A Day in…Norwich

By | Category: Travel destinations

Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral


“Very flat, Norfolk” wrote Noel Coward. Norwich isn’t. It’s hilly in places and full of cobbled interlocking lanes. But it’s a city that you can visit comfortably on a day trip as part of a wider beach or broads holiday in Norfolk.

At the railway station there is a rack of tourist brochures but the main tourist office is to be found in the Forum in the middle of the city. That has a wide selection but also pick up the Norwich Map visit and shop brochure which has coupon discounts off some of the attractions. The Forum is also the home to BBC East (check what programmes are being recorded and apply for free tickets) and a free gallery.

Let’s start at the castle. Norman in design, it is now a museum and gallery. Amongst the relics it houses are those of the time of one of the most famous British (and East Anglian) women, Boudica (or Boadicea when I was at school) who gave the Romans trouble for a short time. If you haven’t got time to see it all (cost £6.20 for an adult) try the special one hour ticket. Costing just £1 it is valid for the hour before closing or during midday to 1pm during term times.

The cathedral is the other main attraction linked to Norwich and this is to found in a little oasis of green tucked away to the north west of the city. The main entrance though is fronted by a modern attachment which, I think, rather spoils the appeal of the building. But there are two for Norwich has a Roman catholic cathedral as well over in the west part.

But Norwich has lots of other attractions apart from these and one of the more unusual is the free Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum. Colman’s goes back to the Napoleonic wars, 1814 and is still the manufacturer of mustard although today it is owned by Unilever. The museum is elsewhere and is to be found in the Royal Arcade, the shop being a replica of how a Victorian shop would have looked.

Shopping in Norwich Lanes

Shopping in Norwich Lanes

And shopping is something else that Norwich is known for. Listed as one of the top 10 shopping cities in the UK it combines a market, modern shopping centres and the lanes where you can find small, traditional shops like sweet shops. And then there is Jarrold’s. The department store has been here since 1823 and is still independent. Although the city isn’t that big, finding your way down numerous lanes makes it seem bigger than it is and it is always tempting to just what’s down this or that one. The restaurant chains are there as well but you can still find wine bars (after all this is a university city) and unique cafes for afternoon tea.

Another museum is the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum (not open on Sundays or Mondays) which is behind the castle. One other famous East Anglian woman was Nurse Edith Cavell who was shot in the first world war and became a heroine to generations. The regimental museum has a strong WWI flavour and operates special days during school holidays.

If it sounds as though Norwich has a lot of museums you’d be right so if you want to see as many as you can it might be worth considering a Norfolk Museums pass which will give you access for a year. Even if you only visit for the day or weekend, vist a couple and it could be worthwhile.
Like most big places there are blue guides available for tours, (£4) sightseeing buses (£8 for adults and £4 for children but they stop at the end of this month and resume next April) and guided walks. (£10). But don’t forget that Norwich has a river as well. You can hire a boat or see Norwich from a different angle on a cruise lasting between 20 minutes or two a half hours depending on which you choose.

The River Yare, Norwich

The River Yare, Norwich

Because Norwich is a regional centre instead of just a city, there is a lot available for the visitor. One day trip or a weekend may not be enough. But for a starter you won’t be disappointed

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