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Norwich skyline

Best things to do in Norwich

Norman castle and cathedral

UK's best-preserved medieval city

The Industrial Revolution bypassed Norwich, leaving intact historic cobbled streets, city walls, and the majestic Norman castle and cathedral

Al fresco in Tombland

Vibrant restaurant and bar scene

Across the city you'll find fascinating old pubs, modern bars and eating establishments to cater for all tastes and pockets

Norwich Royal Arcade

One of the best shopping destinations

The city has two malls, five department stores, all the High Street names and great independent shopping in The Lanes

Sainsbury Centre

Brilliant cultural attractions

Award-winning museums, superb art collections, numerous theatres and the oldest arts festival in the country

River Wensum, Norwich

Enjoy the riverside views

The Norfolk Broads is the only English National Park with a city in it - the wonderful Wensum winds through the city

Norwich market place

Take a stroll

Norwich rewards those on foot - investigate medieval alleys and courtyards, wander along cobbled streets, explore Europe's largest permanent market

Be a flaneur for the day

Norwich Lanes

Be a flaneur for the day and take a gentle stroll around Norwich, with over 1500 historic buildings within the city walls. The city has 33 medieval churches, more than any other city in northern Europe, and Elm Hill is a complete historical cobbled street with stunning examples of Tudor buildings and wealthy merchants’ houses.

And don’t miss our Norman cathedral, one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe, boasting the second tallest spire in the country and the largest cloisters in England.

Norwich cathedral top 12

Visit the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich

Visit the Sainsbury Centre on the University of East Anglia campus, build by architect Norman Foster in 1973 to house the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. It was Foster’s first public building and is an attraction in itself, along with the works of Picasso, Degas, Henry Moore and Francis Bacon. The Centre also hosts regular exhibitions. Afterwards take a walk around the lake.

Sainsbury Centre

Shopping, including Jarrolds

Jarrolds

Take a look around the family-run Jarrold, Norwich’s wonderful independent department store, the Harrods of the East, with an award-winning book department that has over 40,000 titles. (It was Jarrold who published 30 million bestseller Black Beauty by Anna Sewell).

Alongside all the big High Street names and the largest city centre Marks & Spencer outside London, over 40 per cent of Norwich’s shops are independent, which means shoppers get the best of both worlds. Norwich is recognised as one of the top 10 places to shop in the UK.

Jarrold department store

Tour the Norman Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Take a tour of the Norman Norwich Castle, and find out what a Snapdragon is. With over 1 million exhibits, the Castle is our version of The Smithsonian, an eclectic mix of fine art, archaeology (look out for the mummified cat), natural history (including tigers and a giant polar bear) and much more (death masks of convicted killers anyone?). The ‘British Masters’ gallery showcases the work of the two leading figures of the Norwich School, John Crome and John Sell Cotman, displaying their greatest masterpieces side by side.

You can also visit the dungeons and go up onto the battlements for SUPERB views of the city! Imagine you’re a Norman knight from Monty Python & The Holy Grail. The façade of the castle was actually reconstructed by the Victorians but Sssh! Don’t tell anyone! They’ll never guess!

Norwich Castle & Museum

Colman's Mustard Shop

Mustard Shop

Pop into the Colman’s Mustard shop in The Royal Arcade, Norwich, the only one in the world. You can buy everything from mustard chocolate to mustard bath salts. We still grow a lot of mustard but, although we can’t tell the difference between mustard and rape plants, we’re assured Colman’s can… phew! On a similar subject three quarters of the mint grown in the UK is farmed in Norfolk for Colman’s Mint Sauce.

Mustard Shop & Museum

The Maid's Head Hotel

Maid's Head Hotel

Have tea or stay at The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, reputed to be the oldest hotel in the UK. It’s also where Elizabeth I (whose mother’s home was Blickling) is said to have stayed when she was in the city, possibly with her great friend Matthew Parker, the original Nosey Parker. Yes, Nosey Parker was a Norfolk guy! 

Afternoon tea at the Georgian Assembly House is a delight too!

Norwich notables

Norwich Market Place

Norwich market place

Have chips on Norwich market. Okay, there’s more to it than just the chips (fried in beef fat – not for veggies!). Buy them, liberally douse with vinegar, sprinkle over salt, then go and take a walk. Yeh, cos that’s the real thing. Take in the vista… the Guildhall, St Peter Mancroft Church, the Forum, the Norman Castle.

