The Cromer Pier Christmas Show has become an institution in North Norfolk. We were excited to attend the opening night in 2021. Read our Cromer Pier Christmas Show Review to find out what it’s like to see a performance.
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What is the Cromer Pier Christmas Show?
The Cromer Pier Christmas Show is a variety show put on at the historic Pavilion Theatre. It has a similar format to the summer show, but with a holiday theme. Expect a mix of comedy, dancing, singing, and magic complimented by the eight metre Deltaplix LED wall.
You might also like to read our review of the Cromer Pier Show Seaside Special.
History of the Pavilion Theatre
The Pavilion Theatre is one of only five UK end of pier theaters. Along with the Christmas-theme holiday show, it also hosts the Seaside Special in the summer/early autumn. At other times, they host concerts and other community events. It’s one of the things you must see when you visit Cromer.
While there has been a pier or jetty in Cromer since 1391, the iron structure that we see today dates back to 1901. The end of the pier had a bandstand until the area was covered in 1905 to create the Pavilion Theatre.
‘Concert parties’ started coming to the Pavilion Theatre in 1906. Then throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the Cromer Protection Commission was responsible for selecting the touring shows that would appear. In 1936, Ronnie Brandons Out of the Blue became one of the theatre’s most famous shows.
Shows were paused during World War II. After the devastating gales of 1953 damaged the pier and the pavilion, Repairs were needed before the theatre would reopen for the 1955 season. It wouldn’t be the last time the pier suffered damage and would have to be rebuilt.
In 1978, the Seaside Special that is still popular today started thanks to a partnership with Irish Impresario Richard Condon. There were also changes made to the theatre including reducing seating capacity to 440 and adding a new café, bar, and foyer.
In 2001, a new partnership was formed between North Norfolk District Council and Openwide International in an effort to increase economic growth for the pier and the town. By 2004, they had increased seating capacity to 510, added the Tide restaurant and Footprints shop to the pier, and extended the bar. In 2005, the Christmas Pier Show was introduced.
**Get more ideas for the holiday season, check out our list of the best Christmas events in Norfolk.
Over the years, some famous acts including Ken Dodd, Cannon and Ball, Joe Brown, The Searchers, Jimmy Tarbuck, Paul Daniels, The Barron Knights, Max Bygraves, and Val Doonican have performed at the Pavilion Theatre. It’s also been a place to discover up and coming talent.
Our Experience at the Cromer Pier Christmas Show
*We received complimentary tickets so that we could share the experience with our readers. Many of the pictures in this post were provided by Openwide Coastal Ltd. as photography is not allowed during the show. All opinions are our own.
Not even Storm Arwen was going to keep us away from the opening night of the Cromer Pier Christmas show. We had been looking forward to this performance for a while.
When we walked into the theatre, I immediately noticed the Christmas decorations. Not only were there lights hanging from the ceiling, but there was a snowman scene to the right of the stage. A festive cart where they would be selling hot chocolate and cookies was just left of the stage.
I thought the crowd would be put off by the bad weather, but more people kept coming in. It was almost full by the time the show was about to start, but the seats were wide enough that it didn’t feel crowded.
When the curtains opened, there were no performers on stage, just the huge LED screen. It showed some shots of the Cromer Parish Church like we were there to attend a Christmas service, before our host Olly Day appeared on stage.
The rest of the cast joined Olly on stage. This included the comedienne Jo Little, two lead singers Rob McVeigh and Hayley Moss, the magician Taylor Morgan and his partner Rebecca, and six members of the ensemble. They performed the number “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” which I couldn’t help but tap my feet and sing along.
Throughout the evening, Olly and Jo kept the audience entertained and laughing. I especially enjoyed their elf skit because not only was it funny to look at but the jokes were timely. Olly also pulled off a few magic tricks that included audience participation and had me fooled.
Taylor Morgan, the show’s magician, was next on stage. He did a routine using rings but it definitely wasn’t your standard magic show. I had no idea how he was doing it. During the second act, he was back with Rebecca, where he made various props disappear and levitate.
There was more music and comedy, before Hayley took the stage to sing Silent Night. Candles were lit on the stage and the LED screen had more candles in the background. The scene was gorgeous and Hayley showed that she has a beautiful voice. It was one of the highlights of the show for me.
