A Day in Norwich at Christmas

7 November 2022

A Day in Norwich at Christmas

Are you looking for the best UK city to visit this Christmas? How about spending a day (or longer) in Norwich, the City of Stories. Norwich is the perfect city to visit at Christmas, with plenty of shopping, fantastic festive food and drink, stunning lights and a whole host of Christmas events.

With so much to see and do, we won’t blame you if you’re having trouble planning your day trip. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together the perfect itinerary for a day in Norwich at Christmas.

Norwich Christmas Lights. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

Getting to Norwich

First things first, you need to figure out how you’re getting into Norwich. One of the cheapest car parks in the city centre is at Rose Lane and costs only £7.50 for all-day parking. Alternatively, you can hop on the Park & Ride for only £3.80 for adults or £5.50 for a group ticket. Travelling in by bus or train? The bus station is in the heart of the city, with the train station only a 10-minute walk away from the centre. And with regular trains from London, Cambridge, Nottingham, Peterborough and Ipswich costing as little as £9 each way, it’s an easy and affordable way to travel.


Once you arrive in Norwich, we recommend tucking into a nice breakfast to fuel you up for the day! For something really Christmassy, how about Beforenoon Tea in an igloo? At The Assembly House you can enjoy a smaller plate of one of their hot breakfasts plus three tiers of breakfast treats served afternoon tea style! £25.95 per person, served 9.30am-11.30am. And you can tuck into this feast inside one of The Assembly House’s sparkling igloos on the lawn. (Igloos seat 6-10 people, booking in advance with deposit required.)

Festive outdoor igloo at The Assembly House

Festive outdoor igloo at The Assembly House

For a classic, cosy café, why not try the Britons Arms on Elm Hill. This stunning historic building dates back to the 1300s and the charm of this place doesn’t just stop with its exterior. Inside you’ll find characterful beams, a warm welcome, and delicious food. On the menu is house recipe granola (£5), vegan pancakes with fruit compote and maple syrup (£6) or a build your own fry-up with items charged at £1 each (choose from options such as sausage, bacon, beans, mushroom, hash browns, black pudding, eggs and toast).

The Britons Arms on Elm Hill

The Britons Arms on Elm Hill


Once you’ve gotten an energy boost from breakfast, it’s time to get shopping! Norwich is the ideal location for Christmas shopping, with plenty of unique independent shops alongside big shopping centres and regional flagship stores.

Head to the Norwich Lanes, Magdalen Street and Norwich Market for independent boutiques, vintage finds and foodie treats. There’s also a healthy dose of cafes and restaurants dotted around this area, perfect for a quick coffee (and snack) break!

Street Food

Shopping at Norwich Market

Next up, pop into Jarrold – Norwich’s award-winning independent department store. There’s something for everyone with 5 floors, 52 departments, 3 restaurants and a coffee bar – plus a recently refurbished food hall with deli and cheese room.

Other great department stores located in the city centre are John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, which will have everything you need from homeware to electricals. And finish off your morning by popping into Castle Quarter and Chantry Place – large shopping centres with so much to offer.

Chantry Place Square

Chantry Place Square at Christmas


If you want a quick bite, we suggest heading to Norwich Market for affordable and delicious street food. Whether you’d prefer a chorizo and lemon prawn ciabatta or some fresh ramen – there’s plenty of warming food to choose from here.

You can also find street-food options at Castle Social – located in the Castle Quarter food court, or Yalm in the Royal Arcade.

If you didn’t opt for the Beforenoon Tea at The Assembly House, you could try them at lunch with their festive themed Nutcracker Afternoon Tea (£27.95 per person). Other fantastic lunch spots in the city include Saporita, The Waffle House, or The Cosy Club.

Saporita, Norwich

Saporita, Norwich


Norwich is a fantastic city for Christmas Markets, with several taking place over the festive period. Many are hosted at The Forum, with the most popular The Festive Fair at The Forum (24 – 27 November). You’ll find every type of gift here with East Anglian stalls galore, selling everything from jewellery, decorations, pottery and glassware to art, chocolate, candles, clothes and more. Plus, on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday there’s food stalls serving up hot waffles and gourmet doughnuts. And as you browse, you’ll be treated to Christmas carols from Norfolk’s own Pavilion Brass Quintet and other performers.

Festive Fair at The Forum donuts

Festive Fair at The Forum donuts


Finish off your day with an indulgent and well-deserved dinner. For something truly special, opt for the tasting menu at Benedicts which will dazzle and delight, or fare cooked over the coals at Brix and Bones. The Ivy has a fabulous interior with a large choice of dishes to enjoy too.

Or, if you’re after a more traditional and cosy dinner, you could head to The Grosvenor for delicious fish and chips or grab some warm pub grub at The Ribs of Beef, The Belgian Monk or The Murderers.

Brix and Bones Norwich

Brix and Bones Norwich


As the evenings draw in, the city becomes even more mesmerising as the Christmas lights can be seen to full effect. We recommend grabbing a mulled wine from Norwich Market before taking a stroll and soaking in the beauty and magical festive atmosphere. Make sure to stop by the stunning Tunnel of Light on Hay Hill, and by Norwich Castle to see its façade lit up by projections. (Lights from 17 November).

Tunnel of Light

The Tunnel of Light. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

If you like to get your shopping done in the evenings, Thursday is the day to visit Norwich, with late night shopping at Chantry Place, Castle Quarter, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and more from 17 November.

For entertainment, head to Norwich Theatre Royal or Norwich Playhouse to see the ballet, musical performances or a classic pantomime! And there’s lots of child friendly shows at The Garage and Norwich Puppet Theatre too. If carols and choir music is more your style, Norwich Cathedral and the Cathedral of St John the Baptist have plenty of concerts to choose from.

Jarrold Department Store

Jarrold Department Store

Extend your stay

We won’t blame you if the charm of Norwich leaves you longing for an extended stay! There’s fabulous city centre accommodation to be found at The Assembly House, The Maids Head Hotel and Gothic House. And with a longer stay, you can explore more of the county too. For winter day trips from the city, you can’t miss Holkham Hall – an impressive estate with a range of Christmas activities and events. Catch spectacular Christmas variety shows at Thursford or Cromer Pier, and if you’re wanting to spend time together as a family Bure Valley Railway and ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure are great options. And for winter walks, there’s gorgeous coastline (and even a seal colony) to discover.

Thursford's Enchanted Journey of Light

Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light