There’s no need to book, simply turn up on the day, and enjoy nature surrounding you with some delicious bakes, all while just a few minutes’ walk away from the hustle and bustle of the City of Stories! Find out more here.
And what better setting to hostsome theatrical performance than Plantation Garden? For a family-friendly tale, Don Quixote is the show to see. Expect misadventure and chivalry in this one-and-done performance of this iconic tale! Tickets cost £10 per child, and £15 per adult, with family tickets available for £45.
If you’re looking for something utterly unique, Strange Fascination Theatre’s puppet show of Alice Through the Looking Glass is the show for you and the family. With just one performance on Saturday, August 5, this professional troupe of actors will take you all on a journey through the delightfully strange world of the Looking Glass.
It’s a show full of colourful, hilarious characters, handmade puppets, audience interaction, songs, jokes, and plenty of fun! Admission into this show costs £9.50 per child under 16, and £12.50 per adult, with a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) available at a discounted rate of £39.
Or maybe you’re feeling some more outdoor cinema? Plantation Garden have got that covered too, with six screenings over six days of some of our favourite movies! Start off with Disney’s latest live-action remake, Little Mermaid (Friday, August 25), or catch the movie icons with Romeo and Juliet (Saturday, August 26) and Jaws (Sunday, August 27).
Then, they’re back with a bang in September as you can watch Mad Max: Fury Road (Friday, September 1), the new Super Mario Bros. Movie (Saturday, September 2), and Wes Anderson’s latest project, Asteroid City! (Sunday, September 3). All of these films start screening at 7pm, with tickets costing £13.20 for adults, and £8.70 for children, with family tickets available at £32.80. Is there a more magical night than under the stars in Plantation Garden with these incredible films?
For one night only this summer, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down at ROARR!. Visit the park from 6pm – 10pm on Saturday, August 5, and get ready to discover some wild nightlife from just £9.95 per person.
Dare to explore the Valley of the Dinosaurs once the sun’s gone down, take on the Predator High Ropes after dark, or handle some seriously creepy crawlies at ROARR!’s Animal Encounters!
All that discovery got you feeling hungry? ROARR! have got that covered, with some delightful street vendors serving up tasty food, from Bucket List loaded fries, to BBQ treats from Swosh Nosh, and even barista-style coffee from Deans Beans.
There’s plenty of stalls on show too, with Norwich Astronomy, Twinkle SEN, and Dereham Theatre Company all making an appearance. There’ll even be some live music from the Big Summer Blowout Band! What’re you waiting for? Don’t miss out on this exciting and unforgettable night! Find out more and book your tickets here.
How do you make an impressive 18th-century Palladian Hall steeped in history and filled with interactive experiences and beautiful nature even better? A huge summer calendar of events, of course! Every year, you can expect some outstanding seasonal events at Holkham Hall. And we can tell you now, this summer’s schedule at Holkham does not disappoint, especially for family performances.
Start your August off by joining Holkham in their Walled Garden for some wonderful nights of family theatre. Catch the exciting classic ballad of ‘Robin Hood’, made into a fast-moving, fun-packed show (Wednesday, August 2, 5:30pm – 8pm). Or gather round for the open-air adaptation of David Walliam’s ‘Bad Dad’, a story of a famous racetrack driver turned getaway driver to provide for his son. (Tuesday, August 8, 5:30pm – 8pm.)
There’ll also be showings of some timeless classics brought to the present day, like William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, which has been turned into a musical and adapted into modern language! (Wednesday, August 16, 5:30pm – 8pm.)
And, for perhaps the most iconic of all plays, Holkham will be showing ‘Romeo and Juliet’, just as the very first audiences would have seen it – in the open-air, with an all-male cast, Elizabethan costumes, music, and dance. (Wednesday, August 23, 6:30pm – 8:30pm.)
For more information on everything Holkham Hall have got planned this summer, be sure to visit their website here. There’s enough to keep you busy across the entire holiday!
So, there you have it. Some of the biggest and best events going on around Norwich and Norfolk this summer. Of course, there is a lot more excitement going on around the City of Stories at all times, so be sure to check out our ‘What’s on’ page. And, if you’re looking for some activities around Norwich completely free of charge, be sure to check out our ‘Free Things for Families to do this Summer’ blog!