That much-anticipated August Bank Holiday is fast approaching, and it’s the last bank holiday of the year before Christmas! So with that in mind we’ve compiled a list of 10 fun things to do, whether you’re planning a family break or an adults-only trip away – make this a weekend to remember!
Top image: Flamingos at Amazona Zoo
Kicking off the bank holiday weekend is the Head Out, Not Home early evening events on 25 August, which are bringing the hosts of Norwich storytelling podcast Tales from the Pigshed to the city’s streets. They’ll present stories and poems inspired by the blue historical plaques situated around Norwich in an outdoor live literature event – and there’ll be an opportunity for members of the general public to get involved in an open-mic session by sharing their own stories about Norwich, too! Your time to shine, perhaps?
Image: Norwich Radical Film Festival
The inaugural Norwich Radical Film Festival takes place over the bank holiday and is a cinema-lover’s paradise. Enjoy exclusive screenings (including the festival’s retrospective centre-piece, Johnny Got His Gun starring Timothy Bottoms, who’ll also be in attendance!), debates and discussions with directors and industry experts plus plenty of chances to network with filmmakers. With over 200 films from all over the world and pleasingly low ticket prices, this is a great shout for the bank holiday weekend! Find out more about the Norwich Radical Film Festival in our blog post here.
The Loddon Swan is going all-out during the bank holiday weekend; on Sunday 28 August watch the Harpoon Blues Band perform from 4pm onwards with BBQ food and a pint, and on bank holiday Monday spend a fun day in their courtyard enjoying traditional summer fair activities, including face painting, live music, arts & crafts stalls and much more – and the BBQ’s back, meaning hog roast heaven!
It’s time to get nostalgic: Holkham Hall is hosting Party in the Park - 80’s Celebration – an open-air concert on Saturday 27 August. See pop favourites Level 42 perform supported by other well-known names from the 80’s music scene – if ever there was a time for reminiscing with friends, this is it!
Image: Level 42
Although they’re great for enjoying an extra few pints on a Sunday night without the worry of work the next day, bank holidays are also the ideal time to find out more about how your favourite tipple is actually made – and you’re in the right place! For discerning whisky aficionados a tour of the English Whisky Company’s distillery, St George’s, is a great way to spend the day, whilst beer-lovers will love touring Woodforde’s brewery and finding out all about the beer-brewing process. Both include tastings and each company are proud award-winners for their fine produce, so rest assured that they really know what they’re talking about!
Image: Go Ape! Forest adventure
A day out at the zoo is fun for all ages, and at Amazona Zoo you can not only see a wonderful array of South American animals, but enjoy the Jumping Pillows too (kids and adults alike allowed on these) in their Outdoor Play Area! Norfolk proudly boasts various other wildlife experiences to enjoy as well, and our favourites include Banham Zoo, Africa Alive!, Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens and, for kids under 7 years, The Playbarn.
If you want to feel like an animal, instead (we’re talking monkeys here!) then Go Ape is the place for you. The vertically challenged amongst us, listen up: here you’ll all be swinging from the treetops regardless of your height! Explore the forest adventure course, complete with zip-wires, swings and obstacles, and afterwards why not book in for a Forest Segway adventure? It’s tonnes of fun and a guaranteed good laugh!
The annual All About Dogs show returns to the Norfolk Showground on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August, with arena events, dog shows, have-a-go activities and competitions to bring out owner’s competitive sides – so bring your pooch along and enjoy! If you’re sans-dog but crazy about those four-legged friends then never fear - it’s a lot of fun just dog-watching too!
On Saturday 27 August the Theatre Royal opens up their doors for their annual Open Day, where visitors can go behind-the-scenes at the theatre and see what it’s like to be one of the crew. It’s always a fantastic day so make sure you take the kids along for plenty of fun between 10am and 4pm. Top tip – they also have a sale of last year’s panto costumes at great prices!
Catch live theatre on the streets of Diss, a lovely market town in South-Norfolk, on Friday 26 August when Explorers Galorers will be following in the footsteps of globetrotter Phileas Fogg and putting on quite a show! Catch it at 12 and 2pm at Mere Park Pavilion.
Image: Barracudas Activity Camps
Norwich’s beloved Puppet Theatre is also a great place to head to this Bank Holiday, with a variety of events during the summer holidays; book in for their Family Workshop on 27 August when you can all create and take home some fantasy creature puppets!
Barracudas Activity Camps run all the way through the summer (25 July – 26 August) with a whole host of amazing activities to keep kids between 4 and a half and 16 years old entertained. They can try their hand at archery, fencing, swimming, kinball, creative arts and much more, and kids can be booked in for one day or multiple weeks, depending on how much free time you fancy having!
Norwich is lucky enough to boast 3 fantastic museums well within walking distance – Norwich Castle, The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell and Strangers’ Hall – plus Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse a little further afield in the Norfolk countryside! All are fantastic options for a rainy day, or to escape the heat for a few hours – whatever the weather, they guarantee an interesting and fun day out for all the family. Gressenhall has just opened their brand new exhibition space, Voices From The Workhouse, which tells the stories of Gressenhall’s many workhouse residents in the 1800’s, as well as plenty of interesting objects and facts about life in Gressenhall during that time – it’s well worth a visit!
Abellio Greater Anglia have Advance fares from £9 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Abellio also serves Colchester, Ipswich and Diss on the Norwich line. Direct trains also run from Cambridge.
East Midlands Trains runs services from Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.
Flights into Norwich served from Edinburgh, Manchester, Exeter, Aberdeen, Jersey*, Guernsey* and Amsterdam.