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What to do in Norwich!
Norwich is an incredibly walkable city, so the perfect place for city break! If you are heading to Norfolk, definitely make sure you spend a least a day exploring this fine city. You can’t miss all these amazing places to visit in Norwich!
All through medieval times, and into the Early Modern Age, Norwich was the 2nd largest city in the UK, second only to London. However, because of it’s isolated location (we only got dual carriageway into the county at the end of 2014), and the lack of fast flowing water, the industrial revolution passed the city by. Which meant it is one of the best persevered Medieval city’s in the country, with a strong Tudor influence! As such, there are plenty of reasons to visit this city.
Top of the amazing places to visit in Norwich! Possibly the prettiest street in the country, definitely the prettiest street in Norwich. This place needs to be first on your list of places to see in Norwich. Weaving it’s way down from St Pete Hungate Church to Wensum street, this has been the setting for many a movie – including the Netflix 2020 Christmas offering Jingle Jangle.
In 1507 a fire destroyed the entire street, leaving only one building – the Briton’s Arms. This building dates as far back as 1347! It has a really varied history, but is now a coffee shop which is definitely worth a visit. As for the rest of the street, the current Tudor buildings were built not long after the fire and are currently home to galleries, cafes and shops selling antiques, collectibles and arts and crafts. A fab place to visit to support small, local businesses!
Elm Hill, Norwich, NR3 1HN | Map
The Cathedral Close
One of my favourite parts of the city. An enclosed precinct of 44 acres, this is the largest of all Cathedral Close’s in England. On entering the Close visitors straight away find themselves in a place of peace and tranquility, away from the bustle and hubbub of the busy city streets. There are two parts to the close. The Upper is a large lawned area under the shadow of the cathedral. A perfect place to relax on a summers day. Entry to the Upper Close from the city centre via Tombland through one of the impressive gates: the Erpingham or Ethelbert gates.
A lane leads from the Ethelbert Gate through the Upper Close and into the Lower Close before ending at the River Wensum, by Pull’s Ferry. On the way you pass a green with many beautiful and quaint residential properties, some dating from as early as the fourteenth century.
65 The Close, Norwich NR1 4DH | Map
When you are in the cathedral close, you absolutely cannot miss Norwich Cathedral – definitely one of the amazing places to visit in Norwich. Building started in 1096 and it’s boasts the second tallest spire in the country, at 96 metres tall (second only to Salisbury). The cathedral is also home to a, very rare, pair of breeding Peregrine Falcons. You will often see a team of people camped out in the close watching for the birds; they even have their own live webcam feed! The cathedral also has the second largest cloisters in the UK and have scenes from the Bible all over the ceiling.
But Norwich is home to not one but two cathedrals. The second cathedral in Norwich, is the Roman Catholic one located on the other side of the city. Construction began in 1882 and its style is Gothic Revival. It is also the second largest Roman Catholic church in the country.
Norwich Cathedral: 65 The Close, Norwich NR1 4DH | Map
The Cathedral of of St John the Baptist: Unthank Rd, Norwich NR2 2PA | Map
Take a walk down from the close towards Pulls Ferry. The most picturesque 15th-century watergate located on the bank of the river. A Medieval canal, built by monks, once passed under Pulls Ferry’s Tudor arch. When the cathedral was being built, this was how the building material was transported into the close. Having travelled all the way from Caen in Normandy. The building is named after the 19th-century ferryman John Pull. The house attached to the gate dates to 1647 and is now a private residence.
29 Ferry Ln, Norwich NR1 4DZ | Map
Wensum river walk
From Pulls Ferry why not take a walk along the river? This route technically starts from just next to Norwich train station, but the first notable stop is Pulls Ferry. The walk is surprisingly green and tranquil, despite being in the centre of the city. Some of the amazing places in Norwich you will pass along this walk are: Cow Tower, which is a 14th century artillery defence on the banks of the river and the Jarrold Bridge; an impressive bridge modern bridge. At this point, if you are feeling thirsty, stop at the Adam and Eve pub – the oldest pub in the city! Dating back from 1249 and reputedly haunted.
If you continue to walk along the river, you will come to Quayside, which might just be the most famous photograph of the whole city. Located next to Fye Bridge street, this area takes its name from the time when this road was once a thriving quay. The former warehouses have long since been demolished or converted, and it is now a pedestrianised road. In the 1930s this area had become incredibly crowed and in the 1939 Register it shows there were 39 individuals living at number 5 Quay Side alone.
This spot is also said to be the site of Norwich’s oldest bridge, likely constructed in the eleventh century. There have been numerous bridges here over the years, with the current brick and stone bridge dating to 1933 Today, along this road are metal “bales” which are part of a 2003 art installation by Les Bicknell. The bales are designed to be a reminder of the cargo which was unloaded from the boats onto the quay. The names on the “bales” are the names of former property owners in the area.
