Day Trip Ideas From London | Weekend Break To Norwich
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Whether you and the family live a busy metropolitan life or you just feel like escaping the sameness of home it's hard to go wrong with a relaxing weekend break in the country. One of our top recommendations if you live in and around London would be to take a trip through the rolling greenery of Norfolk and spend some time exploring its beautiful county town on the River Wensum. Norwich has plenty to offer those who love encountering unique food scenes, chilling out in cultured environments, and best of all, immersing themselves in living history.
To help you make the most of your 48 hours in Norwich we contacted a passionate pair of locals who're involved in the promotion of their home town: Ruth from 'Life In A Fine City' (a blog featuring the best in Norwich food and culture) and Dermott from 'Slow Food Norwich and Anglia' (see the 'about' below). Together they've helped us pinpoint some of the city's best sights, attractions, eateries, festivals and more. Check out their list of recommendations below and add a few of the suggestions to your own weekend break itinerary.
For easy access to most of the recommendations you might also want to book a ticket for the City Sightseeing Norwich bus tour.
Dermott's take on Norwich:
Norwich is the beautiful capital city of the county of Norfolk in East Anglia and is referred to by locals and in the press as, "A Fine City" It sits on the river Wensum and to the east are the world famous Norfolk Broads. It founding possibly dates back to the Romans but its written history really starts in Anglo Saxon times.
Getting To Norwich From London:
Norwich is less than two hours from London by train from Liverpool Street Station and the M11 and dual carriageway A11 connect it. Stansted Airport is only an hour away by car to the south and also the same time by train. The North Norfolk coast is only 30 minutes to the north with the popular resorts of Cromer, Great Yarmouth and Sherringham.
Things To Do In Norwich:
- In the centre of Norwich there is Norwich Castle which is now a museum and an arts centre.
- The beautiful Norwich Cathedral which was started in 1096 and finished in 1145.
- The modern Millennium building the Forum is now the centre of much if the cultural life in Norwich and BBC Norfolk is based there.
- There is the famous Norwich Theatre Royal which has concerts and shows on throughout the year.
- Each July there is the popular and growing Norwich Lanes Fayre held throughout the streets, lanes and alleys of Norwich. This year there were over 100 stalls throughout this vibrant area of Norwich. They include street food, artisan food and drink producers, clothes stalls, etc.
- There is also a large fixed market in the centre of Norwich open 6 days a week. This has been on the same site for over 100 years.
- Swing into town for The Norfolk and Norwich Festival (13-29 May, 2016).
- Norwich now has a strongly established and ever growing food scene. Many well known restaurant chains have opened in the past few years but recently there has been a massive increase in the number of small artisan deli's and restaurants. One of the best is the wonderful Louis Deli in Upper St Giles which only sells local produce including Norfolk wine and a selection of artisan breads, etc.
- Two months ago Richard Bainbridge a Michelin starred chef opened his new Benedicts restaurant in St Benedicts Street. He will be representing the East of England on the popular BBC1 programme The Great British Menu in a few weeks time.
- Norwich is also the home of world famous Colman's Mustard and has a dedicated museum for mustard lovers!
About Slow Food Norwich:
Slow Food Norwich together with Slow Food Anglia run a monthly Slow Supper club for members based both in Norwich and in other parts of East Anglia, they also specialise in arranging tours and visits to Slow Food groups in Italy, Sicily, Malta, Holland and other countries in Europe.
Ruth's take on Norwich:
Norwich is a little gem in the east of England, a bustling city with the countryside and miles of lush beaches just a short trip away. There's lots to explore, here are my top tips for a great weekend break and a real taste of this charming city.
Where To Stay In Norwich:
38 St.Giles is a beautiful bespoke bed and breakfast in the heart of the city, surrounded by restaurants and sights. You will be treated like family and have one of the best breakfasts around, the suite is simply stunning with its roll top bath and stained glass windows. Step outside and you're right in Norwich Lanes, full of independent shops and cafes, plenty to see and do and taste.
What To See:
Norwich boasts two cathedrals, a Norman castle, city walls that date back to medieval times, a market place that has been in the same spot for 900 years, although its very modern now! Elm Hill looks almost the same as it did in Tudor times and has been a location setting for many period films. The Royal Arcade is a glass roofed Art Nouveau masterpiece and a must see. It never rains in the arcade.
Where To Have Lunch:
No weekend break in Norwich would be complete without visiting the best chip shop in the world, Grosvenors Fish Bar. This is no ordinary chip shop, expect jazz music, a fantastic interior and of course the best chips you'll ever taste. You can sit downstairs in the cavern or take your food across to my favourite pub and people watching spot The Birdcage. Enjoy your chips with an ale or a cocktail, but don't feed the cat he's on a diet!
Shopping In Norwich:
Norwich Lanes is a lovely network of mostly pedestrianised streets with boutiques, galleries, cafes and just about anything else you could want. We are proud of supporting local businesses in Norwich and we welcome visitors with warmth.
If you fancy a walk around the city then head to The Plantation Gardens on Earlham Road, it's not far from The Lanes and you won't be disappointed, the gothic fountain, terraces and pristine lawns are a joy to explore. On the way back you'll spot Kofra, if you love coffee then this is the place for you, owner Jose is so passionate about his coffee you can taste it.
Where To Have Dinner:
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating in Norwich, one of the best fine dining establishments is The Maddermarket Kitchen, slip down a church archway past the Maddermarket Theatre and you'll find some truly stunning food, this is a real restaurant with real food. If you fancy somewhere more relaxed then try The Waffle House which is directly opposite 38 St.Giles and has been a firm Norwich favourite for more than 30 years.
Drinking In Norwich:
Norwich used to have a pub for every day of the year, we don't have quite that many now but we do still have some great places to sit and relax, The Rumsey Wells has a real English flavour about it, with pictures of noblemen and top hat lights, wooden furniture gives it a real tavern feel, there's a rum bar downstairs and pies served daily.
If rum isn't your thing and gin is then head to The Mash Tun and Gin Palace, downstairs is all about craft beers and pulled pork but upstairs is a step back in time. The Gin Palace is a place of grandeur, choose from over 150 gins and sip delicately in antique chairs under decadent chandeliers. Goodnight!
All photo credits go to Ruth at Life In A Fine City.