Take a simple stroll through Norwich and you’ll find stunning architecture, hidden-away courtyard cafes and independent restaurants, and a stunning green oasis or two. Don’t be fooled by its size, there’s much to discover in the City of Stories.
So, if you’re planning your next family staycation, or a romantic weekend away, look no further than Norwich. Want a little inspiration for your trip? Then read on!
Art & Culture
Norwich’s cobbled streets will take you on a journey through time when you come to visit (which is no surprise considering there are over 1500 historic buildings in the city!). Don’t miss a visit to Elm Hill, the most complete medieval street in the city.
The charming and historic Elm Hill
Or why not compare the city’s two Cathedrals? One (Norwich Cathedral) a beautiful example of a Norman building with the largest Monastic Cloisters in the country, and the other (The Cathedral of St John the Baptist) a fine showcase of Victorian gothic architecture.
Norwich Castle is not only impressive to look at, but venture inside and you’ll find a museum and art gallery too, with fascinating artefacts from the region, contemporary art, and even the world’s largest teapot collection!
Venture a short drive or bus ride out of the city centre, and you’ll find yourself at the renowned Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. With its free permanent collection and the Sculpture Park stretching 350 acres – it’s the perfect place to be inspired.
There’s plenty more to be found in Norwich too including art galleries, seven different theatres, and many more museums.
The Anthony Caro Goodwood Steps at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Sculpture Park
Food in Norwich
Norwich is fast becoming THE destination for foodies. You can enjoy food from every corner of the world here.
One of the oldest and largest permanent outdoor markets in the country, Norwich Market has over 200 stalls. And many serve up fresh and scrumptious fare Monday – Saturday. Japanese bao buns, sizzling Thai and Indian curries, authentic Chilean empanadas, English fish and chips, vegetarian and vegan delights, sweet treats, craft beers, local cheeses – the list is endless! Whatever you fancy, you’ll find it at the market. Fresh, hot and oh so delicious.
Tuck into some delicious street food from Norwich Market
If street food isn’t your thing, there’s a host of restaurants in the city too. There are casual dining chains for a bit of comfort food, endless pubs serving up warming grub, and independent restaurants that are sure to tickle your tastebuds.
We recommend Benedicts and The Ivy for fine dining, The Assembly House for traditional afternoon tea, Saporita for Italian delicacies, and The Waffle House and Café Gelato for those with a sweet tooth. But it doesn’t stop there. Simply take a walk along St Benedicts Street or around the Cathedral Quarter and you’ll find quality restaurants and eateries galore.
Food at The Waffle House
Shopping in Norwich
One of the things Norwich is best known for is its shopping. With large regional flagship department stores like John Lewis and Marks and Spencer and Jarrold, Norwich’s only independent department store, plus lively shopping centres, there’s certainly enough to keep even a shopping pro busy.
And perhaps even more popular is the thriving independent retailers in the city. The Norwich Lanes, winner of the Great British High Street, is where the independent heart of the city lies. With a charm that’s sure to win you over, you’ll find quaint and quirky shops here selling everything from jewellery and clothing to gifts and art. A day shopping is perfect to pair with a visit to a bustling café for brunch, and if the weather’s nice, enjoy it outside and soak up the atmosphere of the city!
The Norwich Lanes, full of great places for shopping, food and historic sights.
Experience and discover more
Norwich really is unique with its perfect mix of history, culture, shopping, and food – meaning there really is something for everyone to enjoy. But this city is full of surprises, and if you look closely enough, you’ll find even more to discover.
Norwich is the only city in the UK that’s part of a National Park – The Broads. At the foot of the city is Whitlingham Country Park, where there’s miles of land to go walking, running, cycling – or even boating! If a quieter beauty spot is what you’re after, how about a secret Grade II listed Victorian garden? The Plantation Garden is just around the corner from the Cathedral of St John the Baptist – a real hidden treasure in the city. In fact, the city has over 150 green spaces – so if it’s natural beauty you want, you won’t be disappointed.
The Plantation Garden
Past the architectural wonders of St Peter Mancroft (a 600-year-old church), and The Forum (built for the new millennium), you may stumble across The South Asia Collection. This free museum, housed in a Grade II listed Victorian skating rink is home to stunning furniture, textiles, art, sculpture and more. And it’s a shop too!
Want to see the city from a new perspective? Hop on a kayak or paddleboard and take to the river. You can even book ‘pub and paddle’ experiences – combining a relaxing cruise along the river with a visit to a local pub.
That’s before we even get into the fun that can be had on The Broads or at the coast – both only a short drive, bus or train journey away…
Canoeing on the River Wensum
When to visit Norwich
Norwich is a destination that you can visit year-round. But if you need some help deciding, check out what’s happening throughout the year below.
March – April
The University of East Anglia’s spring literary festival, UEA Live, starts this month. Running until May, it features literary icons like Jon McGregor and Monica Ali, as well as up-and-coming political activists and more.
The Easter Holiday arrives in April and is the perfect opportunity to take a long break – so why not head to Norwich? Don’t forget to visit one of the Sainsbury Centre’s multiple exhibitions during your stay.
The Norfolk & Norwich Festival celebrates its 250th anniversary this month. One of the largest international arts festivals in the country, there’s 17 days of performance, comedy, dance and more to enjoy.
As part of the festival, there’s also a special programme of events to celebrate the city’s 10th year as a UNESCO City of Literature.
Norfolk & Norwich Festival in 2019
June – September
Summer in the city is truly glorious. And making a welcome return this year is the GoGoDiscover trail which took over the city last summer with 21 T.rex sculptures decorated by local artists. And in 2022 it gets even bigger, with the return of the dinosaurs and Steppe Mammoth sculptures set to pop up around Norfolk from 27 June until 10 September.
At the start of September, The Sainsbury Centre presents a major new exhibition exploring Egypt in art and design from the ancient past to the present day. And taking over Earlham Park in September is the Foodies Festival, with street food and musical performers.
October – December
Norwich is ideal for an autumnal or Christmas break. The city looks beautiful when lit up by Christmas lights, and with its fantastic shopping you won’t struggle to find gifts for friends and family. And best of all – there’s always a huge range of Christmas markets and craft fairs – practically one every weekend!
Norwich Christmas Lights. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.
Where to Stay in Norwich
Convinced that Norwich is your next staycation destination? Well then, it’s time to get booking! See our round-up of accommodation below to get you started.
For luxury stays, The Assembly House is just the ticket with its gorgeous Georgian rooms. Or why not book a whole suite at The Maids Head Hotel? For a charming and characterful stay, opt for a cheaper feature room at The Maids Head, or Gothic House B&B is perfect in a great central location.