One of the best ways to feel at home in a destination is to live like a local and nothing sets you up better to live like a local than some of Norwich’s best attractions. On a 1,000 year journey across the city; from the Normans to the Millennium; explore on foot and by bus, through museums, food, art, architecture and captivating stories – at the end you’ll know more about Norwich than many locals!
Advice for a visitor? Get yourself on a 90 minute guided walking tour of Norwich. Learn from experienced guides about the buildings, legends, events and local characters which make Norwich what it is today. These tours are great for orientating yourself with the city centre street pattern and perfect for anyone who loves a bit of banter!
Want your tour to take you slightly further? Follow walking with a CitySightseeing open-top bus tour. With its onboard commentary you can decide ‘on the go’ where you want to jump on and off, and with tickets lasting 24 hours, you can take your time doing so. We highly recommend you jump off at Mousehold Heath not only for the fabulous views across Norwich but also for tea and cake at Café Britannia, it’s in an enviable position!
Get under the skin of some of Norwich’s most famous and iconic buildings. Norwich has two cathedrals; the first is the beautiful 900 year old Romanesque Norwich Cathedral, bursting at the seams with history. Set in 44 acres with gardens and the largest Close and monastic cloisters in the country, no visit to Norwich is complete without a visit here. Entry is free and we highly recommend taking a free interior tour to fully appreciate the beauty.
Across the city lies the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, one of the finest examples of great Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture in the UK with beautiful stained glass and stonework. If you have a head for heights be sure to book a Tower Tour, if you are inclined to keep your feet firmly on the floor, head to the café where in warmer weather you can sit outside in the garden.
Make time to visit the Plantation Garden – Norwich’s secret garden, situated right next door to St John’s. This 4-acre secluded spot is a hidden gem and not to be missed with its Gothic style fountain, flower beds, lawns, Italianate terrace, 'Medieval' terrace wall and more. In summer on Sundays enjoy home-made afternoon teas!
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery sits proudly on its mound high above the city, just a few years older than Norwich Cathedral - building was started by the Normans in 1067. In 1094 William II began work on the stone keep and following his death in 1100 his brother Henry I took until 1121 to finish it. This museum houses all matter of artefacts from Saxon gold hoards and jewellery, to a vast collection of tea pots and stunning natural history displays. There are frequent special exhibitions, tours, talks and activities plus battlements and a dungeon.
Norwich has two charming and special museums in historic buildings –The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell and Strangers’ Hall. The Bridewell tells the story of Norwich and its people in imaginative ways through film, interactive displays, interpretations and original scenes, take 2 to 3 hours to explore. Strangers’ Hall is a living dolls house – a medieval merchants home where each room (and there are many) is dressed for a different era. Neither museum has a café but at the Bridewell visitors are welcome to take eats into their sunny courtyard and Strangers’ has a lovely outdoor area including a knot garden, so take along a picnic lunch.
The Mustard Shop and Museum is more shop than exhibition space but it is here you learn the fascinating story of Colman’s of Norwich. Colman’s mustard still graces many a dining table today (including the royal family) and it’s a staple ingredient when cooking – this little pot of English mustard is recognised around the world! Discover different mustard themed condiments plus chocolate and bath salts – it’s also a great place for vintage inspired gifts!
With a busy few days sightseeing in Norwich, sustenance is required! Look no further than Norwich’s spectacular glass domed Millennium building The Forum. This is great for people watching whilst enjoying a stop at Pizza Express or Café Bar Marzano. But it’s not all about food, The Forum also houses Norwich Tourist Information Centre and Norwich Library (take advantage of computers and free WiFi). The Forum is also home to endless craft markets, exhibitions, performances and more – inside and out!
Mix up your sightseeing with a bit of shopping! Norwich has many independent shops but two you cannot miss are Country & Eastern and Jarrolds. Country & Eastern is a destination in its own right. Housed in a former Victorian skating rink this magnificent building is a sight to behold in the city centre. Shop for far eastern trinkets, jewellery, ethnic clothes and fantastic furniture but also see Balinese antiques and frequently changing art exhibitions.
Jarrolds has been trading since 1823 and is still owned by the Jarrold family – it is Norwich’s only independent department store and an award winning one at that! Find everything you didn’t know you needed – quality brands and labels, beauty treatments, a delightful book department with local books section and frequent author events, plus numerous places to eat and drink as well as a deli so you can pick up some local produce to take home; beer, wine, chocolates - need we go on?