Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned carnival? Carnivals are a beloved tradition that evoke a sense of excitement and wonder in people of all ages. With their colourful parades, lively music, and mouth-watering food, they offer an experience that’s hard to resist.
During the summer months in Norfolk, there are several carnivals that you won’t want to miss. Let’s take a look at the biggest carnivals in Norfolk.
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What is a Carnival?
Carnivals are family-friendly festivals that typically include a fun fair, procession, stalls, activities and more. Some carnivals last a week, while others might only be for one day. In many cases, the event raises money for children’s charities.
Biggest Carnivals in Norfolk
Here you can find information about each one so you can decide which ones to go to. Whichever carnival you choose, you are pretty much guaranteed to have fun.
#1 Cromer Carnival
As one of the most popular seaside towns in Norfolk, Cromer holds one of the largest Carnivals in North Norfolk. They also have a lot of free events for kids in the weeks leading up to the Carnival
Their Carnival Week, held annually in mid-August, is packed with fun activities for all ages including a crabbing competition, adults’ fancy dress competition, novelty dog show, a treasure hunt, a junior fun run, and more. The Carnival Day is always held on Wednesday of the third week in August and features a parade, live music, and a visit from the Red Arrows!
The tradition of having an annual week-long fair in Cromer may have started as early as 1285! By the early 1800s, this had become a pleasure fair held on Whit Monday and Tuesday.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Cromer Carnival centred around a parade through the town centre. While there was a break in the latter part of the 1960s, the Carnival returned in 1969 and has continued to grow ever since.
The Cromer Voluntary Entertainments Organisation Ltd, made up of a group of townspeople, organises the Cromer Carnival along with other events throughout the year including the popular New Year’s Day Fireworks.
Get more information here.
#2 Sheringham Carnival
Head to Sheringham for a week of Carnival events in early August. Highlights include the parade, street party, fireworks, crowning of the Carnival Queen, duck race, live music, and fun fair.
The Sheringham Carnival Committee also plans several other events throughout the year like the Sheringham Viking Festival, the Christmas Light Switch-on, 1940s weekend, and more.
Get more information about Sheringham Carnival here.
#3 Wells-Next-the-Sea Carnival
The Wells Carnival has been taking place annually in early August for well over 100 years. It began as the Wells Regatta, which was just a one day event, and has grown to more than 100 events over 10 days!
Everything is run by a team of volunteers who live in or near the town of Wells-next-the-Sea. They make it a priority to provide entertainment for all ages.
Some of the most popular events include a teddy bears picnic, raft race, fun run, painting and sandcastle competitions, history walks, and the Screen on the Green. They also have various workshops and six nights of live music.
The second Saturday is the main Carnival event with fancy dress competitions, a parade around the town and a special music event in the evening.
Get more information here.
#4 Norwich Lord Mayor’s Celebration
While Norwich may not call this festival a carnival, that’s essentially what the Lord Mayor’s Celebration is. There is a fun fair in Chapelfield Gardens, live music, street performances, a duck race, a procession, fireworks, and more.
It happens the first weekend in July. You can read more about it in our guide to the 2022 Norwich Lord Mayor’s Celebration.
#5 North Walsham Funday Carnival
North Walsham Memorial Park is the place to be for a weekend full of fun in late June. Delight in the enchanting fun fair, groove to the pulsating beats at the disco, marvel at captivating street performances, and immerse yourself in the magic of live music. On the Saturday there will be the spectacular Carnival parade, adding an extra dose of merriment to the festivities.
Get more details here.
#6 Diss Carnival
Carnival Day in Diss starts with a parade from Diss High School down Mount Street, Market Place, Mere Street, to the Morrisons roundabout and Park Road. Every year the floats and costumes become even more impressive! Then everyone heads to Diss Park where there is family-friendly entertainment along with stalls and activities.
#7 Caister Carnival (renamed Caister Village Festival beginning in 2023)
Enjoy lots of unique stalls, a classic car show, a petting farm, a dog show, a fun fair, performances from local groups, crafts, street food vendors and more at Caister Playing Field.
The event is typically held on one day during the last weekend of June. Get more information here.
*While you are in the area, you could also check out the Caister Roman Fort.
#8 Hunstanton Carnival
Hunstanton’s annual carnival, held during the last weekend of June, is a vibrant celebration that features a unique theme each year. The festivities include a colourful parade and live music performances on The Green, making it a delightful event for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re a music lover, a fan of parades, or simply looking to soak up the lively atmosphere, you don’t want to miss the carnival in Hunstanton.
Get more information about it here.
#9 Watton Carnival
Unlike other carnivals on this list, the Watton Carnival takes places in Autumn. You can still expect a parade, children’s rides, fundraising stalls, and lots of food and drink. They also have live music and entertainment on stage thoroughout the day.
Get more information here.
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