Are you searching for the Best Places to Visit in Norwich? Are you thinking of a trip to Europe and wondering what to explore in Norwich? We’ve got you covered. The county town of Norfolk is located on the Little River Wensum, within easy reach from the beautiful Norfolk Broads. These are great for boating and exploring.
There are 32 medieval churches in Norwich, more than any other English city except London. Norwich, East Anglia’s traditional capital, is a bustling business and shopping center. This can be seen in its magnificent Norman cathedral, castle, and many other historical points of interest.
Its old gateways and winding streets are home to centuries of history. You can also find many activities in the vibrant cultural hub, including browsing the charming boutiques and the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, which lasts two weeks. It features musical and theatrical performances as well as visual art exhibits.
For more information about this and other events, please refer to our list highlighting the best tourist attractions in Norwich, England.
Tombland Alley is one of the best places to visit in Norwich. Tombland Alley was once a Saxon market. It is a great place to start exploring the rest of Norwich. Two gates, St. Ethelbert’s (1272) and Erpingham (1420) lead to the tranquility of the Cathedral Close, home to a wealth of historical buildings, including the medieval cathedral.
It is also near Elm Hill, a charming medieval cobbled street that runs alongside the River Wensum. Many of these houses are now attractive shops, restaurants, and cafes.
St. Andrew’s Halls and Blackfriars Halls are located near the top of Elm Hill. The Museum of Norwich at Bridewell is found in an old “house of correction” that dates back 700 years. Highlights include displays devoted to the industry in Norfolk and handicrafts, as well as an exhibit of silk shawls that Queen Victoria once valued.
Location: Bridewell Alley in Norwich
This historic building is a must-see for anyone who wants to attend an event, service, or exhibition or to admire its stunning Romanesque architecture. Norwich is well-known for its large number of medieval churches. However, Norwich Cathedral, a magnificent example of historic religious architecture, stands out.
It is the most well-preserved Norman cathedral in England and a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture. You can visit this magnificent building to marvel at its grandeur and plan to attend any of the regular events, exhibitions, or Church of England services.
The construction of the cathedral started in the eleventh century under the direction of Bishop Herbert, a Norman clergyman. Many believe he built the cathedral to atone for his purchase of a high-ranking position in the church. It would take many years for the building to be completed, and Bishop Herbert didn’t live to see it.
A major new element, a spire, was added to the building in the late 15th century. You can still see Norman architecture in most buildings, even with the additions. Services are still held every day at the cathedral. You can also check the events calendar to see any other activities or events. You can attend one of the free exhibitions, or check if there is a concert.
You don’t have to go to any specific place. Take the time to enjoy the historic atmosphere. You can read a book, relax in the cloisters, and admire the vaulted ceiling of the nave. Or, you could stop by the cafe for a bite. Another option is a stroll through the Japanese garden or herb garden on a sunny day.
You can find Norwich Cathedral in the city’s heart, only minutes from Dragon Hall and Norwich Castle. You can plan your visit or stop by when you feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Norwich City Hall
The Art Deco masterpiece is located in the heart of Norwich’s Civic Center. It houses the elegantly decorated rooms of its city council. Norwich City Hall, a landmark building, houses the administrative offices and ceremonial chambers for Norwich City Council.
Its impressive architecture overlooks Norwich Market. You can also spot several sculptures and get a glimpse into some of its rooms. King George VI unveiled Norwich City Hall in 1938. It is part of Norwich 12, a group that includes heritage buildings constructed between the Norman and modern eras.
Six columns dominate this Art Deco building’s facade in Greek style. Below are three bronze doors with 18 plaques. These plaques depict elements of Norwich’s history as well as popular city trades like the medieval wool industry. The longest balcony in England is a 365-foot (111-meter)-long balcony that runs along the frontage.
The clock tower, which is 150 feet tall (46 meters) high, rises above the building. It houses the largest clock bells in Britain. The hour chime can be heard clearly. Two sculptures depicting heraldic lions are located at the main entrance’s stairway. Hardiman also created three statues, Recreation, Wisdom, and Education, located outside the Council Chamber.
The Art Deco design is still visible in public spaces. You will notice the use of Italian marble and timber paneling. The landing and entrance hall walls are inscribed with the names of the city mayors. It is possible that some areas are not accessible when official meetings take place.
The building is located in the city center and is just a 15-minute walking distance from the Norwich train station. There is metered parking available at the nearby St. Giles Street. You’ll find plenty of activities near this attraction. You can visit the medieval Norwich Guildhall or browse the hundreds of stalls at the open-air Norwich Market.
You can admire Norwich City Hall from outside at any hour of the day. It is also the central point of the city’s Christmas lights display in December. The inside is accessible during business hours.
Cathedral Close & Cathedral Quarter
Be sure to explore The Close and the surrounding area during your Norwich visit. The close is one of the largest spaces in the UK. It covers approximately 44 acres and has the distinction of housing more people than any other European cathedral.
More than 80 historic buildings are listed in The Close, along with the charming Cathedral Quarters and its many fine shops. You’ll also find the 15th-century Bishop’s Palace and St. John’s Chapel, which dates back to 1322 and is now part of Norwich School. St. Peter Mancroft is the largest church in the area, after the cathedral. The Roman Catholic St. John the Baptist Cathedral.
This large green is used for filming TV period dramas and makes a great picnic spot. You can easily reach the popular Riverside Walk from here. This pleasant, flat trail offers another view of this beautiful city.
