Everyone keeps telling me to travel to Norwich. Whenever I publish a blog post about the prettiest cities in the UK or the best places to visit in the UK, people tell me that I need to get myself to Norwich and add it to my list. Which is why I’ve decided to visit today and discover all the best things to do in Norwich. Here’s my Norwich guide.

Things to Do in Norwich

Things to Do in Norwich

Out in Norfolk, Norwich is the UK’s best-preserved medieval city. It has over 1,500 historic buildings in its walls, and 33 medieval churches, more than any other city in northern Europe.

With that comes adorable street names like Lobster Lane and Pottergate. Given my love of history and my obsession with photography, I have a feeling I’m going to like this place.

Pulls Ferry

Getting to Norwich from London

It’s easy to get to Norwich from London, too. I hop on a train in the UK capital, and just under two hours later I find myself in Norwich.

The station is close to the heart of the action as well. It’s a pretty walk along the River Wensum to get to the Norwich city center.

Visit Pulls Ferry

On the way, a path takes me to Pulls Ferry, a 15th-century flint building that was once a watergate. Stone used in the construction of Norwich Cathedral also landed here after being transported from Caen in Normandy.

Pulls Ferry has a beautiful arch and bucolic surroundings, and it’s hard to believe I’m in a city.

Pulls Ferry

But it’s not long until I do. The walk from Pulls Ferry to Norwich Cathedral takes me by pretty pink and blue houses on Ferry Lane, and soon the spire of the great church comes into view.

As it does, I start to get excited about all the great things to do in Norwich.

Tombland and Norwich City Center

I’m saving the cathedral for later, so I pass by and enter the Norwich city center through the historic St Ethelbert’s Gate. Along with the nearby Erpingham Gate, it offers entry into the Tombland area, which was once a Saxon marketplace.

Erpingham Gate

The name Tombland derives from the Saxon word for an open space, but today it’s anything but empty. This area is replete with cobblestone streets and historic houses, and as soon as I step through the gates my camera itches to get to work.

Elm Hill, Norwich

I start in Tombland Alley, a little path among medieval buildings. It leads me to Princes Street and Elm Hill, one of the city’s most famous heritage streets.

Tombland Alley

Walking along Elm Hill is one of the best things to do in Norwich, not least because of its Tudor buildings and colorful merchants’ houses. There’s even a pub with a thatched roof.

Elm Hill, Norwich

Explore the Norwich Lanes

From Elm Hill, it’s a quick walk to the Norwich Lanes. This tangle of tiny streets is known for its independent shops, and there are plenty to explore. My favorites are bookshops like The Book Hive, but there are plenty of others to duck into.

The Lanes, Norwich

Eat at Norwich Market

Next to the Norwich Lanes, I find myself in Norwich Market. This outdoor covered market has around 200 stalls and is Europe’s largest permanent undercover market.

It was established in the 11th century to supply Norman merchants and settlers after the Norman conquest, and it’s hard to believe I’m surrounded by so much history.

Norwich Market

The market is full of stalls selling everything from fresh vegetables to cut flowers. I’ve heard good things about the food here, so I hop in the queue at Lucy’s Fish & Chips.

It’s a gorgeous day outside, so I do as the locals do and sit above the market to watch the world go by.

Norwich Market

See the Pretty Streets in Norwich

After lunch I walk off the calories by exploring some of the prettiest streets in Norwich.

I love the colorful houses on Pottergate and the home goods shops on Upper St Giles Street. Walking around them quickly becomes one of my favorite things to do in Norwich.

Colorful Houses in Norwich

Visit Norwich Castle

But there are more attractions to see, so I head to Norwich Castle. This Norman fortress with its Victorian facade is perched on a hill with views over the city center. Inside is a museum with over a million exhibits.

View of Norwich

Tour Norwich Cathedral

From the castle, I walk back to Norwich Cathedral. My visit happens to coincide with one of the free daily guided tours, so I spend just under an hour walking through the hallowed halls and learning about the building’s history.

Norwich Cathedral

I’m amazed by the Norman architecture here. The cathedral was built between 1096 and 1145, and it has some of the finest Romanesque design in Europe. It also has 15th-century woodwork and the largest cloisters in England.

Taking it all in is one of the best things to do in Norwich for history and architecture lovers.

Norwich Cathedral Cloisters

See Dragon Hall

By the time I’m finished with the tour of Norwich Cathedral, I’m thoroughly impressed with the city. But there’s one more place I want to see before I go: Dragon Hall.

Dragon Hall, Norwich

This medieval trading hall was built around 1430 by a local entrepreneur named Robert Toppes. It’s considered unique in that it was the only known trading hall in Northern Europe owned by one man.

Dragon Hall, Norwich

The facade is beautiful in the haphazard way buildings of that age are, and while it’s not open for me to see the timber crown-post roof, it’s still inspiring to see the exterior.

Norwich Cathedral

Best Things to Do in Norwich

When I’m done taking it in, it’s time for me to head back to the train station to travel to London. It’s been an amazing day of discovering all the best things to do in Norwich.

As I sink into my seat on the train I find I’m exhausted from being on my feet for so long. It was worth it to see so much, though. My only regret is that it took me so many years to finally visit the city. I hope this Norwich guide helps atone for it.

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Things to Do in Norwich

8 Comments on Lady’s Pretty Guide to Things to Do in Norwich

  1. Norwich is similar to York in beauty, but less known. There is a pleasant route across the river, and there are several churches and interesting architecture on the other side of the river.
    Greetings from BIlbao.

  2. I’m a Londoner and I moved to Norfolk 3 years ago, After visiting Norwich I fell in love with the city. There is something for everyone and if you like history, as I do, then it’s the perfect place to visit.

  3. Thank you for sharing your visit to Norwich. I was working on my family tree and discovered that my 15th century grandparents lived in this charming place. I hope to make it there myself some day.

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