Booking now open for heritage events at Norwich City of Ale festival

History buffs are set to get as much fun out of Norwich's City of Ale event as real ale drinkers, bosses have promised.

Organisers of the second City of Ale event hope it will kick-start a summer of celebrations, with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Euro championships and the Olympics to follow.

Publicans and brewers met today at the Bridge House in Riverside Road, Norwich, to finetune details for the festival, which runs from May 31 to June 10.

The heritage events, which can now be booked by visiting the website, will include films at Fusion at the Forum in Norwich, lunchtime talks, and walking tours exploring Norwich's heritage of pubs and brewing.

The events have been arranged by Frances and Michael Holmes, from Norwich Heritage Projects. Mrs Holmes said: 'We think we have come up with a good mix of walking tours, lunchtime talks and films at the Forum.'

Films will showcase the stories and characters behind Norwich's pubs and breweries. The heritage walking tours led by Blue Badge Guides will spotlight some of the earliest breweries in the city, the former Anchor Brewery site, and there will be a tour of the ancient Curat House, previously known as Backs. Walks will also include a visit to Pockthorpe taking in part of Barrack Street and the old Sportsman pub, and Steward and Patteson's former main office.

Lunchtime talks will include 'Time Gentleman Please' with Chris Higgins, landlord at the Trafford Arms, an entertaining look at life behind the bar, a history of Colman's of Norwich and a short history of brewing in the city.

Most Read

There will also be a nostalgic pub quiz at the Murderers in Timberhill, for those who remember Black Anna singing at the former Jolly Butchers, and an evening of traditional pub games at the Ribs of Beef, Fye Bridge Street, hosted by Roger and Anthea Cawdron.

The meeting was also told that the list of beers available at the festival will be released next week

As reported, 45 pubs – 14 more than last year – and 35 breweries have signed up for the event. BBC East's David Whiteley will chair the political debate, at St Gregory's Hall on Friday, June 1, which will focus on pubs and brewing and will be free to attend.

The debate will feature Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield, Mike Benner, the chief executive of Camra, who will also officially open the City of Ale event, Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, and Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South.

The festival fits in with the Evening News's Love Your Local campaign which aims to get people to support their local pubs. For more stories visit

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter