12 PLACES OF CHRISTMAS
EDP Norfolk|December 2019
Christmas is magical right across the county – but some spots shine especially brightly
Rowan Mantell

1 THE ROYALS AT SANDRINGHAM

Norfolk is where the royal family chooses to spend Christmas. Royal Christmas traditions include opening gifts on Christmas Eve and attending church on Christmas morning. Many of the younger royals walk to and from the service, stopping to chat to well-wishers lining the route. They return to a Christmas dinner of Norfolk turkey at Sandringham House and afterward settle down, like millions of other families, for the Queen’s speech. The very first Christmas message, by the Queen’s grandfather, George V, was broadcast by radio from Sandringham in 1932. Elizabeth II made the first televised Queen’s Speech from the library in Sandringham on Christmas Day, 1957.

2 BETHLEHEM AT ASHILL

Wander through ancient Bethlehem – in rural Norfolk. Christmas Alive is an atmospheric outdoor living nativity village, including sights and sounds which would have been familiar in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Meet costumed characters including carpenters, stonemasons, scribes, spinners, weavers, an apothecary, tax collectors taking a census, Roman soldiers barking orders and inn-keepers sharing food, plus real donkeys, sheep and goats. Watch, or even join in with, baking, dancing, mosaic-making or writing in Hebrew. Christmas Alive also includes the chance to see Scrooge, an interactive musical reworking of Charles Dickens’ famous story. What if Scrooge had met the baby Jesus one life-changing, world-changing night? Find out at performances at 3pm and 6pm.

Christmas Alive is from 3pm on Saturday and Sunday December 14 and 15 at the Fountain of Life Church, The Well Christian Centre, Swaffham Road, Ashill, near Watton. Tickets are free but should be booked in advance from registration@folchurch.co.uk

3 ILLUMINATIONS AT BLICKLING

The hall and gardens, near Aylsham, are a magical sight, lit for Christmas from November 30 to December 20. The house glows with glorious illuminations, framed by an avenue of lit trees, and the spectacle continues through the gardens with the temple walk, fountains and parterre all sparking with thousands of multicolor lights. This year Blickling celebrates 400 years of history and inside the rooms are decorated for four centuries of Christmas. nationaltrust.org

4 FESTIVE FACTS ATTHE UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA

Twas 10 days before Christmas when all through the lecture theatre, children were nestled all snug in their seats, amazed by science and history behind festive treats.

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