Unique Experiences in Norwich and Norfolk

28 July 2023

Unique Experiences in Norwich & Norfolk 

Norwich was built on independent spirit and a unique nature. You don’t have to look far into our history to find mavericks, rebels, and trailblazers – figures who set Norwich on its course to become the City of Stories we know and love. 

So, it’s only right that there’s plenty of unique and fascinating experiences to get up to during your time in Norwich and Norfolk! We’ve rounded up some of our favourite things that you’ll never have done or seen before! (Maybe.)

And, as always, if you’re looking for more fun and exciting things to get up to, we’ve got plenty more across the VisitNorwich website!

Norwich Castle

How many places in the UK can say they have a castle right at their centre? Norwich is one of very few! Ordered to be built by William the Conqueror in 1067, our iconic Castle has overlooked the City of Stories for close to a thousand years… It’s tough to wrap your head around! 

The Castle is still used in the present day, although for very different reasons. Gone are the days of keeping guard of the city, now this Norwich landmark is both a museum and an art gallery, showing some of the most interesting and magnificent works from Norwich’s history and greatest artists. It’s a fantastic day out for all ages, and a must for those looking for something unique. 

Please note, due to construction work for the Norwich Castle: Royal Palace Reborn project, a few areas of the Castle remain closed. Due to reopen in 2024, the castle will be accessible for the first time from the dungeons to the battlements.

A castle keep

The Norwich Castle Keep is being transformed into something special!

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts – Living Art (free) 

For an incredible day out and an absolute must see if you’re looking for something away from the ordinary, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts should be right at the top of your list. We can guarantee you’ve never seen a museum like this. And that’s because they’re the first in the world to see art as living. Yes, you read that right.  

So, as well as exploring their gorgeous range of artistic and historic pieces across their open plan space and sculpture park, you can now connect with the art itself like never before. Step inside a glass case and see what it’s like when art stares at you. Lay on a hammock or sit on a bench and tell a secret to Albert Giacometti’s painting of his brother. Or hug a Henry Moore sculpture. Once again, yes, you read that right. 

It’s truly a great day out for everyone of all ages, and with their new ‘Pay If and What You Can’ scheme, you can gain access to all exhibitions at a price that suits you, including for absolutely FREE.

A glass case surrounded by sculptures, paintings, and photography.

Become the art yourself at the Sainsbury Centre!

Cromer Pier Show (45-minute drive from Norwich) 

How about a little bit of theatre and performance? We’ve got the perfect recommendation – The Cromer Pier Show. Back for another year to amaze audiences, this spectacular show combines some of the very best entertainment in one outstanding theatre show. Plus, it’s the only full-season end-of-pier show in the entire world! It doesn’t get any more unique than that. 

This show prides itself on West End production values, and you can certainly see why. Expect to see their jaw-dropping 8-metre video wall, which delivers impressive special effects alongside their huge range of traditional scene sets. Add to that list their bespoke costumes, extravagant lighting effects, some seriously good laugh out loud moments, and so much more. It’s a trip to the theatre you won’t forget. Be warned, this show is very popular, so tickets are best booked in advance

Performers dressed in colourful costumes complete with feathers pose on stage.

The Cromer Pier Show is sure to dazzle audiences with it’s incredible acts!

The Shoebox Experiences

As if one unique experience wasn’t enough to impress, the Shoebox Experiences have got seven to choose from! And they’re all just as fascinating as each other, there’s no wrong choice here. 

For a fun challenge, the thrilling and hugely interactive Secrets of the Tunnels escape game is for you. Or take the Hidden Street Tour. For curious explorers, this tour shows secret tunnels and underground prison cells, making it sure to entertain.  

Finally, to dive into the history of Norwich, choose between the Shoebox Experiences tours, from Tavern Trails to the Norwich Knowledge tour! Mix and match in one day, or try out a new experience over multiple visits! 

An underground street underneath an old tudor building

Discover Norwich’s hidden underground street with the Shoebox Experiences’ amazing tour!

The Bug Parc (30-minute drive from Norwich) 

Whether you’re a lover of all things insects, or you finally need to face that fear of creepy crawlies, you’re in no better hands than The Bug Parc in Lenwade. As the largest invertebrate parc in the country, you can see hundreds of incredible insects, millipedes, spiders (including tarantulas), and so much more across this unique five-acre space.  

And if you’re feeling brave enough to take it one step further, you can book an hourly handling session to get up close and personal with some of the Parc’s animals, which always proves to be a highlight for both adults and children alike! 

After all that excitement, you might have worked up an appetite, which you can fix with The Bug Parc’s onsite affordable themed café. Whether to your relief or disappointment, there won’t be any bugs in the café! 

A female's hand holds a praying mantis

What fascinating insects will you discover at The Bug Parc?

Norwich Ghost Walks

When you’re in the City of Stories, there’s bound to be some pretty grizzly tales out there, life in Norwich wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows! So, wait for night to fall and head out with Norwich Ghost Walks as you hunt for these lost spirits and poltergeists – learning about their lives and deaths as you go. 

As Norwich’s longest-running show, thrilling and spooking audiences since 1998, your ghost-hunter will take you on a journey through the most haunted areas of the city, with stories most have never known about. See the spooky side of Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle, Elm Hill, Tombland, the River Wensum, and much more… Please note, Norwich Ghost Walks are an adult-only experience, for scarily understandable reasons! 

A cloaked figure is surrounded by an audience as he gives a speech

There isn’t many spookier ways to spend your evening than with Norwich Ghost Walks!

Norwich Market 

Okay, obviously Norwich Market isn’t an activity like the rest on this list, but it is iconic and an experience. One you have to do when you’re in the city, too. As one of the largest and oldest open-air markets in the country, this site has rich heritage with tradition at its heart. 

Browse through the many, many stalls and find clothes, jewellery, flowers and plants, keys cut, shoes mended, incredible ingredients and street food, and the city’s smallest bar! Open from Monday-Saturday, you’ll find yourself immersed in this community atmosphere and come away knowing you’ve supported local independent businesses. 

A busy city centre filled with people, complete with a colourful market.

Norwich Market is filled with gems, from food and clothing, to homeware and the country’s smallest bar!

So, there you have it! Just a few of Norwich and Norfolk’s most unique and fun experiences. Whether you’re visiting them all, or just the odd one or two that take your interest, we’re sure you’ll love them. And, as always, if you’re looking for more activities or experiences in Norwich and Norfolk, be sure to check out our website!