Norwich lies 160km from London and is an ideal choice for those wishing to explore a medieval British city on a day-trip.
England boasts some of the most-intact medieval Western architecture in Europe, concentrated in cities like Bath, Warwick, Chester, and York. However, if you are a fan of tranquility, Norwich is a good place to start. Its charm lies in its quietness and classical beauty.
Start your city tour by visiting Norwich Cathedral, which has the second-highest spire and the second-largest monastery in the United Kingdom. Construction was completed in 1145. This 900-year-old cathedral is the building with the most distinctive Norman architecture in Norwich. Allow enough time to visit the main hall and monastery, the most important places here, because the cathedral has huge grounds. Next door, visitors will find the Ferry Lane Trail leading to Pulls Ferry, a watergate built on the city’s former river mouth in the 15th century. The canal provided a means to transport stone blocks from Caen in France for the construction of the cathedral.
The cathedral is surrounded by gravel paths, namely those leading to Timber Hill, Tombland, and especially Elm Hill, voted as one of the United Kingdom’s finest roads, lined with mostly intact and colorful buildings dating from the Tudor period. The scenery is as beautiful as a picture, making this place heaven for aspiring shutterbugs. On Elm Hill, an ancient coffee shop named Briton’s Arms is the only building to have survived a devastating fire in 1507. This is a must-stop on your trip for a taste of traditional English afternoon tea.
Visitors who keep going along Elm Hill will reach the city’s downtown, where they will find well-known landmarks like Norwich Castle, City Hall, and outdoor markets with stalls selling food and antiques at extremely affordable prices. Another must-do is to enter Norwich Castle. Here, you will find an exhibition of artworks related to the city’s history. Should you come this far, why don’t you stay a bit longer to watch the sunset from the castle’s terrace?
What I like the most in Norwich is strolling through town beside the Wensum River. This is a good way to learn about Norwich’s history and architecture while enjoying peaceful moments. Starting the trip at New Mills, along the way, you will pass archaic stone bridges to eventually reach Jarrold Bridge, the perfect place to overlook Norwich Castle. Not far from here stands Cow Tower, built in the 1500s, a key fortification of the city. Restaurants and crowded bars line the extended road to Pulls Ferry. Keep walking and you will arrive at Dragon Hall, a merchant’s trading spot in the 15th century. The last road will take you to Riverside, where there are many diverse restaurants, bars, and cinemas.
If you want to get a taste of local cuisine, don’t forget to book a table at the city’s famed Grosvenor Fish Bar, which serves one of England’s most-famous dishes: ‘Fish and Chips’. No one living in Norwich doesn’t know the 90-year-old restaurant. Its design allows diners to enjoy their meals right in the basement or take the food away. All dishes served here are fried in beef fat, which adds a unique taste to the food and is said to be better for your health than ordinary cooking oils.
With its medieval beauty, Norwich also boasts a tender loveliness since canals and rivers flow through the city and the riversides are embellished with gorgeous flowers. Norwich captures many hearts with its old-fashioned glamor and graceful calm.