Norwich and Norfolk as a whole offers a huge choice of day trips and activities, places to visit and things to experience that don’t necessarily require a long journey to get there. Whether you already live here, close by, or Norwich is your temporary ‘home’, there are many little gems you probably have never thought to visit (until now!).
Image: Kieran Tovell
TAKE A TOUR
Image: view of the river near St James' Mill, Norwich
Whether you’re a resident of Norwich or a first-time visitor, taking a walking tour can be a great way to learn more about the city whilst getting in your quota of fresh air! There are year-round guided walks run by Norwich’s Tourist Information Centre (TIC), starting outside The Forum, but we’re particularly excited by two new tours: Words and Wanderings, and Passages and the Past.
Words and Wanderings discusses and demonstrates the city’s fantastic literary history (something we’ve been shouting about recently - check out our blog post here). This is a great opportunity to learn more about Norwich writers who have made our city the fantastic UNESCO City of Literature that it is today, from the first Julian of Norwich (see our blog post here) and political and feminist writer Harriet Martineau, to the author of Black Beauty (which was printed right here in Norwich), Anna Sewell, and how they’re all linked to Norwich. Take the tour on Friday 12 May or 2 June.
If you’re more interested in the city’s hidden spots then the Passages and the Past tour is for you! Unearth some of the city’s secret spots including concealed alleyways, lesser-known passageways and secret spots that you may not have come across before – whether this is your first time here or you’re a regular city rambler! Take the tour on Friday 19 May, 23 June or 21 July.
Image: Holkham Hall & Estate
This is the time of year when some of our favourite spots start to throw open their (often metaphorical) ‘doors’, and we can once again enjoy a visit to somewhere special. These places to visit are outside Norwich in the beautiful Norfolk countryside or Broads.
From April onwards, make a trip to Holkham Hall (re-opens 1 April) with its stunning architecture and impressive grounds to walk through (their walled garden is well worth a visit). Raveningham Gardens only open between April and August each year (apart from for special openings), so make sure you visit during that period to admire the beautiful garden’s many features, including a Herb and Rose Garden, and the garden’s many sculptures by Susan Bacon which are dotted around Raveningham’s many acres of greenery (it is truly gorgeous!).
The Thursford Collection is an incredible place to visit but what we love most is the fact you can ride original Victorian carousels with delightful fairground organ music playing as you go. Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens is a progressive zoo and strong supporter of The World Zoo Conservation Strategy of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In landscaped gardens, Thrigby offers a special collection of rare animals from Asia.
For trips with kids BeWILDerwood is an outdoorsy paradise and, though it opens again after Christmas in February, it’s mainly limited opening times until April when the 2017 season really swings back into action, as does Pleasurewood Hills - a 50 acre theme park suitable for all the family - which opens again from 5 April.
Only 6 miles from Norwich discover Wymondham Abbey – a stunning church overlooking beautiful countryside in a lovely market town. There are also good pubs, cafes, restaurants and independent shops! And right here in Norwich, if you love shoes then head over to Van Dal – the last traditional shoe factory in the UK. Take a free tour (must pre-book) and see first-hand, the craft and skill involved in making shoes. You also get 10% discount when you visit their factory shop!
Search loads more attractions on our visitor website www.VisitNorwich.co.uk
ON YOUR BIKE (OR NOT)
Image: Boudicca Way
Of course, with so many things to do and see around here, it’s easy to forget that just getting outside on one of the city’s many walking/ cycling routes is a great way to spend a spring day! We’re blessed with plenty of choice, depending on which direction you want to head in and how far you want to challenge yourself to go, but we’ve selected a few of our favourites which link Norwich to the rest of the countryside.
The Boudicca Way is a scenic 36-mile route which runs from Norwich to Diss. Running parallel with the A140, which used to be a key Roman road, there’s plenty of history surrounding this area (find out more in our blog post here). If you don’t fancy doing the full 36 miles, you can easily split the route into four more manageable parts of around 6 miles each, and the route starts and ends at railway stations so you could go one way on bike and hop on the train back, if you fancy!
Marriott’s Way connects Norwich to Aylsham with 26 miles of largely traffic-free pathways which are ideal for walking or cycling (and Aylsham is also linked to Great Yarmouth via the 61-mile-long Weavers’ Way!). Plus Marriott’s Way runs along old railway lines and features plenty of green countryside.
Alternatively take a walk around one of Norwich’s many parks – we love Eaton, Earlham and Waterloo Park!
COMING TO VISIT?
Greater Anglia have Advance fares from £9 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, Jersey*, Guernsey* and Amsterdam.