Norfolk & Norwich Festival - the largest arts festival in the East of England and in the top 4 in the UK – is currently in full swing, offering street theatre, visual arts, Spiegeltent fun, plenty of dance, music and circus skills. The festival brings outrageous, unique and moving performances from around the world for 17 non-stop heady days, and the festival’s Tarmac Outdoor programme presents a range of fabulous free events throughout the festival programme.
There’ll be something to amaze, inspire and/or excite visitors of all ages, so make Norwich your destination this weekend.
Start your FREE weekend of fun by heading to The Forum for Museum of the Moon. You can’t fail to spot their giant inflatable moon, featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface from world-famous public artworks creator Luke Jerram. Take a deckchair and bathe in the light of the moon whilst enjoying lunar-inspired entertainment and live music. And don’t forget to visit after dark when it’s all lit up for maximum impact.
Head then to The Festival Gardens (otherwise known as Chapelfield Gardens); taking place this weekend (20 – 21 May) it’s a crazy mash up of all things weird and wonderful. There is one weekend a year in Norwich when you can go bonkers, where everyone else is bonkers too - and this is it!
The Adnams Spiegletent is one of our most favourite venues in the Festival. Once inside this magical, spectacular tent you feel anything is possible. Before all of the free stuff starts this weekend, how about booking the family into The Family Show. It’s a show by Brothers Famous Seamus and Sean-tastic promising “satire, surrealism and silly comedy with flashes of surprising acrobatic skill and dance routines”. There’ll be plenty of laughter to get you ready for a day of silliness! Tickets £6.
From midday Chapelfield Gardens will really come alive - the music will be playing, the food will be cooking, and a host of FREE outdoor events will be beckoning. There’ll be a variety of madcap, energetic, and frivolous entertainment including circus shows, roaming live performances, life-size interactive game zones, and other exciting oddities including Cian Kinsella with ‘Billy No Mates’. It’s a show which is described as “a trip into our lunatic 'subconsciousnesses', into the strange mess of our imaginations to make laughter, panic and dreams.” Sounds intriguing? We don’t know exactly what the day’s acts will consists of – because the Tarmac Outdoor programme is all about surprise and curiosity – but if you’re interested then head over there from midday to experience it for yourself.
The VR playground is moving around Norwich throughout the festival, and this weekend is a great opportunity to go and experience it for yourself as it will have relocated to Chapelfield Gardens. Put on a VR headset and be transported into another world, all created by the world’s only Thrill Engineer, Professor Brendan Walker, and his team of Thrill Laboratory technicians. Who knows what you’ll end up experiencing whilst you’re in there – it could be rollercoasters, it could jumping across huge structures at dizzying heights, or it could be something completely different! Experience the VR Playground in Chapelfield Gardens on 20 or 21 May from 12 – 6pm (and then in the Adnams Spigeltent from 6 – 10pm).
It’s not all for families; if you fancy something more adult-orientated check out these events taking place at the Spiegeltent: Nadine Shah (20 May, 10pm, Spiegeltent), Throes + The Shine (21 May, 10pm, Spiegeltent), Driftwood (certain dates between 17 – 28 May – see website for further details) and the Ragroof Teadance (20 & 21 May, 1.30pm).
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.