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Free things (and win a thing!)

Everyone likes getting stuff for free. 

  • A surprise coffee in Pret (that DOES happen, I swear)
  • A top that your housemate was getting rid of
  • A lovely compliment
  • One of those fun boxes of tiny cosmetics that you get after you've already bought some other cosmetics

Well, pack extra pants because next week is English Tourism Week, and there's a whole host of things going on around Norwich that you can do for free. In honour of this very special week, City of Stories (with some help from the BID City Hosts...) have compiled a list of some of our other favourite free things to do around the city (for most of the year), as well as giving you the chance to win a FREE crate of local Woodforde's beer!


English Tourism Week 
Free things to do (17 – 25 March 2018)


Tombland Books ETWCredit: City of Stories, Julika Hartz

The big one. There is so much going on over this week, all designed to help you get to know this wonderful city just a little bit better. I wrote a blog post on it a couple of weeks ago, so if you want to know more, please read here. Just briefly though, there will be free historical tours by the Tourist Information Centre, a chance to view the city from a fun double decker bus with City Sightseeing Tours, 3 interactive events at Norwich Castle, a special afternoon tea and cocktails at the Maid's Head Hotel, plus a special, mystery-package giveaway at Tombland bookshop in partnership with the Writers Centre Norwich (keep an eye on the WCN social media for how you can claim your free parcel...).




We're very fortunate in Norwich in that a lot of our great galleries are open to the public for free, all year round. Next week you can catch ten very special portraits by the renowned illustrator Quentin Blake, an eclectic showcase of works by Colin Self and Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) in 'I think we should just be friends'  at the Fairhurst Gallery, and 'The Fields are Seas' by Lotte Scott at Outpost (a hidden gem in Cathedral Quarter). Also over at UEA you can see Antony Gormley's  very moving life-sized sculptures haunting the campus, and the world-famous Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is free to get in to see their permanent art collections (apart from some special exhibitions); visit their website for more information.


Norwich Cathedral 

Cathedral Wall Edit
Credit: City of Stories, Julika Hartz

Norwich's spectacular Cathedral is free to get into (although any donations are gratefully received), and they also put on a lot of wonderful events, some of which are also free (visit their website for details, or pick up one of their 'What's On' guides dotted around the city). If you're interested in learning more about the Cathedral's history, they run free tours throughout the year too. But what is particularly special is going in the evening - maybe after a busy day at work - wandering through the cloisters and the labyrinth, and taking some time to just sit and have a moment of quiet, or listen to the organ if you're lucky enough to catch a recital.


Marble Hall

Marble Hall Edit

Credit: City of Stories, Kate Bryan

Marble Hall is one of those places that makes you do a 'whoa' shape with your mouth the first time you walk through the doors and into its grand interior. It is a working building - the home of Aviva, in fact - and is situated within a grand Edwardian building designed by George Skipper, around themes of  'insurance, protection and wellbeing'. It is decked out almost entirely in 15 different varieties of marble, which was originally destined for Westmister Abbey.  The building itself also has a fascinating history - there was a house on the site previously that was never actually occupied by its intended owner in the 16th century... Marble Hall is free to enter during office hours Monday to Friday.


Whitlingham Lake and Riverside Walk

Riverside Walk Edit

Credit: City of Stories, Kate Bryan

Norwich is famed for being a low-lying city (the wide open ceiling of the Forum pays homage to the amount of sky that can be seen in Norwich), but it is also a city beside, interrupted by and leading to water. The walk beside the river Wensum running through Norwich is really nice - it takes you past landmarks such as Cow Tower, the Cathedral and Pull's Ferry (and it's not free, but you'll also encounter some enticing pubs along the way...). Whitlingham Lake is just a short walk from the city centre, and is just a gentle 2.5(ish) mile round stroll. It's calm, quiet, and especially nice in summer when you can watch the watersports happening on the water. 


Win a crate of beer

Woodfordes Wdfrds0084

Finally, City of Stories has got one mixed crate of 12 Woodforde's beers to give away, to celebrate the general free-ness of English Tourism Week. Now that the sun is out (kind of), what better way to celebrate?! 

Charlie Hodson is the executive chef of the Fur & Feathers at Woodforde’s Brewery  and is in the running to win VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2018 award. So in celebration of Charlie’s potential win, City of Stories has got one mixed crate of 12 Woodforde's beers to give away! Tourism  Superstar is an English Tourism Week initiative to recognise people who go above and beyond to promote tourism. Read here about how to vote for Charlie – voting closes 20th March.  Woodforde’s Brewery has been crafting beer for over 30 years, using only the finest locally grown Norfolk malting barley. Woodforde’s are renowned for using the best ingredients, a fastidious dedication to consistency, and a rare, in-depth knowledge of their craft. The crate includes all your favourites from the Norfolk brewer: Wherry, Nelson, Nog and Bure gold. Click the link her to enter via the VisitNorwich website. 

The crate includes all your favourites from the Norfolk brewer: Wherry, Nelson, Nog and Bure gold. Click the link here to enter via the VisitNorwich website - closing date is 29th of March.





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, Jersey*, Guernsey* and Amsterdam.


To plan a trip to Norwich check out our website