My Week In...

North Norfolk

December 20th to December 27th

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Late addition that didn't make the print edition: Westacre Theatre's production of Alan Ayckbourn's 'This is Where We Came in'. See calendar for details.

TWO WHITTINGTONS AND ONE ALADDIN

Britain’s Got Talent’s Twist and Pulse in Aladdin in Kings Lynn

It’s a proper catfight this year between Sheringham Little Theatre and Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre. Both are putting on ‘Dick Whittington and his Cat’, though the Princess Theatre’s version has a ‘Wonderful Cat’. That might tip the litter in their favour, but it’s Sheringham Little Theatre’s tenth panto anniversary, and they have the director of five of the previous years’ stepping onto the stage himself. Nick Earnshaw, veteran – at 37 – of stage and er, stage, also a drama teacher in Staffordshire, will be playing Sarah The Cook, with a big T (a pair of them in fact). Meanwhile Kings Lynn’s Corn Exchange has former Hollyoaks star Steven Pinder playing the lead in Aladdin, supported by Britain’s Got Talent dancing runners-up, Twist and Pulse. The show includes an actual flying carpet.

THEATRE: A SPECIAL CHILDREN’S SHOW AND THE END OF THE PIER 

Get yourself to the end of Cromer Pier for the variety show

It’s a Christmas show but not panto: Wells Maltings host fEast Theatre’s production of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. Archetypical baddie Elderberry Yacht is planning to use his Dream Hoover to ruin Christmas forever. Young Emily has to stop him. You might think you can guess how it ends, but that’s left to the young audience to decide. The two-handed show was a smash hit when it premiered in Hull in 2004. It’s certainly unique, delightfully childish and anarchic. We recommend. Suitable for ages 4 and all the way up. More theatrical fun at the Cromer Pier Christmas Show, every evening at 7.30pm until 30 Dec except for Mon 23 Dec and Christmas Day. Check www.cromerpier.co.ukfor details. If you’re quick and lucky you might catch the last of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, which finishes on Mon 23 Dec. We guess it will be ‘returns only’.

CHRISTMAS: HOLKHAM HALL CHRISTMAS ART WORK

Artist Martha Fiennes ‘Nativity’ changes before your eyes at Holkham

An original Christmas event this year at Holkham Hall. From Fri 27 to Mon 30 Dec in the Hall’s chapel immerse yourself in ‘Nativity’, a work of art by Martha Fiennes that combines renaissance painting, sound and music, controlled and co-ordinated by Artificial Intelligence, i.e. an algorithm. ‘No two performances can ever be the same.’ It will be mesmerizing, and a unique experience. The Hall is lit by candles for Christmas and attendees of the artwork can take their time to admire the decorations before and after their show. Entry for the ‘Nativity’ experience is every 15 minutes between 3 and 9pm on the dates above. You have to book online via www.holkham.co.uk, and if you apply the code ‘MW19’, you’ll benefit from a 20% discount (£7 off an adult ticket).

NATURE/WALKS/OUTDOORS: WALK OR SWIM OFF THAT XMAS EXCESS

Cromer’s Boxing Day swim at 11am

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a brisk walk or two before and after. Of course you’ll have you traditional family one well-planned but you could also consider adding an extra purpose at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust in Cley, who have guided walks around their reserve on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. In a similar skein, Pensthorpe Nature Park just south of Fakenham, has ‘floodlit feeds’ of its birds every day at 4pm through the winter. Check online for details. Talk about brisk: if you really want to earn your Christmas feast, sign up for the Round Table charity swim on Christmas Day at Hunstanton. It’s a massive event and fundraiser. If you lose your bottle – or need to get over the effects of one or a few – you can wait ’til Boxing Day at Cromer, where the North Norfolk Bach Runners have a charity ‘dip’ at 11am.

TRAINS: THE NNR LIGHTS EXPRESS AND WWLR’S LOCAL LINE

Christmas specials on the North Norfolk Railway, day and night

It’s all gone Polar Express this year. The North Norfolk Railway has bedecked its trains in train-sized fairy lights and is running the ‘Norfolk Lights Express’ every evening except Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day, until 5 Jan. When we looked online they were sold out for December. We suggest calling to see if they have some last-minute availability. Not quite so fast, or big, but much fun and bracing if you choose the open air carriages, the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway is running Christmas Specials from Dec 20 to 23. Go to www.wwlr.co.ukfor the timetable.

Don't Miss…

… The Creake Abbey Special Christmas Market on Sat 21 Dec, Fakenham Races on New Year’s Day (first race 12.40pm), Carols in the Courtyard at Felbrigg Hall on Sun 22 Dec, and some thumping live music at the Blakeney Harbour Room on Fri 20 Dec.

And Stick Around for…

The ‘Bloomsbury-by-Sea’ Blakeney Players show, ‘The Wealthy Widows’ from Thu 9 Jan (supper show on Sat 11 Jan) and the equally talented Creakes Drama Group’s seasonal panto, ‘Robin Hood’ from 17 Jan.

CURRENT ART SHOWS

Christmas Exhibition Part 2, Bircham Gallery, www.birchamgallery.co.uk, to 8 Jan. Daily, 10am-5pm

Christmas Exhibition, Sarah Caswell and Walsingham Gallery, to 30 Jan. (Closed 25 and 26 Dec, and 1 and 2 Jan) Tue to Sun, 10am-4.30pm

Wildlife Art, Birdscapes Gallery Glandford, to 12 Jan (closed 25 and 26 Dec), daily 11-4pm

My Week in North Norfolk will be back in print for the Easter holidays. A pared down online edition will always be online, at least with major events in the calendar.