King’s Lynn steps back in time to celebrate heritage

Hansa Festival in Kings Lynn ANL-160522-220451009
Hansa Festival in Kings Lynn ANL-160522-220451009

Lynn’s rich and colourful Hanseatic heritage was brought to life at the weekend in conjunction with International Hanse Day.

The quayside and town centre streets were brimming with music and colour, as hundreds of people turned out for one of the biggest and best Hanse Festival yet.

The main feature of Saturday’s programme was the medieval parade through the town centre, which finished at the town hall.

King’s Staithe Square was the hub for a wide-range of music throughout the weekend, and during the festival there was a rare chance to see inside the incomparable Elizabethan tower at Clifton House.

The owners of the historic merchant’s house opened the tower especially for the weekend.

An action-packed programme, which ensured that there was something for everyone, culminated with a short firework display on the waterfront on the Saturday.

On Sunday, Hanse walks and talks explored the fascinating history of Lynn’s links with the Hanseatic ports.

There were a number of fun activities for children at the town hall, including a special Hanse trail which guided youngsters round the stunning, newly-opened Stories of Lynn exhibition

Well-known jazz performers The BeauBowBelles, Monica Lidke Quintet, and Kansas Smitty’s House Band took to take to the stage at King’s Staithe Square on the Sunday.

The Norfolk Symphony Orchestra provided a fitting close to the testival at the Corn Exchange.

The festival marked the town’s 11th anniversary as a member of the new Hanse, which is reinventing the trading networks that were traditionally very important for business in Lynn.

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

“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.

“It’s been another very successful event. I think people are beginning to understand what Hanse is about now and look forward to the festival each year.

“It’s quite exciting to be part of the wonderful organisation and to know that similar celebrations are happening in Hanse cities across Northern Europe at the same time.”

Mr Daubney added: “Successful events such as the Hanse Festival create a buzz in the town.

“I know from conversations I have had with local business leaders, that these events are really valued for the feel good factor they bring.”