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Cambridgeshire & Norfolk

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Issue 3 - 2012 Annual Publication - The Ultimate County Guide Historic Houses | Attractions | Museums & Arts Towns & Districts | Open Air

Who will you meet in Cambridge today?



Easter Sunday 8 April – Sung Eucharist 10.30am; special Sunday lunch in Refectory (prebook 01603 218321) Saturday 21 April – Norfolk Concerts recital in the Hostry, 7.30pm, £15 Saturday 12 May - Norfolk Concerts recital in the Hostry, 7.30pm, £15 Wednesday 16 May - Pre-concert supper in the Cathedral’s Refectory restaurant. Information / booking 01603 218321 – The Sixteen concert, 7.30pm. Tickets from Norwich Theatre Royal, 01603 630000. Friday 1 to Monday 4 June - 60 Years of Norfolk Festival of Flowers, £7.50 per adult Ticket Enquiries / coach bookings 01953 604879. Saturday 2 June - Jacqui Dankworth concert, 7.30pm, Tickets £25, £20 from Cathedral Shop 01603 218450 or Prelude Records 01603 628319. Saturday 9 June - Norfolk Concerts recital in the Hostry, 7.30pm, £15 Tuesday 26 to Thursday 28 June - How like an Angel, Norfolk & Norwich Festival event. Tickets/enquiries 01603 630000 Wednesday 11 to Saturday 14 July – Shakespeare Festival 2012. The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest. 7.00pm in the Cloister. Box offices Cathedral Shop 01603 218450 or Theatre Royal 01603 630000. Friday 20 July - Chamber Orchestra of Anglia concert. 7.30pm. Tuesdays 7 and 28 August – Free family events inspired by the Olympic Games, 10.00am – 4.00pm Friday 26 October to Sunday 4 November - Hostry Festival 2012. Full details available in Spring 2012 See our website for further information.

Somerleyton Estate

Visit the Hall, Gardens and Estate At The Hall *12 acres of landscaped gardens *1864 Yew hedge maze *Fully guided Hall tours *Gift shop & tearooms

At Fritton Lake *Lakeside Nature walks *Adventure playground *Fishing and pony rides *Rowing on the lake

Tel. 0871 222 4244 nr Lowestoft NR32 5QQ


Go to you to dow r phone’s app nlo Count ad our new store y Sign , post a free pp ! Welcome to the 2012 edition of Cambridgeshire & Norfolk County Signpost Tourist Guide, your indispensable guide to the best tourist attractions and days out the county has to offer.

Historic Buildings Attractions Museums & Arts

We hope that you find our guide, a pleasure to read, both interesting and informative, and that you will take it away with you, to use again and again. We offer a taster of the visitor attractions and events within the County, for both locals and those who wish to visit from afar.

To be featured in our next edition please email the editor.

The Open Air For a free download please visit our new map-driven, online magazine website Published by: County Signpost Ltd Editor: Adam Davison

All material in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of printing. County Signpost Ltd does not accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies which slipped through. Copyright County Signpost Ltd 2012. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.

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Please mention Cambridgeshire & Norfolk Signpost when visiting any of the attractions.

County Signpost Ltd 01743 874098

County Signpost


Š NTPL/Robert Morris, Fo r a tast e o f 1 93 0s coun try hous e livin g, An gl es ey Abbe y n ear Cambridg e is hard t o beat

Anglesey Abbey Lord Fairhaven wanted to inspire and surprise guests to his first home and, some 70 years later, the estate still has the same effect on visitors. Behind its Jacobean-style exterior, Anglesey Abbey is a vision of the golden age of English country house living. The Dining Room is the heart of Anglesey Abbey. Originally the monastic 'calefactorium' or 'warming room', it was the only space in the priory to have a fireplace. It was here that the monks relaxed between religious duties. Lord Fairhaven turned this wonderful space into his Dining Room. There is something to admire all year round in the gardens of the Abbey, with blooming hyacinths in spring, beautiful herbaceous

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borders and wildlife in summer, exotic dahlias in autumn and a winter garden showing dramatic contrasts of texture and colour. Anglesey’s Lode Mill dates from the 18th century, but early records, including the 1068 Doomsday Book describe a building on the site. The mill was restored to working condition in 1982 by the Cambridgeshire Wind and Watermill Society. Today you can step inside and see how the power of water is harnessed to grind tens of tons of flour every year, and pick up your own freshly ground flour and oatmeal by the bag. Anglesey Abbey, Gardens & Lode Mill Quy Road, Lode, Cambridge CB25 9EJ Telephone 01223 810080 Email

Wimpole Estate

out to the walled garden, abundant with fruit, vegetables and herbaceous borders.

Step in to times past in the magnificent 18thcentury house at the heart of Wimpole Estate. The mansion is set amongst parkland, complete with an eerie Gothic tower, Chinese bridge and serpentine lakes, created by the greatest landscapers of their day - Bridgeman, Brown and Repton. Bought in 1938 by Elsie Bambridge, the hall’s last owner, it was devoid of any furniture or paintings. What you see today at Wimpole is a culmination of development of the earlier owners and the collection assembled by Captain George and Elsie Bambridge. Stroll around the colourful parterre garden and wander through the pleasure grounds, filled with majestic trees and daffodils. The grounds extend

Wandering around our park, you’ll see our rare livestock grazing amongst regal trees. At Wimpole you can gain a fascinating insight into all aspects of running a large, active estate. Talk to our farmers about the challenges being faced as we convert the farm towards a selfsufficient, organic future, or the more greenfingered can get some handy tips from our gardeners. Wimpole Hall & Home Farm Arrington, Royston, Cambs SG8 0BW Telephone 01223 206000 Email

© NT/Fisheye Images, Rel axing in the park at Wimpol e Es tate

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Wicken Fen Š NTPL/Paul Harris, The ico nic windpump at Wicken Fe n

Wicken Fen At Wicken Fen you’ll discover an ancient fenland with an abundance of amazing wildlife. There are more than 800 species, including a spectacular array of plants, birds and dragonflies. Look out for our wild deer strolling around the land, our famous herds of Konik ponies or have a go at bird watching from one of our many bird hides throughout the reserve. Wicken Fen, which celebrated its 110th anniversary in 2009, has always played an important role in the social and economic life of the area, providing materials for thatching local houses, bedding and feed for animals, as well as fish and fowl for food, and peat for food.

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Enjoy the peace of wandering through lush groves, whilst the raised boardwalk allows easy access to a lost landscape of flowering meadows, sedge and reed beds, where you can encounter rarities such as hen harriers, water voles and bitterns. The Wicken Fen Vision is an ambitious landscape-scale project, at the forefront of modern nature conversation. It will open up new lands and routes to explore, as well as safeguard the rare wetland species of the Fen, and offset habitats lost on the coast. As part of the Vision, you can now cycle eight miles along the Lodes Way from Wicken Fen to Anglesey Abbey. Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve Lode Lane, Wicken, Cambs CB7 5XP Telephone 01353 720274 Email

Peckover House & Garden Peckover House is a secret gem, an oasis hidden away in an urban environment. A classic Georgian merchant's townhouse, it was lived in by the Peckover family for 150 years. The Peckovers were staunch Quakers, which meant they had a very simple lifestyle; yet at the same time they ran a successful private bank. Both facets of their life can be seen as you wander through the house and gardens. The simple elegance of the exterior belies the elaborate interior decoration of the house, a wealth of plaster and wood in the tradition of the very best 18th-century craftsmen.

