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Nelson and Norfolk Exhibition Plus Fringe Events


Nelson & Norfolk is a landmark exhibition at Norwich Castle, celebrating the country's greatest naval hero and exploring his relationship with our county. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see objects which have never before been brought together in a single display. To complement this extensive exhibition, there is also a programme of special events, talks and workshops.



Born in 1758 in Burnham Thorpe, Horatio Nelson joined the Navy at just 12 years old and quickly ascended through the ranks. His most famous engagement came in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar when, under Nelson's leadership, the Royal Navy defeated the French and saved Britain from Napoleon's threat of invasion. Tragically, Lord Nelson was shot and killed by a sniper whilst leading the battle and was later transported back to England for a state funeral as a national hero.

There are plenty of great things to see in the exhibition including loans from the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Collection, as well as important material from private lenders and local collections. 



1. The Tricolour Ensign of the French warship, Le Généreux, which took place at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. The flag has not been on public display for more than 100 years and, at a vast 16 meters by 8.3 meters, forms the centrepiece of the exhibition.

2. Incredibly, visitors will be able to see the actual musket ball, which killed Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The bullet has been generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection; this is the first time the bullet, which is usually on display at Windsor Castle, has ever been displayed in Norfolk.

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Image: The Nelson Bullet, (1805). Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

3. In one room, together for the first time since 1891, are the hat and coat Nelson wore during the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

4. A charming locket which contains a mystery – two intertwined locks of hair; one dark and one light. Is one Nelson’s and one Emma Hamilton’s? The locket commemorates the Battle of the Nile.

5. The Trafalgar Drape from Nelson's funeral car. The drape is made of dramatic black velvet and bears the word Trafalgar. Nelson’s five-day state funeral in London resulted in an outpouring of public grief, not dissimilar to that which followed the death of Lady Diana in 1997. 



Exhibition Tour: Get the most from the exhibition with a tour from its curator, Ruth Battersby Tooke. Let the artefacts and history come to life as Ruth gives you an inside guide to the stories behind Nelson and his links to the county.Tours take place on Tuesday 1st and Tuesday 8th August at 2pm.

Lunchtime talks: Informative talks are taking place at Norwich Castle throughout the exhibition with guest speakers on 8th, 22nd, 29th August and 5th, 12th and 14th September. Topics include 'Restoration of the Nelson monument', 'Nelson in the Norfolk Archives' and 'From the Battle of the Nile to the capture of Le Généreux'. You can drop in to the talks (12.30pm - 1pm) without booking and entry is free with general admission to the castle.

Ropemaking demonstration: Des Pawson MBE is one of the world's leading authorities on knots and sailors' ropework. A researcher and ropework historian, Des has written countless books on the subject and has been crafting with rope since he was a young boy. He and his wife Liz will be giving a demonstration on the craft on Tuesday 14th September from 2.30pm.

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Image: The Ensign of Le Généreux, St Andrews Hall, Norwich, October 2016. © Norfolk Museums Service


Find your own place in Nelson's story by creating your own artwork or using Nelson as your inspiration for some creative writing. There are two workshops for adults taking place in July and August.

Nelson Landscapes: Local artist, Garry Pereira will lead a one-day workshop exploring artists contemporary with Nelson and teaching you how to create your own landscape in oils. The class runs on Wednesday 30th August from 11am - 4pm. Adults £25, Conc £22.50, Museums Pass £20,  booking is essential - call 01603 493625.

Creative Writing Summer School, two-day workshop: Choose from one of two courses - Nelson Norfolk Narratives (Monday 31st July and Tuesday 1st August) inspired by the exhibition, or, Writing the Visual (Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th August) using visual art as your stimulus.  The workshops are Adult £50, Conc £45, Museums Pass £40 for the two-day school which runs 11am - 4pm. Booking is essential - call 01603 493625

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Image: Admiral Lord Nelson, 1801 by William Beechey (1753 -1839).  © Norfolk Museums Service



The most iconic portrait of Nelson was painted by William Beechey in 1801, if you'd like to know the history behind it, don't miss this special inside-look at the portrait and its important place in the exhibition. Portrait of an Extraordinary Man takes place on Monday 11th September and begins at 11am with arrival coffee and is followed by a talk on the Beechey portrait from exhibition curator, Ruth Battesby Tooke. Guests can then digest the morning's information over a two-course lunch before having a guided tour of the exhibition. The event runs from 11am - 2.30pm and costs £20 per person. Tickets can be booked online via the East Anglian Art Fund website



If you're looking for more ways to enjoy the story of Lord Nelson, take a look at our blog post on Nelson-themed things to do in and around Norwich.

Or, take part in a Nelson Tour with Tourist Information centre guides

• In the Footsteps of Nelson – Friday 11 August
• In the Footsteps of Nelson – Friday 29 September
• Trafalgar day Tour – Saturday 21 October
All tours start at 11am and depart from Erpingham Gate at Cathedral. More info & tickets:



Greater Anglia have Advance fares from £9 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