Soak up the last of the summer sunshine and take a walk around what is, for many, one of the most beautiful and picturesque parts of the city: Norwich’s Cathedral Quarter. We’ve highlighted some of our favourite parts to explore below.
Image: Norwich Cathedral
Inclusion of the word ‘tomb’ in its name means this area is often mistaken as having a historical association with graves, but it actually comes from an old Scandinavian word for ‘open space’ or ‘open ground’. It used to be the location of the city’s market, before it was relocated to the area near Hay Hill, and today you’ll find an eclectic mix of lovely restaurants, cafes, attractions and shops.
Image: bikes in Tombland
A trip to Norwich isn’t complete without a visit to Norwich Cathedral; we challenge anyone not to marvel at its incredible architecture – it’s one of the best and most complete examples of a Romanesque Cathedral in Europe, and the surrounding Cathedral Close area has some beautiful scenery to wander around. The Cathedral even runs free guided tours (Monday – Saturday, on the hour between 11am and 3pm) which are a great opportunity to learn more about the beautiful building.
Book a room at the nearby Maids Head Hotel, an amazing hotel housed in a 13th century building which has been beautifully refurbished in 2008 – it’s the perfect base to explore the Cathedral Quarter to your heart’s content whilst being only a few minutes’ walk back to relaxation!\
ESCAPE ROOMS & A HISTORIC HOSPITAL
Whilst you’re in the area you’ve got to give Cryptic Escape a go – it’s a fantastic attraction for all ages - with a difference. You’ll be locked in one of their Escape Rooms, and there starts your 60 minute countdown to try and complete the puzzles, solve the mystery and ultimately secure your escape! It’s so much fun and can be attempted in a large or small group, or just in a pair – you decide!
Less than 5 minutes’ walk from Norwich Cathedral, in Bishopgate, sits The Great Hospital – a building packed full of history - which was founded in 1249. Today it’s sheltered housing and care homes, but the building is open to the public on certain days throughout the year – please check their website for more details.
Image: part of the escape rooms at Cryptic Escape
A BITE TO EAT
There are lots of lovely restaurants and cafés around this area – why not drop in to 14 The Coffee Lounge (right by Cryptic Escape) for coffee, cake or lunch in the setting of a wonderfully historic building, and book a table in the evening at Shiki for delicious Japanese food. Alternatively enjoy lovely freshly prepared lunches and sweet treats at The Refectory, at Norwich Cathedral – open seven days a week and well worth a visit!
BOOKS & BEAUTY SPOTS
Browse Tombland Bookshop’s amazing range of second-hand and antiquarian books, covering a wide range of subjects – you’re bound to see some truly rare books whilst you’re there. For a spot of pampering, try nearby spots including Cutting Crew Organic, The Beauty Room or The Hairdresser.
Image: Britons Arms Coffee House and Restaurant
This tends to be the place most people think of when they’re asked to pick the prettiest Norwich spot; it’s certainly most complete medieval street in the city with plenty of highlights, making it truly a ‘can’t miss’ street!
We love the Britons Arms, an incredibly old (c.1420), striking building which is now a family-run restaurant, serving delicious lunches made with locally-sourced and seasonal produce. If it’s sunny make sure you enjoy your lunch (or their tea and cake, which is just as tasty!) in the delightful courtyard garden – a real suntrap – or, when it gets chilly, gather around their open fire to keep yourselves nice and cosy.
Image: The Bear Shop
THE BEAR SHOP
The Bear Shop is another must-visit; a picturesque shop stuffed to the brim with many brands of collectable and childrens’ bears, plus handmade artist teddy bears too! There’s really nowhere else like it in the city.
ART & GIFTS
We’d also recommend dropping in to Elm Hill Craft Shop for gorgeous little gifts and jewellery, perfect to treat family and friends (or yourself!) and immerse yourself in the gorgeous art collection of Mandell’s Gallery, which houses a mix of contemporary and traditional pieces. The Jade Tree has a wonderful array of wonderful and unusual art in its gallery and gift shop.
TEA & CAKE
After all that, make sure you head over to Wrights Court, one of the last surviving courtyards left in Norwich, just off Elm Hill - you’ll stumble across a cosy little café called The Tea House, serving cream teas, afternoon teas, cakes, lunches, and a brilliant range of teas!
Image: The Tea House
For more information on the Cathedral Quarter visit our website.
COMING TO VISIT?
Abellio 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.