Peckover is a hands-on house, with dressing up clothes for children of all ages, a working piano and three floors that give an insight into the fascinating lives of both the family and servants. The Victorian gardens themselves are two acres of sensory delight, complete with orangery, summerhouses, croquet lawn and rose garden with more than 60 species of rose. There are engaging displays about the Peckover family throughout the house, as well as a relaxing tea-room, shop and second hand bookshop. Peckover House & Garden North Brink, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire PE13 1JR Telephone 01945 583463 Email

Peckover Reed Barn Š NT/Fisheye Images, Rel ax with frien ds and family at P eckove r' s Re ed Barn tea-ro om

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Houghton Mill copyright NTPL/Robert Morris

Houghton Mill Almost demolished in the 16th century, Houghton Mill is the only working watermill on the great Ouse. The five-storey building was saved by local villagers and restored to working order to carry the tradition of milling on this site, which continues to this day. Corn is ground by a pair of millstones powered by the north waterwheel, which was re-instated in 1999. The hands-on exhibits, including traditional hand querns (stone devices for grinding flour) and models that show how the mill uses the power of the River Great Ouse, provide a fascinating learning experience for young and old.

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Set in an idyllic location, on an island on the River Great Ouse, Houghton Mill has inspired artists and photographers for generations. Come and experience the sound and atmosphere of a traditional working mill, have a go at making flour or lose yourself in the tranquillity of the riverside setting. The tea room offers delicious treats to refresh you after your visit. Houghton, nr Huntingdon, Cambs PE28 2AZ Telephone 01480 301494 Email

Blickling Estate At the heart of this 5,000 acre estate is the magnificent Blickling Hall. Inside, you can follow four centuries of history: from Tudor England and the Anne Boleyn connection to the outbreak of the second world war. You can enjoy a real Edwardian ‘upstairs, downstairs’ experience at Blickling. Upstairs, you can imagine yourself as a guest at one of Lord Lothian’s parties in the 1930s and, downstairs, you listen to the actual stories of the people who kept Blickling going, including Lord Lothian’s cook, Mrs Wadlow. Outside, there is always something new to see as the gardens change with the seasons. Thousands of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths create a spectacular display in the spring and the parterre

and herbaceous borders are sizzling with colour in the summer. Walk through the park and be surrounded by the rich reds, oranges and browns of autumn and, in the winter, enjoy the winter flowering shrubs in the new Orangery Garden. For some great seasonal, local food, stop off at the restaurant or café and relax awhile. Bookworms will enjoy browsing the secondhand bookshop and there’s a plant centre for the green-fingered. The only decision that’s left is where to go next – Felbrigg Hall and Sheringham Park are only half an hour away! Blickling, Norwich, Norfolk NR11 6NF Enquiries 01263 738030 or

© NTPL/Rod Edwards, Experience l if e u ps tairs and down st airs at Blickling Hall

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Oxburgh Hall

© NT/Fisheye Images, The mo at at Ox burgh Hall

No one forgets their first sight of Oxburgh Hall , a romantic moated manor house, built by the Bedingfeld family in the 15th Century, The Gatehouse is completely unchanged and rises eighty feet above the atmospheric moat. On the first floor is the King's Room where Henry VII stayed on a visit in 1487 and nearby is a room displaying the Marian Hangings. These are panels of needlework embroidered by Mary, Queen of Scots during her captivity at Sheffield Castle, and brought to Oxburgh as part of a bride's dowry in the 18th century. From the roof, you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding gardens and the intricate French parterre.

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Gain an insight to the family’s Catholic history, complete with a secret priest’s hole which you can crawl inside and a private chapel built with reclaimed Tudor materials. Relax after exploring the hall in our Old Kitchen tea-room, or pick up something to take away in the well-stocked gift shop, including local Norfolk products. There are also plant sales for the green-fingered in the family and a secondhand bookshop. Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough, King’s Lynn PE33 9PS Enquiries 01366 328258 or

Sheringham Park For a real sense of space, peace and tranquillity, Sheringham Park is hard to beat. There are lots of waymarked walks and spots to stop and take in the beautiful coast and countryside of north Norfolk. Set within 50 acres of the estate, this wild garden of mature woodland contains one of England's most extensive collections of rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and camellias. May and June is the best time to see the rhodies. If you climb to the top of the viewing towers, you can look out over the colourful canopy and out to sea – it really is breathtaking. You may also spot a passing steam train – the Poppy Line can be caught from Weybourne which is a pleasant 40minute walk away.

Stop off at the visitor centre and you’ll find the ‘Red Book’ that landscape designer Humphry Repton used to showcase his designs for Sheringham Park in 1812. Full of beautiful illustrations, Repton’s Red Books were considered the ‘coffee table’ books of the day. Relax after your walk with a drink in the courtyard and visit the shop for a souvenir of Sheringham Park. Felbrigg Hall and Sheringham Park are only ten minutes apart so you can see both in one day! Wood Farm Visitor Centre, Upper Sheringham NR26 8TL Enquiries 01263 820550 or

© NTPL/David Levenson, Don' t miss the magnif ice nt dis pl ay o f rhododen dron s at S heringham Park

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For over 900 years this Norman building has dominated the Norwich skyline bearing witness to the glory of God. It has been voted Norfolk’s favourite building. The work of today's Cathedral community remains grounded in the principles of its Benedictine founders - worship, learning and hospitality.

Hostry Visitor & Education Centre Visitors to the Cathedral enter through a medieval archway which now forms part of the Hostry Visitor & Education Centre, a stunning new development, designed by Hopkins Architects and constructed on the foundations of the Benedictine monastic buildings. Opened by HM The Queen in 2010, it offers conference, choral and education facilities, as well as a rolling programme of art exhibitions where visitors can spend time before entering the Cathedral itself.

Just another museum? The Cathedral’s architecture is justly famous, its history fascinating and its collection of art and objects outstanding. The Cathedral certainly deserves its five star rating as a tourist attraction.

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But this is no museum, it is a living centre for worship, welcome and learning. Located within 44 tranquil acres by the River Wensum, the 900 year old Cathedral welcomes visitors on a daily basis and provides them with a an extraordinary variety of things to do and see.

A living place Throughout the year Norwich Cathedral plays host to a variety of events including concerts, plays, lectures, family activity days, exhibitions, and more. You can take a guided tour and learn how the Cathedral survived riot, war, plague and fire; there’s a Japanese garden and a herb garden, and you can walk through the largest monastic cloister in England. The Cathedral spire is the second highest in the country and is home to a resident pair of Peregrine Falcons. Their nesting ledge can be viewed via a webcam set up by the Hawk and Owl Trust who are also setting up a watch point in the Cathedral Close where visitors can view the birds through telescopes.

The musicians of Norwich Cathedral uphold a tradition of choral worship that stretches back almost unbroken to 1096. The music team includes the Master of Music, Organist, twenty boy choristers, twenty-four girl choristers, six choral scholars and six lay clerks. Visitors to the Cathedral may sometimes see mini monks wandering through the Cloister walkways. Each year the Cathedral welcomes over 6,000 school pupils and students, offering activities which support all key stages of the National Curriculum.

