Norfolk Day: Why We Love This County

27 July 2021

Norfolk Day: Why We Love This County

This Norfolk Day, we want to celebrate all the incredible reasons why we love this county and its city, Norwich. And let’s be honest – there’s a lot to love. With a gorgeous landscape and coastline, charming towns and a bustling city, all filled to the brim with art, history, culture and more, it’s no surprise that there’s a whole day dedicated to commemorating it all!

We’ve turned to our Settee of Stories interviewees to find out what it is exactly about Norfolk and Norwich that they love so much.

Lewis Buxton, Poet and Producer

Born in London in the early 90s, Lewis regularly visited Norfolk to see his grandparents in Swaffham during the holidays. He later moved to Norwich to develop his career as a writer and arts producer.

“The way Norwich gives way to the rest of Norfolk brings me a lot of joy: how trains and A roads can take you out of the city and out of yourself, hayfields, cornfields and fields of sugarbeet unfolding like a duvet cover taken out of the airing cupboard. I feel like I can walk anywhere in Norwich: that wherever I go I’ll be able to find my way back home.”

Lewis Buxton

Craig Allison, Co-Founder of Gyre & Gimble

Craig runs Gyre & Gimble, a stunning new cocktail bar and gin academy in Norwich that he founded with co-owner and friend, Rory Smith.

“I love the genuine community feel and creativity that Norwich has, and its willingness to champion the local producers and businesses that make it unique. The area offers a wonderful quality of life and I love being able to visit the coast and Whitlingham, as well as having access to our beautiful countryside. I genuinely think that there’s something very special about Norwich that encourages and fosters independence and creativity.”

Co-founders of Gyre & Gimble, Rory Smith (left) and Craig Allison (right)

Co-founders of Gyre & Gimble, Rory Smith (left) and Craig Allison (right)

Shea Fiddes, Local Tour Guide

Shea grew up in Great Yarmouth and returned to Norfolk after retiring from a career in education and theatre. Now, he is a qualified tour guide, delivering historical tours of Norwich.

“As a tourist guide you get to see the city through other people’s eyes and you realise that it’s a class act! Visitors love how the view changes around every corner and how the market place suddenly reveals itself. They delight in the cobbled streets, the flint, the churches that are never quite out of sight and the independent shops. The set piece splendour of the Cathedrals and Castle never fails, as does the grandeur of the arcade. Add to this the visual treat of all those oddly shaped buildings above the shop fronts. Not forgetting the cleanliness of the streets and the friendliness of the people. They like all the heritage stuff but above all they appreciate Norwich because it is different.”

Shea Fiddes, local tour guide

Shea Fiddes, local tour guide

Dom & Toby, Founders of Sir Toby’s Beers

Sir Toby’s Beers: A market stall like no other, and a must-visit for anyone with a passion for high-quality, local Norfolk ales, craft beers and wines. Dom and Toby are the brains behind the operation; two self-proclaimed Norfolk boys with a mutual love for amazing beer.

Dom: “I love how I can walk everywhere in Norwich, it’s relaxed, creative, and expressive. We’re close to the coast and nature. Norwich and myself are such big supporters of independent businesses.”

Toby: “There’s an endearing element to everyone from Norfolk, however the folk we see down at the market are just the best. Often old before their time in what they enjoy in life – being friendly, quirky, and appreciating where their food/beer/household items come from. I also think the city is the perfect balance between being surrounded by history with an abundance of modern places to eat, drink, shop, and visit.”

Toby (left) & Dom, founders of Sir Toby’s Beers

Marion de Mello Catlin, Cultural Consultant

Born in Essex, Marion moved to Norfolk aged 15, and completed her degree in the city. Since then, she’s worked in communications and culture, helping to develop the cultural scene in the city.

“I love its ‘can-do’ spirit, its independent nature and refusal to be like everywhere else. When I talk about Norwich, of course, I am talking about the people that live here, that make up the city and the county. There is a DIY vibe, not waiting around for ‘someone else to do it’. The independence. I love the connectedness – we can be in the thick of London at the drop of a hat and also we are in easy reach of fabulous coastlines, The Broads and countryside. We have it all here.”

Marion de Mello Catlin

James Holliday and Anna Duttson, Owners of The Norfolk Mead Hotel

Married couple Anna and James bought the riverside Georgian red-brick manor house The Norfolk Mead, Coltishall in 2013, completing a full refurbishment and opening as a luxury boutique hotel.

“With Norwich and Norfolk, there are so many things to do. The people are very kind and we have a great community where we are. There is also absolutely fantastic produce which we can use throughout our restaurant. We are lucky enough to have some fabulous suppliers locally and across the eastern region.”

James Holliday and Anna Duttson

James Holliday and Anna Duttson

Roter Su, Film Maker and Lecturer

Born in Taiwan, Roter Su has always had a passion for storytelling and film making. After moving to London to study film making, he landed himself a job as a film lecturer at the Norwich University of Arts (NUA) and hasn’t looked back since!

“As a sojourner who stayed in London just slightly over a decade, Norwich in my opinion has a really different charm to it. I think the city has its own artistic atmosphere, which becomes a very inclusive cradle for artists, makers, and musicians. And I believe this positive and creative vibe is sustainable and circulatory.”

Roter Su Norwich

Roter Su, film maker and lecturer