The Heart of Norfolk: Norwich, England

In Cities, Counties, En-Route, Norfolk, Norwich, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

The Norman’s left their mark

As part of our ‘Norfolk’ road trip, we based ourselves for a couple of nights in Norwich, an incredibly historic English city, right in the heart of East Anglia. In 2012 Norwich became England's first UNESCO City of Literature.
Looking up at the spire of Norwich Cathedral as beams of light appear from the partially cloudy sky

Norwich Cathedral

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Direct from London

Although for us this was a road trip, Norwich is only a couple of hours by train from London’s Liverpool Street Station, so easily accessible from the country’s capital.

Looking through a window in the cloisters to the spire atop Norwich Cathedral

The Cathedral- framed

Standing for over 900 years

Very few buildings could boast this accolade; however, Norwich Cathedral has stood for over 900 years, and the impressive Norman Tower still remains today.
Norwich Cathedral is beautiful inside and out, and whatever religious persuasion you are it is a delightful place to visit.

The view from Erpingham Gate to the Cathedral under stormy skies

Through Erpingham Gate to the Cathedral

Once you’ve strolled throughout the Cathedral, I highly recommend that you head outside. The enchanting cloisters are incredible and they the second largest in England after Salisbury Cathedral.

The cloisters, Norwich, Norfolk, England

The cloisters, Norwich Cathedral

Worth Visiting

Amazingly, Norwich Cathedral is free of charge to visit, along with its guided tours.

WWI heroine - Edith Cavell

One of Norfolk’s most famous daughters is the nurse, Edith Cavell, who was executed behind enemy lines for nursing and sheltering Allied forces.
Edith Cavell never discriminated between nationalities and she helped all that were in need regardless of which side of the war they were fighting on.

Edith was given a state funeral in 1919 at Westminster Abbey and now rests in “Life’s Green” at Norwich Cathedral.

A stone pillar, topped with a bust of Edith Cavell, stands as a memorial to her bravery, in front of the walls of Norwich Cathedral in Norfolk

The memorial to Edith Cavell

Further reading

If you're intrigued by Norfolk, a UK county with an interesting past, then wy not check out  "The Little Book of Norfolk".  Full of facts and obscure information. It's a fun read on the region.

You can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old hardcover. (Depending on region)

80 listed buildings

Erpingham and Ethelbert gates lead you into the Cathedral and its enchanting 44-acre surrounding Close.
It is so serene & peaceful, wandering around the beautiful grounds day or night you feel like you have stepped back into a slice of idyllic English life, with its cobbled streets and manicured lawns and gardens.

The large stone arch that surrounds Erpingham Gate which leads into Norwich Catherdral

Erpingham Gate

In the grounds of Norwich Cathedral looking across to its spire.

The Cathedral grounds

Grab a picnic and admire the many listed buildings within The Close, then take a stroll down to the Pulls Ferry & the riverside walk.

The path to Pull Ferry in Norwich, which leads through an arch in the lower level of a flint building to the river beyond.

Pull Ferry

Not to be outshone

Another iconic sight in Norwich is its castle, built by the Normans for William the Conqueror as a royal palace

Looking up at the very angular Norwich Castle under a deep blue sky

Norwich Castle

Originally taking the form of a motte and bailey, the castle is now home to a museum and art gallery, with fantastic views across the city.

Cobbled lanes

Another area of Norwich that we loved was the labyrinth of cobbled lanes and medieval Tudor buildings in the Cathedral Quarter along Elm Hill & Tombland.

Elm Hill, a cobbled street in the Tombland district of Norwich

A view of Elm Hill in Tombland

A cobbled footpath leads to an arch under a twisted building in the Tombland district in Norwich.

Tombland, Norwich

The Britons Arms coffee house was the only building on Elm Hill to escape the devastating fire in 1507 and has a cellar dating from 13th century

A thatched Tudor building, now the Briton Arms, in the Tombland district of Norwich.

The Britons Arms

Art Nouveau

One of the most eye-catching buildings in the centre of Norwich is the wonderful Art Nouveau Royal Arcade, designed by George Skipper.

Inside the Art Deco Royal Arcade in Norwich, with its pretty mosaic tiled floor and lanterns suspended from an iron and glass vaulted ceiling.

Inside the Royal Arcade

The beautiful art deco glass window and surrounding stonework above the entrance to the Royal Arcade, Norwich

The entrance to the Royal Arcade

His work also includes Surrey House the headquarters of Norwich Union; and the Hotel de Paris in the delightful nearby seaside town of Cromer.

Market Place

Norwich has the largest six-day open air market in the country, housing up to 200 stalls. Historically a market has been held here since the 11th century, and it is looked down upon by the Art Deco City Hall.

The bustling Norwich Market, with its brightly topped stalls, on a beautiful spring day.

Norwich Market

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If you get a chance to stroll along the River Wensum by Pulls Ferry, you’ll be rewarded with a lovely view back to Norwich Cathedral.

A view of Norwich Cathedral across a green field from the path that runs along the River Wensum

A view of Norwich Cathedral

Also along the walk, you’ll find the Cow Tower, an artillery tower built between 1398-1399.

The tower was built to defend the north-eastern approach to Norwich from the French.

The circular Cow Tower, next to the river River Wensum, in Norwich

The Cow Tower

Horatio Nelson

Norwich is not only full of historical architecture it has had some notable residents as well, one of which was Horatio Nelson, who attended grammar school here.

A stone statue of Lord Horatio Nelson in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral

A statue of Nelson

So many churches & barbers

What we noticed about Norwich was that there so many churches (along with two cathedrals). I have since discovered that no other county in Britain is richer in its historic churches than Norfolk - there are over 650 of them.

The church of St. Peter Hungate in the Tombland district of Norwich

St. Peter Hungate church

For some reason, Norwich also has a lot of old style barbers….who knew?

Where we stayed

Our choice of hotel while we were in Norwich, was the historic Maids Head Hotel, fantastic location only a few steps from Erpingham Gate and the Cathedral. Also, it had free onsite parking.
A black and white exterior image of our accommodation while in Norwich, The Maids Head Hotel

The Maids Head Hotel

Where we ate

If you enjoy a steak, this is the place to go, the Prime Restaurant located in Tombland. You cook your own steak on a piece of volcanic rock.

Book in Advnce

It's worth booking with Prime Restaurant in advance.  We walked in on a Monday evening, and we were lucky.

Steak cooking on a slab of volcanic rock at our table served with a pot of chips, a salad & accompaniments

Steak at Prime, Norwich

We also opted for the Tasting menu at the Wine Press - The restaurant within the Maids Head Hotel.

Each of the 5 courses were served with a matched wine. In all, an enjoyable experience.

Book in Advance

With the tasting menu at the Wine Press you need to book in advance.

The dessert course at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich

Dessert at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich

Where we had, a pit stop

Just for research purposes (honest…), we stopped at the Adam & Eve, Norwich’s oldest pub established in 1249.

Tables and benches outside the historical Adam & Eve Pub in Norwich

The Adam & Eve Pub

Gary also managed to find a brew house - St Andrews Brewhouse to be precise. A great selection of beers & knowledgable staff.

The outside of the St Andrews Brew House in Norwick with its mash tun visible in the window

St Andrews Brew House

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of Norwich. Just a 3 minute snippet of this great city.

Why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

Why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

Have You?

Visited Norwich? Were you impressed by the city's architecture? - Gary was. A charming place that is really worth a visit.

Inspired to visit Norwich?

It has become a favourite city of ours. A city full of history & culture, but one that still looks forward.

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?
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About the Author


Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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