LYNN SHINES

Whether you love his­tory and her­itage, the fun of the fair, tra­di­tion and ar­chae­ol­ogy or arts and lit­er­a­ture – March is the per­fect month to ex­plore King’s Lynn.

EDP Norfolk - - Inside - For a Lynn Lumière trail map and more in­for­ma­tion see www.west-nor­folk.gov.uk. Watch Lynn Lu­miere from dusk to 11pm ev­ery night.

STROLL AROUND King’s Lynn’s his­toric quay, and its an­cient build­ings on the edge of the at­mo­spheric River Ouse are very much a liv­ing, breath­ing re­minder of the town’s rich mar­itime past.

Yet this is a place of con­trasts, where tra­di­tions are not just lim­ited to sea­far­ing hero­ism and tales of ex­otic trad­ing.

At this time of year, flash­ing neon and screams of de­light echo around the Tues­day Mar­ket Place and while it might feel cen­turies apart, it is as sig­nif­i­cant to its his­tory as its most famed land­marks.

And the an­nual Mart – ever present in the town for some 800 years – is not the only sign that King’s Lynn’s fas­ci­nat­ing past is very much part of its fu­ture.

By day her­itage walks lead you me­an­der­ing through the old streets, past grand houses, medieval churches and guild­halls, and the Lynn Mu­seum brings to life the sto­ries of the peo­ple, or­di­nary and ex­tra­or­di­nary, who have helped to form the town’s nar­ra­tive over the cen­turies.

By night mag­i­cal lights dance across its most iconic build­ings with a stun­ning show of an­i­mated il­lu­mi­na­tions.

LYNN LUMIÈRE

As dusk falls, an ex­tra­or­di­nary spec­ta­cle trans­forms King’s Lynn’s most fa­mous land­marks with swirling lights, a rain­bow of colours and eye catch­ing, breath­tak­ing an­i­ma­tions.

Shim­mer­ing wa­ter fills up a his­toric tower, a dragon emerges from un­even an­cient stonework and the faces of sea­far­ing heroes look out across the quay. The as­ton­ish­ing Lynn Lumière is an art in­stal­la­tion like no other, us­ing clever light pro­jec­tions to tell the sto­ries of the town’s past with some of its most fa­mous build­ings as its can­vas.

Such is its pop­u­lar­ity, what started as a two year scheme, is now a per­ma­nent fix­ture in the town. Coun­cil­lor El­iz­a­beth Nock­old, cab­i­net mem­ber for cul­ture, her­itage and health for King’s Lynn and West Nor­folk Bor­ough Coun­cil, says the in­no­va­tive project has been a huge boost for the town.

“The re­sponse to the Lumière since it opened in March 2015 has been ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic. We have had so many com­pli­ments from peo­ple who come to see it and there is not a night that goes by when you don’t see a crowd of peo­ple stand­ing watch­ing the show.”

She says the project has been so suc­cess­ful that the coun­cil felt it was es­sen­tial to keep the in­stal­la­tion be­yond the end of the project.

“One of our cor­po­rate pri­or­i­ties as a coun­cil is to pro­mote King’s Lynn as a tourism area, not just an em­ploy­ment area. But of course, if we can at­tract vis­i­tors to the town, it has an enor­mous ben­e­fit on the whole econ­omy and the com­mu­nity. If peo­ple are com­ing to see the Lumière they will of­ten visit other at­trac­tions, go shop­ping or eat or drink here.”

The project came out of a chance dis­cov­ery in a hor­ti­cul­tural mag­a­zine, in which of­fi­cials from Amiens in North­ern France were look­ing for English gar­den de­sign­ers to take part in a twin­ning ex­change pro­gramme to pro­mote art, ar­chi­tec­ture, land­scape gar­den­ing, tourism and train­ing

“It sounded re­ally in­ter­est­ing so we got in touch and it seemed like a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity,” says El­iz­a­beth. “We went to Amiens and were wowed by the light pro­jec­tions on the cathe­dral and we just thought it could be some­thing that would re­ally work in King’s Lynn. Even­tu­ally, work­ing to­gether we se­cured Euro­pean Union fund­ing for a joint arts project.”

A team of gar­den de­sign­ers went to France to cre­ate hor­ti­cul­tural dis­plays on a num­ber of small is­lands dot­ted around the lake in Amiens and in re­turn, a num­ber of French artists cre­ated the de­signs for the Lumière.

“It was an in­cred­i­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion. We gave the artists some his­tor­i­cal back­ground about the build­ings and the story of the town and the re­sults were amaz­ing, bring­ing to­gether cen­turies of his­tory and fas­ci­nat­ing tales.”

There are five Lynn Lumière sites all within a few min­utes walk of each other and all with their own unique sto­ries and his­tory – St Ni­cholas’ Chapel, The Cus­tom House, King’s Lynn Min­ster; Greyfri­ars Tower and 1-3 Tues­day Mar­ket Place, although this site is cur­rently un­der­go­ing main­te­nance.

“My per­sonal favourites are the Cus­tom House, be­cause you can sit down on the quay and watch the dis­play in what is a won­der­ful set­ting by the river, and the Min­ster, where the move­ment of the dragon and the skele­ton com­ing down the tower is mag­i­cal,” says El­iz­a­beth.

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