How to spend a day in Norwich
Ahh beautiful beautiful Norwich. I always wonder “where do I start?!” whenever I bring a new person to explore this gorgeous city. I went to university here and lived here for a few years afterwards so know it very well and have very good memories of this part of the world. With old Victorian buildings, a mediaeval castle, lots of shops, a climbing wall, plenty of cafes and activities, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone.
Climbing in Norwich, who’d have thought that it was possible to climb in one of the flattest counties in the UK?! Well the University of East Anglia has a well-established climbing wall; there are always a number of top ropes set up and a good selection of ropes to lead climb. If you are a novice climber, contact the UEA Sports park beforehand to find out when lessons are run and learn how to climb and how to belay (This is the person controlling the end of the rope whilst your partner climbs – an essential climbing skill to know!). If climbing isn’t your thing, the sports park that the climbing wall is attached to has a brilliant gym and runs a variety of fitness classes from circuit training to bodypump, so have a look at their timetable to see what you fancy.
The lake at UEA is pretty, so if you are already there, I would suggest having a wander around it, stopping off at rabbit hill on the way. The lake is well signposted, you can’t miss it; rabbit hill is not signposted, but you’ll know it when you see it (Picture many, many rabbits of all shapes and sizes running in and out of a small hill/mound infront of some of the student accommodation).
Cringleford is the other side of the lake, if you take a path that leads you directly away from the university. It is a pretty path through countryside and partly along the river Yare. Sometimes you will see long horned cattle or sheep and so many types of bird which will excite the twitchers amongst us! It wont feel like you are going to pop out into civilisation, but I promise you, you will! Cringleford is a pretty little village on the edge of Norwich, have a mooch around.
A Riverside pub is a nice place to go for lunch in the summer; I like the Plough on St Benedicts Street, The Playhouse on St George’s Street or the Rushcutters Arms on Yarmouth Road. In winter there are an abundance of cosy pubs with log fires that do great food, my preferences would be the Wig and Pen, Take 5 or The Rose and Crown at Snettisham if you fancy something outside the city.
Head to Norwich Castle and explore the battlements, wander around the museum and pop into Harriet’s café tearooms for some light refreshments.
Tombland, a small shuffle from the castle, is a great place to lose yourself in Norwich, with its cobbled streets, antique shops and cafes. I would recommend the xxx for great teas, for an afternoon tea, the xxx, or for an amazing selection of cakes, the xxx. Immerse yourself in what feels like a completely different world, take a deep breath and relax. Take some time to appreciate the small things around you; those old cobbled streets that have seen so much history, ah the stories they could tell (they have also caused the people of Norwich to spend more than anyone else in the country on re-heeling their shoes!), that tree next to that shop with its leaves turning all the colours of autumn, that uneven scone lovingly hand baked in that café. It’s so easy to get bogged down with the little things in our lives, that we miss all the beauty around us; I think everyone should have some happy places and Tombland in Norwich is one of those happy places for me.
Norwich Cathedral has the second largest cloisters in England. You will probably stumble across this unmissable building during your explorations of Tombland. I would definitely recommend going inside the cathedral itself and also wander around the cloisters – remember to look up as you are walking round the cloisters as there are over 1000 of the most beautiful bosses, on the roof joinings. Near the cathedral you will also be able to see parts of the old city wall.
Also in Norwich
Dry ski slope – this is on the outskirts of Norwich near the football ground, and on the same side of the city as the train station. Book yourself in for a lesson here
Climbing walls = Highball Climbing Centre that sells amazing freshly baked cakes, info here
Chapelfields shopping centre – This is a huge shopping centre – when it was built, it was one of the biggest in Europe. It houses most major shops, and is a really spacious, airy, clean and safe shopping centre.
Shopping in Norwich City Centre – close to Chapelfields shopping centre, Norwich city centre should not be missed on a shopping trip – again with a variety of shops close together, you’ll find whatever you are looking for.