Refectory Restaurant & Coffee Shop The Cathedral’s monastic predecessors made it a priority to welcome all guests. In the 21st century this tradition has been extended to meet the needs of people in the new millennium.

prepared on the premises by the Refectory’s talented team of chefs, using local and seasonal produce. “The Refectory and Hostry at Norwich are two of the most exciting and ambitious construction projects at an English cathedral in recent years. Their detailing is utterly contemporary, yet they rise within ancient walls. Each takes the historic function of a ruined medieval building and recasts it for the twenty-first century.” English Heritage. For detailed information about events, opening times and weekly services visit Norwich Cathedral’s website –

The Refectory, sister building to the Hostry and also designed by Hopkins Architects, has won many design awards. Cleverly accommodated within the footprint and remaining walls of the original monastic Refectory, the Restaurant and Coffee Shop provides light, spacious surroundings in which to enjoy tea and coffee, a freshly cooked hot lunch or a sandwich. All food is

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The West Front

The Place to be in 2012 A new type of holiday has even been founded as a result of looking for novel things to do at our own front door. Regional days out, weekends away or ‘Staycations’ as they are known are now a top priority for those looking for low cost activities and exciting days out. So, suppose you were told of a top 10 UK landmark residing in beautiful surroundings in the heart of a bustling and cosmopolitan city centre, with plenty on offer for all to enjoy including culture, heritage, music and the arts…would your immediate thoughts be of London, Manchester…Liverpool perhaps? Well no, think again… You may not be aware but in the heart of the beautiful and vibrant region of Cambridgeshire lies an ‘undiscovered gem’ in the awe inspiring shape of Peterborough’s one and only breathtaking Norman Cathedral - voted the sixth

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favourite landmark in the whole of the UK, even coming out ahead of London Tower Bridge!

With close to 100,000 visitors each and every year, Peterborough Cathedral provides a wonderful haven of tranquillity and beauty amid the cosmopolitan array of shops and restaurants that line the streets today and has something to offer everyone at this beautiful sacred space. As well as still operating as a thriving Christian Church, today the Cathedral offers a wide array of activity including an interactive exhibition, fascinating historic and Cathedral tower tours, an exciting array of arts and crafts based events not to mention a popular new coffee shop and first class education, hospitality and conferencing facilities.

Special Event REFLECTION: Looking beneath the surface - 19th May - 24th June 2012 A major arts event. This many-faceted collaboration will offer visitors a personal quest as they walk around the Cathedral by considering how reflection, in all its different meanings, affects them.

As well as the wonder of the building and the vibrant events programme available, the Cathedral also holds enormous appeal for those with an interest in nature and the outdoors. With stunning grounds and beautifully green Precincts, the Cathedral is blessed with an abundance of breath-taking open spaces, not least the captivating Deanery Gardens, which are now open for public viewing approximately 3 times a year. For those more interested in the architecture and the exquisite stone masonry why not take a Cathedral tower tour to see the stonework first hand as well as enjoying the panoramic views of Peterborough from on high. Alternatively, our Cathedral tours of the building and/or the Precincts will divulge fascinating facts about Cathedral history, myths and legends associated with the Cathedral’s colourful past.


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Heritage Days

Open 364 days a year (closed on Boxing Day) for visiting from around 9am until around 5.30pm weekdays and 9.00am to 5.00pm Sat and 12pm until 3.15pm on Sundays, there is no charge for admission to Peterborough Cathedral but donations are invited as the Cathedral has charitable status and receives no funding from the state to raise the ÂŁ1.3 million required each year to maintain its operation. With excellent railway links and easy access to this beautiful attraction in the heart of the up and coming, city

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of Peterborough – the Cathedral is one not to be missed as a top 10 Landmark in the UK* (as voted by Fujifilm users in a 2007 poll). For more information on what Peterborough Cathedral can offer or any of the many events held throughout the year please visit : or call the Cathedral Visitors Telephone on 01733 355300.

THE MANOR The house was recreated and made famous as the house of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston in her series of children's books, now regarded as classics. Her son Peter's illustrations depict many of the things in the house and garden. The attic contains toys used by the fictional children of the past; thus visitors get the feeling of 'walking into the books'. She wrote about family belongings in the house and her son Peter Boston illustrated the books, drawing many of these as well as the house and garden. In the winter, as well as writing, Lucy Boston made many exquisite patchworks, most of which are on display. Rarely can such an important collection be seen in the house in which the exhibits were made.

themselves coming to unexpected parts which are unanticipated from the first impression gained by looking down into it from the public footpath along the towpath beside the river Great Ouse. With its large herbaceous borders of mainly scented plants the garden gives the feeling of being a cottage garden full of favourite plants in a rather formal setting of lawns with topiary coronation shapes and chess pieces in their black and white planted squares.

The Garden The garden is open daily from 11am to 5pm (dusk in winter). No appointment is needed.

The House The House is open throughout the year but strictly by appointment.

This moated house is surrounded by four acres of garden renowned for its collection of over 200 old roses and a collection of irises containing many famous Dykes medal winners, most of them dating from the 1950s. There are hidden corners in the garden so visitors find

Telephone 01480 463134

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Ely Cathedral, 'the ship of the fens', dates back to 673 when a monastery was founded on the site of the existing building. As one of Europe’s finest Norman Cathedrals, it is the only UK building to be listed as one of The Wonders of the Mediaeval World. It is a building steeped in history and has shaped the lives of Kings & Saints across the ages.

The Cathedral is surrounded by beautiful medieval buildings and parkland which can be admired by visitors from the roof of the Octagon Tower or West Tower where the panoramic view of the Cambridgeshire fens spreads for miles. Visitors who climb the Octagon Tower can – halfway up - walk round the huge timber structure and lean through the painted panels to look at the ground floor, marvelling at this feat of engineering. One of the reasons it is known as ‘one of the Top 20 must see buildings in the UK’. There is plenty to see and do in this magnificent building including tower tours, brass rubbing, shopping and taking afternoon tea. Visitors can garnish so much information from the free ground floor tour given by one of many experienced guides.

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Aled Jones, who is a Music Patron at Ely, at the top of the West Tower overlooking the Octagon Tower.

Filming The King's Speech at Ely Cathedral in 2010

The Cathedral is well known as a venue for many concerts, literary events and exhibitions and has twice been nominated as Best Film Location for the East of England, for Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) and more recently The King’s Speech (2010). For further information on visiting Ely Cathedral this year, including tours, guides, services and the numerous events taking place this year for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, The Olympics, Harvest Festival and Christmas, visit the Ely Cathedral website. or call 01353 667735

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Aerial view of the maze, with with Somerleyton Hall in the background

With two major attractions and the Duke’s Head gastro pub Somerleyton Estate has everything you need for a great day out – or stay a little longer in one of the Fritton Lake woodland lodges where you are well placed to explore the Norfolk Broads. All sorts of adventures can be organised for you, from hot air ballooning to river and sea trips or just enjoy life in the slow lane around the estate and picturesque village.

History of Somerleyton Hall The grounds of Somerleyton Hall have been home to high status buildings since the post

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conquest Norman era. In 1240 the existing manorial Hall was rebuilt by Sir Peter Fitzosbert as a magnificent country house on the site of the original medieval Hall. Four centuries later the house was further enlarged and restyled by John Wentworth and transformed into an archetypal East Anglian Tudor-Jacobean mansion. The Hall’s final and most drastic alteration took place in 1843 under new ownership of a wealthy Victorian entrepreneur Samuel Morton Peto the Crossley family who are continuing to play an active role in the conservation of the house and grounds and enjoy living in this magnificent mansion.

Somerleyton Hall & Gardens

The Dining Room

who hired John Thomas, Prince Albert’s favourite architect, to carry out extensive rebuilding. Carved Caen stone was used to dress the exterior red brick of the original house, sumptuous materials utilised to embellish the interiors, paintings commissioned for the house and the parkland was completely transformed and redesigned. This flurry of activities came to an abrupt end when the money ran out and Samuel Morton Peto went bankrupt. The house was sold to Sir Francis Crossley, the son of a Yorkshire-based carpet manufacturer who purchased the Somerleyton estate in 1863. Since mid-19th century the estate has remained in the hands of

Explore the 12 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, get lost for a while in the famous 1846 yew hedge maze, one of the finest in England. Take a guided tour of the Hall then enjoy the home made delights of the Wintergarden Tearooms.

