Awesome August! The best local events this month
August already? Summer may be speeding by but Norfolk is brimming with brilliant stuff to do. We bring you the unmissable events to help you make the most of season.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
Limber up for an action-packed August – we’re breaking into a sweat just compiling this selection of sports-tastic offerings.
Top of our list is the Festival of Sport at the heavenly Holkham Estate, from 12-15 Aug. With more sports than you can shake a (hockey) stick at, there’s bound to something to lure the kids away from the gaming devices. Alongside the trad sports, new for this year are lacrosse, skateboarding, scooting and inline skating (no darling, not online skating). Grownups, don’t forget your trainers either: there’s adult taster sessions, fun runs and matches afoot. Rub shoulders with sporting legends (we’re talking Olympians and World Cup winners) whilst you take in the fessy vibe, with camping/glamping, food stalls and live bands.
If don’t know your asana from your elbow, Norwich Yoga Festival at Whitlingham Country Park on 6 Aug promises to make a yogi out of you yet. Or perhaps you’re already a downward dogger and want to immerse yourself further. Breathe in the fresh air while you try out one of the many yoga and pilates classes on offer in the meadow overlooking the lake. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the sauna on wheels (glorious!) with accompanying ice bath (gasp!).
Got a taste for tennis and street food? Reputed to be Britain’s largest event of its kind after Wimbledon, the 100th Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament runs from 14-20 Aug. Having deferred its centenary celebrations for two years, the competition is ready to serve up some terrific tennis action over the 38 grass courts – oh and some locally produced tucker too.
Also on the coast, you will not want to miss the greasy pole event on Aug 18. The highlight of the Blakeney Regatta, this kooky summer spectacle involves daredevils of all ages making their way along a super-slippery pole, suspended over the harbour’s edge. Health and safety? Not heard of it…
More you say? Ok, how about Run Sandringham 24, from 19-21 Aug? This is a trail running relay event for all abilities – whether you’re a dedicated runner, enthusiastic jogger, or an occasional trotter (when in danger of missing happy hour or something equally crucial). Enter as a team of up to 12 runners or as an individual to run as many laps around Sandringham Royal Park‘s 5-mile course as you can in a 24-hour period (Sat 12pm to Sun 12pm). There’s camping, festival trimmings (live music, food stalls and more) and a free kids race on Friday.
And our final sporty selection (big exhale) is the Tour de Broads on 21 Aug. Norfolk’s answer to that famous French cycling institution, this is a cross-country cycling event that takes in as many of the Norfolk broads as can be reached by road. This isn’t purely for MAMILs (middle-aged man in lycra), there are distances to suit all abilities (25, 50, 75, 100 mile routes) and a family friendly bike ride perfect for little legs.
HIT THE DANCE FLOOR
Ready to shake it off? Swiftogeddon, a Taylor Swift themed club night, is at Norwich’s Epic Studios on 5 Aug. If a night of non-stop Swifty has you singing ‘mmm mmm’ then this event is Taylor-made for you.
Dance the night away (well, until 10.50pm) in the open air at Classic Ibiza (above) at the Blickling Estate on 6 Aug. Who needs a gorgeous Mediterranean island when you can be soaking up Balearic beats in the grounds of a National Trust treasure? Our favourite dance anthems will be performed by Urban Soul Orchestra and a star-studded line up of DJs. Bring your own picnic and booze, or take advantage of the bars and street-food pop-ups.
If your inner old skool raver is hankering after more, there may be a few tickets left for Pete Tong’s Ibiza Classics at Newmarket Race Course on 12 Aug. Or hop aboard the Ibiza Sunset Cruise on the Norfolk Broads on 27 Aug. Bowie was certainly onto something when he sang from ‘Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads’. The party boat, complete with DJ, dance floor and Ibiza-themed cocktails, sets off from Oulton Broad on a three-hour journey down the River Waveney.
Wind back yet another decade to the 1980s, pull on your fluorescent leg warmers and head over to 80s Party in the Park at Sandringham from 27-28 Aug. With the eighties throwbacks taking to the stage including Bananarama (above), Tpau, Toyah and Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet fame, it’s sure to be ‘Gold’…
DREAMY DAYS OUT
Summer isn’t summer in Norfolk without captivating carnivals on the coast. Underway until 7 August, Wells Carnival is always a winner with its nostalgic traditional seaside festivities including floats, fancy-dress, sand-castle competitions, gillying (crabbing) on the quay and more. The Red Arrows will take to the skies above Cromer Carnival which is returning after a two year pause between 13-19 Aug. Do check out the jam-packed programme, but we love the sound of the dog shows, bake offs, crowning of Miss Cromer, cider and beer festival and knobbly knees contest…
It’s not just a load of hot air at Old Buckenham Country Park’s Harvest Balloon Festival 2022 from 12-14 Aug. There’s going to be glowing night displays, street food, a beer festival, entertainment – oh, and not least – the chance to purchase and win balloon flights! With glamping and camping available, you can really make a weekend out of it.
Later in the month, the All About Dogs Show at the Norfolk Showground will set tails-a-wagging. If your hound could have a Yes Day this pawsome day is bound to feature (along with an uninterrupted garden dig-a-thon, or is that just mine?). Held on Sun 28 and Bank Holiday Mon 29 Aug, there will be exciting arena displays, expert advice, shopping, live music, camping and plenty of have-a-go activities. If Fido bears an uncanny resemblance to you, this may be your chance to bag a rosette – the fun dog show has categories to fit dogs of all shapes and sizes, including Owner Who Looks Like Their Dog.
You also won’t want to miss Oyster Fest at The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe on 30 Aug. Indulge in Champagne and oysters at the pop-up bar whilst watching one of the biggest tides of the year flood in across the tidal marsh. We are so there!
Need a good excuse for a summer pub crawl? Step forward CAMRA Norwich & Beyond Pub Festival, which is running until 29 Aug. Grab your map from a participating pub, pick a colour zone (each one includes between 9 and 12 pubs) and collect a stamp from every watering hole you roll into. No matter whether you order a pint of ale, pint of Pimm’s or pint of soda, you can earn a stamp. Tick off every pub in a zone and you’ll receive a coloured wristband. If you are feeling particularly thirsty (the sun can do that to a girl) and collect a full rainbow of wristbands (one for each of the eight coloured zones), you’ll qualify for a special prize (a week in rehab?!) to be awarded at the Norwich Beer Festival in October. You may just fancy another pint by then. There are some corkers on there, including King’s Head on Magdalen Street (CAMRA Pub of the Year 2022), Red Lion in Cromer (CAMRA Rural Pub of the Year 2022) and The Brisley Bell, described in a recent Telegraph review as “sublime”.
Soothe the soul with a stroll around three acres of semi-wild meadows, gardens and woodland dotted with contemporary sculptures and other artworks. Until 5 Sept, the annual Raveningham Sculpture Trail, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, features work by 63 selected artists from across the UK and includes three pop-up gallery spaces. Artworks include birch bark shoes, spinning transparent bricks, metal wildlife and ceramics cubes, and will be available to purchase if any catch your fancy. The Ravenous Cafe is on-hand for a cheeky slice of cake. Book a time slot here.
AL-FRESCO FLICKS & THEATRICS
Keeping the popcorn and Pimm’s flowing all month, there’s plenty of very large screens and stages popping up all over Norfolk, from county estates like Sandringham, Holkham and Hoveton to smaller settings like Plantation Gardens and Fairhaven Woodland & Water Gardens. Find out what to watch in our special guide.