Curling up with a great book is one of life’s great pleasures. Sometimes browsing shelves of brand new (or at least new-to-you) books, and deciding what to read next, is a big part of the fun – and luckily Norwich is blessed with plenty of fantastic bookshops to indulge your book addiction (as well as an amazing festival for crime-lovers, Noirwich, in September)! We should hope so too - we are a UNESCO City of Literature, after all!
Image: The Book Hive
Here’s five of our favourites:
We had to start with The Book Hive: housed in a beautiful three-storey building nestled in the heart of The Norwich Lanes, and positively crammed full of wonderful books, this independent bookshop is a Norwich favourite. With plenty of space to sit, relax and read, this award-winning bookshop boasts a glowing recommendation by none other than Stephen Fry himself! They avoid stocking all the same best-selling titles you’ll see elsewhere and instead carefully select books for sections which include Fiction, Poetry, Art & Design, Children’s Books and Cookery, and host regular events and book launches throughout the year. Plus they offer the PERFECT gift for any book-lover: A Book Hive Year, in which the recipient will be sent a book a month for 12 months – all specially selected depending on their interest. Christmas = sorted!
This independent family-run business has been going strong in Norwich for over 30 years. Specialising in rare and out-of-print editions, there’s a wealth of amazing books just waiting to be discovered! Their upstairs room often houses historical exhibitions and they stock titles from a wide range of specialist subjects. Plus, if you’re after local titles, you’ve come to the right place – City Bookshop stock a huge range! You’ll find them in Davey Place – nice and central. Added bonus: it’s also located in the brilliant Castle / Royal Arcade district, which has just been shortlisted for the Great British High Street of the Year Award – reads all about it here.
Known all over the county as the flagship independent store, Jarrolds might not sell only books but it does house a wonderful book department which stocks a great range of national and local titles. They host various book-related events throughout the year (we recently attended and loved ‘An Evening with Peter James’, as part of the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival) and if you can’t find the book you’re after on their shelves, they’ll order it into the store for you!
Situated in the Cathedral Quarter (in fact it’s right opposite the Cathedral!), a truly historic and atmospheric area of Norwich, this bookshop retains its own charm and character; it’s exactly how we’d imagine a lovely, elegant bookshop in this area to be!.
Tombland Bookshop has over 40 years of book-selling experience and specialises in buying and selling second-hand and antiquarian books on a variety of subjects, and academic and specialist books too.
AND A LITTLE FURTHER AFIELD…
5. KETT’S BOOKS
This cosy independent bookshop is very unique in the way it does business – it’s actually a not-for-profit shop run by volunteers, located in the historic market town of Wymondham. Taking its name from the town’s famous local Robert Kett, the shop was taken over from its previous owners (who were closing the shop due to retirement) by a group of volunteers who wanted to run the business by turning its profit back into the local community.
Kett’s Books stocks a great range of books, concentrating on what its visitors and the wider community seem to be enjoying and carefully selecting titles they feel will be enjoyed the most, from children’s books to great fiction and non-fiction titles plus local-interest books too! If they don’t stock the title you want they can order it into the shop ready to be picked up (just get in touch with them), and they also host a variety of book-related events too.
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.