Subscribe to the City of Stories newsletter
By subscribing you will be added to our Newsletter mailing list.
The summer of 2023, a new exciting chapter began on the streets of Norwich encouraging people to meet, dwell and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Within the eight districts of Norwich these beautifully designed benches can be found, made of stone, wood and metal.
The benches can be found in: Gentleman’s Walk, Rampant Horse Street, All Saints Green, Rouen Road, Riverside, St-Martin-of-Palace-Plain, St George’s Street and Upper St Giles. You can find the trail map here.
Enjoy a stroll around Norwich with this series of book benches celebrating Norwich’s UNESCO City of Literature status. Find out more on this video below.
All of the benches are inspired by books. Some are open as if marking the place you want to pick up next; some are piles of books with engravings depicting famous authors from our county; others are books waiting to be chosen from a shelf; one is resting on its spine, with open pages to sit on.
It is not a surprise that the theme of books was chosen as Norwich is a UNESCO city of literature and this #CityofStories has been a literary city for over 900 years. It has a thriving community of authors, poets, historians, novelists and story tellers as well as the National Centre for Writing, at Dragon Hall, King Street, Norwich, where people can share, learn and collaborate.
Many of the book benches have been inscribed with authors or stories that have a connection to the city including:
Why not find some time to wander through the streets of Norwich (and if you want to do the whole trail, it is 5.75 kilometres and takes approximately one hour), whilst passing some of the many great eateries, cafés, and restaurants in Norwich?
Authors featured on the benches at Upper St Giles Street, Rachel Hore, Ashley Hickson-Lovence and Joyce Dunbar.
Authors featured on the benches at Rouen Road, Lynne Bryan, Ryan James (Sculptor), Henry Sutton, Tiffany Atkinson and Sarah Bower.
There is also a bonus bench for you to discover at the University of East Anglia, also made of stone, located in a quiet, green corner of the campus, celebrating just some of the famous graduates from the world renowned Creative Writing programme, the first of its kind in the UK, and founded in 1970.
We are grateful to all the partners who have helped make Norwich Book Benches happen as part of the EXPERIENCE project, including Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council, National Centre for Writing and Norwich Business Improvement District (BID).
EXPERIENCE is a €24.5 million project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (€16.9 million) through the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme and designed to develop the experiential off-season economy in the future in a safe and sustainable way. The project is a 4-year scheme that runs from 1st September 2019 to 30th June 2023. Managed by Norfolk County Council EXPERIENCE aims to capitalise on the emerging global trend for local tourism and engagement with the great outdoors, heritage, and culture. The project also supports off season tourism which is more sustainable for the environment, local businesses, and residents.
Find out more about the EXPERIENCE project here.This improvement scheme was delivered with co-funding from the EXPERIENCE project – a €24.5m project led by Norfolk County Council to promote experiential tourism and sustainable economic growth. EXPERIENCE is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme under the Natural & Cultural Assets funding category (€16.9m).
The stone benches have been designed and created by Ryan James, the wooden ones by Woodscape and the steel ones by Campbell Design and Engineering.