Fritton Lake Nearby on the estate is Fritton Lake. The jewel in the estate crown, with lakeside walks, nine hole golf course, fishing, horse-riding, rowing and guided boat trips. The children will enjoy its Viking fort, children’s adventure playground, boating lake, pony rides and wellie trail.

Keep the children amused For children there is no shortage of things to explore at Fritton Lake including an adventure playground, a maze and gardens, a Viking fort, pony rides, cycle trail and wellie walks.

Relax and unwind The less energetic will find abundant spaces to unwind, relax and chill. There is also a charming local village and The Duke’s Head pub in Slug’s Lane rated for its food, beer and friendly atmosphere. OPEN: 5th April – 12th July - Tuesdays, Thursdays & Bank Holiday Mondays 17th July - 9th Sept -Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays 11th Sept – 27th Sept – Tuesdays & Thursdays GARDENS ONLY OPEN: Sundays in May and June Telephone 01502 734901

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Steam and slam-doors! Today's NVR is the preserved heritage railway which operates along 7.5 miles along the former Peterborough to Northampton line which closed under the Dr Beeching regime in 1966. Wansford station, next to the A1, is the main headquarters and sports the loco depot (visitors may walk round), excellent refreshment room and shop. This is the railway where countless television programmes have been filmed as well as being the setting for two James Bond epics – Octopussy starring Roger Moors and Golden Eye starring Piers Brosnan! The rock group Queen filmed their video ‘Breakthrough’ on the NVR.

The Railway is the home to the original ‘Thomas’, the children’s favourite engine – it was named in 1972 by the Rev Awdry who wrote the books about the little blue engine which became so popular with youngsters. Thomas is in steam at all the Bank Holidays and for special events. The Railway is open every weekend, Wednesdays, plus more weekdays in the summer season. There are in addition some superb galas – Steam, Diesel, Wartime Weekend, Vintage Vehicles – something for everyone. The Railway often gives demonstrations of its Travelling Post Office showing how mail was collected and dropped off at speed – quite a spectacle! In addition, the NVR is famed for its Santa Specials – the first heritage railway to run such popular trains. Telephone 01780 784444

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MID NORFOLK RAILWAY In addition to the passenger services to Wymondham, they also run fairly regular commercial freight trains, as well as the occasional railtour. These result in a wide variety of locomotives visiting Dereham from the main line from time to time, in addition to the fleet of heritage diesel locos. Many people are surprised to learn that the railway is entirely volunteer-run. The volunteers get up to a wide variety of tasks, including driving the trains, maintaining the track and lineside, getting greasy inside engines, and many other interesting jobs besides.

9466 at Hardingham

The Mid-Norfolk Railway Preservation Trust was established in 1995 with the aim of buying and restoring the then-disused line between the Norfolk market towns of Dereham and Wymondham. We currently own 28km (17.5 miles) of track and trackbed through central Norfolk's most attractive countryside, making us one of the largest preserved railways in the UK today. The line is operational between Dereham and Wymondham, and the Trust owns the disused northern section from Dereham as far as County School. The line is intact (although derelict) as far as North Elmham, and a further mile of track will need to be re-laid in order to reach County School. The long-term aim is to reach as far as Fakenham.

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The rate of progress in restoring and upgrading the railway has been very rapid over the last few years. Current projects are aimed at improving the railway's infrastructure, including track and signalling. In particular, they are working on building the first signal box, which will control the yard at Dereham; and they are busy restoring the line north of Dereham to operational condition. They have restored Dereham Station to its former glory, and installed run-round loops at Dereham and Wymondham. Future plans include the building of a passing loop at Thuxton, and the provision of further signal boxes. Telephone 01362 690633

LINTON ZOO CAMBRIDGESHIRE'S WILDLIFE BREEDING CENTRE Spring is without a doubt the zoo keepers’ favourite time of year. The zoo gardens are looking stunning with beds of colourful spring flowers, including hundreds of vivid hyacinths that will soon be coming up to their best. The giant tree ferns are beginning to throw up their new fronds and everywhere is becoming green again. If you want a little more than just a zoo visit you can book in advance a “keeper experience” for adults and children. Introduced last year were the “Keeper’s Little Helper” designed especially for 5 to 8 year olds and the “Big Cat and Large Mammal Experience” for age 18+, both have proven very popular. All of these special keeper days make awesome birthday presents or simply treat someone special to an experience of a lifetime. Times of activities are displayed on the official website: click on news. Check the website for more information or telephone: 01223 891308.

Adult keeper experiences meeting the Brazilian tapirs

Tracy meets the Amur tigers in the Big Cat & Large Mammal Experience

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Amba showing teeth

There are so many different animals to meet you won't know where to start! Marvel at the sheer ‘roar' power of the tigers in the Big Cat House or spy upon the mischievous primates on Monkey Island. Getting up, close and personal with the residents of the park is what it's all about. The park provides lots of unique experiences from hand feeding the Ring-tailed lemurs to playing with meerkats in Meerkat Manor. And for those under 18, the education team are on hand to amaze young minds with their ‘Bug Parties' where children can get a ‘hands-on bug experience' in their very own home, or if you're the next Attenborough and enjoy exploring all things wild, then 'Junior Conservationist' is just for you! For those who are a little more adventurous why not try at being a real-life Animal ‘Keeper for a Day' with the unique opportunity to shadow an experienced member of the animal team. No visit to the Park is complete without visiting the Nocturnal House. Get to know the bats in their darkened cave where they free range, swooping just inches from your head! For those

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Minstrel the Black and White Ruffed Lemur

afraid of what inhabits the dark, why not try something a little friendlier - what about handfeeding the ponies, sheep, deer, wallaby and ducks or even the fish in the lake! Young children just love Bunny Land, while the older children and adults can enjoy one of the many talks and events scheduled throughout the day. Visitors can also explore the alien world of fish, reptiles and invertebrates in ‘Waterworld & Bug City', better still why not conquer your arachnophobia at one of the hands-on experiences in this wondrous and exotic indoor attraction. In between your animal encounters you should visit the gift shop, and if you build up a ‘lion's' appetite take a trip to Ringo's Play Barn, where you will find a cafeteria to sit and relax while your little ones can let off steam in the indoor adventure play area, or if the sun is shining, watch outside as they play on the pirate ship or be ‘king of the castle' on this mighty building complete with tube slide, noughts & crosses and climbing frame.

Darma and Tico the Short-clawed otters

Shepreth Wildlife Park continues to grow from strength to strength every year. A far cry from when it first opened its doors in 1979, to a young injured jackdaw in its days as a private wild animal sanctuary. Since 1984, the park has been open to the public to help maintain its good work. Many of the other exotic animals you see today have arrived from other animal collections which closed down, were unwanted pets or are part of the

Rubro the White-lipped Tamarin

European Breeding Programmes to conserve species in the wild. One trip to this wildlife haven just simply isn't enough, and this is where the Shepreth Wildlife Park 'Family Discount' card is on hand. For just ÂŁ10, anybody named on the card can explore the park at a significantly reduced price again and again throughout the year!

