You may already be aware of ‘hygge’; the concept is becoming more and more prevalent here in the UK, having picked up the pace recently. It originates from Denmark (in fact there’s no straight translation for this word into English) and, if you’re not familiar with the term, it’s basically about embracing life – all year round, but particularly during the colder months when moods can dip as much as the temperature.
Hygge is about being content and happy - perhaps indulging in some favourite hobbies (how about crafty activities, learning a language or trying out some delicious new recipes?), lazing around by an open fire or relaxing in a cosy bar. Most of all, it’s about enjoying time with whoever you want to be around - friends, family, or both.
To that end we’ve selected our highlights to get you through the winter months with a healthy dose of ‘hygge’!
Image: The Assembly House
Image: The Norfolk Mead
Make sure your accommodation of choice offers a stay in keeping with the hygge way! The Maids Head Hotel, right in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, is housed in a truly historic building (read more in our blog post). Their Jacobean style snug is a great place to snuggle up in day or night – very cosy and extremely welcoming when "baby, it’s cold outside"! The Assembly House is a great option for really comfortable stay with plenty of style, all housed in a gorgeous Georgian building.
The Old Rectory has plenty of warm and friendly rooms with an intimate candlelit dining room – settle in with a pre-dinner drink in their delightful lounge, or plump for extra privacy in their self-contained Dowagers Cottage. For luxury with the cosiness and friendliness of a B&B, book a room at Byfords Posh B&B – it’s located in the quaint North Norfolk market town of Holt, or go for stress-free self-catering properties which have a good dose of cosiness – try Cobblestones, Tapestry Cottage or East View Farm Holiday Cottages.
Of course, somewhere with an open fire is perfect for a hygge weekend away! Number 17, the Norfolk Mead Hotel and Broom Hall Hotel all have roaring fires to cosy up around in the winter; they’ll make you feel amazing!
Image: The Britons Arms
Hygge is also about gathering friends together - and where better to do this than around a big table? There are plenty of restaurants in and around Norwich which are sure to leave you feeling relaxed and well-fed. We recommend Mambo Jambo for flavourful Mexican food, Louis’ Deli for a comforting cuppa and tasty lunches (you can also get homemade frozen meals from their deli section to take and cook at home) or one of the three Zak’s restaurants in Norwich. Their Mousehold restaurant is housed in a brilliant pagoda-style building, but that’s where the South Asian similarities end – inside it’s packed full of 50’s style memorabilia from the USA. Friendly staff serve up big tasty American meals so you won’t be left feeling hungry!
Speaking of Mousehold, Café Britannia is another eatery located in this area. A shabby chic café which serves freshly cooked breakfasts, lunches and sweet treats, it has an amazing view out over Mousehold Heath and is well worth popping in.
The Waffle House is another must-visit; there’s something surprisingly comforting (and, of course, delicious) about a freshly cooked waffle with a range of topping options – savoury mains or a sweet dessert waffle? It’s your choice (we’d go for both!)
The Library Restaurant Bar and Grill provides an atmospheric setting for lunch or dinner, with tasty dishes and a great cocktail menu. Located on the site of the old city library, inside you’ll find classic décor, plenty of books lining the walls, and an enclosed, comfy bar area that you’ll want to stay in all night. They also have a cosy reading room, study and snug which can be rented out, to really embrace that hygge feeling!
The Britons Arms has a truly historic feel to it, located in the beautiful Elm Hill area of the city, in a thatched merchants house which dates back to around 1420 – it is the only building in Elm Hill to have survived the great fire of 1507. Their replica wood burning stove throws out plenty of heat for cold winter days, mix this with the aroma of strong coffee and warm homemade sausage rolls and you’ll never want to leave!
Plenty more cosiness awaits you at two of our favourite pubs: The Ribs of Beef, with its riverside location and family-run feel. They serve up hearty pub food and you can pop in to watch Norwich play on away days with friends, if you fancy! The Loddon Swan is another great option – a little further afield in the pretty market town of Loddon, in the Broads. It serves hearty pub food with a cosy pub feel. We recommend wrapping up and taking one of the circular walks in the area for a pre-lunch slice of exercise.
Image: Jack and the Beanstalk at Norwich Theatre Royal
If you visit Norwich between 19 – 24 November make sure you spend some time wandering around Norwich’s Norwegian Handcrafters Market, with hot food and drink, crafts, homemade produce and lots of other lovely gift ideas, all the way from the Trondheim region of Norway! Free to enter; find it outside The Forum. Norwich has plenty of other markets taking place this winter too; check out our blog post here.
Whilst you’re near The Forum make sure you take a walk through the Tunnel of Light; connecting Millennium Plain with Gentleman’s Walk, it features 45 meters of glittering LED lights, all adorning a tunnel which you can walk through (free entry). The lights can even reflect the patterns of the Northern Lights – you won’t be able to stop yourselves staring in awe!
Whilst here check out one of the city’s great exhibitions, or see a show at one of Norwich’s four main theatres – Theatre Royal, Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Puppet Theatre or the Norwich Playhouse. For something a little different, why not get involved in one of Norfolk Yarn’s craft workshops, covering felt-making and crochet to needlepoint and spinning (not the exhausting kind on a bike, we might add!) or participate in language classes at Louis’ Deli (they’re free to attend - just buy a drink!).
Greater Anglia have Advance fares from £9 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Abellio 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, Jersey*, Guernsey* and Amsterdam.