Though we’re not exactly “pocket-sized” as such, Norwich is definitely filled with pocket-sized shops, and the city centre’s compact layout means shoppers can easily wander from one quarter to another.
Norwich is blessed with plenty of smaller, independent boutiques and outlets as well as the high street favourites, and is a city which truly celebrates its independent offer. The Norwich Lanes were awarded the accolade of ‘Great British High Street of the Year’ in 2014 (with the Castle/Arcade District picked as a finalist in 2016) and you’ll find a wide range of shop types to tempt you!
Some of the best areas for independent shopping in Norwich include:
- The Norwich Lanes – a quirky, vibrant mix of independents offering hungry shoppers everything from vintage gems, jewellery and antiques to art, lifestyle and fashion boutiques, all nestled amongst plenty of cafes and food outlets to keep your energy levels topped up!
- The Cathedral Quarter & Elm Hill – heritage and beauty go hand in hand in this historic area; you’ll find key attractions (such as Norwich Cathedral, The Great Hospital and many more) as well as independent retailers. Elm Hill, which is located within the Cathedral Quarter, is often described as the most famous street in the city, and its famous cobbles (forget Coronation Street!) has plenty of photo opportunities as well as pretty shops. The Bear Shop, Elm Hill Craft Shop, and The Jade Tree are must-visits.
- Magdalen Street – for anyone into their vintage and antiques, Magdalen Street is perfect. Head to Aladdin’s Cave, Loose’s, and Retreat Vintage for a plethora of gems waiting to be unearthed, or make the most of the retailers selling food from around the world. This area is a real melting pot of ethnicities, cultures and styles, and rather unique in its offer.
- Castle/ Arcade District - combining Medieval and Georgian streets, large open spaces, a Norman Castle and a beautiful Art Noveau shopping arcade, this area has plenty of independent retailers covering a wide range of shopping styles. The Royal Arcade has some truly unique shops including vintage-style boutiques, footwear, jewellery and the city-famous toyshop, Langleys, whilst surrounding streets have independent retailers which, in some cases, date back hundreds of years!
- Timberhill – browse an array of quirky shops here, from children’s clothing to bridal wear and gorgeous homewares, all along one of the oldest recorded streets in the city.
- Upper St Giles – filled with hip and trendy shops, this is the area to pick up artwork, designer homewares, and delicious freshly-made food and coffee.
- Norwich market - the largest open-air market in the country, Norwich Market is open open 6 days a week and within its 200+ stalls you'll find almost anything you could think of, from artisan food and freshly cut flowers to watch repairs, pet toys, jewellery, and vintage clothing - to name but a few!
- Don't forget about Norfolk's lovely market towns (most of which can easily be reached by train), where some great independent and family-run shops can be found.