Make the most of the month of May with our pick of events taking place in the East of England.
With arts, food festivals, pop up markets, dog shows and more, there’s plenty to keep you entertained between the bank holidays.
Lambing Time, until 12 May, 10.30am-5pm
Wimpole Hall, Arrington, Cambs
Celebrate the arrival of spring as newborn lambs frolic in the fields. Head to Home Farm to meet the rare breed ewes and lambs and if you’re lucky you may see a live birth. Learn more about lambing from the farm staff. Normal admission applies. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate
Festival by Norfolk By Design, 1 May – 29 September
The Stables, Houghton Hall, Norfolk
‘Festival’ will be Norfolk by Design’s third pop-up exhibition of art and objects by artists and makers from Norfolk and East Anglia.The exhibition will celebrate and respond to the work of sculptor Henry Moore, an icon of the 20th century, who along with his contemporaries was a key contributor to 1951’s Festival of Britain, that embodied the sense of optimism of a country that looked forward to the second half of the century, following the devastation experienced during WWII. www.houghtonhall.com/visitor-information/norfolk-by-design-festival
Spring Beer Festival, 4-5 May
Chelmsford City Racecourse
From 12-8pm, you can sip and taste over 60 different beers and ciders from around the world. Don’t miss live music from FUNK2K on the Saturday and a performance from The Bavarian Stompers on Sunday. www.chelmsfordcityracecourse.com
Hertford Castle Craft Market & Open Day, 5 May
Hertford Castle, Hertford, Herts
To mark the end of the month-long Hertford Arts Festival, Hertford Castle will open its doors for the first time this year on Sunday 5 May. The annual Hertford Castle Craft Market will take place on the Castle lawn from 12 – 4pm with free entry. There will be over 40 craft stalls exhibiting and selling an array of merchandise, creative free art workshops for children out on the castle lawn, food vans and a chance to see inside the castle. www.hertfordcastle.co.uk/
Lights! Planets! People!, 8 May
Norwich Arts Centre, Norfolk
This funny drama is quite unique – the central character is a bipolar 60 year old women with a funny, sad and wise take on the world and Naylor combines humour and insight to create an intimate, exhilarating and inspirational story with a central character of an age we see very little of on the stage or screen. Entry is pay what you can afford! www.norwichartscentre.co.uk
Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Norfolk, 10-26 May
Multiple venues across Norwich & Norfolk
The vast and wide-ranging programme showcases artists from around the world and the region presenting a huge variety of work and events throughout the city and around the county, which spans performance, theatre, music, visual arts, literature, circus, outdoor and family events. It includes world and UK premieres, one-off spectaculars, and a host of free events across the Festival. Highlights include Hannah Jane Walker’s highly anticipated new show ‘Highly Sensitive’, using games and poetry to investigate toughness and weakness, British soul artist Beverley Knight and Gravity & Other Mythsmultiple award-winning production ‘A Simple Space’ , which comes to Norwich for first time, to headline The Adnams Spiegeltent. www.nnfestival.org.uk
Loddon Family Dog Show, 12 May
The Jubilee Hall playing field in George Lane, Loddon
Between 11.30am-5pm, crowds will gather on the playing field for a day of family fun. Entertainment will be provided by the Loddon Brass Band, and the Michaela Jane School of Dance as well as K9 Capers and the Norfolk Gun Dog display team. Among the dog classes in the show will be ‘Most Handsome Dog’, ‘Best Crossbreed’, ‘Best Fancy Dress of Dog’ and ‘Best Handler’ and of course ‘Best in Show’. Entry forms for the show can be obtained from Rosy Lee’s Tea Rooms in Loddon. For more information email shaneb4[email protected]
DogFest, 11-12 May
Knebworth House, Hertfordshire
This amazing weekend once again promises a packed schedule of celebrity appearances and expert talks, jaw-dropping dog displays, educational sessions and fun activities where the public – and their dogs – can join in. Everything is geared towards celebrating the amazing bond between dogs and people and promoting animal welfare. www.dog-fest.co.uk
Suffolk Walking Festival, 11 May – 2 June
Put your best foot forward and uncover the delights of Suffolk with a mix of events and unforgettable walks. The festival spans the whole county with something for everyone. There’s long walks, short strolls, nature trails, historic tours, walks with a sheepdog, coastal paths and even walks that include a boat cruise and jeep ride! Take a journey into the dark side of the woods with a ‘Woodland Night Safari’ on 11 May or learn about a time gone by with ‘The Grim and Gory Story of Ipswich’ on 29 May. If you’re feeling up to it why not take on the annual ‘Challenge Walk’ which this year follows the East Suffolk Line Walks, covering 80 miles in five days! The full line up of walks and fringe events can be found at www.suffolkwalkingfestival.co.uk
Paint Out comes to Cambridge, 13-17 May
Multiple Venues, Cambridge
Paint Out Cambridge, in partnership with Cheffins Fine Art, is coming to the city where dozens of experienced plein air artists, used to working on the streets, will paint Cambridge’s classic colleges, chapels and beautiful bridges, River Cam, Market Square and other views.
Founded in 2014, the immersive outdoor art event has already run a dozen events across Norfolk and Suffolk and has been keen to come to Cambridge for a while. The Paint Out team are excited to be running the competition, encouraging artists to capture and immortalise Cambridge’s iconic views. Home to the Cambridge School of Art (now part of Anglia Ruskin University) and the Cambridge Drawing Society the team from Paint Out are keen to see local and national artists casting their creative eyes over the city and bringing their art skills to bear in classical and contemporary styles and various media that can be applied to canvas. The juried painting competition is open to amateur and professional artists alike and features 3-hour and 2-hour painting sessions around the city in full public view during the days and evenings (‘nocturnes’) of 13-15 May. Artists can enter and find out more at www.paintout.events.