Before the interval, Jo came out to provide a few more laughs and the ensemble came together to perform Polar Express. This was another high energy number that used the high-tech screen to add effects.
The first musical number of the second act was the upbeat Rock and Rolling Christmas, but it was the next one that stole the show. The cast did a rendition of “Hallelujah” which words cannot do justice. It was worth the price of admission on its own.
The finale was Sister Act which was a high energy number with the whole cast. The audience was on its feet clapping along. I don’t think either the cast or the audience were ready for the show to end. Everyone was having such a great time.
Overall Review of the Cromer Pier Christmas Show
After going to the Cromer Pier Show earlier this year, we had high expectations for the Cromer Christmas Pier Show and it did not disappoint.
It was the perfect blend of classic Christmas music and new favourites with comedy and magic mixed in. There is something for everyone, so it could be an entertaining evening for the whole family or a fun date night.
The cast was fantastic. Olly Day, who is from Thorpe St. Andrew, was the headliner. He has been featured at the Cromer Pier Christmas show for more than 10 years and it is easy to see why. Olly is a talented comedian, magician, and singer. I was impressed by his rendition of The Christmas Song.
UPDATE: Olly Day will be back to host the 2022 Cromer Pier Christmas Show. You can get more information and buy tickets here.
If you like Christmas shows, be sure to check out our list of Pantos and Christmas Theatre in Norfolk here.
Olly was joined by comedienne Jo Little from Yorkshire and they played off each other well. Seeing them both as elves will be one of the images that sticks in my mind.
We were also excited to see Rob McVeigh back as the lead male vocalist. As the show went on, we became just as impressed with Hayley Moss, who has quite a powerful voice herself.
The energy from the cast kept the audience engaged. There were several times when the audience was clapping along with the music and lots of laughs during the comedy segments. The jokes were family-friendly and suitable for all ages.
The high-tech video screen helped to take the show to another level. The cast were able to interact with the graphics on the screen, and the show could change scenes and mood quickly and effectively. The background to the set was not just a backdrop – it was part of the show, without being overpowering or dominating.
The Cromer Pier Christmas is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. I can see it becoming a winter tradition for our family.
Cromer Pier Show FAQs
Yes the show is suitable for all ages. The kids around us seemed to be having a fabulous time. The theatre provided kids with extra cushions to help them be able to see the stage better. It’s a visually-appealing and high-energy performance, with some jokes specifically directed at the kids.
They do have a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children under 16) to save you money.
There may be slight variations in the running time but expect it to be about 2 hours 30 minutes including a 20 minute interval.
Yes. You can get hot chocolate and cookies from the cart at the front of the theatre during the interval. There is also a bar at the back of the theatre that is open before the show and during the interval. They have a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages along with snacks (crisps, sweets), cake, and ice cream.
The Cromer Pier is located in the middle of the Cromer Beach in the town. Cromer is well connected by public transportation. Greater Anglia provides train service from Norwich to Cromer, which takes about an hour – get more information here. Alternatively, Sanders Coaches provides bus service from the Norwich bus station – check the fares and timetables here.
If you are coming from London, take the train from Liverpool Street Station to Norwich then transfer to the local train to Cromer. Be sure to book your train ticket in advance to get the best price. Check the schedule and book here.
Another option is to take the National Express bus from Victoria Station to the Norwich bus station and transfer to the Sanders Coach bus. Check price and schedule for the National Express bus here.
There are several car parks around Cromer. We prefer the pay and display one towards the west end of town by the mini-golf. It cost us £2 and took credit cards.
Ticket prices depend on where you want to sit and whether you are an adult, student, senior, carer, or child. The best seats for adults are £28.50, while children under 16 can get tickets for £21.50. There is also the option to get a family ticket. If you don’t mind being close to the stage (and potentially being part of the show) you can get a ticket for £15.
It’s recommended to get your tickets online in advance here.
Yes, there are ramps to the Pier entrance and wheelchair access to the Pavilion Bar and Theatre. Removable seats are available in the front stalls for wheelchair users. The Duty Manager and Ushers are on hand to assist you with getting to your seats. A disabled toilet is located in the Pavilion Bar foyer and the Tides Restaurant.
Guide dogs are welcome.
Handsets or neck loops are available, but you should contact the Box Office team to pre-book.
Yes! For a live theatre show with high-production value, I think it is a bargain and a fun night out. It will get you in the Christmas spirit.
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