gardening festival

Crab and Lobster Gardening Festival 2018

The Crab and Lobster Festival is a lively weekend celebration; now into it’s 9th year it has become a major fixture on the Cromer calendar drawing many thousands of visitors to the town. It is a feast of fun, food, art, heritage and entertainment, with a wide range of events and activities – the festival celebrates local links with the sea over the festival weekend, this year May 19 – 20 May 2018. The fun starts on Friday night with a traditional seaside variety concert at the Famous Pier Pavilion Theatre in Cromer and continues over the weekend.

For 2018 there is a new addition to the festival on Saturday 19th May: the Crab and Lobster Gardening Festival to be held in North Lodge Park. This festival fringe event will build on the enormous success of the Crab and Lobster Festival, providing the thousands of visitors with an extra focus. During the day there will be numerous gardening themed events for all from experienced gardeners to young (aspiring) gardeners, with a range of gardening related stalls, including many plant specialists, selling a range of plants and other products for the garden.

North Lodge Park is a cliff top park on the eastern edge of the town centre, with a volunteer group helping look after some of the gardens, operate the cafe and organise events across the year. The garden Fringe Festival will be run by the Friends.

If you would like to take part in this exciting new experience, please get in touch with your proposals for the day. We are looking for creative ideas around the gardening theme to make the day really special.

If you would like a stall to sell products, these are available under the same terms as the main Crab and Lobster festival, but with discounts for booking early.   You can either book online at or using the booking form.

Please get in touch should you need more information:


merry christmas

Christmas 2017

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” – J.K. Rowling

14th December 2017

merry christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As the weather has turned colder, it’s time to start thinking about stripey mints and overcooked sprouts, and to reflect on an amazing year in the Park.

The café will be closed after Saturday 23rd for the festive break – except for the Boxing Day swim (9-1) and New Year’s Day fireworks (1-5) – reopening as usual on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

The gardens 2017

The garden volunteers have done an amazing job in 2017. Over £4,500 has been invested in bringing the gardens back to life, their achievements include:
• repairing the wooden pergola structures within the gardens
• installing dropped kerbs to enable access to wheel chair users
• cutting back the overhanging trees allowing more light into the garden
• replacing many of the rose plants, and investing in other plants to improve the look and feel of the space
• working with Bob Catchpole, a local artist, to install a sculpture in the gardens (now inside for the winter)
• replacing parts of the drive hedge that had died
• and keeping the gardens looking good.

Thanks also to NNDC who arranged for the restoration of the boating lake in the spring which was has given a real boost to the look of the Park around the café.

There are great plans in the wings for next year: if you would like to get involved, don’t hold back.

The café 2017

The café volunteers continue to do an amazing job, keeping the café open all year. making it a welcoming place for all to enjoy. Thanks to the volunteers and the customers, this year the café has contributed over £30,000 to the Friends, 70% of the charity’s income. Well done to all.

Our TripAdvisor ‘2017 Certificate of Excellence’ has arrived in the post and is proudly in display in the cafe.

The café is the community face and the base for the charity; we are working with NNDC to extend our time in the café to October 2018 and hope this will all be agreed early in 2018.

Events 2017

We want to run a range of events in the Park that are inclusive, allowing full participation from the community. Where possible events are free, but where event costs are high a nominal ticket charge is implemented.

This year over 20 events were organised, with over 3000 people taking part. From ice-skating to theatre, from music to croquet, and from pumpkins to our Easter treasure hunt, it was a great and varied year of events in the Park.

The total cost for the events was £10,457, generating £9,842 income, around 25% of our turnover.

We’re finalising a schedule of events for 2018 at the moment; let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see.

The play park

One disappointment this year was in not being able to move the play park project forward. Unfortunately, in March, as we began our pre-planning discussions we were informed that our proposal for the old bowling green wasn’t acceptable in such a heritage site, and we were directed to bring forward proposals for the upper lawn (‘over the bridge’).

Rather than rush into this we have taken time in thinking about what would be appropriate in such a space, in the context of the Park as a whole. We’re getting ready to re-launch the project in the new year. Watch this space!

2018 planning

To help us finalise next year’s plans – what would you like to see included? What are your priorities for the Park? And have you time to work with us and the volunteers to help make the ideas happen?

As well as ideas, we need bodies: for the cafe, the gardens, the organising team and charity trustees.

