What to do and where to eat in Norwich: ultimate guide

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From medieval streets to new restaurants and theaters to historic parks, there is plenty to see and do in Norwich.

Whether you’re a local looking to make the most of the city or visiting for a getaway from further afield, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to a trip to Norwich.


Wensum Park in Norwich. Photo by Simon Finlay.
– Credit: Archant Norfolk

Where is Norwich and how do I get there?

A good and bad thing about Norwich – and more broadly Norfolk – depending on your perspective, is that it’s not always the easiest to get to.

It’s in Norfolk, about 30 minutes from the Great Yarmouth coast, 45 minutes from the North Norfolk coast, and a short walk from the Norfolk Broads.

People don’t tend to go through Norfolk, but there are still plenty of ways to get there.

Our station is a 15-minute walk from the city center and serves the whole country, including some trains that now reach London in 90 minutes.

The city, as well as the University of East Anglia, are on the Megabus and National Express bus lines. Our central bus station, on Surrey Street, is in the middle of the city center.

Norwich is of course also accessible via the A11 and A47, the main roads to Norfolk.

For overseas travelers, there’s also Norwich Airport, which is a 20-minute drive from the center.

Where to park in Norwich

The city has plenty of parking lots, including multi-story options at its two main shopping centers – Chantry Place and Castle Quarter.


St Andrews Parking Lot, Norwich.  Photo: Steve Adams

St Andrews Parking Lot, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams
– Credit: Steve Adams

But there are others, including St Andrew’s, St Crispins, St Giles and Rose Lane.

There are also Park and Ride options – including the airport base, as well as Harford on Ipswich Road, Postwick on Yarmouth Road, Sprowston on Wroxham Road, Thickthorn on Norwich Road and Costessey on Long Lane.

Many people arriving in Norwich from the south of the country use the Thickthorn one, which is just off the A11.

How is shopping in Norwich?

Norwich enjoys an excellent shopping scene and has in the past been rated one of the best cities in the country for its retail offering.

It has an array of national names, including in the Chantry Place Mall.


Lower Goat Lane in Norwich Lanes.  Photo: Denise Bradley

Lower Goat Lane in Norwich Lanes. Photo: Denise Bradley
– Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

But a greater source of pride is its variety of independent stores, scattered throughout the city but particularly concentrated in the Lanes, which have won national awards in the past.

From Flicka to Lisa Angel, Dogfish, The Book Hive, Jarrold, Beaujangles, Norfolk Yarn and Thorns DIY, there are plenty to choose from.

And what about the Norwich market?

As one of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in the country, the Norwich Market is a source of pride for the city.

Over the past decade, it has seen something of a revival, with a slew of street food stalls, including Bun Box and Churros for the People, opening alongside established family businesses.


Shoppers around Norwich Market shop locally and stay safe with masks.  Photo by: Sonya Duncan

Shoppers around Norwich Market shop locally and stay safe with masks. Photo by: Sonya Duncan
– Credit: Sonya Duncan

Its oldest stalls include the Mushy Pea Stall, which has been on the market for over 70 years.

You can enjoy some shopping, before grabbing your lunch and a treat and savoring it next to the nearby war memorial, which offers a picturesque view of the market and the castle.

What to do in Norwich?

A lot. You can spend a day perusing its boutiques, dining in its restaurants, and relaxing in its parks, including Eaton, Earlham and Waterloo Parks.


Plantation gardens on Earlham Road, Norwich.  PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Plantation gardens on Earlham Road, Norwich. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY
– Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

There are also plenty of sights to see – Norwich has two stunning cathedrals, including Norwich Cathedral in the city center and St. John the Baptist Cathedral just outside.

Both have gardens to explore and a place to have a drink and something to eat.

Norwich Castle and its museum are a must-see – the historic site stands proudly in the center of Norwich and is home to exhibits and exhibits.