Amba’s winter coat

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CAMBRIDGE’S MUSEUMS Museum of Classical Archaeology

Kettle’s Yard Kettle's Yard is the beautiful former home of Jim Ede, once a curator at the Tate Gallery. It houses a collection of 20th century art including works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Alfred Wallis, Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood and Henri Gaudier-Breszka. Next door is a gallery that presents contemporary and modern art exhibitions. There is a wide programme of events including concerts, talks and workshops. Castle Street 01223 748100 Gallery: Open Tuesday–Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 1-5pm House: Open Tuesday–Sunday 2-4pm (extended opening in the summer)

Often referred to as the ‘Ark’, the museum is one of Cambridge’s hidden gems. It houses one of the largest collections of plaster casts of Greek and Roman statues in the world. Originally gathered in the late 19th century, it remains a marvellous way to experience these masterpieces of ancient art. There is a regular programme of family holiday activities, and a schools and colleges programme including talks, tours, teaching and storytelling. Sidgwick Avenue 01223 335153 Open Monday–Friday 10–5 Saturday 10–1 (term-time only) Schools and groups must book in advance FREE! entry to all the University Museums

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Please note that a new Education Wing is being built in 2012, and there will be some disruption. Parts of the house may be closed from April 2012. The gallery is reduced during building work but there will still be collection related 'Artist in focus' displays and works by contemporary artists. FREE! entry to all the University Museums

Museum of Zoology With its spectacular whale skeleton hanging over the entrance, the Museum of Zoology is home to a huge variety of recent and fossil animals. With intricately beautiful shells, a comprehensive collection of British birds, and many large skeletons of mammals, the displays trace the evolution of animal life. Regularly changing free self-led trails and activities are always available for families. Events include art and photographic exhibitions, talks and family fun days.

FREE! entry to all the University Museums

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Downing Street 01223 336650 Open Monday–Friday 10–4.45 Saturdays 11–4 Closed some Bank Holidays FREE! entry to all the University Museums

The Polar Museum Founded in 1920 as the national memorial to Captain RF Scott and his companions who perished on their return from the South Pole, the Museum has recently undergone a £2million refurbishment. It houses collections on all aspects of life in the polar regions, exploration, history and modern polar science. A fascinating range of permanent and temporary exhibits – from penguins to kayaks, from Inuit art to the diaries of Antarctic explorers, sledges, equipment, photographs and much more – is on display, just ten minutes walk from the city centre. Lensfield Road 01223 336540 Open Tuesday–Saturday 10–4 Closed on Bank Holiday weekends

Experience the diversity of people and cultures from around the world. Some of the highlights are Pacific material collected on Captain Cook’s voyages of exploration and the 14-metre-high totem pole from Canada. Due to an ambitious programme of modernisation, the museum will be closed until early summer 2012. Please check the website for updates on the re-opening or call us before your visit. Downing Street 01223 333516 Open Tuesday–Saturday 10.30–16.30 Closed on Bank Holidays FREE! entry to all the University Museums

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Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences As you walk through the Sedgwick Museum’s galleries, you pass through more than 500 million years of the history of life on Earth. Highlights include a 125,000 year old hippo found in Cambridgeshire, giant marine reptiles, minerals, rocks, dinosaurs, fossil sea creatures dating back hundreds of millions of years, and a new exhibition ‘Darwin the Geologist’. Downing Street 01223 333456 Open Monday–Friday 10–1 and 2–5 Saturday 10–4 Closed on Bank Holidays FREE! entry to all the University Museums

Free School Lane 01223 330906 Open Monday–Friday 12.30–4.30 Closed on Bank Holidays FREE! entry to all the University Museums

Cambridge & County Folk Museum

Whipple Museum of the History of Science Here you will find a fascinating array of scientific instruments dating from the Middle Ages to the present day. Cambridge has longbeen a centre for scientific work. Microscopes, telescopes and laboratory equipment demonstrate the vitality of past science, whilethe collections of pocket calculators and slide rules reflect how scientific instruments are important to us all.

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A vibrant gem of a museum which brings the colourful history of Cambridge to life! Each themed room in this 17th century building is filled with intriguing objects, some dating back to the 1600s. Discover the fascinating world of the fens and its folklore, and explore Cambridge home life, childhood and trades through a range of interactive displays. This family friendly Museum offers temporary exhibitions, events and talks throughout the year along with a shop specialising in unique locally made gifts.

Castle Street 01223 355159

Open Easter to October, Sundays 2-5pm November to Easter, first Sunday in the month 2-5pm

Open Tuesday to Saturday: 10:30 - 17:00 Sunday: 14:00 - 17:00 Closed between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day inclusive Adults £3.50, Concessions £2, Children £1 One free child with every full paying adult

Adults: £3.50 non steam days, £5.50 steam days Concessions: £2.00 non-steam days, £3.50 steam days Children 7 and over £1.50 non steam, £3 steam

Cambridge Museum of Technology Best known for its landmark chimney which towers over Riverside, the museum is home to a fascinating range of locally produced technology. Massive pumping engines and intricate scientific instruments all jostle for your attention. The museum’s home in Cambridge’s Victorian pumping station is an exhibit in itself. Back in the 1890s it provided an ingenious solution to the town’s two stinking problems: rubbish and sewage. The museum runs a full programme of events throughout the year including steam days when we light the boiler and our sleeping giant engines come back to life. Riverside, Cambridge 01223 368650 (answering machine)

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Located in the heart of Cambridge, and occupying an extraordinary historic building housing almost half a million objects, the Fitzwilliam Museum has been hailed as ‘one of the great treasure houses of Britain’ – and admission is completely free. Founded in 1816, the Museum houses the University of Cambridge’s extensive collection of art and antiquities. It owes its foundation to Richard, VII Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion who, in 1816, bequeathed to the University of Cambridge his works of art and library, together with funds to house them, to further "the Increase of Learning and other great Objects of that Noble Foundation". From Egyptian coffins

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to Impressionist masterpieces; illuminated manuscripts to Renaissance sculpture; rare coins and medals to Oriental applied arts - these world-class collections of art and antiquities span centuries and civilizations. Visitors can discover a fine collection of paintings, drawings and prints boasting work by Titian, da Vinci, van Dyck, Ruebens, Breughel, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Dürer and Constable, with masterworks of French Impressionism by Matisse, Degas, Monet and Renoir and PreRaphaelite treasures by Millais, Rossetti and Holman Hunt. The Fitzwilliam also presents art from the 20th and 21st centuries, including work by Pablo Picasso, Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer,

and Howard Hodgkin. Elsewhere within the Museum, the superb antiquities collection ranges from Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and funerary figurines to Roman sculpture, including Greek vases, mosaic, and artefacts from Ancient Cyprus and Nubia. The Fitzwilliam contains an extraordinary collection of manuscripts, including beautiful and rare medieval illuminated books from the Middle Ages, as well as literary manuscripts by Keats and Hardy and original musical scores by Mozart and Handel. A striking collection of coins and medals is also on offer, from the very earliest examples to contemporary art medals, as well as outstanding collections of Oriental and applied arts, with pottery, porcelain, and one of the most significant collections of Korean ceramics outside South-East Asia.

year round from the entrance desks, containing drawing materials and actitivies to lead younger visitors on an exciting trail around the Museum’s galleries. For adults, the Museum offers a wide range of activities, including free lunchtime talks, curators’ tours and workshops led by experts. Visitors to the Fitzwilliam Museum can take a break from the galleries in the Courtyard Cafe, which has a tempting variety of food and drink, from coffee and cake to filling hot dishes. The adjacent Courtyard Shop is a treasure trove of striking and unusual gifts for all ages, offering postcards, greetings cards, calendars, posters,

The Fitzwilliam Museum is the perfect place for a family day out, with year-round activities, workshops and trails for visitors of all ages – often completely free. The first Saturday of every month is ‘Family First Saturday’ at the Fitzwilliam, when families can visit the Fitz Family Welcome Point and collect drawing materials, activities and trails to use throughout the Museum. Families can also pick up a free ‘FitzKit’ activity box all

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County Signpost Imperial tombs of the Han Dynasty, this incredible show will be the most important display of ancient Chinese royal treasures ever seen outside China, brought together exclusively for this Cambridge venue.

