Free & family-friendly events at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2022

The Norfolk & Norwich Festival takes place this year from 13th-29th May so I'm sharing a round-up of some of the free and family-friendly events you can enjoy...

Even though the Norfolk & Norwich Festival hasn’t officially started yet, I’ve already popped to Norwich last week to see a few of the visual arts events that make up the festival schedule. Some exhibitions have already opened and many continue to run during the summer so I hope you’ll get a chance to see them at some point during the festival or after.

This epic arts festival isn’t just for adults – there are plenty of events that children can enjoy too. Plus, with the school half-term holidays coming up at the end of the month, it’s the perfect time to take a trip to Norwich for a bit of family-friendly art and culture. I thought I would share my pics along with the events I hope to visit when the festival begins. Here are my picks:


The festival kicks off on Friday 13th May with an epic game of dominoes. The installation around Norwich City Centre is made up of breezeblock ‘dominoes’, which will begin toppling at Anglia Square at 6pm. The route concludes at The Forum and signifies the launch of the 250th anniversary Festival.

The Gift

I’ve already been to see The Gift exhibition at East Gallery by Ryan Gander as it opened on 3rd May. It’s free, really easy to get to (the St Andrews car park is practically opposite the gallery) and you just need to book an allocated time via the website. The exhibition features a colourful wall of comic book images that kids will enjoy and the added bonus is that visitors can receive a coin as a gift from the artist.


Taking place on 14th and 15th May, the Unfurl installation in the Festival Gardens, Chapelfield sounds like an impressive experience for children and adults alike. It features large scale inflatables with light, colour and sound, with interactive ‘air giants’ up to 5 metres high.


I’ve also been to visit Richard Slee’s ceramic Swans exhibition at the Sainbury Centre. This installation is one of my favourites – it’s cute yet complex. I’m sure children will like the simple shapes and adults can appreciate the ceramic work that has gone into creating these pieces. Make a day of it while you’re at the Sainsbury centre by picking up a family-friendly map of the sculpture trail and having a pit-stop in the cafe. Parking is free, just pop into reception for a permit.

Houghton Hall

If you want to enjoy a day outside of the city, Houghton Hall is hosting a few events and exhibitions as part of the Norfolk and Norwich festival. Admission is £20 and free for under 18s and it includes John Virtue’s North Sea Paintings exhibition, as well as entry to the hall, walled garden and sculpture park. I’m hoping to visit to see Ryan Gander’s sculpture More shiny things that don’t really mean anything, which is displayed in the landscape from 1st May.

This is only a taster of what’s on at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2022 so have a browse of the website and let me know if you go to any fun festival events this year. I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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