Christmas is just around the corner, which means one thing – it’s panto (cheese and mulled wine) season! I kicked off the festive season in style with a trip to see The Nutcracker last week, but it really wouldn’t be Christmas without seeing the panto. This year Norwich Theatre Royal is treating us to Aladdin.
It turns out that Steven Roberts (Hollyoaks, The History Boys) who plays the lead, is rather fond of Nelsons’ County, after spending time with family here as a child. Some his earliest theatre memories are tied to the panto at Norwich Theatre Royal, so for him, playing Aladdin will be a rather special experience (oh yes it will!) This month I’m handing over my “five things to do’ blog over to Steven.
Without further ado, here are 5 things to do in Norfolk this December, chosen by Aladdin himself!
1) A trip to the Panto
“Obviously the number one thing I’m looking forward to is Aladdin itself – my script has arrived which has made me really excited to start rehearsals and meet the rest of the cast and creatives that I’ll be working with over Christmas and the New Year.”
Aladdin is on at Norwich Theatre Royal from Wednesday 12th December – Thursday 13th January, with both matinee and evening performances. There are a series of accessible performances too.
- Signed Performance: Sunday 6th Jan, 1 pm
- Audio Described: Saturday 5th Jan, 2.30 pm
- Captioned: Sunday 6th Jan, 5 pm
- Relaxed performance: Friday 4th Jan 5.30 pm
Will Aladdin be able to outwit evil Abanazar? You’ll have to come along and find out! If it’s anything like last years panto you’ll leave with a belly ache from laughing too much.
Pssstttt… if you fancy winning yourself a family ticket to the Panto, head over to my Instagram between the 3rd and the 9th December.
2) Head to the Hippodrome Circus
“With two shows most days I don’t imagine we’ll have a great deal of downtime but when I was younger I went to the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth with my sister and grandparents – I loved it! Everything from the history of the building, its amazing ring that turned into a pool to the performers and their death-defying stunts was so much fun, so if we get a chance to see the Christmas Spectacular Circus & Water Show there that would be great!”
Hop on the train or in the car and head out to the coast. The Christmas Spectacular has been a firm favourite in the Norfolk Christmas calendar for the last 18 years. This year it promises to be bigger and better than ever! It will feature over 50 international performers, aerialists, synchronised swimmers, the wheel of death and plenty of comedy.
It runs from the 8th December 2018 to the 6th January 2019. Find out more.
3) Bundle up for a beach walk
“As a child, my Nana and Grandad had a static caravan in North Walsham and we’d often visit the amusement arcades and have an ice cream on Mundesley Beach so to go back there would be lovely – perhaps a brisk walk on Christmas Day afternoon in the cold to walk off all the Christmas trimmings!”
Wrap up warm and head to North Norfolk. This charming seaside town was a hit with the Victorians and has been ever since. The golden sandy beach is dotted with colourful beach huts and even has its own lifeboat service.
If you’re feeling brave, head there on boxing day for their annual boxing day dip. For the less adventurous, explore the independent shops on the high street, stop off at The Beach or Corner House Cafe for Hot Chocolate and admire the Christmas lights. Each year the village holds a competition for the ‘best-dressed house.’ If you’ve not overindulged on the food front, head to the Ship Inn for fish and chips.
4) Explore a Christmas Market
“I love a Christmas Market so am hoping Norwich will have lots of nice little stalls to have a wander round – a nice sweet treat or a cup of gluhwein perhaps!”
It certainly wouldn’t Christmas without a trip to a market. There’s still a fair few happening in December.
- Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair – 2nd December 11 am-4 pm at The Assembly House
- Fierce Babes Christmas Market – 2nd December 10 am-5 pm Silver Road Community Centre
- Forum Christmas Market – Friday 7th December to Sunday 23rd December
- Holkham Festive Food Fair – Saturday 15th to Sunday 16th December, 10 am to 4 pm
5) Enjoy pub lunches with loved ones by an open fire
“Finally it will be really nice to catch up with family and friends that live in and around Norfolk – some nice pub lunches, huddled up by fire… just not too many – don’t want to be weighing down my carpet so much that it can’t be taking off!”
You really can’t beat cosy pub lunches! If you’re in need of some inspiration a few favourites of mine and my friends include:
- The Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market – Roaring fires, stunning scenery and deer galore!
- The Sir Garnet, Gentleman’s Walk, Norwich – It’s so cosy and packed full of old world charm. It’s the perfect Christmas shopping pit-stop.
- The Black Boys, Aylsham – The food here is divine, I ended up here last year after a winter walk around Blickling Park. Its great all year round but it really gives off local, cosy vibes in the colder months. If you’re feeling brave, sit and sip a coffee outside and watch the world go by on the Market Square.
- The Recruiting Sargent, Horstead – I feel like this pub needs no introduction as it’s one of the best in Norfolk. Expect out-of-this-world food, top-notch service and a roaring fire.
- The Wapole Arms, Itteringham – this traditional country pub serves an ever-changing locally sourced menu. It’s almost impossible to get a table unless you’ve booked though…it’s that good!
If you’re heading to any of the above around the festive season – get organised and book in. They’re all insanely busy over Christmas for a very good reason.
So which of these five festive things will you be doing this December? I for one am rather excited about the panto, I can’t wait to see Aladdin fly!
With thanks to Steven Roberts and Norwich Theatre Royal for taking the time to compile this list.