Norwich Cathedral
boating on the broads
The Cloisters Norwich

Norwich

Introduction

Norwich in the heart of Norfolk is known for it's famous Cathedral and was voted a UK favourite in the Guardian/Observer travel awards Oct 2008.

HISTORY 

In AD 43, the area we know as Norfolk had been the territory of the Iceni people, whose leader was Boudica. She led an unsuccessful revolt against the Roman occupation in around AD 60. Following her defeat, the Romans inhabited the area for more than 300 years.

Most modern cities in Britain arose out of the towns that the Romans built. Not Norwich! After the Romans, the old city was abandoned and a new town grew up on the River Wensum. One of the settlements, on the north bank, was called “Norwic”, which eventually gave Norwich it’s name.

By the battle of Hastings in 1066 Norwich was one of England’s largest towns with its own mint. The Normans built 2.5 miles (4 km) of defensive walls around the city and the famous Cathedral was built in 1096. City status was granted in 1194 by Richard 1st.

The medieval period was a prosperous one for the Norwich area and the main industry was the wool trade and weaving. The wealth of the city was reflected in the many buildings dating from this time that can still be seen in Norwich. From the 1400s onwards there was extensive church building and today you can find 31 medieval churches still standing. 

For much of the time between 1650 and 1750, Norwich was rated as second only to London in terms of its prosperity, with textiles still being the mainstay of the economy.

During the 1800s, newer industries such as printing and the production of leather began to gain prominence. The completion of the railway connection between Norwich and London in 1845 brought transport links to the capital. A thriving boot and shoe industry was well established and new ventures, such as Colman’s Mustard, became enduring legacies of Victorian Norwich.

In the 20th century and especially during the two World Wars, 1000 houses were built each year. Throughout the Second World War Norwich was bombed on over 40 occasions due to its historic buildings.

 

To the present day, Norwich has continued to evolve and in 1963 the University of East Anglia admitted its first students. This was followed by the striking structure of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, designed in the 1970’s by Sir Norman Foster. 

 

Much of Norwich’s history can still be seen today from castles to churches and the imposing cathedral together with museums and exhibitions demonstrating the history of Norwich.

 

GEOGRAPHY

 

Norwich sits on the river Wesnum a tributary of the river Yare that originates in Dereham and flows into the North Sea at Great Yarmouth.

 

The city covers an area of 39km² (24miles²) and is home to a population of 127,600.

 

Travel links to Norwich now include Norwich International Airport and Norwich main line rail services with a two hour journey time to London Liverpool Street.

 

ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS

 

Norwich Cathedral - Set in beautiful grounds The Cathedral is an awe-inspiring and welcoming building. With spectacular architecture, magnificent art and a fascinating history it’s a must for any visitor to Norwich

With the second tallest spire and largest monastic cloisters in England, it is one of the finest complete romanesque cathedrals in Europe and houses more than a thousand beautiful medieval roof boss sculptures.


The Cathedral hosts a wide variety of orchestral concerts, choral concerts, jazz ensembles and lectures. There is also a licensed restaurant beside the cloisters, housed within a striking modern building that has won numerous design and architecture awards.

Disabled access. Tours and activities all year. Admission free. Open daily 7.30am-6pm.

 

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery - Built by the Normans as a Royal Palace 900 years ago, The castle is one of the City's most famous landmarks.  The Castle is now a museum and art gallery, home to some of the most outstanding collections of fine art, archaeology and natural history.

Marvel at the world's largest collection of ceramic teapots and see superb displays of modern art including special exhibitions from Tate.

During the summer in the marvellous Castle gardens you can see wonderful free theatrical performances at the open-air Whiffler Theatre.

Opening Hours
Core times including Christmas holidays Mon - Fri: 10am - 4.30pm Sat: 10am - 5pm School half-terms, Easter & summer holidays Mon - Sat: 10am - 5.30pm All Sundays: 1 - 5pm Closed 24 – 27 December & 1st  January

 

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Located within a world-class Norman Foster building, you can see fabulous art for free, relax in the cafe or restaurant and buy an unusual gift.
At the Sainsbury Centre you will find modern art including works by Pablo Picasso and Edgar Degas, and world art spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. There are special exhibitions changing every few months and a bustling program of events.

Opening Hours
Tues-Sun 11am-5pm, Weds 11am-8pm.

 

Norwich Puppet Theatre – Visit a unique centre for puppetry and see a show or make a puppet with the experts. In addition to a wide range of performances, there is a huge variety of workshops to look forward - with special sessions just for adults.

The Puppet Theatre is housed in the strikingly converted Grade 1 listed mediaeval church of St. James . It has an international reputation for its work and the most comprehensive facilities of the four buildings that are solely dedicated to theatre of animation in the UK.

Opening Hours
Theatre is open most Saturdays plus daily opening during school holidays. The Box Office is open 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday and on performance Saturdays. Visitors are welcome during Box Office opening hours.

 

Bridewell Museum - Once a prison for women and beggars, this delightful museum is now home to a wonderful collection of historic objects and machinery revealing how Norwich people earned their living.

Ponder the mysterious potions in the recreated pharmacy. Uncover the secrets of the brewing trade and remember when beer was 1d a pint. Admire a marvellous display of shoes – all hand made in the city. See the stunning Victorian fire engine and the huge 19th century Jacquard loom, which was used to weave exquisite Norwich shawls. Explore the exhibition, On the Ball City! Celebrating over 100 years of Norwich City Football Club and learn more about the cities mustard and chocolate trades.


Opening Hours
Tues - Fri: 10am - 4.30pm Sat: 10am - 5pm Closed Sun & Mon.

