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Medieval in parts but modern in outlook
From the medieval period until the start of the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was England’s second city, enormously prosperous and culturally active. This has created a very rich legacy of heritage, with the city proudly boasting the largest intact medieval street pattern in Europe. In medieval times Norwich was one of the greatest cities in England, and today, as East Anglia’s capital city, it still is – offering a rare blend of historic interest and modern sophistication.
Norwich has a delightful jumble of medieval streets, lanes and alleys lined with a superb collection of buildings, churches, shops and restaurants. Most notably the cobbled Elm Hill where you will find attractive half-timbered Tudor houses, delightful antique shops and cosy coffee houses and tea rooms. Exploring Norwich is easy on foot due to the city’s compact scale. Delight in the rich architecture, the fascinating tales, and the beautiful scenery of this impressive medieval city. Norwich has a unique collection of 1930s parks and miles of riverside walks. There are over 150 green spaces within the city centre itself. Unique and interesting places to visit include Plantation Garden, a restored Victorian secret garden situated in the heart of Norwich and The Bishop’s Garden, open for only a few days a year at Norwich Cathedral. The city is home to some fascinating events and festivals. On an annual basis Norwich celebrates the arts, beer, food, comedy, Shakespeare and a very special historic Christmas.
Norwich’s ancient buildings and city wall remains make it the most complete medieval city in Britain. Norwich has over 30 medieval churches within the city walls alone, many still function as parish churches, but others have been imaginatively converted to other uses. The city is also home to the impressive 20th century St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. Norwich’s Anglican Cathedral is celebrated as one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe boasting the largest cloisters in England, the second tallest spire in the country and an amazing 1,200 carved stone roof bosses – one of the greatest art treasures of medieval Europe. The 12th century Castle is one of the finest Norman secular buildings in Europe. Today, as the county’s principal museum, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, is packed with treasures. Its resident collections are of national importance and visiting exhibitions include works from the Tate. ‘Norwich 12’ is the UK’s finest collection of individually outstanding heritage buildings from the Norman, medieval, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras. Visitors can explore these 12 iconic landmarks through guided tours, visitor attractions, exhibitions and music performances.
Norwich is justifiably regarded as the arts capital of East Anglia, boasting an arts scene comparable with much larger cities. Home to the famous Norwich School of Painters, Norwich is proud of its visual arts tradition and there are extensive opportunities to see both permanent and visiting exhibitions of outstanding work. Norwich celebrates with a rich and diverse offering of annual arts and culture events including The Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Open Studios, Spring & Autumn Literary Festivals, Worlds Literature Festival, Heritage Open Weekends and the bi-annual Dragon Festival. Norwich Cathedral provides a beautiful back drop to its Shakespeare Festival held during July in the cloisters.
Within the ancient city walls of the medieval city of Norwich is a host of pedestrianised streets, historic alleyways and winding paths. All lead to delightful shops and retailers selling unique and Norfolk produced items, high street brands, designer labels and household names. Over 40% of Norwich’s shops are unique to the city which makes for an exciting shopping trip in anybody’s eyes. Norwich is also a very compact city making it easy to explore on foot. One minute you can be pounding the pavements through The Lanes, next strolling through Elm Hill and after that browsing in Chapelfield.
From Norwich, you can reach a magical place where land and water, people and nature meet; the Norfolk Broads, a uniquely beautiful environment that offers visitors an experience unlike any other. The Broads is Britain’s largest protected wetland with a beautiful, wild expanse of 200km of rivers, shallow lakes, woodland, fens and grazing marshes. It is also home to some of the rarest plants and wildlife in the whole of the UK. In the Broads you can be as relaxed or as energetic as you like: river trips, sailing, angling, cycling and water sports are all easily found.
Loganair flies to Norwich from Manchester and Edinburgh.
Norwich Tourist Information Centre
The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich
Tel: 01603 213999
Fax: 01603 213990
For Norwich Airport Information click here