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It’s no exaggeration to say there’s something for everyone in Norwich – especially for groups at Christmas. Whether splitting off and individually taking yourself around, or organising a group visit to see the City of Stories, we’ve got plenty to do. We’ve rounded up some options below, perfectly split for time of day and what you’re looking for. Be sure to bookmark this page and come back, we’ll be adding more event details as we have them!
Savour the Christmas shopping experience: meandering around Upper St Giles, Country & Eastern, Jarrold (Norwich’s award-winning 5-floor independent department store), the historic Royal Arcade, and Elm Hill in the Cathedral Quarter. The ambience is inviting with a great mix of independents and favourite high street names.
And, when you’re in the City of Stories, a visit to the Norwich Lanes is a must. Filled with small, local businesses, this award-winning district is perfect for that traditional Christmas atmosphere. It’s great for finding presents too, from hand-crafted jewelry to antiques, vinyl records to clothing, you won’t be lost for the special and unique here.
Or take a visit to Chantry Place and Castle Quarter, the city’s two largest hubs for shopping, dining, and entertainment. In Chantry Place, find household names that make for a great shopping experience, like H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Hotel Chocolat.
Meanwhile, in Castle Quarter, spoil yourself with a seriously fun experiences across their five floors. Take yourself to a new world with Vector VR, try your hand at mini golf at Putt Putt Noodle, go for even crazier golf with Boom Battle Bar, or enjoy a Christmas movie on the silver screen at Vue. Feeling hungry? Check out Castle Social, a delicious food hall with Italian, Tex-Mex, and vegan restaurants!
Norwich also boasts flagship stores from John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Primark – we’ve got the best of both worlds for any and all Christmas shopping needs.
Finally, in historic locations you can find the finest local produce to buy and take home, like Chet Valley wine, and Booja Booja chocolates – presented in the prettiest of boxes. There’s English whisky, Norfolk cheese, artisan jewellery, art, and everything in between. Whatever takes your fancy, we’ve got it here in the City of Stories.
After a busy morning shopping, take an elegant festive afternoon tea at either of two historic venues: Georgian, Grade I listed The Assembly House (1 November – 8 January) or The Maids Head Hotel (from 1 December), which claims to be the oldest hotel in the country, tracing its roots back to the middle of the 1090s. The Assembly House is once again offering their Nutcracker Afternoon Tea, with a few new magical touches to match the festive season!
The Maids Head Hotel’s 2 AA Rosette restaurant, WinePress, also serves a delicious Sunday lunch and à la carte dinner menu, which makes for the perfect way to round off a day of exploring the City of Stories.
Here in Norwich, we’re lucky to have a huge range of delightful restaurants, filled with different cuisines from across the world. For further dining recommendations, see our separate Christmas dining page, or our ‘Eat & Drink‘ page.
What’s Christmas without a panto? Norwich Theatre Royal is an Art Deco theatre with 1300 seats, and writes and produces its own pantomime every year. Oh yes it does! This year, see Sleeping Beauty between Saturday, December 9 – Wednesday, January 3, with both matinee and evening performances available. They also have a fantastic programme of other performances, see their website for details. Also, look at Norwich Playhouse for even more spectacular and more intimate acts and shows.
Norwich Cathedral is also offering its much-loved annual programme of events, with the Candlelit Advent Procession, Christmas with Norwich Cathedral Choir, and Carols in the Cloister all making their return.
The Cathedral of St John the Baptist will also be offering evening music and services over Christmas, keep your eyes on their website for the details of what’s on and when.
Thursford Christmas Spectacular (North Norfolk) is a huge hit with groups, offering in November and December matinees and evening shows. They also have a Christmas light trail and Santa’s Magical Journey, which isn’t just for children! They offer tasty catering too, including afternoon tea.
Christmas is made memorable by the people around you, great places, and even better experiences. Here in Norwich, you can find a variety of events that will make this year’s celebrations unforgettable. We’ve got the picturesque places and magical experiences, now it’s up to you to discover them.
Get yourself in the Christmas mood with Festive Fair at The Forum. Running for the whole weekend from Thursday, November 23 – Sunday, November 26, this Christmas market is packed full of cheer. Plus, it’s Norwich’s largest and most popular! Enjoy a glass of local beer or mulled wine, enjoy some classic Christmas carols, and dig into delicious food and drink from hot waffles to gourmet donuts. There’s even going to be festive treats for dogs too!
Meanwhile, inside The Forum, you can find East Anglian stalls galore, selling everything from jewellery, pottery, textiles, woodcraft, glassware, art, preserves, calendars, cards, prints, Christmas decorations, chocolates, candles, clothes and more. What better way to begin the festivities?
Later in the holiday season (Sunday, December 17), after a full day of exploring a very merry City of Stories, why not settle down for a traditional Sunday lunch with The Maids Head Hotel? Complete with special guests from the Norwich Choir, you can enjoy a welcome of carols both new and old, before tucking into a delicious three-course meal. Imagine a tasty Christmas Dinner without the cooking or washing up!