Festival: Heritage Open Days, various venues, Norwich, September 9-12 2010
Norwich has become a key city for the annual Heritage Open Days spree; after English Heritage took the campaign over last year, the industrious team at Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) played a key role in organising a vast range of events, culminating in a place on the newly-formed national Steering Board for the festival.
They’re hoping to inspire regions with more embryonic plans, and their own endeavours branch out to The Broads, Great Yarmouth and South Norfolk for 2010, working with councils and authorities to assemble an impressively diverse draw with separate programmes in each vicinity.
“We have worked closely in these areas, and we think there should be something for everyone,” says HEART’s Sophie Cabot, warning that tickets will be hot property.
“We expect very high demand for some events. The majority are just ‘turn-up’ affairs, so people won’t have lost out if there is something they can’t get a ticket for.”
Pre-booked quick sellers include tours of the Carrow House Costume and Textile Study Centre, excursions up the tower of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist (“you will need to be fairly fit,” warns the accompanying description for the spire used as a landmark by US pilots during World War II) and a look inside the gaol at Norwich Castle featuring phrenology, corporal punishment and grisly executions.
The Norwich Early Dance Group also give performances to visitors at the city’s Masonic Centre, and there’s a one-off backstage tread through the glamorous Theatre Royal.
Further afield, the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum, an operations building since 1935 with 16 major exhibition rooms, opens near Horning, and a "history walk" explores the use of lime through the ages at Whitlingham Country Park on the Broads.
The programme launches tomorrow (September 8 2010) with Heritage Moveable Feast, a "unique historic dining experience" offering intrepid foodies a three-course dinner via bus rides between the 13th century Great Hospital, Grade I-listed Medieval Dragon Hall and Georgian Assembly House.
Visit the online programme for full details.