That’s Nor-ich, not Nor-wich.
Norwich, England is in Norfolk, two hours east of London by train and 45 minutes away from the ocean. Norwich has a rich history—it was one of the largest cities in England during the Middle Ages, the home of the earliest female English writer, and England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. It’s also the location of the University of East Anglia, from which notable authors and dramatists such as Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Matt Smith graduated.
After spending a semester living there, here are my top sights when visiting this fine city.
1) Norwich Castle
Norwich Castle, built between 1066 and 1075 by order of William the Conqueror, is now home to a large museum collection of art, history, and natural history. A section of the medieval castle has been preserved, where you can view displays of artifacts from the Middle Ages. You could actually spend an entire day here if you wanted to, or take an hour or two to peruse the museum and special exhibits.
If you go during the last hour of the day (3:30-4:30pm), admission is only £2, instead of £9.15.
2) Norwich Cathedral
The other major tourist destination in Norwich, the 12th-century Norman cathedral, is free to visit. Its spire rises high above the roofs of the city, mirroring the impressive architectural details on the inside. Be sure to visit the main sanctuary and the peaceful cloisters.
Also noteworthy are the arch just outside the cathedral grounds and St. Peter Mancroft Church, which has its own collection of artifacts such as medieval coins and documents, in Norwich city center.
3) Biddy’s Tea Room
Did you really go to England if you didn’t have afternoon tea? It’s best if you book your place at this popular eatery ahead of time. Make sure to try the mixed berry tea (or one of the other 50 delicious flavors) along with your scones and sandwiches.
4) Elm Hill
Britons Arms, a coffee shop on this charming, Tudor-style street near the river, was transformed into The Slaughtered Prince inn for the film Stardust. Peek into shops and cafes as you wander the cobbled streets of Elm Hill.
5) City walls
Stop and have a quick look at the city walls that were built to surround Norwich in the 1300s and are still standing. Or, if you’re historically inclined, follow this map to find all the remains of the medieval walls.
6) Market & Royal Arcade
Norwich city center is the bustling shopping hub. Here you can find restaurants, the upscale department store Jarrold, and plentiful clothing, jewelry, and gift shops. The outdoor market lies in the very middle. Down the aisles of market stalls you can find produce, fish, and souvenirs. Off to the side, the entrance of the Royal Arcade leads to a covered row of shops ranging from upscale gifts and housewares to cards, quirky dresses, and desserts. Step into Digby’s Fine Chocolates for a few truffles or sugar mice. The Royal Arcade exits out towards Castle Mall (one of two malls in Norwich—the other is Chapelfield, which is a bit larger), where you can find chain stores and the cinema.
7) Grosvenor Fish Bar
Don’t leave Norwich without a classic British dinner of fish and chips at the atmospheric and very affordable Grosvenor Fish Bar. (I’m especially partial to the cheesy chips.) This was my first fish and chips experience in England, and other places I tried never quite lived up to it. Follow up your fish and chips with drinks at The Birdcage across the street.
8) The Plantation Garden
If you’re like me and prefer to spend all day wandering around a city looking for the prettiest green spaces, this should be your first stop. The Plantation Garden is a hidden gem, tucked away behind a church half a mile from the busy city center. You can get in for a voluntary donation fee.
9) The Forum
End your day by visiting the Forum, site of regular activities, events, and sales and a Norfolk-themed gift shop, where you can make purchases to remind you of your lovely trip to Norwich forever.