A little off base: Admission to culture, athletics
June 25, 2008
NORWICH — You don’t have to be a student to enjoy all that University of East Anglia has to offer.
Get a little exercise for your mind and body at the sprawling 230-acre campus in this cathedral city, just a 45-minute drive from RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall.
Among the massive sports complex, facilities for a lecture and debate series, concert hall and art gallery, finding something to suit your fancy at UEA is easy.
"There’s a huge amount of events and activities that are open to the public," said UEA spokeswoman Annie Ogden.
Attracting more than a million visitors every year, the Sportspark is the university’s most popular destination, Ogden said.
The 40-foot indoor rock-climbing wall alone is worth the trip. One of the area’s largest and most diverse courses, its cave, slab and overhang features are challenging for both beginners and experienced climbers.
There are the standard fitness classes and 50-meter indoor pool you’d expect at any gym, but the complex is also home to a variety of unusual opportunities for the athletic-minded. Take a go at korfball, a Dutch ball-and-basket game. Or book a birthday party for your child and let the staff wear the tykes out on the giant trampoline or with a host of other activities sure to burn off their sugar buzz.
On the cultural side, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts has an impressive permanent collection that spans 5,000 years of human creativity — from modern art to ancient artifacts — as well as temporary exhibitions. Special events include art-film nights and guided tours by visiting artists, who also teach painting, photography and sculpture workshops.
The museum hosts seasonal and monthly events such as the Sunday jazz brunch. It’s a family-friendly affair that sends the kids off with museum staff to do arts and crafts while parents relax to the music.
And speaking of music, the students’ union concert hall, better known as the LCR, brings in top acts from around the United Kingdom. So, for those of you who dig the tunes on British radio, the venue is sure to bring a band you can’t miss. Small but well-designed, the LCR is an intimate setting with great views of the stage throughout.
For intellectual types, there is a steady stream of guest lecturers and debates. UEA also hosts two annual literary festivals in the spring and fall that bring in celebrated writers from around the world.
"That’s a huge draw," Ogden said. "It’s international, so we get a lot of Americans for those."
The art gallery and sports complex have cafes to grab a bite. There’s also a pub and cafe near the student union.
With so many things going on at UEA, it’s best to check out www.uea.ac.uk to figure how you can spend the day exploring the campus.