Day 1. A weekend in Norwich

After enjoying recent weekends away in Bristol and Birmingham we decided to turn our attention to Norwich and take a look at the county town of Norfolk.  Norwich lies approximately 100 miles (161 km) north east of London in East Anglia.  We travelled by train and coming from the north of England, I took a Virgin East Coast train to Peterborough from where I changed onto an East Midlands service to Norwich.  For passengers arriving from London there is a direct service from Liverpool Street station.  As I was leaving the station, I glanced back to admire the attractive building which is built around a central clock tower with matching wings on each side.

Norwich Railway Station
Norwich Railway Station

It was a deceptively sunny, yet extremely cold afternoon as we followed signs to the city centre, crossing a bridge over the River Wensum on our way.  Mid-way between the station and the centre lies the Travelodge Norwich Riverside where we had reserved a room, so after leaving our luggage we were able to start exploring.

Jarrold's Department Store, Norwich
Jarrold’s Department Store, Norwich

Our first stop was to the Jarrold’s Department Store on London street.  This family business is one of the most renowned landmarks in the city and has been trading in its current building since 1823.  After taking a look around the store, we enjoyed a light lunch in the Pantry restaurant located on its top floor.

The Guildhall, Norwich
The Guildhall, Norwich

Across from Jarrold’s lies the Guildhall on Gaol Street.  This historic building was constructed between 1407-1413 and served as the seat of city government from the early 15th century until the 1930’s.  At the time of the building’s construction and for much of its history, Norwich was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in England.  Nowadays the Guildhall is used as an events venue and cultural centre.

Norwich Outdoor Market
Norwich Outdoor Market

Continuing our walk, we browsed the outdoor market on Gentleman’s Walk with over 200 stalls selling everything from fresh produce to household items.  Not far from there, we strolled along the Norwich Lanes which are a series of alleyways, courtyards and open spaces.  It was fascinating wandering along these car free lanes with their  delightful array of small independent shops, cafes and galleries.

Norwich Cathedral
Norwich Cathedral Close Archway

Just off Tombland (originally Norwich’s market place) we arrived at the entrance archway to the Anglican Cathedral.  Set on a 44 acre site, the cathedral is one of the finest Romanesque churches in Europe boasting the second tallest spire in England, after Salisbury and unlike many other cathedrals in the U.K. admission is free.

Norwich Cathedral
Norwich Cathedral

We strolled through Cathedral Close with its many listed buildings and beautiful tranquil spaces.  Clusters of snowdrops were a promising sign that spring was around the corner.

Norwich Cathedral
The Monastic Cloisters, Norwich Cathedral

Entering the cathedral through the largest monastic cloister in England we admired the stunning medieval high arches and roof bosses.  The interior of the cathedral was beautiful with its sumptuous decorations, elaborate carvings and stained glass windows.

Norwich Cathedral
The Font, Norwich Cathedral

I was fascinated by the unusual font and read about its history.  The confectionery company Rowntree Mackintosh was a major employer in Norwich and in 1969 Rowntree took over the Mackintosh factory which made toffee.  The factory eventually closed in 1994 and later gifted to the cathedral two of its burnished, copper bowls formerly used in the manufacture of toffee.  These bowls now form a shining, modern font with historic links to the city and its certainly a talking point to be able to say you were baptised in a toffee making bowl.

The Royal Arcade, Norwich
The Royal Arcade, Norwich

On our way back to the hotel we made one final stop at the Royal Arcade.  Designed by George Skipper and opened in 1899, it is one of the most beautiful covered streets in Norfolk.  At the time of construction, arcade shopping was immensely popular and browsing the shop windows today, it’s home to many high-end retailers.

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74 thoughts on “Day 1. A weekend in Norwich

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  12. Only just stumbled across this! Norwich is my local city and even after living here for so many years, I still have so much to learn about the place. I had no idea those fonts came from the old toffee bowls!
    Always fantastic to read what others pick up on in the city when they visit, thanks for sharing! Definitely inspiring me to get out and explore a little more around Norwich!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. mariexceline

    Great photos and another interesting read. The colourful market looked lovely, and the font in the Cathedral was certainly unusual and unique. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Helen Pollard

    We’ve been to Norwich a couple of times over the past few years, and I love it! I think the cathedral is one of the loveliest I’ve ever visited. Didn’t spot the toffee bowl font, though! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What a great back story about the toffee font!

    The thing that most impresses me about these old churches is the limited machinery and tools that the builders had at their disposal. I marvel at the engineering and workmanship involved. I enjoyed the tour.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to Norwich! It’s quickly become one of my favourite cities in the UK – I love just wandering around the picturesque centre, and the cafe scene is second to none. Look forward to reading about the rest of your weekend break!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. My hometown! So lovely to hear about it from a traveller’s viewpoint – I keep meaning to head out there with my tourist hat on to see for myself. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. The Royal Arcade is one of my favourite bits. So pretty, and right by the castle. I spent a sunny day there 2 years ago, with Dad, as we were visiting Polish family. Norwich has a lovely centre and I’d have liked more time to browse. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I must admit I was put off Norwich after having the misfortune to spend a Saturday night in the Premier Inn in the centre of the city, right next to all the night clubs/pubs. Having been kept awake all night, first by the shrieking sounds of revelers in full swing, and then by screaming, and the sounds of someone throwing up comprehensively in the street outside and four in the morning, I may have done the place an injustice. It certainly looks interesting enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh dear Stella, that didn’t sound a good start! We were there Thursday to Sunday and didn’t encounter any issues despite wandering through the city centre late at night. I hope you will be encouraged to return sometime in the future and give the city another try as there are so many nice things to see and do.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. rachelsouthgate

    Awesome post! Would love to visit, my partner was born and grew up there but we met in New Zealand! I’m just starting out with writing about travel but I’ve got not many likes or follows so would love it if you could check out my profile! Thanks! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

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