Towers and parades all part of Hanse Day

International Hanse Day celebrations in Kings Lynn ANL-140518-162058009
International Hanse Day celebrations in Kings Lynn ANL-140518-162058009

Two days of exciting events and activities have been organised to celebrate International Hanse Day and the 1th anniversary of the new Hanse.

The event, organised by West Norfolk Council is on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22.

The festival opens with a medieval parade at noon, winding from the Saturday Market Place, along the High Street to Tuesday Market Place.

Then, based in the Hanse House on the waterfront, activities will begin throughout Saturday and Sunday.

These include a medieval market with minstrels, colourful characters and an ‘office’ to explain medieval trading customs; demonstrations of medieval arts and crafts; have-a-go archery, and medieval dancing.

During the festival, there will be a rare chance to see inside the incomparable Elizabethan tower at Clifton House. The owners of this historic merchant’s house are opening the tower especially.

On Saturday at 6pm, the focus of the festival moves from Hanse House to King’s Staithe Square, where an evening of live music begins. A lineup of international acts will perform until 9:30pm.

On the second day of the festival, Sunday 22 May the programme of events is even more extensive. Added to the programme will be fun activities for children at the town hall, including a special Hanse Trail that will guide young visitors round the stunning, newly-opened Stories of Lynn exhibition. Youngsters can also try their hand at traditional skills, talk to medieval traders, and help create a giant communal artwork.

Hanse Walks and Talks will explore the fascinating history of King’s Lynn’s links with the Hanseatic ports.

The walks will be led by Kings’ Lynn Town Guides, and will be an hour-long tour of the town’s key Hanseatic buildings. The walks are free to attend but must be pre-booked through the Tourist Information Centre.

The talks comprise two lectures on aspects of Hanseatic heritage and will be held at Marriott’s Warehouse. Tickets must be booked from True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum.

Live music will take place on Sunday in King’s Staithe Square from noon to 4pm. Well-known jazz performers The BeauBowBelles, Monica Lidke Quintet, and Kansas Smitty’s House Band will take to the stage.

At 3.30pm the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra will perform at the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, providing a fitting close to the festival.

Nick Daubney, West Norfolk Council leader and English Commissioner for the Hanseatic League, said: “Since we began holding a Hanse Festival it’s drawn attention to King’s Lynn’s rich Hanseatic heritage, and celebrated our links with the modern league.

“After last year’s triumphant tenth anniversary celebrations, I’m pleased that the festival has returned once again this year. Historically the waterfront has been crucial to Lynn’s trade and the festival gets people into the area, to reflect on its past and think about its future”.