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Surrey House interior Marble Hall additional credit Ricky Joe Burrage


It’s a social (media) summer...

In the UK alone, 80 million photos are shared each day between 14,000,000 users on Instagram. On Facebook there are 32,000,000 UK users of 1.65 billion in the world. In salute to these astounding numbers here are 5 less obvious places to visit in Norwich which we hope will inspire some social sharing and learning all at the same time!     

In fact, we throw you a challenge – post your pictures on Instagram using hashtag #socialsummer tagging Norwich_cityofstories  and we’ll pick the best of the best on 30 September to share with you in a special ‘look back at summer’ blog post. There may even be a great prize for the most inspiring and creative image!

Top image: Aviva's Marble Hall on Surrey Street 


If you love: Local food & drink, history, architecture

#socialsummer #food #travelgram #foodporn #medieval #tudor #cobbledstreets
Great for: Families and adults
Value: depends how hungry you are!  

Britons Arms Elm Hill Norwich 4

Image: The Britons Arms

The Britons Arms Coffee House located in Norwich’s most complete medieval street. Elm Hill is THE place to indulge in the most delectable homemade food we have ever come across – ever. And just when you think it can’t get more perfect, enjoy your chosen delights in their country garden-style courtyard overlooking the medieval buildings of Hungate Medieval church and The Halls.     

Don’t leave without tucking into a large slice of Hazelnut Meringue Roulade filled with cream and seasonal fruit (£4.95). And for you savoury-lovers? How about Cromer Crab Tarte, with rocket and crème fraiche, traditional Norfolk Pork Pie, served with local plum chutney or Norfolk Asparagus Quiche, with chive and ricotta. Prices start at £6.25 including a mixed salad.

For history buffs it’s worth mentioning that the building (which dates back to the 14th century and is one of only 5 thatched buildings in Norwich) is the sole survivor of the Elm Hill fire of 1507 and is on the trail of set-jetters who enjoyed The Britons Arms’ transformation into The Slaughtered Prince guest house, in the fictional mystical land of Stormhold in Stardust. The film starred Sienna Miller, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Claire Danes and is a classic tale of good versus evil.

If you love: Medieval churches, history, architecture, silver, textiles

#socialsummer #travelgram #cityescape #silver #weekendbreak #somewheredifferent
Great for: Adults
Value: FREE  

St Peter Mancroft medieval church Norwich stained glass East Wing

Image: The stained glass window at St Peter Mancroft Church

St Peter Mancroft Church is Norwich’s largest medieval church and whilst small in comparison to both our cathedrals, we often overhear visitors who mistake it for Norwich Cathedral! It’s a busy church - in addition to religious services, it’s a venue for free lunchtime recitals, music and of course atmospheric Christmas celebration.   

Due to no structural division between the nave and the chancel, the church has an airy feel. It was built between 1430 and 1455 and has a Norman foundation dating back to 1075. Exquisite medieval stained glass sits in the east window and is one of the best and largest collection of stained glass work of the fifteenth-century school of Norwich glass-painters. There’s also a collection of church silver cited as one of the best in the country and a font (dating back to 1463) which has a rare and unusual 15th century wooden canopy. One of its best secrets, though, is a beautiful Flemmish tapestry, Mancroft resurrection of 1573, which was woven in the parish by refugee Flemish weavers (follow the full story at The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell). 

St Peter Mancroft medieval tapestry Norwich
Image: the tapestry at St Peter Mancroft Church

Norwich is a UNESCO city of literature and this is the church where Sir Thomas Browne’s skull was reposed until it was taken 1840. It was discovered again in 1922 in the museum of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital!


If you love: Architecture, design, history, inventions

#socialsummer #travelgram #marble #families #design #madmen
Great for: Families and adults
Value: FREE

Surrey House interior Marble Hall additional credit Ricky Joe Burrage

Image: Aviva's Marble Hall on Surrey Street 

Marble Hall has to be up there as one of Norwich’s most hidden gems, this is also THE place to get the most amazing architectural pictures.   

