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Originally published 2018
Here’s our guide to one of our favourite areas of Norwich: the Lanes. With its beguiling mix of boutiques, galleries, beauty salons, cafes and restaurants, there’s plenty to explore here to create a truly unique and exciting itinerary, and the entire area is very closely interlinked with easy access from one area of the Lanes to another – it’s so easily walkable, and makes for a great day (and night) out!
Image: The Bicycle Shop
We recommend starting here; Upper St Giles is a quirky and unique street with many buildings in a Georgian style; it also has its own sense of community – you’ll find a good mix of imaginative designers, homewares and eateries. Start off by grabbing a hot drink and some delicious food from Louis’ Deli (we recommend a tasty pastry or sausage roll) – who says breakfast has to be boring?
Then wander over to Studio Art Gallery. Housed in a seventeenth century former butchers shop, this gallery specialises in modern and contemporary art, particularly Eastern European. If this inspires you to create your own masterpiece, then the Norwich Art Shop is the place to go afterwards for all your arty supplies!
An absolute delight is to pop into Carol Lake, a beautiful designer who creates her own designs on silk and wallpaper plus homewares. She even makes shoes in colourful, floral fabrics in partnership with Van Dal. This shop is absolutely gorgeous – don’t miss it!
If you fancy lunch somewhere special then it has to be Roger Hickman’s. The only restaurant in Norwich to hold a prestigious 3 AA rosette award, they do an amazing lunchtime taster menu, or if you prefer then save yourselves and head back there for dinner later on!
If you’re after a lighter lunch then move down onto St Giles Street and head to The Waffle House or Loch Fyne.
This is a great area to shop to your heart’s content, with independent boutiques rubbing shoulders with cafés and quirky gift shops. Lisa Angel, Norwich Gift Emporium, Imelda’s, and The Rock Collection are filled with interesting present ideas (if you can resist keeping them for yourself!).
For a coffee stop give Strangers a go with its speciality coffee roasted in-house. If you’ve yet to stop for lunch, we recommend Paolo’s (a family-run Italian restaurant that do a reasonable – and very tasty – lunchtime set menu), or for something lighter try; Moorish for tasty falafels; Finnie’s for home-cooked food, smoothies and pizza; or the Grosvenor for the tastiest fish and chips with a twist (think rock salmon, cod goujons and five quid squid!)
When in this area we can’t resist a drink at The Birdcage, and if you’ve indulged in fish ‘n’ chips from Grosvenor Fish Bar (see above) you’ll be pleased to know that you can bring it into this pub and enjoy it with a beverage whilst you enjoy a spot of people-watching!
For shopping with a difference try The Good Earth Clothing company – a great family-run shop which sells clothing for men and women all made from natural fabrics, including brands including Seasalt, Signature, Adini, Lazy Jacks and more.
Across the cobblestones find Norfolk Yarn for all things knitting, crochet and crafting (and they do great courses). And on the corner of Pottergate and Lower Goat Lane find exciting jewellers – Sonkai. Sonkai is an independent goldsmiths and jewellery shop which sets our pulses racing – we love it all! We especially like the fact they design from specific requests – gorgeous solutions for birthday and mother’s day gifts?
Head in the Clouds is an institution in Norwich, and another unique shop which is well worth a visit; you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an Aladdin’s Cave of ethnic clothing, jewellery, incense and more – plenty of colour and character here!
Also in Pottergate sits Tofurei, a vegan coffee and deli, which houses the UK’s first shop-based micro soya dairy, and Roots, a bistro offering delicious food made with local seasonal produce in a Grade II listed building.
These two streets have a myriad of interesting spots between them. St John Maddermarket is home to the Maddermarket Theatre, the perfect place to catch a show, as well as plenty of eateries to sample some truly tasty food! Madder Kitchen is housed in an amazing old merchant house and serves freshly cooked dishes from regularly-changing menus – ideal for lunch or dinner. Les Garrigues is a lovely little wine shop which has a great range of wines, as well as a deli on-site – pop in and enjoy wine and cheese (the best combination!). Plus the Iron House serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner and delicious cake – superb food in a lovely setting.
For those with a sweet tooth (or if you’ve had dinner and feel the need to have something sweet after!) then Figbar is absolutely perfect – making dessert their focus, it has almost any sweet treat you could desire, all ready to be enjoyed in a contemporary setting.
For high-street favourites look no further than London Street. You’ll find Bravissimo, Waterstones, White Stuff, Gap and many more, all intermingled with lovely independent boutiques such as W.R Bullen jewellers, Alek’s Jewellers, and The Book Hive (winner of various awards over the years). Plus a traditional toy shop called Tickety-Boo!
Don’t miss Bowhill & Elliot, which has remained on London Street for 140 years. They create bespoke artisan slippers sold alongside a large range of high quality footwear brands, and just stepping inside the shop is an unmissable experience – high quality products and amazing customer service.
Moving down onto St Andrew’s Hill, you’ll find Cinema City – Norwich’s independent arthouse cinema – for a spot of entertainment, and Bishop’s for dine dining in a relaxed and intimate setting.
Just off London Street sits Opie Street; find Namaste India and Thai Kitti here – they serve up authentic Indian and Thai food respectively!
Take a walk down Bedford Street and drop into Frank’s Bar for a snack and drinks, Turtle Bay for Caribbean-style lunch or dinner (and great cocktails!), or independent department store Jarrolds for a wide range of high-quality items (and sister store The Granary for designer homewares). Whilst you’re there check out Salon Central and Brian Coombes salons, Oxfam Books & Music Shop, Chadds (traditional menswear), Bang & Olufsen and Long Tall Sally.
Exchange Street has various restaurants well worth a visit, including No. 33 (amazing cake!), Côte Brasserie, Wallow (a lovely wine bar where you can serve yourself!), Bar Tapas and Jive Kitchen. Also make sure you visit Thorns for every type of DIY tool and accessory ever needed and Quest gifts for gorgeous homewares, accessories and gifts.
Finish up at St Benedicts Street: a haven of quirky (and hip) hangouts to spend a fun evening bar-hopping around. Favourites include Lust & Liquor, The Bicycle Shop and The Ten Bells, and if you fancy excellent food created by winner of 2015’s Great British Menu, Richard Bainbridge, then Benedicts is the place to head to (but make sure you book!). Order from the A La Carte menu or go for their truly excellent lunch or dinner tasting menus – you won’t regret it!
There’s also plenty of spots to shop in if you’re there during the day, with Lulu’s Vintage clothing, The Frock Spot, Norwich Art Supplies and many more, and further down make sure you grab a coffee from the award-winning Gosling & Guzman!