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Norwich in one day: what to see

by Paola Bertoni
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Erpingham gate leads to the Norwich Cathedral

Norwich is the biggest city in Norfolk and there is lot to see. It has a vibrant pedestrian area with shops in the city centre and in the Royal Arcade, a charming market, huge churches and one of the oldest cobbled streets in the UK. At the same time, Norwich is also a city full of life, with trendy restaurants, 3D cinemas and pubs at any corner. To get the most of Norwich in one day you can just join to a City Sightseeing tour on the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus or walk around the city.

What to see in Norwich: the most important tourist attractions

For a day trip to Norwich, especially if it is your first time in Norwich, I recommend to focus on the more tourist attractions. They are mainly the Norman Castle, the Cathedral and the pedestrian area in the city centre. Norwich has a very long history spanning both Danish and Norman rule. You can discover it just strolling around.

If you want to find out more, you should absolutely visit the museum in the Castle or take a guided tour. Check Norwich City Hosts and the Forum for their next tour. If you travel with children, to not miss the City Sightseeing tour by bus. Beside that, if you are looking for more pop curiosities, Rupert Everett was born here, but unfortunately there are no themed attractions to remember him.

View of River Wensum in Norwich
View of River Wensum in Norwich with canoes and Premier Inn hotel on the right

Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle is totally a must-see attraction in Norwich. In fact, its square silhouette is quite the symbol of the city. Inside there is a museum full of painting and historical stuff. Only here you can see with your very own eyes some super old army biscuits, hundreds of teacups, and stuffed birds. Basically a summary of the culture and history of Norfolk.

The Castle’s shape of a solid cube is impressive and it is considered one of the best examples of Norman architecture. Unfortunately is not completely original because it was largely rebuilt in the late nineteenth century. In the past the Castle was used as a prison and you can book a guided tour to see the dungeons.

Anyway, as foreigner tourist, my funniest moment in the Castle was to watch some groups of British ladies going crazy in front of the biggest teapot in the world, a particularly loved piece. Apparently many British visit the Norwich Castle on purpose, but there are many other locations competing for the title of biggest teapot.

Norwich Castle
Norwich Castle seen from below

Norwich Market

The market in Norwich is an attraction itself and it can be spotted right in the city centre. It has also a very interesting history. During the Norman age Norwich became one of the richest and most important cities in England. The market was an important trading center where goods from abroad were sorted.

After some years of stop due to the black plague, Norwich Market recovered completely and came back to the previous splendor, thanks to the local merchants. Some of them were curiously specialised in exotic fruit from the Mediterranean basin, like lemons or oranges.

Good for us, this international vocation has remained and now you can taste street food from all over the world from its stalls. To experience the Norwich market at its best, just stroll inside, buy some food and enjoy the day.

Norwich Market seen from above
Norwich Market seen from above

St Peter Mancroft Church

After the two cathedrals, St Peter Mancroft is the largest parish church in Norwich and it has stood near the Market for almost 600 years. As a church is quite impressive, very tall and very big, but the reason to visit it is its bell tower.

During the opening hours it is in fact possible to attend an explanation on the functioning of the bells. Climbing up the narrow steps of the bell tower is definitely an experience to do in Norwich.

St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich
St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich

Norwich Cathedral

With its impressive high ceiling and one of the larger cloister of England, the Norwich Cathedral is absolutely a must see. The building dates back to medieval times and it was begun in 1096. At first, it was completed in 1145, but it was modified many time during the ages.

Today Norwich Cathedral holds the records of having the second largest cloister and the second-tallest spire in England. The Anglican cathedral was also used as a location for many BBC programs and documentaries, as well as for films Jack the Gian Slayer, and Tulip Fever.

Norwich Cathedral's cloister
Norwich Cathedral’s cloister

Elm Hill

A walk in the heart of Norwich can’t miss Elm Hill, an ancient cobbled street surrounded by authentic Tudor buildings. The street is so picturesque that it has been used as a location in several television and film productions, including the Stardust and Jingle Jangle.

The history of Elm Hill dates back to around 1200, however very few buildings date back to before 1507 because in that year a fire in Norwich destroyed over seven hundred houses. The Britons Arms pub managed to survive the stake and for this reason it is considered the oldest in the city.

Elm Hill, the oldest cobbled street in Norwich
Elm Hill, the oldest cobbled street in Norwich and, perhaps, in the whole UK

Norwich: a city to experience

It is really easy to fell in love for Norwich because it can offer everything you’re looking for during a vacation. You can choose to explore Norwich starting from its historical attraction like in this itinerary, but also discovering its nightlife with its restaurants and pub. Again, the city is also perfect to visit with children due to the parks and the large pedestrian areas.

Let me know in the comments if you already knew Norwich and if you would suggest different attractions to visit in one day. If you can stay more, check the hotel in Norwich because it totally worth spending more time here.

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