Norwich is bursting with wonderful heritage treasures, as are the surrounding historic market towns. This year the Heritage Open Days programme is bigger than ever with more than 250 local events granting you FREE access to some of the hidden corners of our history.
From Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th September you will be able to step inside buildings that are usually closed to the public, hear expert talks, take behind the scenes tours and watch history brought to life through archive footage.
There are events taking place across the county with a mix of pre-book and drop-in events.
Image: Take a guided heritage tour of the architecture at the Old Skating Rink Gallery
The Friendly Invasion on Film: American Airman in Norfolk
75 years ago, the US 8th Army Air Force arrived in Norfolk bringing a ‘Friendly Invasion’ of around 50,000 USAAF personnel to the region. With them came the big band music of Glenn Miller, the delights of peanut butter, the art of jitterbugging and a taste for Coca Cola. The 2nd Division USAAF Memorial Library, inside Millennium Library at The Forum, is showing a compilation of archive film footage between Thursday 7th and Saturday 9th September with screenings 10.30am-12.30pm and 2.30pm-4.30pm. This is a drop-in event with a maximum of 12 people per session, so arrive early to guarantee yourself a place.
Take a river trip on the oldest hire cruiser afloat
Herbert Woods will be opening 'Spark of Light' to the public between 7th and 10th September, so visitors can view this exciting piece of Broads history. Spark of Light was built in 1926 by the Broadland pioneer Mr Herbert Woods at his boatyard in Potter Heigham; she formed part of the 'Light Cruiser' fleet until the 1950s and became a design replicated by many of the other Broads boating operations. Spark of Light has been restored for 2017 and returned to the Herbert Woods hire fleet. This is your chance to step on-board this grand old lady of the Broads and uncover her colourful past while enjoying a short river trip along the Thurne. River Trips will take place Thursday - Saturday at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm, and Sunday 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm. If you want to guarantee your place you can book by calling 0800 144 4472 or emailing email@example.com.
Pull’s Ferry Watergate Room
Pull’s Ferry is one of the iconic landmarks in the city; sitting in one of the most picturesque spots along the river next to the Cathedral Close, it’s one of the most photographed sights in Norwich. This is your chance to step inside the 15th-century building to see the Watergate Room, which is situated over the archway above the Wensum. Visitors will be able to see a display of historic pictures and information about Pull’s Ferry through the years. The Watergate Room will be open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 5pm. You can drop in with no booking required.
St Peter Mancroft Ringing Chamber
This beautiful church in the centre of the city is known for having the earliest known record of a full peal which was completed by its ringers in 1715. During Heritage Open Days, you can visit the historic ringing chamber and have a go at chiming an 18th-century bell. This is a drop-in event with no booking required, session times are Thursday and Friday 2pm-4pm, Saturday 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm and Sunday 11.30am-1pm.
The Old Skating Rink Gallery (Country & Eastern on Bethel Street) houses a stunning and unique collection of object and artworks from South Asia. Even the building itself has the wow-factor as a former Victorian roller skating rink. Visit on Friday (9.30am-5pm) where there is an Adivasi Art Film screening, following the story of a mural artist from Jharkhand at 11am and 2.30pm. Or, visit Saturday when you can join an architectural tour of the building at 11am and again at 2.30pm.
Wymondham Vintage Day
This lively south Norfolk market town will be taken over by vintage themed stalls and collections from the 1920s to the 1980s for the final day of the Heritage celebrations. There’ll be classic cars, motorcycles, live music in the Market Place and even the chance to indulge in a vintage afternoon tea. Children can enjoy some retro games in Priory Gardens and everyone is encouraged to enter the spirit in their best vintage outfits! Join the fun on Sunday between 10am and 4pm.
To see the full programme online go to heritageopendays.org.uk
Greater Anglia has 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