What's On in July

21 June 2024

What’s On in July 

What are you looking for throughout your July? Is it free outdoor entertainment complete with singing, dancing, and much more? Or perhaps you’d be interested in a night spent with writers from across Europe listening to new poetry and performances? And if none of that takes your fancy, how about an incredibly rare series of concerts from one of England’s largest pipe organs in the beautiful surrounds of a cathedral? 

Okay, we’ll admit it’s no coincidence that these events just so happen to be in the City of Stories throughout July – but don’t they sound good? And that’s just the start. In fact, there’s so much going on around Norwich this coming month that you really shouldn’t miss out! Read on for our round-up of what to see and do this July.

Norwich Summer Sessions 

If you’ve visited the City of Stories in summers been and gone, you may have been lucky enough to spot some of the fabulous free pop-up performances of Norwich Summer Sessions (formerly ‘Head Out, Not Home’) by the Norwich Business Improvement District and NORCA. And if you’ve seen a Norwich Summer Sessions performance, you’ll know how fantastic they truly are at creating a wonderful atmosphere around the city!  

Well, now in its eleventh year, Norwich Summer Sessions is making its return with another programme of street entertainment of all kinds. This time round, there’s street theatre, live music including jazz, folk, street brass, rock, and more. The best bit is, just like every year, it’s absolutely FREE to enjoy across the five city-wide stages! Stages can be found on London Street, Hay Hill, St Gregory’s Green, Gentleman’s Walk, and Westlegate. 

This year, Norwich Summer Sessions is split into two parts – Thursday evening performances on Thursday, July 11, July 18, and July 25 from 4pm8pm, and Sunday afternoon performances on Sunday, August 4, August 11, August 18, and August 25 from 12:30pm – 4:30pm. For more information about Norwich Summer Sessions and what acts are returning, clickhere!  

A man playing a guitar under a blue and white marquee.

Norwich Summer Sessions is the perfect way to take your day in the city to the next level!

Lord Mayor’s Weekend  

If you’re coming to Norwich this July, you cannot miss this iconic FREE event. It’s the time of year when the people of the City of Stories come together for the Lord Mayor’s Weekend (Saturday, July 13 – Sunday, July 14), with a huge programme of celebration on throughout the weekend to entertain anyone and everyone in the city.  

Hosted by Norwich City Council, expect vibrant colours and sounds of the carnival parade, along with tonnes of family activities and an open-air music festival headlined by the ‘UK Foo Fighters’ in Chapelfield Gardens! And on the Sunday, round off the fun of the weekend with the Great Norwich Duck Race along the River Wensum, where you’ll be able to back a duck for £2 each, with the winner receiving a £500 prize!  

The main event of the weekend is the Lord Mayor’s Procession, which is a tradition going back to 1408, making it the second-oldest parade of its kind in the UK! The procession, complete with song, dance, acrobats, giant puppets, flags, and much more, starts on Saturday, July 13 (3pm) at Tombland, before making its way to Chapelfield Gardens. For more information on the Procession, its route, and the full programme for the weekend, visit the Norwich City Council website here! 

A parade makes its way down the street with colourful flags

The Lord Mayor’s Weekend is always a fantastic city-wide event to take part in, people come in their thousands!

Norwich Pride 

Another one of the City of Stories biggest events, and perhaps the most popular, Norwich Pride makes its return on Saturday, July 27 to continue celebrating and championing the LGBTQIA+ community for its 16th year running. 

As usual, celebrations will be marked with masses of street entertainment, art exhibitions, Q&As and talks, stalls and a makers market across five locations, and who could forget the monumental City Centre March (which starts at City Hall at 1pm). 

And that’s just the start! It’s truly an incredible day to be in the City of Stories, the sense of community, the friendly atmosphere, and the wonderful artisan makers and their wares all really mean you have to see the day for yourself. For the full programme of events, check out the Norwich Pride website! 

50m rainbow flag in Pride parade

Norwich Pride creates a wonderful atmosphere amongst the community here in the City of Stories

European Poetry Festival – National Centre for Writing 

An event celebrating literary poetry, avant-garde performance, and the potential of collaboration is soon not only coming to the country, but thanks to Norwich being the home of the National Centre for Writing, the City of Stories too. During this wonderful evening (Thursday, July 4, 7:30pm – 8:30pm) you can join over a dozen poets presenting new works spanning languages, literatures, and the European continent right here in our fine city. It’s a rare and exciting opportunity!  

