FAQs - Christmas in Norwich 2023

24 November 2023

FAQs – Christmas in Norwich 2023

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or making a return trip to Norwich, you’re in the right place this Christmas. But we all have questions when going somewhere new. What’s the best way to get there? Where do I park? Where do I find toilets? Can I bring my dog?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered this festive season. Read on for our Christmas FAQs in Norwich for 2023! And for even more recommendations, be sure to check out our City of Stories blogs!

Where is the best place to park in Norwich at Christmas?

If you are in Norwich for Christmas shopping, then we would recommend Norwich Park & Ride which has five sites and regular services. Prices are £3 a ticket, plus there are deals for anyone travelling with you. For example, if you’re travelling in a group, each person is just a £1 extra up to 7 passengers!

There are many city centre car parks which get very busy if you are not in Norwich early. There are car parks also at John Lewis, Chantry Place and Castle Quarter.

Can I get the train to Norwich?

Yes, Norwich has a central station at Riverside and is only a 10-15 minute walk to all the main shops, museums, eateries, social activities, bars and entertainment venues. Look at Greater Anglia for trains from London Liverpool Street (fares from £10 each way), via Colchester, Ipswich, Diss and more. You can travel also with Greater Anglia from London Kings Cross via a change at Cambridge.

There are trains with East Midlands Railways via: Thetford, Ely, Peterborough, Grantham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Stockport, Manchester and Liverpool. 

I’m bringing my dog for the day – Where can I visit that’s dog-friendly? 

There are plenty of welcoming places around Norwich that you can bring your dog, like cafés, pubs, bars, restaurants and more. For more information on where to go, check out our ‘Dog Friendly Norwich’ blog. 

And if you’re staying overnight in the City of Stories, we’d recommend The Maids Head Hotel and No 82 The Unthank for dog-friendly stays.  

Can I get a bus to Norwich?

Yes, Norwich’s bus station is in the city centre, 2 minutes from everything. Look at First, Konectbus, National Express (London to Norwich), Sanders Coaches for services and ticketing. 

Where should I head to for Christmas shopping?

Norwich is a wonderful mix of independent shops and high street brands. And because Norwich is such a walkable city, you can get everywhere on foot with no need for further transportation. For the best independents go to the Jarrolds (independent department store), Norwich Lanes, The Royal Arcade, Norwich Cathedral Quarter and Norwich Market. In all of these locations you will find boutiques, galleries, lifestyle, vintage, bookshops, jewellery and antiques as well as plenty of places to eat and drink. Plus, Waterstones, The White Company, Fat Face, Clark’s and Mountain Warehouse.

For all your high street favourites, Norwich has flagship regional stores from Primark, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Frasers. And two shopping centres – Castle Quarter and Chantry Place where you will find stores from the likes of TK Maxx, Apple, Zara, Monsoon, Whistles, Hotel Chocolat, JD Sports, H&M, Tiger, Superdry and Oliver Bonas 

Where can I see a pantomime in Norwich?

Norwich Theatre Royal has a fabulous annual panto. This year it is Sleeping Beauty (Saturday, December 9 – Sunday, January 7, 2024) starring Beverley Callard, Joe Tracini and Norwich’s own hilarious Richard Gauntlett. Expect flamboyant dresses and elaborate wigs when Richard plays the Queen.

But, being a Traditionally Different city at Christmas, we also have a panto with a puppet cast! See Jack and the Beanstalk featuring beautiful multimedia miniature sets, glittering costumes and some of the best puppetry in the UK at Norwich Puppet Theatre (Saturday, December 9 – Sunday, December 31, 4 years +).

Whilst at The Garage, see A Pinocchio Adventure (Thursday, December 14 – Sunday, December 24, 5yrs +). This heartwarming tale is brought to life with captivating performances, dazzling sets, and a powerful message about self-acceptance and embracing who you truly are.

And… not quite panto, but a wonderful interactive performance for children aged 0-4 years is My First: The Night Before Christmas at The Garage (Tuesday, November 28 – Sunday, December 31).

It’s my first time in Norwich at Christmas where should I start?

Begin your day at St Giles Pantry, Jarrolds, Norwich Market, Bread Source at Norwich Cathedral or The Britons Arms for a warm welcome and a coffee and cake. Each of these are also great for lunch.

If you want to know more about Norwich visit The Museum of Norwich a delightful bijou museum. Or perhaps Strangers’ Hall and/or Norwich Castle.  Or think about pre-booking a wonderful walking tour with Paul Dickson or The Shoebox Experiences.

For shopping options see our shopping question and answer.

Norwich has two cathedrals Norwich Cathedral (Romanesque) in Tombland and the Cathedral of St John the Baptist. Both are beautiful. At Norwich Cathedral you can join a free one-hour tour and walk through the largest monastic cloisters in the country. The Cathedral of St John is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture.

A visit to Norwich isn’t a visit to Norwich unless you take a walk to Elm Hill, Norwich’s most complete medieval street. It’s picture perfect. And there are some lovely little shops to explore. This is where the 13th Century Britons Arms is located for coffees, drinks, cakes, lunch and afternoon tea. Plus, its open for dinner on selected evenings.

Finish your day with a traditional Gluhwein with or without a slug of brandy on Norwich Market at Sir Toby’s Beers. You won’t regret it!

Take a look at our Norwich Map to get yourself orientated, and keep an eye out for physical copies with our City Hosts (identifiable in their blue tabards), as well as in shops around Norwich. 

I’d like to visit a Christmas Market, where can I go?

Norwich doesn’t have one big Christmas Market but rather lots of small, artisan markets over most weekends in the lead up to Christmas. Take a look at: Festive Fair at the Forum, Fierce Babe Christmas Market, Global Village Christmas Market, Clutter City Winter Market, St Nicholas Christmas Craft Fair, Jabbawocky crafts Christmas Craft & Gift Fair, Norfolk Creations Market and Christmas Fayre at Norwich Puppet Theatre. 

I need a toilet!

The Forum is one of the best places to use the loo! Their new facilities include low-flow to help save water, they use environmentally friendly cleaning products AND they have a Changing Places toilet for people who have multiple and complex disabilities, plus a Family Room. 

Other toilets can be found in Jarrolds, Castle Quarter, Chantry Place, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Norwich Market.

What Christmas Services are on around Norwich?

Take a look at the programming at Norwich Cathedral for ticketed and free music and services. One of the most popular events is Carols in the Closter (Saturday, December 16, 4pm).

Also look at The Cathedral of St John the Baptist and Norwich’s largest medieval church St Peter Mancroft which is in the heart of the city, opposite The Forum. 

I want to find somewhere with Christmas music, where should I look?

There is an array of venues for festive shows and music. Check out Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich Playhouse, The Forum, Norwich Arts Centre, The Maids Head Hotel and Bowling House.

Where can I grab a bite to eat and a glass of something lovely?

There are plenty of choices, take a look at St Giles Pantry (excellent local produce), Jarrolds (3 restaurants, a wine bar and deli), Yalm in The Royal Arcade, The Ivy, The Cosy Club, The Assembly House, The Britons Arms, The Maids Head Hotel and Norwich Market. 

I’d love to book a lovely restaurant for dinner? 

For good food, you’ve come to the right place. We would recommend looking at Farmyard, Benedicts, Brix and Bones, The Ivy and Namaste India for unforgettable meals.