Situated in Surrey House in Surrey Street, Marble Hall is the entrance to the offices of Aviva (formally Norwich Union) and as such is only accessible during office hours, Monday to Friday. It is however free to visit. You’ll experience a WOW moment as you enter. The hall (as its name suggests) has been created using the most exquisite marble – 15 varieties in fact, which was once destined for Westminster Cathedral. Designed by celebrated local architect George Skipper, the exterior is Palladian whilst inside the hall you’ll find: 40 marble columns, classically inspired frescos, a glass atrium (an 'air fountain' which was an early form of air conditioning), a 12 pointed floor medallion and a chiming skeleton clock made for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

If you love: Shopping, art, textiles, South Asia

#socialsummer #travelgram #asia #asianart #textiles #shopping
Great for: families and adults
Value: FREE plus shopping 

Country Eastern Norwich

Image: Country and Eastern's incredible balcony 

Country and Eastern, featuring The South Asia Collection, is completely different again from St Peter Mancroft and Marble Hall. This impressive building was once a Victorian skating rink; it is vast and truly a most unexpected find in the city centre. Interesting to view from the outside, it is another structure which doesn’t prepare you for the interior. 

Today it is home to The South Asia Collection which exhibits crafts, arts and culture of South Asia focusing mainly on India and Pakistan but also including Thailand, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Burma. Recently assessed, it’s been named as the pre-eminent collection of its type in the UK. This is all free to explore.

If you love shopping then County and Eastern is the place to purchase south Asian artefacts, rugs, textiles, fashion, art, jewellery and furniture. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of fantastic goods – you could very well end up spending quite a bit of time here!

If you love: Art, architecture, history, culture

#socialsummer #travelgram #art #culture #families #history #castle #activities #exhibitions
Great for:
Families & adults
Value: You can spend a good 5 hours in the museum and art galleries plus there is an extensive programme of free children’s activities and adult talks and workshops for added value once entrance is paid. Entrance is £2 in the last hour of the day.  

Norwich Castle Keep
Image: Norwich Castle's keep 

The permanent art collections on display at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery feature works spanning the 17th - 20th century. Featured artists include: The Norwich School, Sir Alfred Munnings, Thomas Gainsborough, William Hogarth, Edward Burne-Jones and members of the Dutch School.

There are five Galleries at Norwich Castle: Colman Galleries, East Anglian Painters Gallery, Victorian Picture Gallery, English Countryhouse Gallery, and the Timothy Gurney Gallery.

The Colman Galleries hold the world’s largest public collection of works by the Norwich School of Artists, the first regional society of artists established in England; notable members include John Crome, John Sell Cotman, Joseph Stannard and George Vincent. The English Countryhouse Gallery explores a variety of artworks and sculpture typical of those seen in an English country house between 1700 - 1830. Portrait painters of the time were usually asked to suggest the status of their patrons, evoking an atmosphere of wealth and elegance in the artwork.


Image: The Tower of Babel, Tobias Verhaecht (1561-1631)

Not to be missed is the soaring oil on canvas of the Tower of Babel by Tobias Verhaecht (1561–1631) and the magnificent 17th century painting ‘The Paston Treasure’, (read our previous blog post here) commissioned by Sir Robert Paston - 1st Earl of Yarmouth - in the mid 1670s, depicting objects from the family’s extravagant collection. In the 17th century there were no public museums so objects of art were commissioned by royalty and the wealthy and displayed in special rooms. Friends would then be invited into the residence to view and discuss. 


2017 events not to miss this summer in Norwich

Nelson and Norfolk
The centrepiece of the exhibition at Norwich Castle is the ensign from Le Généreux taken at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, an early French Tricolour which is not been available to the public for over 100 years.  And it’s HUGE!

Rana Begum at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
This is Rana’s first museum exhibition in the world and is not to be missed! Whilst the exhibition is small, it’s perfectly formed - her use of space, colour and form transforms the Mezzanine Gallery with an immersive installation and wall-mounted reliefs, taking advantage of the light and space of Norman Foster’s architecture.

Free Bandstand Concerts in Norwich Parks
Come along with your picnic and blanket to enjoy wonderful uplifting music in Norwich’s green spaces. 

Cecil Aldin: The Art of Black Beauty
This small exhibition shows off 13 beautiful watercolour illustrations as featured in the 1912 edition of Black Beauty published by Jarrold & Sons. This is in celebration of 140 years since Anna Sewell’s first and only novel was published.     

Afternoon Teas in Plantation Garden
Pop along on a summer Sunday afternoon for homemade teas in Norwich’s secret garden – it’s blissful!

Take your own art trail at the University of East Anglia
Can you spot all three of Anthony Gormley’s 3x Another Time series located outdoors around the campus? The head off to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts to see the outdoor sculptures of Henry Moore.



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