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Hanse Festival 2019

A man and a woman on horseback in medieval dress, with other people walking, in a parade through Lynn's cobbled riverfront streets

Published: Friday, 26th April 2019

The town’s rich and colourful Hanseatic heritage will once again be celebrated with the return of the ever-popular Hanse Festival on 12 May 2019.

The Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Cllr Nick Daubney explains: “The Hanse Festival celebrates everything we have to be proud of about our town – its history, people, cultural events, international links and stunning architecture. It draws people to the historic waterside and naturally focuses on the town’s maritime past and its position as one of the country’s most significant ports in medieval times.”

The annual festival, which returns for the 11th time this year, celebrates the town’s past and current membership of the Hanseatic League.

42F (King's Lynn) Squadron Air Cadets lead a colourful parade to start the event, which sets off from the Tuesday Market Place at 10:45am and heads down the High Street towards the historic Saturday Market Place and onto the quayside. People are asked to bring things to make some noise, give kids some saucepans and spoons to bang together.

The 'Parade of Flags' showcases all of the Hanseatic countries. Supported by the Hanseatic Union, flag bearers from many countries will head through King's Lynn town centre towards the quayside.

Music will be playing, people representing Hanseatic nations will be waving flags and thanks to Rachael Williams, the Learning and Engagement Officer from Stories of Lynn, children from local schools will be getting involved with the festival parade again this year. They will create a procession of walking boats that they have designed. Each of the boats will have their sails raised and each sail will feature merchant marks of the time.

Rachel will also be including the Sea Cadets in the activities – they will be learning merchant shipmen skills including balance beam work to make them steady on board ship when the weather is stormy, and walking the plank – in case the pirates that plagued the seas in those times forced them to do so. Other activities include knot tying and rope coiling.

At the Hanse Festival itself, children will be able to try their hands at building small boats.
Races will take place to see which of these boats will cross the tank of water the fastest, powered only by the wind created by a fan.

The King’s Lynn Hanse Regatta will take place over the Hanse Weekend, with races beginning at 10am on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Organised by the King’s Lynn Coastal Rowing Club, the regatta will feature boats from all over the country.

Popular events from previous festivals return, including Discover Hanseatic Lynn walks and lectures at Marriott’s Warehouse. A training workshop for young Hanse sailors will take place at the Hanse House on the South Quay. They will have an opportunity to purchase stores for their journey. In the minster churchyard there will be a falconry display.

The King’s Lynn Town Guides will lead the ‘Discover Hanseatic Lynn’ walks. Each will be an hour-long tour of the town’s key Hanseatic buildings. Walks are free to attend but must be booked at the Tourist Information Centre

Music will be provided on the main stage in King’s Staithe Square courtesy of the Pot of Gold Shantymen, The Shackleton Trio and Bear Club. Bear Club performed at Festival Too last year and were so popular they were invited back for the Christmas Light Switch-on event.

Organisers felt they would be the perfect addition to the Hanse Festival. The Shackleton Trio performed at Folk in the Town last year on the Tuesday Market Place and as the Georgia Shackleton Trio at the Hanse Festival in 2017. They enthralled the audience with tales of Lonesome George – a very lonely tortoise.

A further music event is a showcase for Folk in the Town where local acoustic, roots and folk musicians and bands can book a slot to try to win a place at Folk in the Town.

All the latest information will be available at

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