Summer is still hanging in there and we're determined to make the most of it and not pay any attention to the Halloween costumes and selection boxes sneaking into the shops. September can be one of the most beautiful months for sunny days and warm evenings and there's still time to get out and make the most of it. Here's our guide to enjoying every last ray of sun.
BEST OF THE (BEER) GARDENS
Image: The waterside balcony at the Ribs of Beef
Being able to meet friends for a cool beer or a refreshing spritzer in a sunny garden is what it's all about. Before you know it, one quick drink and has turned into a bottle and you're saying the phrase "this is the life", whilst browsing the sharing platters.
Norwich has plenty of places to indulge the fantasy. If you want a river view without the crowds, try to get yourself a spot on the balcony at the Ribs of Beef, it's a cosy squeeze but rubbing shoulders with like-minded sun-seekers is all part of the fun.
Riverside is the place to go if you want to settle in for the duration with lots of bars and restaurants close together, so you can move along once you start to exhaust the cocktail menu. There is plenty of outside seating, so you can soak up the view across the river while you relax.
Image: The Fritton Arms has a stunning countryside location by the lake
Why not make a day of it and seek out sanctuary in a countryside beer garden? You can go for a scenic walk afterwards to break even on some of the calories! The Bird in the Hand at Wreningham is a family-run, traditional pub and restaurant with a nice garden and a tempting menu. The Fritton Arms is set on the banks of Fritton Lake, there's outdoor seating and lovely green views. If you're visiting the Broads, make a stop at The Loddon Swan, an eighteenth century inn with a courtyard garden.
Gardens aren't just for beer, they're perfectly well suited to that other great indulgence - coffee and cake. Visit the Britons Arms Coffee House and Restaurant on Elm Hill for character, great coffee and delicious home-made cakes; there's a wonderful little hidden garden at the back. Outside of the city, Norfolk Mead Hotel has a lovely garden with views across the river - perfect for a civilized afternoon tea on the lawn.
EATING OUT - LITERALLY
Image: Eat out and watch the world go by at intu Chapelfield
Don't just eat out, eat outside! While there's still chance, grab the last of the afternoon sun with food in the fresh air at one of the many restaurants on Chapelfield Plain. We'd definitely recommend Byron for incredible hamburgers with irresistible toppings and yummy sides. You can relax and enjoy your meal al fresco while shoppers go bustling past.
To dine out with a romantic view, head up to the Rooftop Gardens on Rose Lane where there are two large outdoor terraces with views across the city skyline. You can even take breakfast above the city on Saturdays and Sundays. If you're having a walk around the city's historic Tombland area, stop for lunch at the Giggling Squid, there is a large seating area out front, so you can admire the beauty of the nearby buildings while you tuck in to their renowned Thai Tapas Lunch.
Image: Find out why people are raving about the fish and chips at the Grosvenor
For a budget bite to eat, you can't beat chips with a sprinkling of salt and vinegar, just the smell is enough to make stomachs rumble! Grosvenor Fish Bar is consistently ranked on TripAdvisor as one of the best places to eat in Norwich. Find out why it's so loved by treating yourself to a portion of fish and chips and then find yourself a spot on the grass outside to enjoy them. Or, why not pack yourself a picnic and head over to Chapelfield Gardens or Castle Mall Gardens and enjoy your feast with sunshine and tranquility?
ENJOY THE WATERWAYS
Boating on the Broads changes from Peak Season to Mid Season from early September, so, it's a great time to hire a day boat. The waterways will be less congested and the hire charges are often reduced to reflect the new season.
If you want to be your own captain for the day, hire a day boat from Broads Tours where off-peak prices start from 6th September. You can hire a day boat by the hour, starting at for £18 for one hour, or have a more relaxed morning or afternoon aboard with £68 for four hours on the water. If you want someone else to take the wheel, join one of their guided river trips where you have full commentary from the skipper. One hour trips are £8 per adult and £5 per child.
Herbert Woods also has day boats and picnic boats to hire or, if you want to explore off the beaten track, how about getting closer to nature and hiring a canoe or kayak? Hire is available seven days a week until 31st October, eight hours for £36 or four hours for £20.
COMING TO VISIT?
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 www.visitnorwich.co.uk