It’s that time of year again when we all start working through our long lists of Christmas presents – but we’re not talking about what you want, we’re talking about what you will be buying for friends and family. But actually, going back to our own lists - ahead of anything else - many of us aspire and desire the perfect ‘Christmas outfit’. This is the season, after all, when we feel we are owed a couple (or three) new things to wear!
Shopping in Norwich covers everything, as you might imagine for a capital city, but the fashion here is truly great. Norwich has many independent fashion retailers, from scandi chic in The Norwich Lanes and high end designer on Timberhill to top brand names at Jarrolds - Norwich’s only independent department store - and vintage dealers to make your eyes water.
Image: Christmas window at Jarrolds
But it’s not all about the ladies; males are very well looked after too. Menswear in Norwich gives womenswear a run for their money. The Norwich Lanes has exciting menswear shops on what seems around every corner. And some go even further offering trendy micro cafes to grab an early morning espresso - or even get a tattoo!
So back to present buying ... where is the best place to shop which covers all bases, from talc for Grandma to vinyl for your brother (or the other way around)? Luckily, Norwich has got Christmas shopping covered with its varied and exciting mix of retailers. The perfect presents are just a shopping trip away (punctuated by lots of coffee stops too, of course!).
This is the place to head to for unique gifts; with a blend of quirky emporiums, boutiques and independent retailers, you’re sure to find something not only pleasing on the eye but decidedly different too! Try Sonkai for beautiful jewellery, Philip Browne for designer menswear, The Rock Collection for alternative clothing and accessories, The Book Hive for great reads and The Giggly Goat for… well, almost anything art or craft-related that you can think of!
Image: Dr Martens store in the Castle / Arcade District
This district is made up of the distinctive Castle and its surrounding area and the Royal Arcade, and encompasses a diverse range of shops. There are plenty of high street favourites like The Body Shop, Dr Martens, Cath Kidston or Paperchase (all great for Christmas pressies) plus independent shops including Design House Norwich, Ginger and - for the discerning gentleman sporting facial hair - Swagger & Jacks. They have some lovely pampering services which would make an ideal present, as well as a range of luxurious male grooming products. There’s also one of the city’s two shopping centres, Castle Mall, right next to Norwich Castle.
Head to The Royal Arcade for a truly decadent shopping experience; lovely shops and restaurants are housed here in Norwich’s only Art-Nouveau building – it’s stunning. Designed by well-known Norwich architect George Skipper, you can really appreciate, close-hand, the fine architecture and stylish decoration of the period. Walk through and you’ll find Norwich favourites including Macarons & More, Digby’s Fine Chocolates, Langleys Toy Store, Lady B Loves, Berrys & Grey (lifestyle) and Juels' Limited (every girl’s best friend, diamonds, and they’re HUGE) – if you can think of anyone who wouldn’t like a present from one of those shops, we’d be very surprised!
Image: Retreat Vintage on Magdalen Street
Sometimes only a gorgeous vintage gift will do, and there are lots of lovely emporiums dotted around the city to add a retro twist to your Christmas shopping. For vintage homewares and other quirky treasures there’s Aladdin’s Cave, Looses Emporium and St Gregory’s Antiques & Collectables, or for the perfect vintage outfit and/or accessories try Lulu’s Vintage Clothing, Sue Ryder Vintage & Retro or Retreat Vintage. There’s also plenty of vintage gems on Norwich Market - check out our blog post all about vintage shopping here.
Norwich has two large shopping centres: Castle Mall and intu Chapelfield. They offer a wide range of shops for every budget, from TK Maxx and The Fragrance Shop to House of Fraser and the Apple store!
Image: Norwich Market, photo by Melanie March
Bargains galore await you in Norwich Market, one of the largest and oldest open-air markets in the country. Peruse aisles filled with clothing (including vintage clobber), accessories, freshly packed fruit and veg, hot food, leather goods and hair and beauty items… plenty of Christmas present ideas, even gifts for your four-legged friends!
And it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas market or two...
New for Christmas this year is a pop-up Norwegian Handcrafters Christmas market nestled in traditional alpine winter chalets. Catch it outside The Forum from 19 – 24 November, followed by a special Enterprise Market from 26 – 29 November, where young entrepreneurs can sell their products and designs.
Find out about more Christmas markets in Norwich in our top picks here.
For a full round up of Christmas in Norwich, read all about it here.
There's info on where to stay, eat, shop and explore as well as lots of additional information - it's all here!
The Giggly Goat