Now the summer holidays have really begun, it can be difficult to think of ways to keep yourself and family entertained without emptying your wallet each day. Here are five FREE things to do in Norwich this week.
Image: A Cecil Aldin Black Beauty watercolour
Rediscover Black Beauty
It was a classic tale from many of our childhoods and now, 140 years after it was first published, you can rediscover the charm of Black Beauty in an exhibition at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. The exhibition is open until Saturday 25th November but if you visit up to 5th August entry is FREE! The book, by local author Anna Sewell, was first published by Jarrold & Sons in 1877 and went on to sell 50 million copies. To mark the anniversary, the Museum of Norwich has an exhibition of Cecil Aldin watercolours. Aldin was commissioned by Jarrold in 1912 to produce a series of 18 watercolours to illustrate a new edition. The water colours lay undiscovered for many years until the Jarrold family found them carefully stored in a box in 1982.
If the exhibition leaves you longing to stroke a real life Black Beauty, you can visit Redwings Horse Sanctuary, there are two rescue centres open to the public - Aylsham and Coldecott and both are FREE entry and open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. There are more Black Beauty events happening around the exhibition, go to visitnorwich.co.uk
PS Strangers' Hall is also offering free entrance this week, thanks to the 700th anniversary of the Norwich Freeman. Open until Sunday 6th August on selected days.
Take a look around Marble Hall
Image: Marble Hall, photo by Ricky Joe Burrage
You may regularly walk past the Aviva building near Norwich bus station but have you ever stepped inside? Surrey House (8 Surrey Street) is home to Marble Hall, a stunning building designed by local architect George Skipper. The Palladian exterior is impressive but the interior really has the wow-factor with 15 varieties of marble used to make 40 columns. Norwich was very lucky to end up with the impressive marble, it was originally destined for Westminster Cathedral but had to be sold on due to logistical difficulties. Inside, you'll see classically inspired frescos and a glass atrium, it also contains an 'air fountain'- an early form of air conditioning, a 12 pointed floor medallion and a chiming skeleton clock made for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Whilst this is a working building, it is open to members of the public free of charge during office hours Monday to Friday. FREE tours of the building can be arranged by calling 01603 681062.
Head Out, Not Home
Image: Betty Braun sweeping men off their feet!
Start your weekend early with a Thursday night out in Norwich. We know what you're thinking...this doesn't sound free? Well, actually, thanks to Norwich Business Improvement District, there is free city centre entertainment taking place every Thursday throughout August. Here's how it works, when you start clock-watching, desperate for the office day to end or you've had a busy day sightseeing and shopping, you'll see the streets filling up with crowds and you may hear the sound of a folk quintet or a soul band starting up. You'll definitely hear some "ooooh"s and "aahhhh"s as audiences take in the art of extreme yo-yo'ing, contact juggling, or the sight of the Betty Braun the Strong Lady who can lift men like feathers! So, tell your boss you have a meeting and skip out of the office for a prompt 4.40pm start! There'll be street performers and musicians on Gentlemen's Walk, Hay Hill, Westlegate and London Street. Check out the Head out, Not Home programme guide here
Tour our cathedrals
Norwich is extremely lucky to have two beautiful cathedrals dominating its skyline. Norwich Cathedral, the Anglican cathedral, is in the heart of historic Tombland, set in the wonderful surrounds of the Cathedral Close. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John Baptist is close to Chapelfield Gardens. Norwich Cathedral is the most complete Norman Cathedral in England and also boasts the largest Cathedral Close and Monastic Cloisters in the country. Discover the 900 year history and beauty of the cathedral with a FREE guided tour. Tours depart from the rear of the Nave on the hour between 11am - 3pm Monday to Saturday and on Sundays at 1pm and 2pm, lasting approximately 50 minutes.
Official tours of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist are £5 but you can drop in and take a look around by yourself without charge, the cathedral is open from 7.30am until 6:30pm every day of the year.
Visit The Forum
The Forum is one of the most iconic landmarks and meeting places in the city. It's free to enter, open seven days a week and there's always something going on, from art exhibitions to music and dance performances and crafts fairs. On Sunday, 6th August the Forum and Millennium Plain will be buzzing with energy as thousands of runners gear up for Run Norwich. Throughout the month you can catch the BBC Faces of Comedy exhibition from 10am-4pm and on Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st it's the Fitness, Health and Wellbeing Show. You'll also find Millennium Library at The Forum, it's one of the busiest libraries in the country, inside you'll find the Children's Library (which often has free family events running), there's also the Second Division Air Memorial Library, a Business Library and Norfolk Heritage Centre. See The Forum events calendar here.
COMING TO VISIT?
Greater Anglia have Advance fares from £10 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Greater Anglia 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.
To plan a trip to Norwich check out our website www.visitnorwich.co.uk