Next years AGM is in the diary for March 21st, but don’t wait until then to volunteer. Come and chat to us about what you can offer. Most of us don’t bite.

Please have a jolly Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope to see you all soon.

Barry Meadows

PS: Christmas Lights Volunteers were awarded second place in the Tesco bags awards – well done to them and special thanks to you all who voted for them with your blue tokens; this means they will received £2000 next year towards the Christmas lights in Cromer.

North Lodge Park - Hedge replacements

Hedge replacement

Great work from the gardening team, replacing the parts of the drive hedge that had died

Art in the Park, Cromer | Appeal to Artists

North Lodge Park in Cromer is a quintessential cliff top park, sadly neglected by the council for many years. For the past 2 years a volunteer group, the Friends of North Lodge Park have been working to bring life back into the Park, opening the Park café, restoring the Rose Garden and hosting events from out-door theatre to garden parties. The public response has been amazing with enormous support for the improvements, albeit to a small part of the Park.

Within the Rose Garden there is a plinth which used to host a bronze sun-dial now long forgotten, and where there is an empty plinth there is an opportunity. In the Spring of this year Bob Catchpole, a well known local sculptor, donated a sculpture to start a rolling programme of public art in the Rose Garden. Since it’s unveiling in April the sculpture has become a destination in the Park, and received significant publicity which has been good for the Park and the artist, even reaching the EDP’s feature of the 13 best sculptures in Norfolk.

Wildfoul ii by Bob CatchpoleBob’s work caught the spirit of the Park with his long-established interest in the Norfolk landscape, celebrating the men who worked it; his re-use of old tools in his work fits the nature of the project to bring interest to the gardens which are developed and maintained by volunteers.

Bob’s kind donation has launched the project to develop a rolling programme of sculpture on the plinth in the Rose garden, for which we are eternally grateful. We are now looking to hear from artists who would like to work with the Friends of North Lodge Park to further develop the idea of Art in the Park.

The Friends of North Lodge Park are interested in speaking to artists who would like to help with the next phase of the project, by loaning a work suitable for the plinth or with ideas about how the project could be developed within the wider Park.

Tea Cup Challenge winner

Tea Cup Challenge Winner

Tea Cup Challenge winnerMilly, age 6, is the WINNER of this summer’s Tea Cup Challenge – creating a teacup, saucer and spoon from paper. The judges were particularly impressed by the use of colour in the design, the varied styles, and the curled cup handle. Well done Milly – your prize is on it’s way.
broads in the park

Broads in the Park

Thanks to The Broads for a great afternoon and to you all for braving the chilly winds to make them so welcome. I’m sure they’ll be back.broads in the paek


Cromer Christmas Lights

Cromer Christmas Lights

Cromer Christmas LightsCromer Christmas lights is an entirely volunteer led operation – from the people who organise and hang the lights, to the funding of the lights.  They need your help:

Saturday 2nd Sept 10.30 to 12
Please pop into  Cromer church for Coffee & Cake organised by the church in aid of the Cromer Christmas Lights Volunteers group.

Ist Sept until 31st October
Cromer Christmas Lights are one of three community projects short-listed for an award of £4000, £2000 or £1000 from Tesco’s Bag Fund. The more votes then more funding!
It’s easy – simply visit the Tesco store in Sheringham as many times as possible in September and October and make ANY value purchase and receive a token per transaction and vote for LIGHTS FOR A CROMER CHRISTMAS. Please tell your friends too!

The volunteers are in their 3rd year of an essential refurbishment programme to provide the town with brighter,  better illuminations and reduce electricity costs. This year they are concentrating on the Suffield Park/schools area and minor roads such as Garden Street and others central to the Christmas celebrations in Cromer

7 September, from 7pm:  Council Offices, North Lodge Park

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a member of the Cromer Christmas Lights Volunteers? They work hard throughout the year to make Cromer look great at Christmas. However,  numbers have dwindled over the years through illness and age, and they could use some help. The tasks are varied, from making tea to directing traffic, manning stalls as well as putting up the lights and the trees. There will be something to suit you.

Let’s help the volunteers make if a brighter Christmas.

Wind in the Willows - North Lodge Park

Wind in the Willows

Many thanks to Boxtree productions for bringing Wind in the Willows to North Lodge Park; thanks to all the volunteers who worked hard all day to make the day run smoothly; and thank to you, the audience, who may the day so special.