University of East Anglia drama students who will be performing in Regally Blind, Image by Jo Hayes, © Norfolk Museums Service

This spring, Norfolk Museum Service invites you to join them on the streets of Norwich to celebrate the majesty of Norwich’s medieval castle, the city, its people and its stories.

This engaging and vibrant city-wide trail and associated events programme, kicking off as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival programme, celebrates and tells the story of the 900-year history of Norwich Castle.

The Keeping it Regal interactive trail will lead you through the beautiful lanes of our fine city to reveal an incredible nine centuries of Norwich Castle’s history, from King Henry I’s Christmas visit in 1121 to stories of rascals, rebels, artists and radicals.

As part of the project, Norwich Castle asked the people of Norwich of all ages to explore what being regal means to them today. Is being regal the same as being royal? Is it a quality that is only conferred or can it be appropriated? Is Marcus Rashford the new ‘King’? What behaviours and qualities are, in fact, ‘regal? They created their responses in a variety of art forms including dance, drama and poetry.

Follow the trail and use the QR codes at each of the sites to unlock this unique digital content. You may be surprised by some of their answers!

The trail is available via a downloadable digital map or you can pick up a map from any of the nine trail sites:

  • Norwich Castle
  • Norwich Cathedral
  • Cinema City
  • Museum of Norwich
  • Jarrold Department Store
  • St John Maddermarket
  • Strangers’ Hall
  • The Garage
  • Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art

Keeping it Regal is part of the £13.5m Norwich Castle: Royal Palace Reborn project, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players, that will reinstate the medieval floors and rooms inside the castle so that everyone will be able to experience a Norman royal palace and its stories.

Anna McCarthy, Norwich Museums Children and Family Programme Manager, says: “Norwich Castle’s mighty stone Keep was completed in 1121 by King Henry I, son of William the Conqueror, as a royal palace and as an expression of the wealth and power of the new rulers of the land – the Normans. Now 900 years later we’re excited to be highlighting this incredible history for new audiences with the Keeping it Regal programme. We are very grateful to all our partners in the project who’ve brought their energy and creativity to exploring what being regal means in our contemporary world.”

As well as the Keeping it Regal trail, an exciting events programme provides further opportunities to engage with Norwich’s royal past. This includes a special celebration for the extended Queen’s Jubilee weekend of 2-5 June which will see a stunning royal tea party window display in Jarrold department store, brought to Norwich in partnership with the British Museum. The partnership with the British Museum looks forward to their increasing presence as part of Norwich’s cultural life, with a brand-new British Museum gallery of the medieval period due to open in 2023 as part of the transformation of Norwich Castle Keep.

In addition, Cinema City, as well as being a trail site, will be screening Keeping it Regal themed films across the Jubilee weekend, including Hamlet Live from the Met on Saturday 4 June and The Lion King on Sunday 5 June.

Other events over the period of the trail include:

  • A special display, Sacred Sovereigns, curated by the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) which presents depictions of sovereigns or objects used by them to explore the status of monarchs from around the world
  • A Keeping it Regal-inspired play, Regally Blind, with Year 2 Drama Students from the University of East Anglia. This is due to be performed at Norwich Castle as part of the May half-term activities and at SCVA – as a site-specific performance set amongst the Sacred Sovereigns exhibits.
  • Keeping it Regal themed and branded courses from Norfolk County Council Adult Education, including portraiture and creative writing.

Keeping it Regal is a fantastic opportunity for residents and visitors to Norwich to find out more about the City’s royal past and to engage in what that past means for us all today.

The Keeping It Regal Trail Map.

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You might also enjoy City Escape Games – self-guided adventures in Norwich.

The Sainsbury Centre. One of the most important public university art galleries in Britain