Bury St Edmunds Festival, 16-26 May
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Now in its 34th year, the festival will bring world class culture and entertainment to the vibrant Suffolk town across 11 days. Featuring over 50 events across 13 venues, the festival will take in some great music, song, dance, comedy, film and other art forms with top performances by both international and local artists.
The fantastic line-up includes renowned classical violinist Nigel Kennedy, returning after his sell-out concert in 2016; Rick Wakeman and Clare Teal, both also making return visits; Dr John Cooper Clarke, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; Quintet-a-Tete jazz band, the Puppini Sisters and Chineke! The programme also includes guided walks, exhibitions and an array of family events. See the full line-up and book online at www.buryfestival.co.uk. Tickets are also on sale at The Apex and other venues around Bury St Edmunds.
The National Flower, 17-19 May
Hylands House, Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex
Returning for its fifth year, the three day event will be officially opened by TV Gardener Carol Klein and will celebrate the very best of gardening, home and lifestyle. Hyland House and its gardens will be filled with colourful inspiration, flowers and plants, to help you create the perfect outdoor space. www.nationalflowershow.co.uk
Cheese Making Course, 17 & 31 May
Fielding Cottage, Honingham, Norfolk
We are not being cheesy, but have you ever wanted to learn a new skill or impress your friends at your next dinner party? Fielding Cottage in Honingham, has launched a goat cheese-making courses enabling attendees to learn about the craft of cheese-making, as the experts talk through the science of the process. Also included is a tour of their state-of-the-art factory and of course you get hands on by make your own cheese to take home. Why not make a weekend of it and book to stay at one of the three holiday cottages on site?
The courses will be a maximum of 16 people and tickets are sold per individual, with a minimum order of two tickets, priced £75. Book at www.fieldingcottage.co.uk/cheese-making-courses-at-fielding-cottage/
Science Festival, 18 May- 9 June
Ely Cathedral, Ely
Ely Cathedral has announced an exciting programme of events for their up and coming Science Festival, ‘The Sky’s The Limit’, with a focus on Space and Space Travel to commemorate the 50thanniversary of the first moon landing. This family themed event takes place inside Ely’s magnificent medieval Cathedral. Highlights include the installation of a seven metre diameter lunar replica, The Museum of the Moon, by artist Luke Jerram, which will be suspended from the Nave ceiling. This illuminated breath-taking installation reflects the exact imagery of the moon’s surface from data collected by NASA.
A space themed exhibition will run alongside the full programme of activities. Key exhibits will include meteorites, astronaut suits, a space toilet and space food alongside many other fascinating items on loan from The Science Museum, The Institute of Astronomy and The Sedgewick Museum in Cambridge. A full programme of all the events highlighting details of all the activities, talks, music, cinema and art taking place is online at www.elycathedral.org
Weird & Wonderful Festival, 18-19 May
Haughley Park, Nr Wetherden, Stowmarket, Suffolk
The festival is dedicated to the beauty and craftsmanship of wood. Over 120 artists and crafts people come from all over the country to show their skills in demonstrations such as carving and sculpture, fine furniture making, musical instrument making, displays by traditional fletchers and bowyers, chain saw carving and more. Workshops, for both adults and children are free and include activities such as archery, den building and tree climbing in nets. www.weirdandwonderfulwood.co.uk
Crab & Lobster Festival, 18-19 May
Cromer and Sheringham
The festival is dedicated to promoting the areas local seafaring heritage and active fishing community. The fun starts on Friday night with a traditional seaside variety concert at the Famous Pier Pavilion Theatre in Cromer and continues over the weekend on Evington Lawns in Cromer. The festival celebrates local restaurants, chefs, crafts, chutney’s, jams, cakes, charcuterie and so much more. Experience all that the Norfolk Coast has to offer. www.crabandlobsterfestival.co.uk
A Steamy Vintage Encounter, 19 May
East Anglian Railway Museum, Wakes Colne, Colchester
Step back in time with a day of vintage shenanigans including swing-jive and lindy-hop workshops, live music, vintage teas, stalls and classic cars. Meet a real Poplar midwife or make like an evacuee and attend a lesson with the scary teacher if you dare…www.earm.co.uk
46th Cambridge Beer Festival, 20-25 May
Jesus Green, Cambridge
The oldest CAMRA beer festival and one of the largest in the country. Expect plenty of variety and a buzzing atmosphere! www.cambridgebeerfestival.com
Mersea Food & Drink Festival, 25 May
Rewsalls Lane, East Mersea
A celebration of the food and drink for which the area has become famous for producing. Expect plenty of oysters! www.mersea-fdl-festival.com
Red Rooster, 30 May – 1 June
Euston Hall, Suffolk
The festival celebrates the very best in Rock’n’Roll, Blues, Soul, Roots and Country music. Located in the beautiful grounds of Euston Hall, it’s a feast for the senses. Visitors can immerse themselves in a truly Deep South weekend experience of music, food and culture.
A family-friendly festival, the weekend is laid back, with a free and easy atmosphere where adults can relax and tuck into great food while children can leap through the corn fields. Dance the day away, by night come together for food around the campfire under Suffolk’s shining stars, or continue the party at the jumpin’ hot dj selection at the Howlin’ Woods venue and bar down by the lake.
Returning this year with a new band for his first UK headliner is Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets. Saturday headliners are The Budos Band and there’s music from Grammy nominated Cedric Burnside, rock n’ rollers Low Cut Connie and many more. Book your ticket at www.redrooster.org.uk