Oxburgh Hall launches busy year ahead

As the tourism season gets under way, Oxburgh Hall launches an action-packed events programme for all ages. Aura Sabadus finds out what is being lined up for the months ahead… There are deserts and shady islands, windswept moors and choppy seas.

As the tourism season gets under way, Oxburgh Hall launches an action-packed events programme for all ages. Aura Sabadus finds out what is being lined up for the months ahead…

There are deserts and shady islands, windswept moors and choppy seas.

There are golf courses and swimming pools, luxury spas and nightclubs, festivals and exhibitions.

And there is Oxburgh Hall.


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As travel agents herald the start of new tourism season, thousands of Britons will be spoilt with lavish offers for extravagant destinations the length and breadth of the Earth.

But somewhere, tucked away in the heart of rural Norfolk lies the 15th century Oxburgh Hall, a fine country house which has lined up a series of thrilling events to entertain its visitors throughout the year.

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From living history moments to outdoor theatre performances, cookery workshops and garden tours, tourists will be charmed by the activities prepared by the venue just as much as they will be enraptured by the secrets of the hall located some eight miles from Swaffham.

Some of the year's highlights include an armour trail and mask making in April, Tudor fashions and puppet shows in May, tracking down King Arthur and his magic sword Excalibur later in July or a Gamekeeper's Banquet in October.

“This year the National Trust which runs Oxburgh Hall, has an action-packed events programme that is bigger and better than ever before, from living history events to outdoor theatre performances, music, banquets, story telling,” said property manager Teresa Squires.

“Everyone is very welcome from the very young to elderly people who wish to find an oasis of calm and fresh air in the magnificent surroundings of Oxburgh. However, I would advise people that whatever they are interested in and wish to see here at Oxburgh, should make sure that they book in advance.

The Hall reopens to the public on Saturday.

Special events:

Boys & Their Toys Weekend - Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 June, 12 noon - 4pm

Why not treat Dad this Father's day, with a weekend for boys and their toys. There will be displays by Model Boat Club on the moat, Model Helicopter Club and Model Engineers Club. With Sunday dinners available in the tearoom (booking recommended), it's sure to be a good weekend. Normal admission applies.

By the Sword Divided - Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 August, 11am - 4pm

Aardvark productions in association with Sir Thomas Lunsford's Regiment of Foote presents a day in the life of 17th-century England. Step back in time to and see the English Civil War brought to life, as Parliament Forces enter the National Trust's Oxburgh Estate intent on destruction. Normal admission applies.

Archery Weekend - Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 August, 11am - 4pm

Come and meet the Fakenham Bowmen, discover archery through the ages and have a go yourself, at Oxburgh Hall's Archery Weekend. Normal admission applies (additional charge for participation).

Victorian Christmas - Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 December, 11am - 4pm

Come and see Oxburgh Hall dressed for a traditional Victorian family Christmas. Decked out with wreaths, garlands, trees and decorations, see the hall in all its splendour and meet the staff and volunteers involved, dressed in costumes of the period. Giftshop open for Christmas shopping. Adult £3, child £2

Events for children:

Easter Egg Trail - Saturday 22, Sunday 23 and Monday 24 March, 11am - 4pm Complete the Easter Animal Trail and receive a chocolate prize. Normal admission plus £1.50 entry fee for trail.

Knights, Damsels and Dragons - Wednesday 2 April, 12 noon - 4pm

Armour trail and mask making, donations towards craft materials welcome. Normal admission applies.

Teddy Bears' Picnic - Thursday 31 July, 11am - 3pm (gates open at 10am)

As well as everyday visitors to the National Trust property, Oxburgh Hall will be welcoming teddy bears through its gates this July, for a picnic to remember! Tea-room open for light lunches and children's picnic lunchboxes, drinks and ice-cream. Suitable for eight years and under. Arrive early to enjoy a full programme of events. £3 per child.

Meet Santa at Oxburgh - Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 December, from 11am

Join in the fun and meet Santa and his elves. £3 per child (includes present). Carriage rides are also available (additional charge, no advance bookings taken)

New events:

Fruits from the Orchard Cookery Workshop - Fri 10 October, 9.30am - 4.30pm

Learn to cook with autumn fruits including quince and medlars that can be found on the estate, take a short stroll in the garden early afternoon and finish with a demonstration. Morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea included. £40. Booking essential on 01366 328258.

Gamekeepers Banquet - Friday 24 October, 6.30pm for 7pm

Learn a little of the traditions and life of the gamekeeper. £30, booking essential on 01366 328258.

Chilling Winter Tales with Catherine Grey - Thursday 30 October, 7.30pm - 9pm

As the dark nights draw in, spend a winter evening reviving the tradition of listening to spooky tales of the supernatural, in the evocative surroundings of Oxburgh Hall with local storyteller Catherine Grey. Canapés and punch during the interval. Suitable for ages 9-90yrs! £12. Booking essential on 01366 328258

Outdoor performances:

Henry VIII - Thursday 29 May, 2pm - 4.30pm (gates open at 12 noon)

A unique and entertaining puppet show for children that tells the story of Henry VIII and his six Queens …and a dog called 'Stanley'. Suitable for 5yrs and over. Adult £9, child £7, family (2 adults, 2 children) £28. Booking essential on 01366 328258.

King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone - Friday 4 July, 6pm - 8pm

Cambridge Touring Theatre presents a theatrical experience for the whole family involving King Arthur, Merlin and Archimedes (the owl!) Adult £9, child £7, family (2 adults, 2 children) £28. Booking essential on 01366 328258.

Henry V - Friday 18 July, 7.30pm (gates open at 6pm)

Shakespeare's inspirational and enriching story about the triumph of human spirit against overwhelming odds. Performed by 'Heartbreak Productions' in front of the floodlit Hall. Adult £10, child £8. Booking essential on 01366 328.258. Pre-performance meal available, please ring for details.

Midsummer Night's Dream - Friday 15 August, 7.30pm

A magical, enigmatic and hilarious production of Shakespeare's outstanding comedy. Performed by Heartbreak Productions in front of the floodlit Hall. Bring rugs or chairs and a picnic. Adult £10, child £8. Booking essential on 01366 328258. Pre-performance meal available, please ring for details.

The Pied Piper - Friday 22 August, 6pm - 7.30pm (gates open at 5pm)

Openwide Theatre Company performs a new play, from an old tale in rumbustious verse - blending medieval Hamlyn with '90s techno! Bring rugs or chairs and a picnic. Adult £7, child/concessions £5, family (2 adults, 2 children) £20. Booking essential on 01366 328258.

The Magic of the Musicals - Saturday 6 September, 7.30pm - 9.30pm

A light-hearted evening of entertainment performed by students from the Royal Academy of Music & Guildhall, London, with profits from the concert to go to Oxburgh's gardens. £10, booking essential on 01366 328258.

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