Leiston Abbey

New Year in Norwich

Out & About

Let culture set you on the road to wellness

says Melanie Cook of www.VisitNorwich.co.uk  

As fast as Christmas is upon us, and party season takes hold, we find ourselves in January.

It’s well documented that culture has a positive impact on our mental health, and this January we have a host of fabulous exhibitions and things to do in Norwich which are kind to our pocket and good for the soul. We’ve also got a sneak peek at what’s going on in February – it’s a busy start to the year.

The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery has been showing since autumn last year and is closing on the 22nd of January, so this really is a ‘last chance to see’ opportunity. It’s also a dual location exhibition as the second part of the show is hosted at The Gallery at NUA on the corner of Bridewell Alley and St Andrew’s Street.

For those not in the know, the Singh Twins are internationally renowned award-winning artists who create incredible mixed media artworks. Though they are known more for their paintings, they are also designers, illustrators, filmmakers, and writers. Their works have important meaning tackling issues of social, political, and cultural debate – they describe their art as ‘Past-Modern’ rather than ‘Post-Modern’.

Slaves of Fashion is their latest exhibition, which is touring the UK and abroad, though Norwich Castle has commissioned new work which hasn’t been available elsewhere. See eleven striking, highly detailed and symbolic, digital mixed media portraits printed on fabric and displayed as lightboxes, plus the commission which has been created in response to items in the Castle’s collection. And, luckily for us, the new commission will remain as a permanent display at the Castle once the exhibition closes. Included in the cost of entry to the Castle, tickets are from £7 for adults and £6 for children aged between 4 and 18.

I suggest a visit to the Castle (remember you have the rest of the galleries to roam too), then meander over to The Royal Arcade for a coffee at newly opened Yalm, where you can relax in a lovely window seat. There are also six restaurants upstairs and two bars, so if you fancy bedding down and staying for a bit longer, then there’s a really good choice of delicious food from local independent eateries such as Eric’s Pizza, NXXDS, Folks and Flying Saucers. This is also a place to visit if you all like to eat something different! I wholeheartedly recommend a stop here.

Follow this with a walk down to Bridewell Alley to finish the exhibition at The Gallery at NUA, though note you do not have to do it on the same day; as long as you retain your ticket to the Castle, you can visit Tue-Fri 12-5pm & Sat 12-4pm for as long as the exhibition runs.

If you have 15 minutes and want to do something for free, then the Museum of Norwich has a wonderful Kett’s Rebellion VR experience to try out. Just ask at the reception desk and they’ll sort you out! During your experience you’ll see how Norwich looked at the time with 360° views. It is absolutely fascinating.

Also at the Museum of Norwich and launched on Remembrance Day 2022, a free audio trail around Norwich has been created by a group of young people to mark the 80th anniversary of the Baedeker raids during World War Two in Norwich. Download the free Echoes app in the App or Google Play Store and simply search 1942: Messages from the Norwich Raids.

The raids of 1942 targeted historic cities across the UK, including Norwich. This free trail takes in 50 audio recordings including people who experienced the raids. Hear poetry, stories, and interviews with local historians. For those not able to use the app or walk around Norwich, the recordings will soon be on the Norfolk Museums Service YouTube account. Alternatively, hard copy transcripts are available from the Museum of Norwich and Norwich Millennium Library at the Forum.

Finally, Threads of Connection: A Creative Response to Our Textile Heritage runs until 25 Feb and is an exhibition in collaboration with Art at Work who create art-based projects to promote wellbeing and good mental health. This exhibition showcases the work of the group who have been studying Norwich’s textile heritage.

Taking a quick look at February, there are some really fantastic things to look forward to. Norwich Science Festival has moved from October to 11–18 February 2023 and is once again bringing us a host of amazing, thrilling and often very different things to do – for all ages. Some activities are free, others are paid for. In partnership with Norwich Research Park and the University of East Anglia, the programme of events has amazing family things to do during half-term, with plenty for adults too.

Then, opening 26 February at Norwich Castle, we have an incredible story to discover through a new and much anticipated exhibition – The Last Voyage of the Gloucester: Norfolk’s Royal Shipwreck 1682. Being cited as Norfolk’s Marie Rose, when the story of this shipwreck was announced in June last year the story went global, seeing media coverage far and wide, from the likes of National Geographic, Paris Match, The Smithsonian, India Weekly, The New York Times and USA Today. Watch this space for all the details next month.

Full details of everything mentioned here, and loads more ideas can be found at www.visitnorwich.co.uk