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Once famous for its coffee houses and pubs, this district is Norwich’s beating heart. Wander the shops of Castle Quarter, explore the art-nouveau Royal Arcade, or visit The Forum on Millennium Plain. On Sunday and Monday evenings, fourteen Whitechapel bells ring out from St Peter Mancroft’s Gothic tower.
Norwich’s Castle and Marketplace district is one of the oldest parts of the city. Today, this area is the perfect place to begin if your journey to Norwich is one of historical discoveries. Inside The Forum is the Tourist Information Centre, where you can book a guided walking tour of the city, as well as pick up a free city map.
The Forum sits on a pre-conquest settlement, inhabited by French settlers after the Norman invasion. Nearby, Norwich Market has been in its current position for over 900 years. The street now called Timberhill was first called ‘Durnedale’ by the Anglo-Saxons, and later in the Middle Ages known as Swinemarket Hill. And of course, Norwich’s Castle was founded for William the Conqueror, after he invaded England in 1066.
Reflected in the soaring glass of The Forum is medieval St Peter Mancroft church. It is said that this is where Norwich’s history meets its future. The first recorded true peal of bells in the world, was rung at St Peter Mancroft on 2nd May 1715.
You’ll also find The Guildhall in this area. Built in 1407, this was the seat of Norwich’s government, and place for the administration of justice. A tour of the dungeons is not for the faint-hearted.
And presiding over it all is Norwich Castle. Currently undergoing a renovation which will see all 5 floors of the medieval Keep reinstated, this is one of the most important European castles still in existence today. Once a regal residence, then county gaol, now museum and art gallery, you’ll find centuries of stories within the walls of this magnificent building.
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