Sure there’s bowling alleys, laser games, roller skating, cinemas and the like in Norwich, but then every place has got those, right? So, for our top 10, we’ve sought out things that are unique to Norwich…
The ‘box on the hill’ has stood there for coming up for a thousand years when the Normans built it to impress upon the natives who was now in charge. You wouldn’t argue with them. Nowadays, it’s a little like our version of The Smithsonian – galleries of arts and the natural world, a look at Roman Norfolk, and lots more besides.
There are regular special attractions and events for youngsters during the holidays.
The castle is currently undergoing a £13.5m’Royal Palace Reborn’ redevelopment so check the website for an update.
Museum of Norwich at The Bridewell
A cornucopia of city history, from when Norwich was England’s Second City through to its rich industrial heritage. Learn about shopping and trading, take a look at the recreated early 20th century chemists shop and explore The Undercroft!
Norwich Theatre Royal
One of the country’s best provincial theatres has shows and workshops for young ‘uns, particularly in the holidays.
Norwich Puppet Theatre
A community outreach organisation just off the city centre they’re all about… yes, you guessed – puppets and puppet performance. Creating magical theatrical performances are just one of the things they do. Oh, and hands-on skills sessions too.
Built after the first world war, this big recreation space off the city centre – all 80 acres of it – is where Norwich congregates 365 days of the year. There’s a pitch and putt, model boating pond, tennis courts, crazy gold, skate park and games area. There’s also just loads of space to run around and burn off energy. And you can get refreshments at the café too.
The Millennium Forum
For a second there you thought Millennium Falcon, didn’t you? Admit it. Nope, nothing to do with Star Wars, this is actually a unique space in the heart of Norwich, opposite St Peter Mancroft Church, by the market. Principally the city’s library, it also hosts lots of festivals and events, many for youngsters on the weekends and holidays.
Events are also held outside on Millennium Plain, and is often the launch venue for the annual Norfolk and Norwich Festival, another great reason to bring the anklebiters to Norwich.
Riverside and Cathedral
Combine a trip along the River Wensum with a visit to the Cathedral and its Precinct and you’ll have an adventurous few hours. Look out for Pull’s Ferry, where stone from Caen was brought ashore by the Normans to build their 11th century paean to God. Cow Tower is an interesting feature on the river – a medieval blockhouse to repel attackers. There are lots of kid-friendly restaurants in the Riverside entertainment area, or you could find an independent café in the medieval, cobbled streets in Tombland.
For great views of the city skyline, head up to Mousehold Heath. This is the vantage point that Robert Kett’s rebels took before causing mayhem in the city in 1549. It didn’t end well. There’s plenty of space to run around, a recreation park and pitch and putt.
Whitlingham Country Park
Take a cycle or walk around this peaceful Broad and enjoy refreshments in the Flint Barn Café. As well as 280 acres of lovely countryside and water, there’s also Whitlingham Adventure where youngsters can take their first steps to sailing, canoeing or other watersports.
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
This Norman Foster-designed hangar-like building (used in some Marvel films as their upstate New York HQ) at the University of East Anglia has free admission to the permanent collection which includes work by Modigliani, Picasso and Bacon. There are regular events for families and youngsters.
Outside explore the Sculpture Park, which includes works by Henry Moore, and take a walk around the Broad.
Nearly Earlham Park has a café and an opportunity to paddle barefoot in the River Yare.