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Norfolk Heritage Open Days 2021

A group of people listen to a guide next to a Tudor building with wonky beams and cobbled street

As we re-emerged from what was the most challenging 18 months for many of us, we were delighted to bring you the 2021 Norfolk Heritage Open Days programme. 

The festival offers everyone the opportunity to explore heritage sites, discover some hidden gems not normally open to the public and learn more about the cultural heritage in our communities. 

The theme for the 2021 festival was Edible England so alongside tours and open days there were lots of food related events and activities. Events explored the customs and quirks that have developed around what we eat and drink, as well as the fascinating history of some of our regional and national specialities.

Norfolk Heritage Open Days 2021

Feastival at The Forum

This special event marked the 2021 festival theme of Edible England with a two day celebration at The Forum, Norwich. Feastival celebrated the roots of our county’s food and drink. Heritage was weaved through the weekend so whilst wandering through the food stalls, visitors were able to learn more about the fascinating stories behind Norfolk food, from mustard to chocolate, gin to jam.

Norfolk based independent and artisan traders were showcased with tasters, promotions and a fine selection of local produce. There was delicious street food stalls, talks, and other food related events and activities for all ages, along with music from local artists. 

New Wave and Re/Collect 250

Re/Collect 250 was a collaborative community oral history project that looks ahead to Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s 250th Anniversary by gathering stories of Festivals past. Over May 2021, history students from the University of East Anglia interviewed audience members, artists, volunteers and staff to explore the Festival’s impact on the social and creative lives of people in Norfolk over the past century.

The history cohort teamed up with Norfolk Heritage Open Days’ New Wave programme, to boldly interpret the material they’ve collected, asking how oral history can be re-imagined as an exciting, tangible and relevant practice for young people today.

The animations were premiered during Norfolk Heritage Open Days 2021 with an evening of live music from local artists. New Wave, is a series of innovative, dynamic, youth-led events being produced for this year’s Heritage Open Days festival.  

John Innes Centre - New Food Plants for England

 A journey through the history of plant hunting for food inspired by the John Innes Historical Collections.

Using illustrations from the John Innes Historical Collections, the team tell the story of the arrival of new foods to this country. Beginning with the sugar and spice trade, through the age of discovery to focus on some of the plants brought back to Europe from newly discovered South America. From exotic plants like the pineapple, to a transformation in our starchy staple foods, including maize and the potato, for centuries plant hunting has transformed the diets of ordinary people. John Innes Centre explore this history and show how the Centre has contributed to this story, and is preserving the biodiversity of key food crops today.

Oxburgh Hall  

National Trust archaeologist Angus Wainwright discusses the underfloor finds made at Oxburgh Hall during the Raise the Roof project. 

National Trust archaeologist Angus Wainwright and curator Anna Forrest discuss the underfloor finds made at Oxburgh Hall during the Raise the Roof project.