Plan Your Day Out in Norwich
From ancient cobbled streets and two magnificent cathedrals to modern shopping malls and a lively cultural scene, Norwich has something for everyone.
For those who know little about Norwich, let us introduce you. It’s a beautiful, medieval city, with a poetic mix of contemporary culture and historic architecture, all situated within a compact centre spanning cobbled streets and riverside pathways.
Despite its size, Norwich is hugely rich in its offer to the daytime, overnight or weekend visitor. As well as being easily walkable and very picturesque, it is the home of over 1500 historic buildings, including 2 magnificent cathedrals, a castle, and a thriving marketplace that can trace its history back over 800 years. It’s also a shoppers’ paradise, with 4 department stores, 2 malls, and the award winning ‘Norwich Lanes’ - the destination for all things boutique and artisan.
The city is fiercely independent, and this is reflected everywhere you look in Norwich. Its history – and geography – sets it well apart from any other city in the UK, and as a result the plot of the city’s lifetime is completely unique (as plenty of the centrally located museums can tell you). It is the ‘City of Stories’; a title that binds Norwich’s multitude of histories together, and is also a nod to its UNESCO City of Literature status. The written word leaves an indelible mark here, in the form of the country’s only National Centre for Writing, the University of East Anglia, many independent book stores, 3 annual literary festivals, and the ‘City of Stories’ blog.
For anyone visiting, Norwich will add a new chapter to your experience of an English city; there’s nowhere else quite like it.
For accommodation, map and visitor information go to www.visitnorwich.co.uk.
Looking for quirky gifts, distinctive homewares or vintage fashions? Head for the Norwich Lanes. Amongst its ancient alleyways and winding streets there’s inspiration for everyone, with an assortment of independent shops, as well as welcoming cafes and eateries.
Together Norwich's two malls have almost 200 stores, cafes and restaurants. Intu Chapelfield is a unique destination shopping experience with the region's only House of Fraser. Castle Mall has five floors of retail heaven, a food court and an eight-screen Vue cinema.
At the heart of Norwich is a cornerstone of its heritage: the open-air market. It's the largest in the country and there's an amazing array of goods on offer, as well as stalls selling traditional lunchtime fare and more exotic street food.
Opened in 1899, this splendid art nouveau avenue has been lovingly restored to its Victorian glory. The ultra-stylish stores and restaurants include Langleys Toy Shop, a time-honoured Norwich institution.
The Cathedral of St John the Baptist
This Catholic cathedral is one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture in the UK. It has the most beautiful stained glass and stonework, as well as a lovely garden and café. Don’t miss the Tower Tour for incredible views of Norwich.
Guided Walking Tours of Norwich
A great way to orientate yourself with the geography and features of the city while getting fascinating insights into its culture and history from expert guides. Tours last for 90 minutes and are themed, the City of Centuries itinerary being by far the most popular.
A Norwich 'wow' experience, yet relatively unknown, Surrey House was built for Norwich Union between 1900-1904 and is still used as an office by Aviva. Its stunning entrance hall is constructed from 15 varieties of marble originally destined for Westminster Cathedral. Free entry, Mon-Fri office hours.
Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell
A former prison, this is now an excellent museum. Ten galleries take you on a fascinating journey through Norwich's past, from its heyday as a powerhouse of the medieval wool trade through its 19th century industrial heritage and two world wars.
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
This imperious 12th century fortress is one of the country's best-preserved examples of Norman military might. First a palace and then a prison, it now houses a wealth of fine art, archaeological finds and natural history artefacts, as well as presenting regular high-profile touring art exhibitions.
The Norwich Castle Study Centre Collections
Enjoy free access to over a million exhibits from the Castle’s six stored collections. Private viewings with a curator are available, focusing on collections from Archaeology, Costume and Textile, Decorative Art, Fine Art, Natural History and the Royal Norfolk Regimental Collection. Free for under four people visiting by appointment. Call 01603 493625 (Mon-Fri only).
The city's most famous landmark is also one of its not-to-be-missed visitor attractions. A fine example of stunning Romanesque architecture, it has amazing medieval stonework, not to mention the second largest spire and largest monastic cloisters in England.
Dating from 1320, this is one of Norwich's oldest and most interesting buildings. Once home to wealthy merchants and the city's mayors, it has a wonderful collection of rooms dressed in textiles and objects from previous centuries.
Van Dal Shoe Factory Tours
Established in 1936, Van Dal still make about 15% of their shoes in Norwich. In fact, they are the last traditional ladies' shoe manufacturer still mass producing in the UK. Join a free factory tour to see the craft and skill involved in making shoes, followed by some retail therapy in the factory shop.
