Norwich for me is home away from home. I have spent family holidays in Great Yarmouth with day trips to Norwich, and many a time visiting friends studying at the UEA; some of who loved it so much they now live there. Norwich has been voted the happiest place to work in the UK, and I completely get why!
Norwich is just charming, quirky and has everything you could need. It’s fantastic at holding on to non-chain places which many other places sadly struggle with. It’s a historical place but it still has everything you would expect from a city and there is always something going on. Put simply, I want to live here one day.
I recently spent 1 night in Norwich following my Glamping trip at Deer’s Glade and although there’s SO MUCH you could fit in, I still managed to go to places I hadn’t been to before. I stayed in the Wensum Guest House, a cheap and cheerful B&B about 20 minutes walk away from the centre which had free parking thrown in with the deal; an absolute budget-friendly godsend as parking can be a bit of a nightmare in Norwich.
Norwich in the day
No visit to Norwich would be complete without a trip to the colourful Market in the centre of the City. It is the largest open-air market in the country and is full of food stalls, vintage clothes, haberdashery, flowers, music…you name it, it’s there!
Just behind the market is the glossy glass Forum building. I don’t know if it’s just me but i just can’t help wondering if I can find where they film to casually stroll past in the background and have my 2.5 seconds of fame. But anyway, the building is actually pretty cool. The last few times I have been in Norwich there has been something going on in it. Last time was an Antiques and Vintage Fair and this time was an African and Caribbean market. Variety is the spice of life! So make sure you always check out what’s going on at the Forum.
So as I have said, Norwich is super good for individual shops. The Royal arcade is a prestigious and purpose-built shopping arcade opened in 1989 and is a stunning example of art nouveau architecture and is famed for being home to boutique stores (apart from the Jamie’s Italian at the end, but whatever). I think the whole of Norwich is beautiful, but I really wish there were more streets like this in the world. Seriously, don’t you just feel like you’ve been transported back in time?
Norwich Castle is the obvious choice if you’re a bit of a history buff, but it’s also a very hands-on museum. I am such big kid and always spend more time messing around with the fancy dress stuff than actually learning anything. But to be honest, my brain is completely incapable of holding on to this kind of information so I usually end up just wandering around. But it really is a good museum if that’s the kind of thing you’re into.
A proper little gem in the City is the Plantation Gardens. I didn’t actually go there during this visit so don’t have any photos, but it is just too lovely to not mention it. The gardens are free to enter but get this, there is an honesty box. How often can you honestly say that you see one of those nowadays! This just makes me so happy!
The gardens are right next to the Cathedral but feel far away from the city. I feel they have an almost Asian look about them with a temple-like fountain and a beautiful stone wall towards the back. It’s just the perfect place to chill out for a bit, and it’s practically empty.
Norwich at night
For anyone who likes a bit of an alternative place to eat I would definitely recommend Mr Postles’ Apothecary. Everything about the bar/restaurant is set up as an old-style pharmacy and all their drinks and food have a fabulous vintage but modern twist to match. I mean, when there are cocktails called Irish Disco Biscuit and Hanging Kebabs to munch on, what’s not to love! They have various deals on through the week so it was definitely a good budget choice. The place does feel quite ‘hipster’ but there really was a complete mixture of people in there so I didn’t feel out of place as my very uncool, bog-standard self.
There are literally a million and one bars to choose from and Norwich is big on beer and Gin. The Belgian Monk has an actually catalogue to choose from, The Tap House lets you have what I can only describe as a tasting paddle platter, The Mash Tun is a ‘Gin Palace’ and The Bird Cage lets you bring in fish and chips from the chippy opposite. Perf! I have been to some cities that are apparently renowned for its nightlife, only to find i spend half my night walking around looking for it. But Norwich just isn’t one of those places. There are bars everywhere, and because of this nowhere is rammed.
So in a nutshell, that is why I love Norwich so much! It’s a city where you don’t feel lost or out of place. The city embraces its diversity and isn’t afraid to show it off. There’s excellent food, drink, shopping and culture and It’s somewhere I will always look forward to coming back to.