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Norfolk Diary

Adventures, ramblings and photos featuring locations and events in and around Norfolk. If you know of an event happening in Norfolk, share it with us (contact

Houghton Revisited, Houghton Hall, Norfolk

Our visit to the famed Houghton Revisited exhibition finally arrived on Monday and we couldn’t have picked a better day. The weather was perfect; blue skies, wispy clouds and cool breeze.

Houghton Hall, Norfolk

The magnificent art collection of Great Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, sold to Catherine the Great to adorn the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, has been reassembled in its spectacular original setting of Houghton Hall for the first time in over 200 years.

Houghton Revisited has now been extended to run until 24 November and is a unique opportunity to view one of the most famous art collections of eighteenth-century Europe. The display includes paintings from the English, French, Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools, with masterpieces by Van Dyck, Poussin, Albani, Rubens, Rembrandt, Velazquez and Murillo.

Houghton Hall, now the family seat of Sir Robert Walpole’s direct descendant, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, is considered one of the country’s finest Palladian houses.

The Hall was designed to house Walpole’s prized collection of Old Master paintings, and the magnificent interiors and furnishings designed by William Kent are also still intact. The paintings in the Houghton Revisited exhibition are hung as close as possible to their original positions in the State Rooms, bringing them back to the splendour of more than two centuries ago.

As well as hosting the Houghton Revisited exhibition in 2013, Houghton’s unique history and interior, the award-winning five acre garden, the contemporary sculpture park, playground and restaurant, offer something of interest to everyone, and make for a great day out for all the family.

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Blakeney Quay, Norfolk

Blakeney Quay, Norfolk

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Houghton Revisited – a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Last week saw the opening of Houghton Revisited, a collection of Old Master paintings in one of the finest Palladian houses in Britain. This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of the most famous art collections of the 18th century at the historic Houghton Hall between 17 May and 29 September.

PaintingThe magnificent art collection of Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, was sold to Catherine the Great in 1779 to adorn the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Over 70 paintings from the collection, including works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Velazquez, Poussin and Murillo are now reassembled for the first time in 230 years for display in their original setting for this unmissable blockbuster exhibition.

Houghton Hall was designed to house Walpole’s prized collection of Old Masters, and the magnificent interiors and furnishings designed by William Kent are still intact. The paintings in the Houghton Revisited exhibition will be hung in their original positions in the State Rooms, bringing them back to the splendour of more than two centuries ago.

Tickets to the exhibition (which also includes entry to the public areas of the Hall, the beautiful gardens and grounds) are £18 for Adults, £10 for Children, £46 for Family (2 adults & 2 children).

NB – There are limited number of half price family tickets available for the May and August bank holidays (10 for each day).

For more information, visit

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Art Show brings the Assembly House Alive!

The Assembly House Art Show 2013: ART ALIVE! opens today in the heart of Norwich and continues until Wednesday 8th May.

Everyone is welcome to this major contemporary art exhibition which features new work by more than 120 artists from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, including installations, textiles, sculpture, pottery, paintings, photographs and video.

Curated by Yvonne and John Millwood, ART ALIVE! is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday and entrance to the exhibition is free.

For more information on this must-see event, click here to visit the website.

The Assembly House Art Show 2013: ART ALIVE!

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First snowdrops – Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich

First snowdrops of 2013 at Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich

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Snow and sunshine in Norfolk!

Snow and sunshine in north Norfolk

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Happy New Year for 2013!

Happy New Year for 2013!

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The fungi season is back!

Sunlight through the woods at Blickling whilst foraging for fungi

One of my passions is wandering around damp woods with my camera, through the falling leaves of Autumn scattered in sunshine. There’s nothing quite lie it. And hunting for fungi is the perfect excuse…

See also

Fly agaric toadstool emerging at Blickling Park

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Corpusty Bonfire Night 2012

*** This year’s Corpusty Bonfire Night is Saturday, 2 November 2013 ***

Corpusty fireworks 2012

Just a quick reminder that Corpusty Bonfire (and Fireworks) Night is on Saturday 3rd November this year (2012). Always a great night (see Please donate generously! It takes a great amount of time, effort and cost to put them on every year. For more information, visit the Corpusty Bonfire Night group page at Facebook.

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Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival coming up

Cromer and Sheringham Arts FestivalThe Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival (COAST) is coming up again at the end of October. After so much celebration in the metropolis, what with the Jubilee and the Olympics, it will be good to round off the year with some entertainment that is all our own. This is COAST year three, and what began in 2010 as something of an experiment, has now grown into a certain maturity. It’s something we have come to count on and look forward to. And once again, the Festival will be drawing on a wide range of local talent and involving the active participation of hundreds of local people.

As before, the eight days of COAST are timed to coincide with the schools’ autumn half-term holiday and to help prolong the seaside season. With a scheduled programme of some eighty events, we are confident expectations are not going to be disappointed. There is another rich mix of entertainment and stimulation on offer – of music, art, film, performance, talks and – particularly for youngsters – lots of hands on stuff.

John Hurst Watercolours

If the idea of eighty events going on in a little over a week sounds a bit too much of a good thing, it’s worth remembering that many are exhibitions and activities that carry on throughout the Festival. With the one-off performances, the programme organisers have taken extra care this time round to eliminate the timetable clashes that can cause frustration – no one can be in two places at the same time.

Geographically, COAST’s venues stretch from Overstrand in the east to Sheringham in the west, with all points in between. To make navigation between them easier for visitors, the programme booklet will cluster events around four hubs: Cromer, the Runtons, Overstrand, and Sheringham. And a high proportion of the one-off events will be staged in five main venues: Sheringham Little Theatre, Cromer Community Hall (Centre), Virginia Court Hotel, Oddfellows Hall, and Overstrand Church.

Lots of hard work and commitment from their small team of dedicated volunteers helps to ensure a quality and diverse programme. And recognition and support from agencies like Norfolk Coast Partnership, NNDC Big Society, Norfolk County Council, Cromer and Sheringham Town Councils, and Overstrand and Runton Parish Councils, all help to ensure that over 70% of events are completely free of charge.

It’s always invidious to single out particular events from such a big spread, but one or two things this year command special mention. I’m thinking particularly of the respective offerings by uncle and niece, Harvey and Fiona Pitcher. Harvey is a Russian scholar and translator and has been a Cromer resident since the early 1970s. At 3.30pm on 29 October at Virginia Court Hotel, he’ll be reading his translations of some of Anton Chekhov’s early comic short stories. Chekhov recalled his youthful time as a medical student: ‘First, I’d make my patients laugh. Then I’d treat them’.

The following day, at 2.00pm in Sheringham Little Theatre, Fiona Pitcher, probably best known in these parts as the creator and executive producer of BBC2’s annual wild life documentary, ‘Springwatch’, will be taking us behind the scenes of her ten-year career as a TV director and journalist, and entertaining us with clips from some of her most notable programmes. Her work as a television editor in the field of natural history has taken her to Africa and many foreign parts, but she’ll also be recounting how ‘Springwatch’ came home to Norfolk.

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