If you thought that all Norwich had to offer was a dose of Alan Partridge
And a slice of Delia Smith, think again. Norwich will surprise and delight you. It’s said to be one of the top 5 shopping destinations in the UK. It boasts a fascinating 11th Century Cathedral. And is among the country’s greenest cities. There’s also a decidedly different pace of life here, with the Norfolk Broads and the coast a short drive away.
Those looking for high-street buys won’t be disappointed by Norwich’s main shopping district: the area around St Stephens and London Streets is crammed with all the usual suspects, including department stores Marks & Spencer (11-19 Rampant Horse Street) and John Lewis (All Saints’ Green). Alternatively, London Street is home to independent department store Jarrold (1-11 London Street), which stocks quirky niche names alongside big brands. For something unique, head to the Royal Arcade (Gentleman's Walk), where you’ll find the Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum (15 Royal Arcade) – great if you love a bit of heat with your lunch. The Norwich Lanes, which start next to the Royal Arcade, are also worth a visit and are crammed with independent boutiques.
Food & Drink
There’s more to Delia Smith’s love for Norwich City Football Club than pitch-side appearances – the UK celebrity chef has a restaurant at the ground too, Delia’s Restaurant & Bar (Carrow Road), which serves comforting fare within earshot of the stands. If you’re staying central, try the wonderfully raffish Library Restaurant (4A Guildhall Hill), with its gentleman’s club feel and menu to match using locally sourced ingredients. For something less formal, the Baby Buddha Chinese Tea House (139 Ber Street) specialises in brilliant handmade dim sum and more hearty dishes.
Norfolk and Norwich Festival
Despite the name, the Norfolk and Norwich festival is an international affair bringing artists, acrobats and performers from all over the world to East Anglia for a 16-day feast of culture.
Norwich City of Ale Festival
The citizens of Norwich have been brewing ale ever since Benedictine monks introduced it in the 11th century, and this 10-day celebration of beer lets you try most of the local brews courtesy of the city’s many pubs.
Lord Mayor’s Celebration
From fireworks to funfairs and lashings of East Anglian food, the Lord Mayor’s Celebration is the highlight of Norwich’s calendar, with plenty of things to do for all ages. The huge street procession is especially worth a visit.
Norwich Cathedral’s Shakespeare Festival in the Cloisters
A must for fans of the prolific bard, the annual event sees Norwich’s magnificent medieval cathedral throw open its doors for a series of theatrical performances, each drawn from Shakespeare’s oeuvre.
Norfolk Food and Drink Festival
Although there are plenty of greedy events to enjoy at various tea rooms and eateries throughout the city, the highlight of this festival is the ‘Battle of the Bangers’, where local butchers compete to be crowned Norwich’s sausage king.
Along with budget chains, such as Holiday Inn (Carrow Road), Norwich is crammed with pretty little hotels and guest houses, most of which champion English country chic. One of the best (and most central) is the four-star Maids Head Hotel (20 Tombland), which is housed in a 13th-century building opposite the magnificent cathedral. Another good choice for history buffs is the family-run Marlborough Guest House (22 Stracey Road), which boasts comfortable rooms a short walk from the city centre. Also good value is the Best Western Annesley House Hotel (6 Newmarket Road), a cosy property with a homely atmosphere and gorgeous flower-strewn gardens.