Custom Print Site

books, cards, stationary, crockery, scarves, distinctive jewellery and more.

Major Exhibitions Following on from the success of 2011’s ‘must see’ exhibition: Vermeer’s Women: Secrets and Silence, which received 20,000 visitors within the first three weeks of opening. The Fitzwilliam Museum is set to showcase an even bigger exhibition in Spring 2012: The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China. Featuring nearly 400 priceless treasures from the

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After visiting the museum, if you would like to order an extra special gift you can do so from a new custom print site: The site includes over 600 images from the collection available to buy as unframed and framed prints, canvases, bespoke mugs, postcards and gift cards. Images will regularly be added to the site, so if you don’t see the picture you want contact the Image Library for more information: Telephone 01223 332900 All images © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge


Located just off the A10 between Cambridge and Ely, this remarkable collection of beautiful historic buildings tells the story of rural Cambridgeshire through the centuries. At the heart of the site is the stunning Denny Abbey itself. Benedictine monks, Franciscan nuns, Knights Templars and Cambridgeshire farmers have all lived and worked here. The abbey’s many rooms reveal their worlds. Farmyard buildings next door house fascinating displays on farming, traditional crafts and trades. Our cottage takes you back to the 1940s, complete with outdoor privy and cottage garden. Experience a delightful natural setting- rich with archaeological remains and loads of space to run free.

Archaeology and help the museum celebrate London 2012 with our own version of the games! Any day you do visit, families can pick up our free activity packs at the entrance which include drawing materials and fact sheets that help lead you around the buildings and a chance to experience our regularly changing exhibition programme. For adults, the museum provides a superb selection of evening talks by local historians and artists, sociable outdoor craft sessions, and a range of weekend art workshops including basketry, willow sculpture, plant dying, printing and jewellery making, all led by experts and suitable for beginners.

Visitors can also find peaceful spots for picnics or enjoy our range of homemade cakes and rolls, Fairtrade cream teas and locally sourced juices in our ‘Docky Box’ tearoom open on weekends, event days and children’s activity days. The museum shop presents an affordable range of unique gifts and crafts made by local artists and workshop tutors, plus pocket money toys for children, postcards, souvenir guidebooks, books, cds and dvds, handmade cards and much more. Telephone 01223 860988

The Farmland Museum at Denny makes for the perfect place for a family day out, with jampacked activities and a special events programme running throughout the year. 2012 sees the museum celebrating events such as Easter with its traditional Easter bonnet parade and June sees the return of our popular 1940s Farm and Country Fair for the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday. In the summer, younger visitors can also discover Denny’s past at our archaeology day as part of the Festival of British

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In 1966 a small group of enthusiastic people concerned over the possible loss of any record, in words or artefacts, of the history of The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, decided to establish a museum. The original President and Chairman are still in post and as enthusiastic and active as ever today. There is a large band of “Friends” who support The Museum who live both locally and also spread all over Britain. It was housed, until 2000, at Potter Heigham in one the old Herbert Woods boat sheds, then moved to The Poors Staithe at Stalham. The main Wherry and Marshman buildings are in what were warehouses for the goods carried by the trading wherries from Great Yarmouth,

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housing a faithful life-size reproduction of a “cuddy” in which the wherrymen lived on board their boats. The office was added at some time as a shop to sell domestic goods to the wherrymen, now the reception area, tea room and shop for the modern visitors The Marshman’s Building is dedicated to the lives and crafts of these men and the products of their labours, “the best thatching reed in the world”. The drainage of the land by wind pumps, and later works to improve the water quality are also illustrated, along with examples of local wild-life. The Discovery Building contains a time-line putting the development of The Broads in its historical context. There are several hands-on models to demonstrate how bits of boats work, alongside painting and colouring equipment for the younger visitors to use. Also a video is running giving the evolutionary history of the early broads, explaining how it was discovered that they were man made. The Boat Shed houses the larger exhibits including Maria, a Lateener, “the fastest racing yacht on the Broads in the 19th. century”, an “Airborne Lifeboat” designed by Uffa Fox, the famous yacht designer, many of which were built at Potter Heigham and saved the lives of numerous aircrew in W.W.2. Outside, under covered areas, is a collection of significant boats, including a Commissioners’ Launch, a fore-runner of those policing the Broads nowadays for the Broads Authority, one of the early wooden Wayfarer dinghies built in Wroxham, and a unique “Weed Cutting” boat. There is also a Victorian “gentleman’s steam launch”, built for the owner of Lacon’s Brewery in Gt. Yarmouth. Now restored, she is available for trips on the river on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, plus private hire for special occasions.

There are approximately 50 volunteers who either man reception or carry out all the refurbishment and domestic maintenance of the buildings and their precious contents. Over the last few years they have made major improvements to the site, for both the collections and visitors. Also now available are Audio Guides which give details, using the voices of Museum volunteers, of the exhibits at numbered sites around the site, plus a “Touch Screen” system to enable visitors access to stored items, such as boat plans, photographs, and magazine articles, which cannot normally be put on display. Both these systems were enabled by generous grants from local charitable trusts.” For details visit the website: The Museum is open daily from Easter to the end of October from 10.30am-5pm. HRH Princess Anne inaugurating the Touch Screen system on 30th. June 2011. A great day at the Museum.

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The Rock Garden overlooks the lake at the Botanic Garden

A 40 acre oasis just to the south of the City centre, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden is a haven of beautiful gardens & glasshouses, recommended by the RHS Garden Finder as an exceptionally attractive botanic garden and ‘essential visiting for any garden lover’. This heritage-listed Garden was the vision of Professor John Henslow, teacher and guiding light of Charles Darwin, and is today a treasure trove of over 8,000 plant species, including nine national collections and the finest arboretum in the East of England. The Garden has been designed for both yearround interest and seasonal inspiration. The tree collection forms the structural backbone to the Garden and encloses the plantings to form a secluded green retreat. The magnificent conifers

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of the Main Walk create an awe-inspiring avenue, leading in one direction to a beautiful fountain designed by the respected cutler David Mellor and in the other to a pair of ornate Gates that were originally the entrance to the much smaller, city-centre Botanic Garden before it reopened on its current site in 1846. These lovely Gates were relocated at the end of the 19th century. The Garden is a natural outdoor classroom: guided tours of the seasonal highlights take place at 11am every first Saturday of the month (pre-booking advised on 01223 336265 or email and drop-in family workshops are held between 11am-3pm also on every first Saturday. Telephone 01223 336265

CAMBRIDGESHIRE WILDLIFE TRUST Bringing people together to take action for wildlife is the Trust’s mission. The Wildlife Trust manages 128 nature reserves - all of them free to visit – and 95% of the population live within five miles of one of their reserves. The Trust is working to make these wildlife havens bigger, better and more joined-up – helping wildlife adapt to a changing climate. The West Cambridgeshire Hundreds Project aims to enhance biodiversity in 4,000 hectares of ancient woodlands through improved management, expansion and linkage of habitats. Reserves within this scheme include Buff Wood, Hardwick Wood, Hayley Wood and Gamlingay Wood. Visit these peaceful places to get your fill of bluebells in springtime. As well as improving existing ancient woodlands, the project will connect these important areas by extending hedgerows across the open countryside and widening field margins.

