Houghton International Horse Trials, 24 to 27 May
The Houghton Horse Trials run – and jump – from Thu 24 to Sun 27 May. The major international horse trials, with competitors from as far as Australia and NZ, make a fantastic family day out. There’s a circus workshop for the kids and the ubiquitous bouncy castle. Seventy trade stands sell everything from jodhpurs and horse whips to garden swings, alongside food stands and the all-important bar. Top tip: ask when ‘trot up ‘ is. It’s usually Friday evening, when the horses are warmed down in preparation for the showjumping on Saturday. They pass in front of the house in their hundreds. An impressive sight.
The King’s train? Dad’s Army Day on the North Norfolk Railway, 27 and 28 May
The quaint stop of Weybourne of the North Norfolk Railway becomes Walmington-on-Sea on Sun 27 May and the bank holiday. Captain Mainwaring and his highly polished and well-oiled unit of the Home Guard will ensure no ‘Jerries’ get their hands on Corporal Jones’s sausages. No kidding (Mr. Hitler), the famous ‘Royal Train’ episode of the much loved TV series was filmed on the line here. Dig it out and get in character.
Soak up the colours at Stody Estate
Last chance to catch the amazing azaleas at the Stody Estate. See the calendar for days when they are open. They really are stunning. Did you know the Chinese call azaleas ‘Cuckoo Flowers?’ No? Now you do. There’s a sweet legend behind it. Otherwise so many gardens open this week you could walk one end of the county to the other through them. Holkham even opens up its private one. Go see what the butler saw in the pergola. And Creake Abbey has its annual and enormous Plant Lover’s Day on Sat 26 May.
‘Allo, Allo’ is at the Sheringham Little Theatre
Dad’s Army (see above) better watch out. Sheringham Little Theatre has been infiltrated by Herr Flick and co. The in-house amateur drama society are putting on the stage version of ‘Allo, Allo’ on Fri 25 and Sat 26 May. Just along the coast the excellent and musical Cromer and Sheringham Operatic Drama Society are performing ‘Sister Act’ all week. Back in the Little Theatre, an original show on Thu 31 May. It’s the ‘Giant Balloon Show’, with Dizzy O’Dare. Not just for kids, and said to be hilarious.
Emma Healey at the Holt Bookshop 25 May
Be quick to catch local bestselling authoress, a ‘publishing phenomenon’. Emma Healey (‘Elizabeth is Missing’) is launching her new novel ‘Whistle in the Dark’ on Fri 25 May evening at Holt Bookshop. Another local author well known beyond the county, Robert Greenfield, will be signing copies of his latest, ‘The Cedar Cage’ at Holkham Hall’s café midday on Mon 28 May.
The King’s Morris dance on Bank Holiday Monday
Keep it local with some Morris Dancing on the bank holiday, a cricket match at Holkham (various dates see calendar) and everything ‘Made in Norfolk’ at Felbrigg Hall on Wed 30 May. Bircham Windmill has its Country Day and the historic Bircham Newton RAF Museum holds an open day. Also the charming North Norfolk Country Fair all day Sun 27 May at Weybourne.
Be a lady at Fakenham on Sun 3 Jun
Don’t go! There’s still fun to be had at the end of the half term week: Fakenham Races Ladies’ Day on Sun 3 Jun (first race 2.20pm). Stop off at the famous Farmers’ market on Sat 2 Jun at Creake Abbey and stock up with Norfolk victuals and vitals. Same day: a weird and wonderful concert of ‘Coastal Sounds’ all afternoon in Blakeney Church. It’s free and you can drop in and out as you like. See www.soundingcoastalchange.org.
Wayfaring, Performance Art, Wells Beach, Fri 25 to Sat 26 May, 8-10pm, www.nnfestival.org.uk
Damien Hirst, Colour Space, Houghton Hall, to 15 Jul, every Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun and Bank Holiday Mon, 11.30am-5.30pm. www.houghtonhall.com
Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios, various venues, Sat 26 May to Sun 10 Jun, various times. www.nnopenstudios.org.uk
John Hurst Watercolours , St Nicholas Church Room, Blakeney, Sat 26 May to Fri 1 Jun, 10am-5pm.
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