A trip to the theatre is always a fun way to spend a rainy day. Norfolk has several fantastic theatres dotted around the county, each offering something different.
Norwich Puppet Theatre is one of the most unique theatres in the country. Housed in a medieval church, the venue is home to a collection of puppets spanning over 30 years. The theatre offers a year round programme of family friendly entertainment, and is a base for the Norwich Puppet Theatre Company, who creates and performs its own productions. The theatre also has workshops where you can learn to make puppets and sets, an exhibition gallery and a shop and licenced bar.
Sheringham Little Theatre in the coastal town of Sheringham may be small, but it’s packed with entertainment for the whole family. It has a variety of drama, cinema, music and live screenings throughout the year. If you’re visiting in the summer, the theatre hosts one of the last remaining summer repertory seasons in the UK, with a full schedule of plays. If you’re visiting in the winter, make sure to catch the pantomime which features professional actors and local talent. Throughout the rest of the year, there is still plenty of professional and amateur drama, musicals and screenings of national opera and ballet. The theatre also has a cafe and coffee bar called The Hub which regularly hosts jazz evenings.
Cromer Pier & Pavilion Theatre is a must-visit in Norfolk. Cromer Pier as we know it today was opened in 1901 and a bandstand was built to celebrate its opening. In 1905 the bandstand was covered and turned into a pavilion. From there, the Pavilion Theatre was born. The Pavilion Theatre is one of only five remaining end of pier theatres in the country, as well as the only full season end of pier show in the world. Grab your umbrella, walk down the pier and take a seat in one of the 500 traditional theatre seats. There is a wide mix of entertainment on offer, from traditional to contemporary works that blend together comedy, drama, music, dance and speciality acts.
If you love your liquor, then you should put a visit to a distillery on your list of things to do when it’s raining in Norfolk. There are two major distilleries in Norfolk that run behind the scenes tours.
The English Whisky Co. St George’s Distillery in Roudham is home to The English Whisky Co, a producer of single malt whisky. The distillery is notable for being the first distillery in the country in over 100 years. The distillery is open every day for guided tours where you can learn how single malt whiskies are made, before tasting two different samples. There is a shop and visitor centre where you can see a collection of over 250 world whiskies, a range of other whisky products like whisky-based jams and conserves, and gift ideas including homeware, books and food. Make sure to visit The Kitchen where you can grab breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack.
Bullards Gin has existed in Norwich ever since 1837. Join a distillery and tasting tour led by a distiller to hear about the history of Bullards and learn about their still, botanicals and distillation process. The tour is followed by an exciting tasting class which includes four types of gin and tonics. You’ll get to understand how the addition of ice and water can dramatically alter the flavours of the spirit. The distiller also hosts cocktail masterclasses if you want to learn about the different ways you can use Bullards Gin.
Norfolk is filled with rolling hills, winding lanes and gorgeous coastlines. Don’t let the rain stop you from seeing it – you can still explore it even when it’s raining. There are several heritage railways that go through some of the most scenic parts of the county, so you can enjoy the views while staying dry.
North Norfolk Railway is also known as the Poppy Line and runs between the seaside town of Sheringham and the Georgian town of Holt. It’s one of the UK’s most scenic heritage railways, journeying past the views of the north Norfolk coast and countryside. Hauled by a steam engine or heritage diesel locomotive, the North Norfolk Railway runs just over five miles. Why not book one of the dining trains and enjoy the scenery from the Cream Tea Train or the Fish and Chip Trains. Steam trains run from the start of April to the end of October.
The Bure Valley Railway is Norfolk’s longest narrow gauge steam railway, running both steam and diesel locomotives between Aylsham and Wroxham. Originally opened in 1880, the line rambles for nine miles through the beautiful Norfolk Broads and Bure Valley countryside. Along the journey, the train stops at wayside halts including the charming little villages of Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall, where you can jump off and explore the area by foot. If you wish to get back on, simply wave at the driver. The railway is open from the beginning of April to the end of October.
The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway is the longest 10 ¼” narrow gauge steam railway in the world. Start your journey at the seaside town of Wells and make your way to the village of Walsingham, famous for its abbey and shrines. Ride on the ‘Norfolk Hero’ and the ‘Norfolk Heroine’, the Garratt steam locomotives which were built specially for the line. The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway runs activities and events throughout the season, from Easter and half-term activities for kids, to vintage train festivals for adults. The railway runs from the beginning of March until the beginning of November.