Norwich is a ‘Fine City’ as the road sign proudly declares when you arrive; it’s also an exciting and vibrant place to come and visit. With fast and reliable rail connections, Norwich is less than 2 hours journeying from the capital. With the completed dualling of the A11, it’s as fast by car too.
Once here, you’ll discover all that this cosmopolitan city has to offer, as well as using Norwich as a base from which to explore other parts of Norfolk – namely the north Norfolk coast, Thetford Forest, the Norfolk Broads and the many picturesque market towns that are the ‘real hidden gems’ of Norfolk!
Norwich Tourist Trails
There are plenty of ways to see the tourist sights of Norwich; you can hire a boat and sail along the river Wensum that meanders through the city, climb aboard the sightseeing bus that departs every hour (from 10:30 to 3:30 during the summer months, outside the Theatre Royal), jump on a bicycle or go for a stroll along the riverside.
There are 6 NCC guided tours to choose from including; ‘When George Was King’, ‘Over The Water’ and ‘Cathedral Quarter’. Each tour is 90 minutes in duration and they all start at the Forum apart from the ‘Cathedral Quarter’ tour which commences at the Erpingham Gate, Norwich Cathedral.
A vibrant city of culture
Norwich enjoys a thriving pub, music and live entertainment scene. Venues include the University of East Anglia (UEA), The Waterfront, The Arts Centre, The Playhouse, Maddermarket Theatre, St Andrew’s and Blackfriars Hall and The Theatre Royal.
There’s lots to see and do during the evening in Norwich – you’ll be spoilt for choice – lots of pubs, clubs and restaurants, suiting all tastes and budgets. We have 4 multi-screen cinemas and 4 theatres playing the latest films and theatre productions.
The city is a hub for culture lovers and was nominated as a UNESCO city of Culture in 2012, the UK’s first city to be awarded this accolade. Norwich has always been a place to enjoy entertaining, and often eclectic, arts events.
For many years there’s been a hugely successful celebration of culture in and around Norwich. The Hollywood Cinema in Anglia Square (August 2013) was the chosen location for the much anticipated film ‘Alpha Papa’ starring the one and only fictional Radio Norwich DJ, Alan Partridge.
The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts hosted a highly successful exhibition ‘Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia’ which celebrated our region’s arts and heritage with over 270 masterpieces on display.
Elephants, Gorillas and Dragons!
Another popular event for 2013 was the ‘GoGoGorillas!’ trail. Each gorilla was styled and painted by different artists; they were then positioned throughout the city for people to search for. £272,300 was raised when the gorillas were auctioned – the proceeds were shared equally between Norfolk based Break Charity and The Born Free Foundation.
Two years later and another successful charitable event ‘GoGoDragons!’ was created. Hundreds of thousands of people came to the city during the summer to follow the ‘GoGoDragons!’ trail. There were 84 large and 120 school dragons, each one carefully crafted, painted and styled. This time a staggering £369,500 was raised, with all the proceeds awarded directly to the Break Charity.
Every May the Norfolk and Norwich Festival brings a huge array of art and cultural events for everyone to enjoy. The festival is a two week extravaganza of theatre productions, outdoor performances, circus and street theatre from all over the world; all of this can be enjoyed here in Norwich!
Some of the events are free of charge – just come along to the venue at the time printed in the festival guide and feast your eyes on an astonishing selection of world class entertainment.
We look forward to an even brighter year for arts and culture in Norwich next year. Keep up to date with just some of the events by regularly checking our What’s on section.
Award winning shopping!
Unlike some UK cities, Norwich is modest in size and there are still lots of truly quaint cafes, shops, tea rooms and restaurants to visit. Many of them are tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main shopping areas, Gentleman’s Walk, Castle Mall and Chapelfield.
Indeed, Norwich has consistently been voted as one of the top ten cities to go shopping in the UK. The city boasts two shopping malls, Chapelfield and Castle Mall, plus several major department stores.
The Norwich Lanes and St. Benedict’s are where you’ll find many independent shops and lots of charming boutiques. Gentleman’s Walk is home to the elegant art nouveau Royal Arcade and a host of familiar high street stores.
Close by is the Norwich market that has dominated the city centre since the end of the 11th Century. Norwich market is a very popular place to shop; in 2006 it was completely modernised and is one of the largest markets in the UK, with 200 stalls to browse.
Since it’s construction in 2001, The Forum has become one of the most popular and well known locations in Norwich. The Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library is located at the rear of the building.
For 7 consecutive years the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library has been voted the most popular library in the UK! This is a state of the art library; there’s also an ‘express’ library, children’s library and the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library. Learn more here.
The Forum is home to the Millennium Library but is also home to the local tourist information centre and the BBC (including Look East and Radio Norfolk).
It’s a hot venue for arts and cultural events and almost every weekend there are fun and interesting events to attend – from food festivals, showcasing local produce to careers and educational days. There are frequent art exhibitions and interesting craft stalls.
At the Forum there’s also Cafe Bar Marzano which offers alfresco seating and a pizza parlour on the top floor with magnificent views of the city including the market, castle and St Peter Mancroft church. It’s a delightful place to sit, relax and watch the world pass you by, right in the heart of Norwich – a ‘fine’ city!