Address: The Close in Norwich
Official site: www.cathedral.org.uk/visit/things-to-see-and-do/the-close
Run Wild at BeWILDerwood
Run Wild at BeWILDerwood is one of the best places to visit in Norwich. The BeWILDerwood is one of the most family-friendly tourist attractions in the area. This fun adventure park, located in Horning, is the ideal place for children to get some exercise.
It includes a large area with trees, ziplines, and rope bridges that can be mastered, as well as a maze and other special areas for toddlers.
The park is character-themed and features age-appropriate entertainment based on characters from a series. A story-telling stage, boat rides, and a shop are just a few highlights. You can expect to spend most of your day here enjoying all the fun activities.
Address: Horning Road, Hoveton, Norwich
Official site: www.bewilderwood.co.uk
Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts
This highly-regarded arts space is housed in a striking building and hosts contemporary art and 20th-century and older works. The University of East Anglia’s Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, which houses the School of Art History (and World Art Studies), is an important part of the University.
It is best to visit it to view the permanent art collections and exhibitions housed in its gallery spaces. You can spend a few hours browsing art worldwide by making your way to this glass structure on a rainy afternoon.
When Sir Robert and Lady Lisa Sainsbury gave their extensive private art collection, the foundation for the Sainsbury Centre’s permanent collection was established in 1973. The Sainsbury family also collected works by prominent European artists. Some pieces date back centuries.
The building’s exterior design will impress you before you step inside to see the collection. This glass-and-steel building, designed by Norman Foster in the mid-1970s, was a revolutionary design that is still impressive today.
You should check out the current exhibitions before you go, as they are subject to change throughout the year. There are also talks and workshops. As you walk through the galleries, look for key pieces of the permanent collection. Look out for masterpieces by Giacometti, Henry Moore, and Picasso.
The Sainsbury Centre is the perfect starting point for a scenic walk along River Wensum. As you walk, take in the medieval landmarks of the city.
The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts remains open every day except Monday. The permanent exhibitions are free to view, but you will need to pay an entrance fee for temporary exhibitions. Group discounts and concessions are available.
It would help if you took some time to visit the cafe at the end of your tour. This is a great place to recharge before you head out to explore other attractions in Norwich.
Take a Cruise on the Norfolk Broads
The Norfolk Broads are located east of Norwich and make for a beautiful nature reserve ideal for boating and sailing holidays. The Broads National Park protects the vast area comprised of Yarmouth, Wroxham, and Stalham. Along with its tributaries, the Ant, Thurne, and Bure, the River Yare traverses the region.
The area has 120 miles of waterways and can be accessed via rental boats. You’ll see many windmills along the route, including the Ludham-based wooden Boardman’s Mill, the Thurne Dyke Windpump built brick on the Thurne, and the Sutton Mill, 82 feet high. These windmills were once used to drain the water and remind me of similar Dutch scenery.
Waterfowl, butterflies, and dragonflies will all be found by nature lovers. Anglers will also find much fish to their delight, including pike, Rudd, and roach.
Hickling Broad and Horsey Windpump
Hickling Broad and Horsey Windpump is one of the best places to visit in Norwich. Hickling Broad is the largest and most beautiful of the Norfolk Broads. Here you will find the restored Horsey Windpump. It’s one of the most spectacular windmills in the region and offers great views of the surrounding countryside. There’s also a tearoom.
Potter Heigham is the best place to start exploring the area. It can be reached upstream along the River Thurne from Martham Broad, Horsey Mere, and Hickling Broad. The River Bure is downstream. It’s possible from here to explore the southeast via Breydon Water or the River Waveney, Oulton Broad outside Lowestoft, or westwards via Wroxham Broad.
Ranworth and South Walsham are also good places to explore Hickling Broad. These villages have charming churches and small towns. You can see the beauty of the Broads best from the water. Sailboats and motor cruisers can be rented. There are many boat tours available.
Horsey, Great Yarmouth
Official site: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/horsey-windpump
Whitlingham Country Park
Whitlingham Country Park is a great way to experience the beauty of Norfolk Broads without needing to travel too far from Norwich. Broads Authority Tourist Information Centre is where you can start your journey.
You can learn more about the area’s unique fauna and flora through interactive displays. Book a ride on the electric boat for a great chance to spot wildlife.
After the tour, explore the extensive trail network or stop by the Whitlingham Adventure Centre for a rental kayak or paddleboard to explore the natural reserve. There are many events at the park, including wildlife spotting sessions and canoe trips.
Address: Trowse, Norwich
Official site: www.whitlinghamcharitabletrust.com
Bressingham Steam & Gardens
Bressingham Steam & Gardens is one of the best places to visit in Norwich. Bressingham Steam & Gardens is a charming tourist attraction that houses a unique collection of vintage steam locomotives, traction engines, and the five-acre Dell Garden.
The museum has a large collection of standard gauge locomotives and operates three narrow garage lines around the property. There is also a 1.5-mile stretch of track. Take one of the train driving classes for a memorable experience.
A museum of railway memorabilia, a large collection of fire engines, and a Victorian steam carousel equipped with a steam-driven organ are all on the site. Bressingham also houses the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society, which recreates the fictional Walmington on-Sea in the popular TV series. The nearby village of Bressingham is worth exploring, especially the 14th-century St. Mary The Virgin Church.
Strumpshaw Hall Steam Museum is a must-see for steam enthusiasts. This museum houses one of the country’s largest collections of vintage steamrollers and traction engines (some 50 altogether). Many of these are still being tested at demonstrations and other steam-themed events. A collection of vintage fairground rides, including a merry-go-round and narrow gauge railway, is also fun for children.
Address: Low Road in Bressingham
Official site: www.bressingham.co.uk
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