As you drive into Norwich in the heart of Norfolk, you will be met with a sign that greets visitors: “Welcome to Norwich, a fine city”. And that’s just what it is: a proud, self-confident place that offers so much to everyone within its ancient walls. You don’t just “pass through” Norwich unless you are spending a holiday on the famous Norfolk Broads, or at any of the many beautiful beaches from Greater Yarmouth to Sheringham, both a short distance away.
Georgina Benison recommends, Norwich, UK
With a population of 130,000, Norwich has retained its cultural integrity and heritage. Even the traditional dialect of its people has been preserved.
It grew up as the ecclesiastical capital of England and dominated an agricultural region rich with expansive tracts of flat, arable land and livestock farms. The city survived two world wars, as did the Norman Cathedral and Castle, and Elm Hill, a street of quaint 15th and 16th century houses on a narrow cobbled lane; and 52 other medieval churches.
Norwich boasts the University of East Anglia, the University of the Arts, the School for Painters, a sometime-Premier League football team, the Norwich Union insurance giant, a shoe-making legacy and the legendary Colman’s mustard factory. The city offers a safe, historical environment and prominent retailing amenities, which range from modern shopping malls to quirky, independent shops in the narrow lanes.
My favourite place– The Forum, of course! It’s an amphitheatre in front of Norwich Millennium Library – an award-winning example of modern architecture – that provides a platform for all sorts of performances: choirs, dancers, singers, and the Lord Mayor’s Celebration, charity promotions, a place for shoppers to sit and relax, for local food producers to promote organic wares, artists to exhibit, buskers to entertain and all manner of street life, bang in the centre of the city.
Highlights– A visit to Norwich Castle Museum will give a broad view of the history of the area as well as stunning views from the battlements and gory stories from the dungeons! And then a short walk to the magnificent 11th-century cathedral will provide an oasis of peace and tranquility for a picnic, followed by a tour of the awe-inspiring edifice (inside and out).
Lowlights– Depending on your perspective, the nightlife of Prince of Wales Road at 3 o’clock on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Not a pretty sight for the faint-hearted!
Souvenirs– A visit to the Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum will give an excellent opportunity to try mustards of various styles and strengths and fill a suitcase of gifts.
Where to stay– Sleep in the same bed as Anne Boleyn, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I of England, at The Maid’s Head Hotel, just opposite Elm Hill in the heart of 16th-century Norwich. If you prefer a riverside location conveniently central opposite the train station, then the modern Nelson Hotel is for you.
1) Visit Norwich’s finest Norman buildings – the castle and the cathedral
2) Watch Norwich City FC, known as the Canaries, at home at Carrow Road football ground
3) Eat at Delia’s Restaurant & Bar, which overlooks the football pitch
4) See a show at the mock-Tudor Maddermarket Theatre
5) Get a fabulous view of the Norwich skyline from Mousehold Heath