 School half-terms, Easter & summer holidays Tues - Sat: 10am - 5pm Closed Sun & Mon 
 

Strangers’ Hall Museum - One of the oldest and most fascinating buildings in Norwich, Strangers’ Hall was once home to wealthy merchants and Mayors, the building dates back to 1320.

Wander through a maze of passages to discover a series of inter-linked rooms with period settings. See the Tudor Great Hall, the fine Georgian Dining Room and the magnificent stone-vaulted undercroft. Admire Lady Paine’s 17th century bedroom and the panelled Walnut Room and find out how people lived in the past. Enjoy delightful collections of historic toys and a cellar full of colourful shop signs. Take a stroll in the lavender-filled garden and find out who the Strangers’ were, maybe even meet a costumed character from times gone by!


Opening Hours
From 1 April 2009: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 10.30am – 4.30pm

 

Norwich Theatre Royal - Norwich Theatre Royal offers productions from the world of drama, dance, opera, musical theatre, comedy, music and shows for the young and young at heart including the annual pantomime.

Norwich Theatre Royal now offers three separate backstage tours to visiting groups:

• A Technical Tour - looking at the theatre from a technical perspective
• A General Tour - looking at a mixture of historical, technical and social perspectives
• A Historical Tour - looking at the History of Norwich Theatre Royal (this includes a powerpoint presentation)

Tours are available Monday - Friday only, show times dependent

Opening Hours
From 9.30am Mon-Sat and 2 hours before the performance on Sundays.

 

City Sightseeing - Discover Norwich aboard the CitySightseeing open top bus. This sightseeing tour operates as a hop on, hop off service at 9 stops near to the main attractions and the railway and bus stations. Find out about the city from the on board commentary. Tickets valid 24 hours. Starts outside Theatre Royal on Theatre Street at 0945 runs hourly until 1545pm.

Operates: April – October

 

Blue Badge Guided Walking ToursNorwich is home to extraordinary buildings, famous people and a beautiful riverside. These tours allow you to discover various areas of the city. The Blue Badge Guideshave a mountain of knowledge about Norwich, its buildings and history and they want to share this with you. A Blue Badge tour is 90 minutes long and the following tours are available:

 Norwich – City of Centuries, Cathedral Close, Footsteps of Nelson,Merchants and Markets, ‘A pub for every day of the year...’, Over the Water, Tales of the Riverside, When George was King, The Dead Parrot tour, The Victorian tour, Horrid Norwich, An Elizabethan Progress.

 

Tours must be booked through the Tourist Information Centre.

 

Shopping – Norwich is ranked as one of the UK’s top five shopping destinations. Two shopping Malls, Castle Mall and Chapelfield, are home to over 150 shops and pedestrianised walkways such as Gentlemans Walk, Timberhill and Elm Hill house many more.

 

Six Day Open Air Market – Refurbished in 2006 Norwich market is unique in Britain. It is home to over 190 stalls and is the largest Mon – Sat open market in the UK. The market has been situated on its current site longer than any of the buildings that surround it.

 

City Boats – Offer a range of daily river cruises of varying length departing from three quays in and around Norwich.

 

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens – the grounds of Thrigby Hall were opened as a wildlife garden in 1979 and now have a Children's Playground, Summerhouse, Cafe and Gift Shop. It is home to Snow Leopards, Red Pandas, Gibbons, Monkeys, Crocodiles, Alligators, Otters, Porcupines, Pig-Deers, Owls, Tigers and many more. Thrigby Hall is open daily from 10am and is located in the village of Filby, 8 miles outside Great Yarmouth accessible via the A47 or A149.

Banham Zoo – a fun filled day out, the zoo is home to almost 1000 animals from around the world including, Tigers, Giraffes, Zebras, Penguins and Camels, amongst others. Open daily from 10am, Banham Zoo is 25 minutes from Norwich, 45 minutes from Yarmouth on the B1113.

 

Pettitts Animal Adventure Park – the park has rides for children, family entertainment, shows and exotic and domestic animals to see, feed and pet. Pettitts is open from 10am, 7 days a week and is on the B1140 at Reedham, 12 miles from Great Yarmouth and 17 miles from Norwich.

Playbarn - an activity Centre for children under 7 with an indoor Play area, Children's Farm, Nature Trail and Pony Rides, located 10 minutes from Norwich on the B1332.

Dinosaur Adventure Parkhere you can take part in a Scavenger Hunt, Track T-Rex, ride on Raptor Racers, dig for fossils and follow the Dinosaur Trail. You can eat at Dippy’s Diner and visit the Gift Shop. The park is 9 miles from Norwich, on the A47.

Bewilderwood here you can find the regular wildlife of squirrels, rabbits and hedgehogs but also creatures such as the Thornyclod Spider, Marsh Boggles, Tree Twiggles and the Crocklebog! An accompanying book, gives children the chance to follow in the footsteps of the lead character Swampy, a 2ft Marsh Boggle with a taste for adventure. Bewilderwood features fantasy treehouses and aerial walkways through the trees above unspoilt Norfolk Marshland. The trees also have miniature villages for the Twiggles. Attractions include the Broken Bridge where you have to walk over invisible glass 7 metres above the ground, the Wobbly Wires, a daring zip wire slide and the Slippery Slopes. Entry to the park is by boat through the marshes, adding to the sense of fantasy and adventure. Located on the A1062 between Wroxham and Horning. 

Tourist Information

The Forum

Millennium Plain

Norwich

 

Tel 01603 213999

Email tourism@norwich.gov.uk

Website www.visitnorwich.co.uk

 

 

 

 



   


 

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015