Snowball fight during the filming of Jingle Jangle in Elm Hill Credit: James Randle

Snowball fight during the filming of Jingle Jangle in Elm Hill Credit: James Randle
– Credit: Archant

Elm Hill is a historic cobblestone street lined with shops and restaurants, which has been featured in movies and TV shows, including Netflix’s Jingle Jangle and Stardust.

You can also visit the Norwich Museum and the Plantation Gardens – stunning gardens in an abandoned chalk quarry that is often described as the city’s secret garden. It’s a 15 minute walk to the city center, but well worth it.

Strangers Hall in Charing Cross is a 14th-century merchant’s house that now houses a museum.


A pinch of snow and a hard frost transforming St James Hill, Norwich.  Photo: Steve Adams

A pinch of snow and a hard frost transforming St James Hill, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams
– Credit: Steve Adams

And if you want to take in the beautiful city, head to Mousehold Heath and St James Hill, which offer one of the best panoramic views on the skyline.

Are there places to watch live music and comedy in Norwich?

Yes a lot. The beautiful city has the Norwich Theater Royal, the Playhouse, the Norwich Arts Center, the Maddermarket Theater, the Norwich Puppet Theater and the Sewell Barn Theater for performances, among others.


Norwich Playhouse, St George's Street, Norwich.  Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich Playhouse, St George’s Street, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams
– Credit: Archant

Norwich also has a rich history of live music – the Waterfront and LCR at the University of East Anglia have previously hosted artists such as Robbie Williams, Coldplay, The Stone Roses and Ed Sheeran.

What are some family-friendly attractions near Norwich?

Just outside of Norwich are several family attractions that could offer a day trip, including Roarr Dinosaur Adventure, Hoveton Hall, and Bewilderwood.


Roland Gurner pictured on his paddle board on the River Wensum in Norwich.  PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Roland Gurner pictured on his paddle board on the River Wensum in Norwich. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY
– Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

It’s just a 30-minute drive to the Broads – but you can go kayaking or paddle boarding on the town’s River Wensum.

Where can I stay in Norwich?


The Maids Head Hotel, Tombland.  Photo: ANTONY KELLY

The Maids Head Hotel, Tombland. Photo: ANTONY KELLY
– Credit: Archant

There is a wide range of B & Bs and Airbnbs, as well as many hotels.

Some are just outside the city center, including Sprowston Manor and Dunston Hall, while others are right in the center, including the historic Maids Head Hotel (reportedly among the oldest in the country), the Revado Hotel recently reopened near the train. station and St Giles House Hotel.

What are the best restaurants and pubs in Norwich?

Where to start?

Norwich has a rich pub history – its nickname is the City of Beer and the often said that there used to be a pub for every day of the year is not true (there were many more).


Photo of a pint in a pub.  PIC: Brian Lawless PA.

Norwich has a wide variety of pubs.
– Credit: Brian Lawless / PA

Although some have closed over the years, there is still a rich and vibrant lineup in the city – including, but not limited to, names such as The Ribs of Beef, Trafford Arms, Red Lion, Coach and Horses. , the Black Horse and the Plow.

The Belgian Monk offers a wide variety of Belgian beers and delicious mussels, while Vine Thai, also a Thai restaurant, is said to be the smallest in town.


A meal at the Belgian Monk in Norwich.  Photo: Sonya Duncan

A meal at the Belgian Monk in Norwich. Photo: Sonya Duncan
– Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2009

The same goes for restaurants – over the past decade, Norwich has established a wide range of fine dining restaurants, as well as street food facilities.

A few places you could visit include Brick Pizza, Rooftop Gardens, Benoli, Benedicts, Haggle, Roger Hickman’s, Farmyard, and many more.


Frozen backyard products March 2021 Photo credit © Simon Finlay Photography.

The kitchen team at Farmyard in Norwich.
– Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

If you are looking for inspiration, you can always visit our Things to do section to see what is happening in the beautiful city.



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