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

The Norwich 12, Norfolk, England

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

A city with a story

Prior to us setting off on our Norfolk road trip we’d read about the Norwich 12, intrigued to find out more while we were in Norwich, we did a bit of digging (not literally).
A view of Norwich Cathedral across a green field from the path that runs along the River Wensum

A view of Norwich Cathedral

The list is a collection of iconic buildings taking you through the ages of Norwich, from the Normans, onto Medieval, through to the Georgian & Victorian period and ending with the modern-day era.

Quick Links

A display board with the Norwich 12 marked out on a map, and detail on the point of interest.

Explore the Norwich 12 sign

In the heart of the city centre is Norwich Castle, built by the Normans for William the Conqueror as a royal palace, from 1067 to 1075.

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

Norwich Castle

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

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Travel Reading

A few ideas for a great read.

  • F

This incredible cathedral is over 900 years old, and arguably the most iconic building in Norwich. As you pass through the ancient gates that lead you through to the entrance the imposing architecture stops you in your tracks.

  It was built between 1096 to 1145 the impressive Norman Tower still remains today.

Looking up at the spire of Norwich Cathedral as beams of light appear from the partially cloudy sky

Norwich Cathedral

Not only is the Cathedral free to wander around take some time to stroll through the enchanting 44-acre surrounding Close. You feel like you’ve stepped into a piece of old England.

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)

This medieval hospital founded in 1249 still cares for people today & has been in continuous use for the citizens of Norwich for the last 750 years.

The neatly manicured lawn in front of the Great Hospital in Norwich

The Great Hospital

The six-acre collection of buildings includes a church, cloister, medieval refectory, and a Victorian hall.

Dating from the 14th century, these halls are the most complete medieval friary complex surviving in England. The buildings are made of flint, which is quite synonymous with this area of the UK.
The outside of the medieval halls of St Andrew’s and the Blackfriars’ constructed mainly of dark flintstone.

The Halls – St Andrews and Blackfriars

Today the halls can be hired for social functions.

This medieval city hall was built between 1407 and 1411 and served as the seat of city government from the early 15th century until 1938 when it was used for city administration, courts and prisons.

The dark flintstone Guildhall in Norwich, under a deep blue sky.

The Guildhall

Today the Guildhall can be toured every week on a Monday at 2pm, and you are able to visit the dungeon, the police cells, Victorian Court room.

Escape for a few days

Are you searching for a tranquil hideaway to unwind in, while you explore the picturesque Norfolk landscape?

After a day visiting the golden beaches or touring the charming, quaint villages return to one of the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.

6 - Dragon Hall

(now home to Writers' Centre Norwich)
The half-timbered Dragon Hall, a 15th-century medieval merchant’s trading hall in Norwich

Dragon Hall

Dragon Hall was a 15th-century medieval merchant’s trading hall, built between 1427 and 1430. Tours of Dragon Hall are possible once a month.

A small medieval wooded door in a stone surround that leads into the Dragon Hall in Norwich

An entrance to Dragon Hall

This wonderful Georgian building was constructed between 1754 & 1755 and designed by the architect Thomas Ivory.
The front of the Georgian Assembly House in the centre of Norfolk.

The Assembly House

Once hosting celebrations for local gentry, the building is still used today for special events.

Our Gadgets

our travelling toolkit

  • 6-Port Desktop USB Charging Station

  • Mini Dual USB Car Adapter

  • Portable Charger 2 USB Ports Power Bank

  • Bose SoundLink Revolve, Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • USB rechargeable LED Flashlight

  • Collapsible Water Bottle

Built between 1836 & 1839 during the Industrial Revolution, this impressive building was used for producing textiles.
The large imposing brick-built St James Mill on the banks of the River Wensum in Norwich

St James Mill

Now owned by Jarrolds, whose name is frequently seen around the city, it has since been converted into an office complex, with the Jarrold Printing Museum situated behind the mill.

Slightly away from the city centre is the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, yes, Norwich is a city with two cathedrals.
The impressive St John the Baptist Catholic Cathedral in Norwich, built in a Victorian Gothic Revival style.

St John the Baptist Cathedral

Built between 1884 & 1910 in the style of Victorian Gothic Revival, it was a gift to the city by Henry Fitzalan Howard, the 15th Duke of Norfolk.
The very impressive Surrey House was built in the Edwardian era during 1900 and 1912, designed by local architect George Skipper.
The Palladian styled Surrey House in Norwich built at the turn of the 20th-century.

Surrey House – Marble Hall

Surrey House was commissioned by The Norwich Union Life Insurance Society's as their head office and includes an elegant Marble Hall.
Built between 1936 & 1938 during the inter-war period in England, it was constructed to replace the functions of the old Guildhall nearby (no.5 on this list).
The 20th-century city hall built in brick with modernish art deco styling

City Hall

This building is home to Norwich City Council.
Last but no means least is The Forum, designed by Sir Michael Hopkins and was built between 1999 & 2001 it was a landmark Millennium building for the city & its community.
The modern 21st-century Forum. Edged with red-brick, but mainly glass space that is a hub for tourism & knowledge in Norwich

The Forum

It houses the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library and 2nd Air Division Memorial Library, also the Norwich Tourist Information Centre & the BBC’s regional headquarters.

Our Suggested Route

Our suggested route starts and finishes at the Castle, but being circular you can start and finish where you want.

There are plenty of watering holes along the route, but look out for the Adam & Eve Pub between St James Mill (10) & The Great Hospital (11), or The St Andrews Brew House by the Halls (9).

  • The Castle

  • Dragon Hall

  • Surrey House

  • The Assembly House

  • The Forum

  • City Hall

  • The Guildhall

  • The Cathedral of St John the Baptist

  • The Halls

  • St James Mill

  • The Great Hospital

  • The Cathedral

Have You?

Seen the Norwich 12? We hope you enjoy strolling around this lovely city and taking in the 12 very historic, architectural must sees as much as we did.

Our Gift ideas

A few ideas for a friend

  • Children's World Globe 3D Jigsaw Puzzle

  • Travel-Size Laundry Bag

  • Metallic World Globe

  • RFID Blocking Cards

  • The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Inspired to visit Norwich?

Does the archtiecture & history tempt you?

There's so much to this wonderful city - it's now a firm favourite of ours. Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?

If you liked this post why not have a look at The Heart of Norfolk: Norwich, England

The open roads await, pop in your location details then Rental Cars will search well-known car hire brands and discover the deals that suit you the best.
Have a peek at the latest offers from Booking.com, our preferred hotel booking website.
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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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