Christmas may seem to be everywhere at the moment – in shops, on TV, in Norwich’s streets (Norwich’s sparkling Christmas Lights are switched on tomorrow evening!) – however there’s plenty to do around here that doesn’t involve festive celebrations.
Here are our favourite winter non-Christmassy activities to keep you entertained through the chilly days and weeks; our 'winter wishlist', if you will!
Top image: Eikoh Hosoe - Ordeal by roses #15 (Masters of Japanese Photography, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts)
Norwich Castle is always a great pick to entertain every age, whether you’re visiting with kids, grandparents or just by yourselves. They offer a fantastic programme of exhibitions and events throughout the year, with permanent collections showcasing fascinating objects, art collections (the current Fishermen & Kings: The Photography of Olive Edis exhibition is brilliant) and plenty of events for children of all ages. Check out their Fighting Gallery tours where you can learn about the Castle’s defensive past; they run periodically with the next three being 10 December 2016, 14 and 28 January 201 - usual museum admission applies plus £3.50 per adult and £2.80 per child.
Fishermen & Kings: The Photography of Olive Edis exhibition at Norwich Castle
ReFashion - Norwich’s free event at the beautiful St Andrew’s Hall is all about preventing clothes and textile waste whilst providing plenty of fun for stylish attendees. Learn how to upcycle your old clothes and turn them into something exciting and new, browse second-hand and vintage clothing sales, enjoy catwalk shows from local retailers and much, much more. Definitely one for any fashion lover! 21 November, 4.30 – 8.30pm.
ReFashion Norwich at St Andre's Hall
For a moving evening of music, The RAF in Concert promises rousing musical entertainment, featuring a mix of “show tunes, classical pieces, legendary big band numbers and stirring military marches” – all performed by the RAF’s finest musicians at the Theatre Royal. Sunday 4 December, 7pm. Tickets £8 - £25; buy online here.
Head to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and see not only their amazing, free to enter permanent collections (with art and objects spanning 5,000 years) but two brilliant exhibitions currently taking place there: Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific (until 12 February 2017) and Masters of Japanese Photography (until 19 March 2017).
Nobuyoshi Araki - Tokyo Still Life (Masters of Japanese Photography, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts)
For fun inside (out of the chilly weather) Cryptic Escape has you covered! Test your brains and have fun at the same time in their Escape Rooms; you’ll be given 60 minutes to collect the clues and solve the puzzles. Pick from 3 games, each with different storylines, and work in groups of 2 – 5 people to secure your escape!
Whether you’re more of a beer lover or a whisky fan, Norfolk has you covered with two award-winning companies. Woodforde’s Norfolk Ales have a brewery in Woodbastwick, near the Broads, where you can sample much of their range of beers as well as taking a tour of the brewery (selected dates, more info here) or learn more about The English Whisky Company’s products at their St George’s Distillery, where you can also take the St Georges Tour. They’re run 7 days a week, every hour on the hour between 10am – 4pm and cost £10 per person.
English Whisky Company have a great range of products to taste, and you can take their St Georges Tour too!
If your interest lies more in current affairs then the University of East Anglia's 'Brexit Means Brexit' talks cover key topics surrounding Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, asking questions such as "What is at stake?", "What are the options?" and "What kind of Britain do we want?". These events are free and open to all. 17 November, 24 November and 1 December, all start at 6.30pm.
Finally, there's nothing quite like experiencing an incredible live orchestra; the Norwich Philharmonic celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2016 with a special season of events, and their Korngold Violin Concerto Dvorak Symphony No. 5 on 10 December is a must-see, culminating in a finale of Dvorak's lyrical Fifth Symphony. It's bound to be breathtaking!
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.