Wonderful wildlife and open space to wander: this is the vision for the Cambridgeshire Chalk Living Landscape, another of the Trust’s four key Living Landscape Schemes. East Pit, part of Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits, has a range of wildlife interest including glowworms and a breeding pair of peregrine falcons. Visit or To find out more about becoming a member telephone 01954 713543 or email the membership team at

Graffam Water © Pat Doody

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Ely is very proud of it's connection with eels as the name Ely is derived from the Isle of Eels when the city was surrounded by water and marshland. Eels are still caught in the River Great Ouse.  Smoked eels, now considered a delicacy can be purchased on Ely's award winning Farmers Market and dishes such as eel stew and eel pie can be regularly be found on several of the city's restaurant menus. Nestled in the Fen countryside, Ely  makes an ideal destination for a day visit or short break location.  As the second smallest city in England, Ely is a hidden gem, which is often remarked upon by our many visitors.  It is compact enough to ensure that nowhere is too far to walk to, yet expansive enough to fill a full day and more. 

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For your day visit to Ely your first port of call would be the medieval Cathedral that dominates the landscape for miles around with it's famous Octagon tower.  Whilst in the Cathedral be sure to visit the Stained Glass Museum situated in the South Triforium offering a colourful experience of a stunning collection of stained glass and is the only one of its kind in the country. Ely's most famous resident is Oliver Cromwell and you will have the opportunity to visit the only remaining home of Oliver Cromwell with the exception of Hampton Court Palace in London.  The former Lord Protector lived with his family in Ely for just over 10 years and the house has been transformed to give you an insight into 17th century life.  Audio tours bring the story of this fascinating building to life.  The

Cromwell’s House

house also doubles up as a Tourist Information Centre. For learning about Ely's past the Ely Museum is situated just two minutes from the Cathedral. At the museum you will discover the story of Ely from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. The museum is housed in the city's former Gaol. The riverside is also a hot spot for visitors wishing to relax and enjoy an afternoon tea or take a boat trip or even browse through the three storey Antiques Centre.  Whilst at the riverside

we strongly recommend that you follow the city's heritage public art Eel Trail that is an excellent way of seeing the historic city at it's best. This circular walk, self-guided by brass way makers takes you past the oldest parts of Ely incorporating the beautiful riverside area and award winning Jubilee gardens. Group Tours Advisor 01353 616397 or Cromwell’s House 01353 662062

Cromwell’s Haunted Bedroom

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Discover - Wildlife, Family Fun Stunning Gardens, Great Shopping & Home Cooked Food There are so many ways to enjoy the beautiful surroundings here at Pensthorpe, a reserve famous for hosting BBC Springwatch. Whether you want to explore the great wildlife walks, learn about our conservation projects, indulge in a spot of retail therapy, take lunch in our Courtyard CafĂŠ, or just enjoy some of the best local gardens and birdlife for miles around, there is something to suit every taste.

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Pensthorpe Mill Garden

Pensthorpe takes it role as the 'Natural Centre of Norfolk' very seriously: supporting a wide range of conservation activities, and addressing the particular problems faced by a number of endangered and vulnerable species. Red Squirrels, Corncrakes, Cranes and other rare birds have all benefited from assistance from the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust (PCT), a registered charity based on the reserve.

Gardens From the structural beauty of the Millennium Garden, to the lush foliage in the Wave Garden; the habitat-specific Wildlife Habitat Garden and the more subtle, traditionally-managed flood plain of the Wildflower Meadow, Pensthorpe is able to provide year round colour and interest.

Pensthorpe tracker trail

Family Fun Pensthorpe is a great place to get children involved in wildlife and the great outdoors. Not only is there a huge variety of birds and wildlife to spot, but families can choose from a range of activities to engage everyone whatever their age. Feed the birds at one of our specialist locations, or try your hand at pond dipping to discover just how much fun is to be had in the countryside. The new activity booklet encourages children to explore the reserve and find out more about the plants, birds, animals and insects. Stamping stations posted throughout designated trails coax children's curiosity, whether you choose to follow the creepy-crawlies on the Bug Walk Trail, or the excitement of the Wildlife Tracker Trail. Or if something a little less energetic is your thing, the Wensum Discovery Tour* allows you to explore the reserve from the comfort of

ourspecially designed Land Rover and trailer. With up to four guided tours each day, there is ample opportunity to take advantage of the expert knowledge of our wardens. *Seasonal Attraction, additional charge applies

What's Here Pensthorpe is not just a great way to get close to nature and learn more about wildlife and conservation. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a little retail therapy too. Our superb gift shop offers some delightful and unusual options for presents that are so nice you won't want to give them away. Or just indulge yourself completely in our newly refurbished Courtyard CafĂŠ, whether you fancy a tasty light snack, a scrumptious cream tea or a delicious, full lunchtime meal. Telephone 01328 851465

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BEWILDERWOOD New for 2011 is daily storytelling on the park (weather permitting). Bold little adventurers can find out more about the magical BeWILDerwood world and the fascinating creatures who live there. The storytelling sessions are completely interactive, giving children the chance to dress up as the characters from the famous BeWILDerwood books, bringing the mystical tales to life right before their very eyes.

Magic, mystery, imagination and adventure have always been the order of the day at BeWILDerwood, the award-winning curious treehouse adventure park in Norfolk. But this year the Twiggles and Boggles have been beavering away to ensure that when the gates swing open for the year (from February half term 19th – 27th) visitors will be treated to even more treetop family fun and excitement than ever before. As much as BeWILDerwood is famous for outdoor adventures and safe play, it offers visitors a wider cerebral experience where imaginations run as WILD as the children (and mums and dads too!)

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Literacy and storytelling have always been important features of the park - creator Tom Blofeld first breathed life into the concept of BeWILDerwood within the pages of his popular books (A Boggle at BeWILDerwood, The BeWILDerBats, The Ballad of BeWILDerwood and A BeWILDermuddle). That’s why in 2011 we’re celebrating the educational and imaginative elements of the park, and storytelling will become an even more important part of the BeWILDerwood experience. Also new for 2011 is the Big Hat, a giant hiding place with a pointy top that’s filled with lots of handy places to rest tired feet on splishy, splashy wet days. Aside from the park’s new additions, it remains a ‘plastic-free’ environment of magical tree houses, zip wires, wobbly bridges, mazes, swing ropes and Toddlewood, three miniature playground areas for toddlers. Take a boat across the Scaaaaary Lake, try your luck on the Tricky Tunnels or slip and slide down the Slippery Slopes. It’s a full day out, inspired by the characters and adventures from the BeWILDerwood books, including Swampy, Mildred the Crocklebog and the Thornyclod Spider.

Online booking still remains the quickest and easiest way to enter the park. It means visitors can book their tickets online, bring a reference number with them, and get into the park quickly without queuing - a real bonus during the park’s busiest times. BeWILDerwood has introduced gift vouchers, which are ideal for birthday presents. And their Annual Passes are great value if you are local or a regular visitor – and you can use them to get into all the events free!

Jo Artherton, BeWILDerwood’s Marketing Manager, said: “2011 is set to be an exciting year for BeWILDerwood. We’re well known as an active, outdoorsy family destination and now we’re in a position to establish the educational side of the park, particularly as last year Tom Blofeld published A BeWILDermuddle, the third and latest book in the BeWILDerwood series. We want children to be inspired and motivated both physically and mentally, and we aim to further bring to life the magic of BeWILDerwood”. In 2011 there will be popular annual events such as BeWILDermum’s Day on 3rd April and BeWILDerdad’s Day, on 19th June. Bring your mum or dad for free (mums on Mother’s Day, dads on Father’s Day) and make them a special present to take home! BeWILDerwood is also planning a host of bigger and more thrilling events than ever before. These include Mildred’s Crocklebog Capers from 22nd – 29th August, a celebration of all things crocklebog; and Snagglefang’s Spooky Spectacular from 24th – 30th October, a seriously spooktacular event where you can dress up, make magical masks and lanterns and take part in the mysterious lantern parade at dusk.

