A fabulous free day out in Norwich

16 March 2022

A City Bursting with History and Culture

You don’t need to have lots of money to enjoy a day in Norwich. From exploring enchanting historical streets to visiting a wonderful museum, there’s plenty to see and do - even if you are on a budget.

The city is located on the River Wensom and is around a hundred miles from London. It has a colourful arts and cultural scene, sizzling nightlife, oodles of tempting restaurants and quirky independent shops.

Norwich is well connected by bus and train from all over the UK. If you happen to be coming from London, regular buses leave from Victoria Bus Station and trains are every half an hour from Liverpool Street Railway Station.

It’s easy to get around on foot in the city and most of the attractions are within walking distance of one another. Why not make up a packed lunch and head to fabulous Norwich for a free fun-packed day of discovery?

Take a Step Back in History at Elm Hill

Elm Hill brims with cobbled streets and Tudor buildings and is fascinating to explore. Its quaint vibe has made it a favourite location for filming tv programmes and movies.

The area was destroyed by fire back in 1507, but was later re-built. These days, the cobbled lanes are lined with thatched buildings and merchant houses as well as coffee shops and specialist stores.  

Don’t forget to check out nearby Norwich Cathedral with its spectacular stained-glass windows and beautiful stone and woodwork. The cathedral is free to visit, and the friendly guides are happy to explain about its history and architecture.

Window Shopping

Even if you aren’t buying, it’s fun to browse in the city’s many antique shops and indie stores. Norwich is also home to one of the oldest markets in the country.

Pottergate is the city’s alternative area. It’s worth dipping into St. Gregory’s Church, which is crammed with antiques and kitschy items aplenty.

A short walk along the road, Head in the Clouds is a legacy of the sixties – a tiny shop selling incense, bongs and hippie clothing. The narrow Lower Goat Lane has funky boutique and indie stores galore.

Country and Eastern is a museum shop housed in a former skating rink and has an array of treasures from India and South-East Asia. Wood and stone carvings, jewellery, handwoven rugs and jewellery are all on display and it’s an amazing place to have a browse.

The Norwich Lanes

The Norwich Lanes are home to some impressive medieval architecture. It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of the historical lanes, which are overlooked by a gothic Castle.

Jarrolds, dating back to 1823, is a traditional department store and has been run by the same family for generations.  The Royal Arcade, an art nouveau shopping precinct, is lined with independent shops selling everything from colourful macarons to fine art.

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

This modern art gallery/museum can be found on the University of East Anglia campus, just a couple of miles from the city centre. Designed by architect, Norman Foster, the building has won lots of awards and is free to enter.

The museum has both temporary and permanent exhibitions, displaying modern art, sculptures and ceramics. A surrounding  sculpture park is set in parkland where you can see works by Henry Moore and Antony Gormley.

Plantation Garden

Although this garden isn’t strictly speaking free – there’s an honesty box and a donation of £2.00 is suggested, it is definitely worthy of a visit if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

A former chalk quarry, entering this lovely Victorian garden is like being transported back to another era. Paths run on several levels and the gardens are dominated by a gothic fountain.

There’s seating to take a well-earned break and the park is in an ideal spot for a picnic. The surrounding walls are made from pieces of pottery and bricks and there are numerous nooks and crannies to explore.

Wensum River Walk

This 3-mile trail follows the Wensum River and takes in many of the city’s attractions and historical sights. The walk passes Carrow Road, home to Norwich City F.C., and Pull’s Ferry a beautiful historical flint house.

The route also takes in Lollard’s Pit where Christian martyrs were burnt at the stake and Bishop’s Bridge, scene of the battle of Kett’s Rebellion. The walk is a great way to get a perspective of the fascinating city of Norwich. 

The End of a Perfect Day

It may be time to head home, but you will be leaving with an abundance of great memories from a fun-filled, free day out in fabulous Norwich!