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Great british high street illustration notext


GB High Street of the Year: let's bring it home (again!)

Which area of Norwich combines Medieval and Georgian streets, large open spaces, a Norman Castle and a beautiful Art Noveau shopping area – plus much more? Step forward the Castle / Arcade district!

Norwich Business Improvement District are putting forward this eclectic and exciting area of the city as one delightful city-centre quarter, to win Great British High Street of the Year for the second time - Norwich was awarded this title 2 years ago, then for the Norwich Lanes, and it was a fantastic accolade not just for this specific area but the whole city. They have been shortlisted for the award, up against Broadmead in Bristol and The Cathedral Quarter in Derby, so please cast your vote to help the Castle/ Arcade District win here!

Norwich is such a vibrant and exciting place to visit and live in, and the Castle / Arcade district is a prime example of the varied and fun things the city has to offer.


 Royal Arcade Norwich entrance 5 Melanie March

Image: The Royal Arcade entrance near the Back of the Inns

To start with, the area boasts an impressive art nouveau building (the architecture is amazing), The Royal Arcade (read our blog post which includes the history of this building here), which was built in 1889 and today houses a variety of independent shops and restaurants as well as the occasional pop-up shop. 

We love The Tannery for gorgeous leather bags, shoes and accessories, and for anyone with kids: don’t miss the wonderful Langleys Toy Shop, stuffed to the brim with toys and games and delights for adults too. Of course, we can’t forget Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum. Step inside and marvel at their huge display of mustard; pots of this famous ‘Yellow stuff’ adorn the shelves in numerous flavours, with various mustard-themed products and gifts for sale. You’ll be amazed at the mustard memorabilia too, spanning the 200 years since Jeremiah Colman’s first started his mustard empire. It’s the only one of its kind in the world – quite a claim to fame!

The Royal Arcade sits within the area known as ‘The Back of the Inns’  – probably so because the Arcade was once home to inns where horse drawn carriages would depart on their way to London with the local gentry. This area is today home to an eclectic mix of shops - it’s a shopper’s dream, in fact, because as well as the Arcade’s retailers, you can also find high street favourites Cath Kidston, White Stuff, Waterstones, The Body Shop and L’Occitane on its doorstep. The Back of the Inns is also entry to one of the city’s two shopping centres: Castle Mall, which offers a huge range of shops to spend your hard-earned cash. Come out the other side of the Mall and you enter Timberhill, an historic pedestrianised hill and one of the oldest ever recorded city streets. Find it lined with independent shops, boutiques, designer homewares, eateries and the infamous Murderers pub (now that pub has a very interesting story to tell!).   


Norwich Castle

Image: Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

This wonderful area has plenty of interest – more than you can shake a stick at! Castle Mall is the first example of a major shopping facility developed with a park on the roof, taking its name from the adjacent Norman Castle now a fabulous museum and art gallery. The stunning Royal Arcade which used to be a hotel and has seen its fair share of action over the years , then there’s also the rich and historical Timberhill. Add to this the various award-winning businesses in the area (including Macarons & More, Bill’s and The Murderers pub) and you’ve got a truly Great British High Street!

All the businesses in this area feature on the free to download Discover Norwich app – it’s packed full of great features including business and events listings, free city trails to follow and a handy digital map! Download it on ios and Android.

If you want to help get behind the campaign to help Norwich be crowned ‘Great British High Street of the Year’, get involved by tweeting  your messages of support and photos using the hashtags #Norwich #GBHighSt and vote for the Castle / Arcade District here.