Subscribe to the City of Stories newsletter
By subscribing you will be added to our Newsletter mailing list.
There’s nothing quite like Christmas in the City of Stories. Here, you’ll find an independent and heartwarming spirit that can’t be matched anywhere else. Norwich at Christmas is traditionally different. So, if you’ve chosen to spend the festive season in the City of Stories, you’re in luck. Expect the experience you know and love, then get ready to discover a unique Christmas like no other. Want to find out more? Read on for our seven things to do in Norwich this Christmas.
And Norwich is straight forward to get to.
The train station is only a 15-minute walk into the city centre so travelling by train from London, Essex, Cambridge and Suffolk with Greater Anglia is a good option. See more destinations by rail plus bus routes (the bus station is located in the heart of the city).
And if you are driving, we recommend using one of the 5 Park and Ride sites (use Thickthorn if you’re arriving via the A11) which provides quick bus services to the city centre. Parking is free, the bus costs £3 return (£1 extra when using Park & Ride with another person).
Whether you’re new to Norwich or you’ve lived here all your life, there’s always plenty to learn about the City of Stories. It’s fascinating. And what better way to learn about history than with Christmas history? For that, The Shoebox Experiences ‘Chronicles of Christmas Walking Tour’ is a great way to see some festive sights in our fine city.
In this 1.3 mile, fully accessible 90-minute tour, you’ll join an expert in Norwich as you meander through the city’s gorgeous, cobbled streets and award-winning Lanes to see the dazzling Christmas lights and discover how the City of Stories celebrated this festive time of year throughout the ages. This tour is available on select dates throughout November and December. Tickets go on sale this month, and are available for £15 per adult, £8 per child aged 4-12, with under-4s going FREE.
What’s Christmas without a warming mulled wine? The first sip of this delicious drink is when you truly know it’s a festive time of year! And for the best of the best, you’ll want to visit Sir Toby’s Beers on Norwich Market for their traditional German Glühwein. Don’t worry – it is a type of mulled wine! And we can almost assure you that this will quickly become your favourite.
Plus, it’ll be served in a traditional mug while you drink on one of the UK’s smallest bars, and you can even enjoy it ‘mit schuss’, which means adding some extra liquor, like rum or brandy! It’s a brilliant way to get in the Christmas spirit. Wrap up warm, and we’ll see you there!
Christmassy Afternoon Tea in an igloo or in Georgian splendour – do we need to say anymore? Award-winning and fantastically beautiful, The Assembly House are bringing their Nutcracker themed afternoon tea back this November (Wednesday, November 1), and you can enjoy it in heated igloos in the garden or inside this 18th century Georgian gem. Both are jaw-dropping settings!
Get stuck into a series of ‘acts’, starting with a selection of freshly made sandwiches, before moving onto scrumptious savouries and scones, then finishing with the showstopper – the cakes and pastries. There’ll be snowflake macarons, gateau opera, cupcakes, and the Nutcracker himself! This afternoon tea costs £29.50 per adult and £18 per child, book on The Assembly House website!
Going to the pantomime is as much a tradition as leaving a sherry for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve! And in Norwich we’re lucky to have one of the best in the business! Norwich Theatre’s panto this year is Sleeping Beauty – but this fairytale we all know, and love has some changes in this production… Does the kiss to wake the Princess really have to come from the Prince? There’s only one way to find out – seeing it on stage!
One thing is for certain – you can expect all the same festive cheer, the same laughs, and the same amount of ‘he’s behind you’ in this fabulous pantomime. It truly never fails to impress and get us into the Christmas mood. And there’s both evening and matinee performances available throughout its run! Find out more and book your tickets to this year’s panto before they sell out!
Of course, we had to include our iconic street in this list, it’s a must-visit when you’re here in Norwich, especially at Christmastime! Along these cobbles, you’ll find a sense of magic with every step. Surrounded by buildings steeped in history, it’s no wonder this ‘hill’ has been the site of many Hollywood movies – including ‘Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey’.
And whilst you’re there, be sure to see some Elm Hill favourites, like the Britons Arms, an icon from the 1300s still standing and in use today where you can have a warming drink on those chillier days. Or see The Bear Shop, one of the largest assortments of collectable bears you’ll ever see from manufacturers like Steiff, Charlie Bears, Paddington, and many more – they make fantastic gifts at this time of year. To suit every pocket. You’ll love it.
There are few better places to celebrate Christmas than Norwich Cathedral, where can find an incredible 19 festive events this year – so there’s something for everyone, whenever you’re visiting. Some are ticketed but some you can be spontaneous with and just turn up.
Start the festive season off with the Candelit Advent Procession (Sunday, December 3, 6pm), a candlelit procession of carols and readings as the preparations begin for Christmas. Or enjoy Carols in the Cloister in the run-up to the big day (Saturday, December 16, 4pm), where you can take part in a carol singalong with the girl choristers in the stunning surrounds of the Cathedral’s atmospheric Cloister.
We couldn’t possibly list all of the Cathedral’s events, but rest assured they are fantastic, and we highly recommend them during your time in Norwich. Find all of Norwich Cathedral’s Christmas events on their website!
Nothing says timeless tradition quite like this. Each year, we’re lucky enough to see this Victorian carousel take residency outside The Forum and Norwich’s largest medieval Church, St Peter Mancroft. It makes for a beautiful Christmas setting, especially when the sun has gone down and the carousel’s hundreds of bulbs light up the church.
Rides on this gorgeous carousel are available for £3 per person, and what great fun it is. Keep an eye out for a horse you share your name with or go for one that sticks out to you! And good luck riding this carousel just once, you’ll want to go on it again and again!
And there you have it! Just a few fantastic Christmas things to do while you’re here in the City of Stories throughout the festive period. There is plenty more around our fine city this year, so if you’d like to learn more about Christmas Markets in Norwich & Norfolk, or How to Spend a Christmas Weekend in Norwich, check out our blogs!