Last year, the park’s on-site shop underwent a big expansion and is now twice the size. It’s packed with fantastic gifts including books, soft toys, sweets, and a new range of BeWILDerwood branded gifts. For those with eyes bigger than their bellies, BeWILDerwood has a fantastic selection of yummy hot and cold food as well as snacks available on the park. All food is organic, where possible, and locally sourced with plenty of healthy options too, giving families lots of choice. With so much more to offer, and the focus firmly on environmental and educational issues, BeWILDerwood is perfect for a family day out in 2011. BeWILDerwood is located in woodland off the A1062 near Wroxham, situated near the beautiful surrounding of Hoveton Little Broad. For more information about BeWILDerwood and all the events in 2011 visit or call 01603 783900.

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Lakenheath Fen Lakenheath Fen has a great story to tell. It used to be carrot fields in a vast tract of arable land, but now it is returned to reedbed and grazing marsh, making a real haven for wildlife great and small. In spring, the reedbeds teem with wildlife. You might hear one of the rare and elusive bitterns booming or catch a glimpse of dainty, melodious reed warblers and sedge warblers as they flit through the landscape. Listen out too for the beautiful song of golden orioles as you wander past the poplar woods. In early summer, hobbies catch insects high over the marshes and young marsh harriers and bearded tits can be seen taking their first tentative flights amongst a colourful array of wetland plants and flowers. In winter, you may be lucky enough to steal a glance at an iridescent kingfisher or witness majestic barn owls in silent flight as they hunt near the visitor centre.

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As well as lots of easy paths to explore, trail guides and explorer backpacks are available to help identify and enjoy the abundance of wildlife you will encounter on your visit. Location: IP27 9AD, 5 miles West of Brandon, Suffolk Directions: By road: B1112, just north of Lakenheath station. You can cycle or walk on the Hereward Way from Brandon (4.5 miles). By public transport: trains to Lakenheath (weekends only) or Brandon; Brecks Bus pre-booked service available at certain times (01638 608080). Opening hours: Reserve: dawn until dusk, all year round Visitor centre: 9am – 5pm daily For more information visit, or call 01842 863400.

Fen Drayton Lakes Fen Drayton Lakes is the newest RSPB reserve found in Cambridgeshire. A complex of lakes and traditional riverside meadows adjacent to the River Great Ouse near St Ives, this landscape creates a fantastic environment in which to explore the county’s rich wildlife. The reserve is widely regarded as one of the best birdwatching sites in the county, but there are plenty of wildlife spectacles that will keep the uninitiated enthralled. During the spring, you will be treated to the sight of courting great crested grebes, nesting mute swans, geese and ducks coaxing their downy youngsters towards independent life. Flocks of migrating wading birds will be stopping off as they make their long journey north for the summer and a colourful array of early butterflies can be found throughout the meadows.

Directions: By road: Fen Drayton is easily accessed from the A14 via the signposted private roadway which leaves the minor road between the villages of Fen Drayton and Swavesey. OS Explorer 225. Bus services 1A, 553, 554, 555 (Cambridge to Huntingdon), alight at Fenstanton. Frequent, Monday to Saturday, hourly on Sunday. By cycle: National Cycle Network route 51. Opening hours: Reserve: at all times For more information visit or call 01954 233260.

In summer why not take a relaxing riverside walk and watch damsel and dragonflies dance while you picnic? The reserve attracts huge numbers of ducks, swans and geese onto the lakes in the colder months, and at this time of year you are also likely to catch sight of a starling ‘murmuration’, one of the UK's most incredible wildlife spectacles. Throughout autumn and winter, hundreds of thousands of starlings turn the sky black just before dusk as the birds come together in huge clouds, wheeling, turning and swooping in unison. With so much to see, why not take the whole family for a day of exploration and activity around this new wetland reserve? Location: GR: TL352680, 8 miles South East of St Ives, Cambridgeshire

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Strumpshaw Fen Strumpshaw Fen offers access to a stunning array of Broadland habitats, including reedbeds, woods and meadows. As you arrive at the reserve, the busy world will melt away as you find yourself surrounded by the sounds of nature. A visit to Strumpshaw Fen offers the chance to experience the iconic landscape of the broads, and a wide variety of local wildlife. In spring, stroll through our peaceful woodland, carpeted with bluebells. During a summer meander amongst the reedbeds, woodlands and orchid-rich meadows you could chance upon marsh harriers, bitterns and kingfishers. In spring and summer the reserve is home to a stunning array of dragonflies and butterflies, and in June each year, Strumpshaw Fen is one of the only places left in the UK that you can see the spectacular swallowtail butterfly. The reserve is also home to a community of otters often seen out about during the Autumn, hunting in the pools and river. And if you are very lucky, you might catch sight of bittern, bearded tit and other shy wetland birds.

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There's plenty for children to do, with activity rucksacks available, and a range of guided walks for birdwatching beginners and old hands too. With so much to see and do, combined with the peace and tranquillity of Norfolk’s natural landscape, the term ‘getting away from it all’ has never been truer than during a visit to Strumpshaw Fen! Location: NR13 4HS, 9 miles east of Norwich, Norfolk Directions: By road: just off the A47, signposted from Brundall. On the Yare Valley cycle route, Norwich – Reedham; quiet lanes link Strumpshaw, Buckenham and Cantley. By public transport: train to Brundall station 1.5 miles or Buckenham (weekends only) 1 mile; hourly bus service 17A from Norwich stops 0.5 miles from the reserve on the Brundall to Strumpshaw Road (not Sundays). Opening hours: Reserve: dawn to dusk, all year round For more information visit or call 01603 715191.

Titchwell Marsh This wetland nature reserve is situated on the beautiful north Norfolk coast, and offers a chance to see nature at its best. With a backdrop of unforgettable sea views and big skies, summer brings a chance to relax as you watch marsh harriers float serenely over the reeds. Autumn and winter bring a stunning array of wading birds, ducks and geese to the reserve’s lagoons, many of which are taking a break on our shores during their long migratory journeys from faraway places including Siberia, Iceland and parts of Eastern Europe. At any time of year, a walk from the visitor centre down to the sandy beach takes you past a range of diverse habitats including reedbeds and shallow lagoons, offering the opportunity to experience a fantastic variety of wildlife during your visit. Trail guides for the reserve are available from the visitors centre on arrival, and for the young at heart, our new ‘Spot it!’ guides are a fun way of getting to know some of the nature on our reserve.

And with a visitor centre, shop, tea room selling meals and snacks and a raft of friendly knowledgeable staff around every corner, there is no better way to experience the great outdoors. Location: PE31 8BB, 5 miles east of Hunstanton, Norfolk Directions: By road: on the A149, between Thornham and Titchwell villages. Close to National Cycle Network route 1. By public transport: frequent daily CoastHopper bus from Hunstanton and Sheringham stops at reserve entrance. On foot: footpaths from neighbouring villages, Norfolk Coast Path at Thornham, or new path along the A149. Opening hours: Reserve: at all times Visitor centre: 9.30am – 5pm (4pm mid November – mid February) Tea Room: 9.30am – 4.30pm (4pm mid November – mid February) For more information visit, or call 01485 210779

Signpost - page 47

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2012 Cambridgeshire & Norfolk Signpost  

Annual regional tourist guide - full of attractive features on places to see and things to do in and around Cambs and Norfolk in the UK.

2012 Cambridgeshire & Norfolk Signpost  

Annual regional tourist guide - full of attractive features on places to see and things to do in and around Cambs and Norfolk in the UK.