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What You'll See On The City Sightseeing Norwich Bus Tour:
A visit to the county town of Norwich is a must for those on the trail of English history, or for those who desire a fun yet relaxing city break that includes retail therapy with a twist. When it comes to the city's historical landscape seek out the famous 'Norwich 12', a collection of buildings that cover 5 key era's of English history: Norman, Medieval. Georgian, Victorian and Modern.
Principle amongst the dozen is Norwich Castle (Stop 7). It's one of the largest and best preserved Norman buildings in Europe, so sturdy and imposing that it served as the county gaol from the 14th century all the way through to the 19th century. Since being converted into a museum in 1894 visitors have been able to explore its history as a fortress of William the Conqueror as well as an infamous prison. The modern museum also contains wondrous pieces of fine art, natural history displays and archaeological artefacts from cultures as diverse as the Anglo-Saxons and ancient Egyptians.
Norwich Cathedral (Stop 3) is an awesome testament to the political power and artistic ingenuity of the Normans. Constructed to most of its current specifications in 1145 the structure's scale and quality has ensured its lasting survival over the past 900 years. Most of the key features remain largely intact, from the religiously-themed roof bosses (1,106 in total) to the 13th century cloisters and the late 15th century stone spire.
The spire is the second highest of its kind in the UK (123 meters), surpassed only by Salisbury Cathedral. The cloisters, however, are the largest of their kind in the country. During your visit be sure to check out the Hostry Visitor and Education Centre, where you can learn about the legacy, construction and architecture of the cathedral.
If the city's religious landscape is something that particularly captivates you then be sure to also explore the St Peter Mancroft Church, St Andrews & Blackfriars Halls and St John's Roman Catholic Church.
The Great Hospital (east of Cathedral) is a medieval hospital building that first came into use in 1249 and remains functional to this day. If you're travelling as part of a large group (no greater than 25) then guided tours can be arranged for £100. The tour lasts around 1.5 hours and covers St Helen's Church + House, the Refectory, Eagle Ward, Brickbeck Hall and the Ivory Rooms.
As we've already mentioned Norwich is notable for its one-of-a-kind shopping experiences. These range from independent retailers big and small to large and comprehensive malls hosting the world's most recognisable brand names. Hop-off at the fringes of the 'Norwich Lanes' (stops 1 or 9), and wander into a world of narrow, winding alleys and medieval architecture. These historical streets are a treasure trove of small boutiques, independent retailers, coffee shops, quirky café/bars and pubs. Why not spend some time hunting down a cool souvenir then kick-back with some hearty pub grub and a real ale.
At some point take a walk along to Jarrolds, one of the UK's oldest and most renowned independent department stores. The building's history and elegant architecture have positioned it as more than just a retail outlet, rather a significant local landmark.
Other shopping venues include the week-long Norwich Market (stop 2), Elm Hill (stop 3) and the Chapelfield Shopping Centre (closest to stop 8).
Before you book a tour and head off to Norwich here's a few other key attractions to look out for along with their closest respective stops: Norwich Theatre Royal (stop 1), City Hall and Norwich Guild Hall (stop 2), Surrey House (stop 8), and Dragon Hall (stop 6). The latter is a remarkably well preserved medieval trading hall that is currently the only building of its kind known to have survived into the 21st century.