Any direction will provide great sights… and always keep your head up. Our best shot is to head along Gentleman’s Walk, through the Royal Arcade, then left along London Street. Then head into Tombland and the Cathedral precinct. A drink at the Adam and Eve isn’t a bad idea either. But that’s just us. Find your own way. Oh, but once you’re finished with the chips, the shopping’s FANTASTIC!

Explore Norwich

Sir Thomas Erpingham

Erpingham Gate

Admire the magnificent Sir Thomas Erpingham statue at the Norwich cathedral west gate. Firstly because it was Erpingham who lead the archers at Agincourt in 1415. Secondly because the archers’ success gave us a naughty two-fingered salute! Look out for statues of world war one nurse Edith Cavell and Horatio Nelson, and take a tour of the magnificent cathedral and cloisters, the only two-storey cloisters in the country. The cathedral was actually built as an act of penance… yes, really!

Norwich notables

Have a pint of beer

Norwich bars

Have a pint of beer made by one of our microbreweries – we have more than any other county in the country and there’s a few in the city. We also have the best malting barley, on the north Norfolk coast, due to the long, warm summers, the moistening sea frets and that terrain’s height… yes, really, Noel Coward didn’t know what he was talking about. Flat, indeed! In medieval times, Norwich had a church for every Sunday and a pub for every day!

Museum of Norwich at The Bridewell

Bridewell Museum

Visit the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell, in the lovely Lanes (shopaholics will love the independent shopping). A look back at the history of our Fine City, you’ll find a first edition of The Revelations of Divine Love, the first book published in English that was written by a woman, Julian of Norwich, and considered one of the great spiritual classics.

Museum of Norwich

'On The Ball City' at Carrow Road

 Carrow Road

Go to a football game at Carrow Road to see the mighty Canaries and join in a rendition of the oldest known football song, On The Ball City, which goes:

Kick it off, throw it in, have a little scrimmage,
Keep it low, a splendid rush, bravo, win or die;
On the ball, City, never mind the danger,
Steady on, now's your chance,
Hurrah! We've scored a goal.
City!, City!, City!

In October 1938 King George VI became the first British monarch to watch a football league match when he visited Carrow Road (they used to play at The Nest – yes, really!). Why are they called the Canaries? Because an early club chairman, a keen breeder of the birds, changed their strip to yellow and green. In season 2014/15 Norwich will once again be playing their nearest rivals, Ipswich Town, in the Old Farm Derby. To get the Norfolk dialect off pat, just recite this line, ‘Um guha roide moy boike dahna Carra Ruhd’…

Norwich City FC

Discover your Norfolk heritage

River Wensum, Norwich

Discover if you have Norfolk ancestry at the Norfolk Heritage Centre in Norwich. We once had strong trading links with Yorkshire, became American pioneers, sent many to distant parts of the Empire, had émigrés go to Canada and packed a few off to Australia as well (uhm… perhaps you may not want to delve into that, like the Aussie woman who said she didn’t want to go to England because that’s where all the criminals came from).

Norfolk Record Office

Norfolk & Norwich Festival

Norfolk & Norwich Festival outside The Forum

Visit Norwich during the Norfolk & Norwich Festival in May, which is over 200 years old and the fourth largest international arts festival in the country. Check out the 1930s Spiegeltent in Chapelfield Gardens, home of music, cabaret, burlesque and theatre.

Norfolk & Norwich Festival

Maddermarket Theatre

Maddermarket

See a performance at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich, the first permanent recreation of an Elizabethan theatre. You thought the new Globe on the embankment in London got there first, didn’t you? Not at all – the Maddermarket was opened in 1921 and it’s a world class Shakespearean-style playhouse. And make sure you visit the Church of St John, Maddermarket too.

Maddermarket Theatre

Norwich Puppet Theatre

Norwich Puppet Theatre

Enjoy family fun at Norwich Puppet Theatre, in the converted medieval church of St James in the heart of the city. It’s a nationally unique venue dedicated to puppetry and you’ll have a great time. Just remember though, there are strings attached to any visit…

Norwich Puppet Theatre

Al fresco in Tombland

Al fresco in Tombland

Eat al fresco in Tombland. No, the old Saxon market place isn’t named after burials and coffins, the name derives from the Saxon word for an open space.

Explore Norwich

Mousehold Heath

Mousehold Heath

Appreciate the view of Norwich, our Fine City, from Mousehold Heath. This lovely park high above the city has great views looking down on the cathedral, castle and city centre. You could even imagine what it looked like in 1549 when Robert Kett camped his troops up here prior to attacking Norwich. It didn’t end well… unlike your visit to our Fine City!

Explore Norwich

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