As you may have noticed, Norwich is getting hot. Not quite Miami, but enough for the lunchtime crowd to reappear in Chapelfield Gardens, for the Puppet Man to take his hat off and for your laundry to dry in no time. We love it, and so to celebrate we've put together our own unique guide on how to spend the summer in the fine city.
1. Be Prepared
We’re talking hats, sunscreen, and making sure you’ve waxed your legs if you’re into that. You can pick up some ace (and practical) headwear from our friend Scott at City Hats on Norwich Market, and at reasonable prices. I know what you’re thinking, and yes he does sell sombreros. There are several city centre places to pick up suntan lotion, including a Boots on London Street and in Castle Mall, and as for your legs, ‘The Retreat’ at Jarrold do a full leg wax for £26. Silky.
2. Beer Gardens
Grab your friends and head to one of Norwich’s many beer gardens or sunny terraces. Situated by a river, there are plenty of places with views of the Wensum: The Ribs of Beef has a beautiful wooden decking literally on top of the water, in one of the oldest parts of the city, and The Playhouse Bar patio is furnished with a jungle of plants and garden ornaments. Other sun traps include The Garden House, The Plough and gorgeous-at-night-time The Last Pub Standing.
3. Ice Cream
Blimey, Norwich has got a treat for you; there are SO many good places to get ice cream here, in many different iterations. You want straight-up, good old fashioned Norfolk-made cones and tubs? Ronaldo’s have a stand outside Windsor Bishop on London Street. You want creamy gelato in fig and mascarpone flavours? Café Gelato on Opie Street is your destination. You want ice cream rolled and chopped in a display of dairy showmanship like you’ve never seen before? Huckley’s on Bridge Street. You’ve had a pants day and are looking for the ultimate in sod-it dessert experiences? Macarons and More do ice cream sandwiched between a GIANT macaron, and the result is truly beautiful.
4. Do your gardening
Or, if you can’t be bothered, have a look at someone else’s! Try Fairhaven for tranquil woodland, Raveningham Garden for the perfect mix of wilderness and manicured country garden, or Houghton Hall for some resplendent Palladian grounds punctuated by some incredible sculpture. For something truly exotic, Pensthorpe Natural Park is not only an expansive, modern nature reserve, but also home to flamingos...
5. Spend as little time in the car as possible
And go for a walk! The Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail is now open, and it’s a great way to explore Norwich and into Norfolk. The trail was once a railway line; now it’s a traffic free 26 mile route into North Norfolk, designed for both walking and cycling. We’ve got loads of walking trails on the VisitNorwich website listed here, or if you fancy staying in the city centre, why not download our Tudor Tour of Norwich (this one has got plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, too).
6. Get to know the green spaces in your city
Grab a picnic, bug spray and something nice to sit on, and head for one of Norwich’s many parks and green spaces. Places to visit include Eaton Park (lovely café), Waterloo Park (another lovely café), Mousehold Heath (where you’ll find a great burger joint with a cracking view - Zaks). Chapelfield Gardens is right in the centre of the city too, and has a play area if you’re going with little ones.
You’ve got a weekend free, and there’s a tent sitting in your garage that hasn’t seen the light of day since your bought it on ebay in 2005. Time to go camping. Norfolk is home to some really wonderful campsites, in the Broads National Park, towards North Norfolk and right by the city itself. Stay at the small and quiet (and blossoming!) Causeway Cottage campsite, which is a two minute walk from the Herbert Woods Marina where you can hire day boats and kayaks, or go paddleboarding with Norfolk Outdoor Adventures! Also on the broads, and right by a river is the tranquil Reedham Ferry Touring Park. Towards North Norfolk, West Runton Camping and Caravanning is perfect for families (and close to the beach), and back in towards Norwich, Whitlingham Broad Campsite offers a luxury night under the stars, in one of their fabulous bell tents.
8. Go underground.
We mean literally. Norwich was built on a network of medieval tunnels so there is no shortage of places to get out of the sun and into cool, dark place. At The Grosvenor, you’ll find a fish and chip shop with a real difference, serving all your favourite classics as well as dishes with a twist such as ‘five quid squid’, ‘the big mack’ and ‘loony toony’ – tuna steak in a roll with lettuce and wasabi mayo. You can take your dinner out with you or to The Birdcage across the road, or alternatively, check out their own dining area in their re-purposed undercroft beneath the shop. And from one undercroft to another, the Undercroft Gallery in the centre of Norwich is a space for artists to showcase their work, right in the centre of the city (it’s beneath the Memorial Gardens behind the market). Currently on is the fascinating and inspiring ‘Bedlam Triangle’. Also beneath ground level is the brilliant new History Mystery Game at ‘The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell’, set in a medieval merchant’s vault. We did this last week, and sadly didn’t make it out in time…
9. Make the most of some al-fresco entertainment.
Two weeks ago saw the start of Head out not Home, which brings free outdoor entertainment to the city’s streets every Thursday until the 6th of September. See a variety of acts in different sites across Norwich, from Covent Garden Street Performers to local musicians! Further afield, Holkham Hall are putting on several family shows in their beautiful walled gardens, such as ‘The Railway Children’, ‘Dr Dolittle’ and ‘The Midnight Gang’. Plus, throughout July, Broads Tours are hosting an ‘Evening on the Broads' with the Norfolk Dixieland Jazz Band, for a cruise down the tranquil waters of Norfolk in a jazz experience like no other. To end the week, Plantation Garden have a programme of Live Music and Sunday teas – it’s £2 entry to this delightful Victorian garden, where you can enjoy a delicious cup of tea and cake, and performances from local musicians, too.
See, 'Beer Gardens'.
COMING TO VISIT?
Greater Anglia has Advance fares from £10 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Greater Anglia also serves Colchester, Ipswich and Diss on the Norwich line. Direct trains also run from Cambridge.
East Midlands Trains runs services from Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham. Flights into Norwich served from Edinburgh, Manchester, Exeter, Aberdeen and Amsterdam, and seasonally from Guernsey and Jersey.
To plan a trip to Norwich check out our website www.visitnorwich.co.uk