Subscribe to the City of Stories newsletter
By subscribing you will be added to our Newsletter mailing list.
The most complete Norman Cathedral in England and a fine example of Romanesque architecture in Europe, Norwich Cathedral is must-see for anyone visiting the city. With 900 years of history within its walls, it boasts one of the largest monastic cloisters in England, and its surrounded by a beautiful cathedral close – one of the largest in Europe.
But it’s not just the architecture you can take in. Norwich Cathedral is often home to exciting exhibitions. Previously, it has housed a helter-skelter and for summer 2021, it will be exhibiting Dippy – the Natural History Museum’s iconic dinosaur. Free to enter, once you’ve had your fill, make sure to wander around the cathedral Close and take a look at Tombland Alley. Two gates – St Ethelbert’s (1272) and Erpingham (1420) are an intriguing glance into historic Norwich.
Norwich isn’t just home to one cathedral, but two! If you like your architecture you’ll enjoy comparing the two. The Grade I listed Cathedral of St John the Baptist is a brilliant example of the great Victorian Gothic Revival. Plus it has an interesting history. Originally built in the early 1870s, it was only made a cathedral in 1976. Until then, it was believed to have been the largest parish church in England. It’s free to enter and the cathedral remains open all-year round.
An iconic sight in the City of Stories. Norwich Market is a must for anyone coming to visit. One of the largest and oldest open-air markets in the UK, it’s home to a wide range of colourful stalls selling everything from clothes and gifts, to food and drink. If you truly want to experience Norwich like a local, this is the place to go. Plan a breakfast or lunch there, and enjoy your food whilst sitting on Market Place, watching the bustling activity in front of you.
Once you’re in the city, you can’t miss the Castle. Found on top a hill in the centre of Norwich, this imposing medieval fortification is even more impressive once you get up close! But it’s not just a pretty building. Housed inside is a museum and art gallery with a world of treasures waiting to be discovered by you! With significant objects from the region, archaeological finds and natural history specimens, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Tickets are £6.70 for adults and £6.20 for children. Or you can bag a Twilight ticket for only £2 an hour before closing.
Don’t forget to check their website as there’s often exciting exhibitions on show for the public.
Quintessentially Norwich, The Lanes are one of the most popular areas in the city. A collection of small lanes, alleyways and streets, jam-packed with charm, it’s no wonder this makes our list.
Nestled side by side throughout the Norwich Lanes are independent shops, restaurants and galleries. There’s plenty to discover here. From antiques housed in beautiful churches, and a cinema in a 14th century medieval merchant house, to the Maddermarket Theatre which has staged performances since 1921, and The Guildhall, England’s largest medieval city hall.
The independent heart of the city, this is the place to go for unique finds, artisan coffee shops, cutting-edge clothing and more.
The Plantation Garden is truly a hidden gem in Norwich. Tucked away just a minutes stroll from The Cathedral of St John the Baptist, this 3-acre Grade II listed Victorian garden is the perfect spot for a romantic walk or relaxed picnic. With a huge gothic fountain, flower beds and an Italianate terrace, you’ll be amazed at how many beautiful things you’ll discover there.
Entry is only £2 in an honesty box and there’s no need to book ahead.
Searching for an Instagram-worthy location? Or want to transport yourself back in time? Then our most complete medieval street in the city, and perhaps its most famous, is the place to go.
Elm Hill. A beautiful cobbled street with historic houses, specialty shops and small cafes, it’s a must-see. Make sure to check out The Britons Arms. The only survivor of a fire in 1507 that destroyed the rest of the buildings on the street, which all had to be rebuilt.
The University of East Anglia is home to a beautiful lake, surrounded by trees and meadows, that’s perfect for walking. Not to mention its iconic student accommodation, the Grade II listed Ziggurats. Ideal for those interested in architecture or photography lovers.
On site at the campus is the award-winning Norman Foster designed Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. An art gallery and museum, it houses a permanent collection which is free to view, and hosts regular exhibitions. Set aside some time to explore its Sculpture Park as well, set within 350 acres of parkland and featuring outstanding art for all to enjoy.
For some of the best views of Norwich, head up to Mousehold Heath, just north of the city centre. Park up for free and explore the heathland and woodland – there’s 184 acres to discover! Uncover the wildlife that lives there, which includes birds, lizards, dragonflies and small mammals. Or perhaps enjoy a romantic picnic overlooking the city. Or you can even take the whole family to the pitch and putt for a fun day out.
Not many people know this, but Norwich is the only city in the country within a national park; The Broads National Park. And just 2 miles from the city centre is Whitlingham Country Park, with 280 acres of nature to enjoy. And it’s free to visit!
Take a bike ride around the broad before stopping at the cafe for refreshments. Or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, why not get out on the water with kayaking, sailing, windsurfing and more available with Whitlingham Adventure.
Norwich may not be the biggest city out there, but its art and culture offering is surely one of the largest around.
There are a whole host of incredible theaters in the city, with a wide range of programming. From West End musicals to fringe shows and comedy nights.
Visit Norwich Theatre Royal on Theatre Street for outstanding touring productions, the Norwich Playhouse for fringe favourites (and a brilliant bar), and the Norwich Puppet Theatre, housed in a Grade I listed church, for family fun.
Don’t forget to visit the city during May, where the Norfolk and Norwich Festival takes place. The annual festival which spans 17 days, features a world-class programme of music, theatre, literature and more across the city.
A unique, Grade I listed medieval trading hall, Dragon Hall is also home to the National Centre for Writing.
The National Centre for Writing celebrates and supports creative writing and literary translation, with an ongoing programme of collaborations and projects. The centre hosts literary events throughout the year, and there are semi-regular tours of Dragon Hall itself throughout the year.
A unique space right in the centre of the city, The Forum is the heart of community events in Norwich. Designed by award-winning architect, Sir Michael Hopkins, it’s home to film festivals, science festivals, makers festivals, shopping and food fairs and more all throughout the year. Plus, it’s home to the most popular public library in the UK, a cafe and a restaurant.
Just opposite The Forum is St Peter Mancroft. The largest church in Norwich after the two cathedrals, it has stood in the centre of the city for almost 600 years. The church is open to visitors and for private prayer, and hosts exhibitions.
In October 2021, it will be home to Gaia, a 6 metre in diameter art installation created by Luke Jerram, depicting the Earth.
The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell is the perfect place to go to round off a trip to Norwich. Telling the story of Norwich’s industries, and the people who lived here from medieval to modern day, it showcases the cities history and achievements.
Temporary exhibitions and events are listed on its website, with admission only £6.70 for adults and £6.20 for children. Plan ahead and visit when there’s tours of the 14th century undercroft below the building.
Head away from the main shopping streets and towards the Norman Cathedral which dominates the Norfolk skyline with its famous 315-foot spire. Discover the Ethelbert Gate which was constructed as penance for the city’s excommunication. Or visit Elm Hill, one of the most complete medieval streets in the UK. And Cow Tower has defended the River Wensum since the 1300s. Once a market, Tombland has been the hub of city nightlife for decades. Norwich Cathedral Quarter is one of the city’s most popular spots, there’s plenty to see when you visit.