This night of European Poetry is held in The Auditorium at The Forum for just one-night only and costs £6-£10 per person on a pay what you wish basis! And with value like that, you truly cannot miss this fantastic chance to hear from some of Europe’s best poets. 

An orange sign hangs from an old building

Catch this rare night of poetry from across Europe for one-night only with the National Centre for Writing!

Thursford Gala Day 

After its most attended year in 2023, the Thursford Gala Day is back bigger and better than ever this July (Sunday, July 7, 11am – 5pm). This year’s lineup includes a showcase of over 100 exhibitors steam engines, mechanical organs, vintage vehicles, live music from Robert Wolfe and Sue’s Acoustic, popular street food vendors The Bucket List and East Coast Pizza Company, a BBQ, and a new aerobatic display from The Flying Comrades. We told you it was bigger and better! 

During the day, the Steam Museum will also be open, with vintage fairground rides, a selection of retail shops, and Thursford’s Barn Café serving hot & cold food and drink options if the street food doesn’t take your fancy! Tickets for the Thursford Gala Day are available for £14, with under-12s going FREE. Find out more and book your tickets on the Thursford website! 

A steam engine sits in front of a large welcome sign

The Thursford Gala Day is a wonderful day out for the whole family, no matter what you’re looking for!

Organ Reborn! – Norwich Cathedral 

Did you know? Norwich Cathedral has one of the biggest pipe organs in all of England! With an incredible 5,767 pipes that range from just an inch all the way up to 32 feet tall, it’s an incredible sight to see when visiting the Cathedral Grounds, and you can imagine it sounds just as beautiful! Now, following on from its completed restoration at the end of 2023, Norwich Cathedral are putting it through its paces with the Organ Reborn! 2024 Festival. 

During the week-long festival, visitors will be able to choose from three headline concerts, six organ recitals, two talks, and much more. The programme is packed. Highlights include the ‘Three Cathedral Choirs Concert’, where our very-own Norwich Cathedral will be joined by Ely Cathedral Choir and Peterborough Cathedral Choir (Saturday, July 6, 7pm, tickets from £15 per person), and ‘A Night at the Movies’, where Donald MacKenzie, organist of the Odeon in London’s Leicester Square, will provide improvised accompaniment to the Buster Keaton classic ‘Steamboat Bill Jr’ (Wednesday, July 10, 8pm – 9:30pm, £12 per person). And that’s just two shows! Truly, there’s more than enough to entertain anyone. Find out more on the Norwich Cathedral website! 

A huge pipe organ sits in a cathedral

The Organ Reborn! Festival is not to be missed here in Norwich, it’s a very rare opportunity!

Festival of Musicals – Norwich Theatre Playhouse

This July, you can choose to watch not one, not two, but three musicals, all in one day at Norwich Theatre Playhouse! So, if you’re into your trips to the theatre, you’ll absolutely love this. And the best bit is, if you book to watch all three, you can save up to £21 on the ticket costs – as if it wasn’t tempting enough already!

These shows, all an hour long, are a delightful and hilarious selection. So, what exactly is on? Here’s what you can expect to see:

Don’t miss this stage adaptation of one of Britain’s best-loved daytime television shows!

101 Dalmatians – Norwich Theatre Royal

And if three shows at the theatre wasn’t enough, what about this classic? Direct from London comes the smash-hit musical, 101 Dalmatians (Tuesday, July 9 – Saturday, July 13). When fashionista Cruella de Vil plots to swipe all the dalmatian puppies in town to create a new fur coat, there’s trouble ahead for Pongo, Perdi, and their litter.

The show is spectacular, bringing this iconic story to life on the stage using puppetry, show-stopping choreography, witty songs, and puppies! In fact, the puppies alone should be more than enough reason for you to book your tickets. Tickets are available for this show from just £10, so you’d be barking mad (see what we did there?) to miss it! Find out more and book your seats on the Norwich Theatre website.

The 101 Dalmatians Musical is not one to miss, especially for dog-lovers!

Finally Norwich Theatre has it’s Family Festival between 23 – 25 July at the Royal and Stage Two. There are lots of free and low cost things and activities to do for all generations so bring grandma and grandad along too!