Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival 18,000 successful visits

Volunteers at one of the country’s largest heritage festivals praised a “phenomenal response” from the audience.

Boasting a lineup of nearly 120 free events to explore across the city, organizers of the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival have revealed that more than 18,000 visits have taken place this year as attendance topped pre-season figures. Covid pandemic.

Lowestoft’s award-winning 10-day culture and heritage celebration was held in September with a budget of just £ 1,000 and featured more free activities than any town or city in England.

Events took place in North and South Lowestoft, Carlton Colville, Corton, Oulton Broad and Pakefield, while several live events were shown to full audiences as some content was also broadcast via the internet.

Highlights of the festival included music recitals, lectures, guided walks and exhibitions as well as opportunities to visit buildings rarely open to the public.


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There was a free vintage bus service and free entry to one of the area’s best transport museums on opening Saturday.


Diana Moore, Curate Rev Becki Bensusan and Rev Sharon Lord blessing the herring at the popular Herring and Ale Fayre.
– Credit: Mick Howes

The festival, whose national theme this year was Edible England, then ended with a special Herring and Ale Fayre evening held at Oddfellows Green, Pakefield, which drew some 4,000 people.

Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Volunteer Steering Group Chair Diana Moore said: “We have been absolutely thrilled with the response this year with a phenomenal 18,000 visits taking place through over 100 events held in Canada. only 10 days.

“It is gratifying to be able to showcase the rich diversity of attractions that Lowestoft, so often underestimated, has to offer and we thank each and every person and organization who have helped us to organize such a diverse series of events and the audience that has come. in their thousands to both celebrate and learn about our city’s unique culture and heritage.

The festival was last fully organized in 2019, attracting some 15,000 visits and winning a prestigious national award.


Alice Taylor, Netmaker, at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair.

Alice Taylor, Netmaker, at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair.
– Credit: Mick Howes

In 2020, the event had to be drastically reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with many activities moving online.

Attendance at this year’s festival exceeded organizers’ expectations with the Lowestoft Station Tourist Information Center hosting the festival information center welcoming dozens of visitors.


The Lowestoft Heritage Open Days festival committee.

The Lowestoft Heritage Open Days festival committee.
– Credit: Kate Ellis

Martin Halliday, Development Manager at Community Rail Norfolk, said: “We were delighted to support the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival again this year, with Lowestoft Station hosting both the festival information center and a series of conferences, film screenings and exhibitions inside the Parcels. Office.

“This is the fourth year in a row that we have been able to help, using our facilities at the Lowestoft Central Project and the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership and it was gratifying to hear so many positive comments about the festival and to welcome so many visitors to the region and beyond, many of whom arrived by train.

This year’s festival was financially supported by a £ 1,000 grant from Lowestoft City Council.


Andy Pearce Lowestoft City Councilor

Lowestoft City Councilor Andy Pearce speaks at the civic ceremony on South Pier, Lowestoft.
– Credit: Mick Howes

Cllr Andy Pearce said: “Lowestoft City Council has been delighted to provide financial support for the festival this year and we have been absolutely blown away by the range and quality of activities available and the incredible response from the audience.

“Our sincere thanks go to Diana Moore and the members of the Festival Steering Group for their hard work in organizing, managing and promoting such a great series of events.”


The Excelsior took center stage at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Festival.

The Excelsior took center stage at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Festival.
– Credit: Mick Howes

Other festival highlights include the chance to visit the Grade 2 listed Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club, celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the historic Lowestoft smack Excelsior fishing, behind-the-scenes tours of the dock St John Ambulance, Lowestoft Town Football Club and the last surviving smokehouse in the Beach Village.


Classic 1963 Austin Ambulance Latest SJA Lowestoft Emergency Ambulance

A classic 1963 Austin ambulance and the latest SJA emergency ambulance showing how ambulances have improved over the past six decades.
– Credit: Mick Howes

There were also lectures from prominent local historians and tours of the village of Corton, once home to the Colman family who created the iconic mustard brand, as well as a special conference and dinner celebrating the sugar industry. Lowestoft fishing and his relationship to the great chef, Madame Prunier.

Planning has already started for the 2022 event and more details are expected to be revealed later this year.


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