Quayside, Norwich | Map
Sitting high above the city, keeping watch over the city since 1067, is Norwich Castle. It was built by the Norman’s William the Conquer and in the Motte and Bailey style. The history of this building is fascinating, it was one of 48 castles mentioned in the Doomsday book and was then used as a jail for 5 centuries. Nowadays it is a museum and art gallery, stuffed full of fascinating exhibits.
Norwich Castle | Norwich, NR1 3JU | Map
This market is one of the largest and oldest open air markets in the UK and is open Monday to Saturday. It is such a treasure trove with a huge range of goods and services, from clothes, toys, flowers, fruit and veg to household goods. Some of the best food to be found in the city are from stalls in this market. Definitely check out Bun Box, for the most delicious Hirata buns and Japanese street food. Another fab stop is Bread Source for scrumptious bakery goods.
Norwich Market | 1 Market Pl, Norwich NR2 1ND | Map
A cafe hiding a big secret! Travel down two flights of stairs and you also travel back in time! Hidden below Norwich’s streets is a secret – long forgotten streets of subterranean Norwich completely hidden to the world above. For years the area was used as storage for the shoe shop that occupied the space above. However, you can now visit them on a tour, also known as the ‘hidden street’ run by the Missing Kind Charity.
Book your tour here: https://www.kindakafe.org/hidden-history-tours-booking
KindaKafe | 21-23 Castle Meadow, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 3DH | Map
Norwich Lanes covers the area between St Benedict’s street and Bethel Street and is a series of alleyways, courtyards and open spaces. It is a lovely warren to explore and get lost in, as well as being some of the best examples of Medieval architecture. It is mainly pedestrianised and is home to over 300 independent retailers, cafes, bars and restaurants.
8A Guildhall Hill, Norwich NR2 1SN | Map
Dragon Hall is a grade 1 listed medieval merchant’s trading hall and can be found on King’s Street in Norwich. It is definitely one of the amazing places to visit in Norwich for the building alone. If you are into history, makes sure you visit here. It is renowned for its spectacular timber crown-post roof and intricately carved and painted dragon. Also one of the ‘Norwich Twelve’, the iconic buildings of Norwich, and is symbolic of Norwich’s historical role as a major textile production centre and as a city of national importance. You can also get married there!
Dragon Hall | 115-123 King St, Norwich NR1 1QE | Map
Of the best views in Norwich. The part of the city is a large area of heath and woodland, technically lying just outside of the city boundary. It has quite a varied history, including Robert Kett camping on it, days before his uprising was suppressed by the authorities.
Nowadays there are numerous walkways and pathways through the 184 acres of woodland. On the edge of the heath is also one of the finest views over the Norwich skyline.
Mousehold Heath | Heartsease Ln, Norwich NR7 9NT | Map
The Royal Arcade
Completed in the 1800s, the Royal Arcade is a Victorian shopping arcade that’s packed full of independent little shops and stores. The building is absolutely stunning and built in the Arts and Crafts style. Sitting in the heart of the city, it is a great place for a wander.
The Royal Arcade | Norwich, NR2 1NQ | Map
This cemetery is where I go for my runs! It is a lovely oasis in the middle of the city, and is also home to a lot of wildlife – keep your eyes peeled for Muntjac deer! Opened in March 1856 and covers 34 acres. It is an informal design with lots of winding paths to wander around. Catering for all faiths, with separate areas for burial grounds and chapels for Jews and Catholics. A growing area for Muslims and there are two military cemeteries. A very peaceful and respectful place.
Earlham Road Cemetery | Earlham Rd, Norwich NR2 1BH | Map
UEA Broad is an area of open water, which gets it’s name as it sits right next to the University of East Anglia. But again, another absolutely stunning walk in the city of Norwich. There are lots of trails to walk around, alongside the River Yare and into Earlham Park. The river walk is part of the Yare Valley trail which runs Bowthorpe Southern Park all the way to Marston Marsh. Defintely worth visiting to escape some of the hustle of the city!
There are so many local and independent food places in the city, it would be impossible to list them all here, but take a look at this list for some idea! . From pubs, fine dining, cafes, street food, restaurants, the options are endless. There is a real movement of using local produce in local restraurants in Norwich, so when you are visiting – this is the best way to support the locals!
Take a day trip
Norwich is perfectly located to take a day trip from! Norfolk is host to some amazing places, and deserves a lot of time spent. Some of my favourite day trips include: North Norfolk, visiting the seals at Horsey, exploring stately homes and a day on the Broads.
Or even hunt some church ruins! Church ruins in Norfolk to discover
For some more inspiration and details, have a look at this post: Things to do in Norfolk, UK
Hopefully you enjoyed this post on amazing places to visit in Norwich and it has inspired you to come and visit this fine city! If there is anything else you want to know, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
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