Centrally located and open seven days a week, this unique glass-fronted building is the hub of Norwich's city and community life. There's a lively coffee bar, an open-plan pizzeria and an exhibition space housing many free events and exhibitions for all the family.
Opened over 90 years ago, this much-loved Norwich institution stages a varied programme of plays, musicals, concerts, stand-up comedy and other events throughout the year, including a dozen in-house productions.
Norwich Arts Centre
Internationally recognised for its adventurous programming and support for new talent, this great little venue provides a vibrant mix of cultural experiences, including music, theatre, dance, performance art, visual art and poetry.
Housed in a converted 160-year-old riverside maltings, this charming 300-seat theatre features a year-round programme of drama, dance, jazz and comedy. It also has two galleries exhibiting work by local artists.
The OPEN Youth Trust was formed to provide opportunities for young people in Norfolk. Its home is a multi-purpose venue right in the centre of Norwich, providing youth activities, live music, events and conferences.
Housed within Norwich's City College, Platform is a producing house theatre with a company of student performers and technicians. The company presents an exciting programme of dance, theatre and music performances.
Riverside Entertainment Centre
The city's newest destination location has restaurants, bars, bowling, graVity trampoline park, a multiplex and an IMAX cinema, clustered around a waterfront piazza. Many of the restaurants offer al fresco summer dining with river views.
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Love modern and ethnic art? You'll be in your element here. It's one of the country's finest and biggest climate-controlled contemporary art spaces, featuring permanent collections and a year-round programme of visiting exhibitions.
The art deco Theatre Royal is one of the country's top regional performance venues. The wide-ranging programme features touring West End hits, as well as opera, dance, family shows, music and stand-up comedy.
The Students' Union at the University of East Anglia is a renowned live music venue and an essential inclusion on the touring schedule for many top bands. It's located just outside the city centre on a beautiful landscaped campus.
The Cathedral Quarter
When the weather's fine, Norwich's lovely Cathedral Quarter is a great place to enjoy some space and relaxation. Wander ancient cobbled streets, walk by the river or watch the world go by from a pavement café. There are lots of interesting independent shops to explore too.
Do your sightseeing the easy way on an open-top bus with panoramic views of the city. The hop-on, hop-off service has nine stops that are handy for the main attractions. Plus, there's a recorded commentary to tell you all about what you're seeing.
Norwich Ghost Walks
Prepare for some spine-tingling experiences as you tour notorious locations hidden away in Norwich's ancient streets. Your guide will thrill you with stories of ghostly goings-on and macabre mysteries that have haunted the city over the centuries.
Enjoy a stroll or a picnic in one of Norwich's 150 green spaces. The most famous is Castle Gardens, a delightful park that surrounds the magnificent Norman royal palace. The Green has awesome panoramic views over the castle and cityscape.
This is one of Norwich's hidden gems. Just a short walk from the city centre, it's a Grade II English Heritage registered garden with 3 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds. Features include a Gothic fountain, an Italianate terrace and woodland walkways.
The Wensum River
Why not go for a riverside walk to enjoy a different perspective on the city and its history? Start at Fishergate and take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Wensum to the Riverside Entertainment Centre.
Cafés, Tea Rooms and Coffee Houses
Fancy a cappuccino and a pastry or traditional English tea? Popular chains are well represented but there are also many independently owned establishments, including the 15th Century Britons Arms Coffee House in Elm Hill (Cathedral Quarter) and Louis’ Deli in The Lanes.
Restaurants and Pubs
With its many renowned field-to-fork producers and creative cooks, Norfolk is a foodie's paradise and this is reflected in Norwich's culinary scene. There's everything from haute cuisine to great-value bistros and pizzerias, as well as gastro-pubs and ethnic eateries.
Food To Go
If you're short on time, don't worry. Just pop in to one of the city's many fast food outlets to grab a take-away. Options range from British favourites like fish and chips and pasties to more exotic fare, including falafel and noodles.
Cab & Go
Need a taxi to or from Norwich station? Use our handy Cab & Go app and you can pre-book at a competitive rate via your mobile, tablet or PC.
Bike & Go
Explore Norwich at your own pace on two wheels. With our brilliant Bike & Go scheme you can hire a bike to pick up from Norwich station at a fixed daily charge of just £3.80.
Where To Stay
To plan a break or even a day trip, go to www.visitnorwich.co.uk for more information about where to stay, eat, shop and visit.
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