From the medieval period until the start of the Industrial Revolution Norwich was England’s second city, enormously prosperous and culturally active. This has created a very rich legacy of heritage, with the city proudly boasting the largest intact medieval street pattern in Europe. Places to visit include; Cathedral, Norwich, Dragon Hall and Strangers Hall. Tours of Norwich include the City sightseeing bus and walking tours with the guides including (in the summer) tours of the Norwich 12 – a group of exquisite buildings spanning 1000 years of history. Explore and learn all the secrets of Norwich and its rich and glorious past, colourful characters and beautiful architecture. In contrast to medieval Norwich you will also find architecturally stunning contemporary buildings such as the Forum and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, exciting events and celebrations, beautiful parks, gardens and riverside green spaces, excellent arts and culture venues and quality restaurants, cafés and bars.
Norwich is also a top 10 UK shopping destination and boasts accessible shopping where visitors can walk from one corner of the city to the other. Range, quality and that element of surprise are all part of the Norwich shopping experience. The city’s ‘high street’ includes St Stephen’s Street and pedestrianised thoroughfares like Gentleman’s Walk and London Street. Castle Mall and Chapelfield shopping centre have over 150 stores between them. Don’t miss The Norwich Lanes which brings an extra dimension to any trip to Norwich. Find individual and quirky choices including wonderful lifestyle, fashion and art. Against a background of narrow alleys and beautiful historic buildings shoppers will find exquisite galleries, vintage shops, quaint coffee houses, trendy cafés, contemporary restaurants, exciting entertainment venues plus atmospheric pubs serving real ale. Jarrold named UK Independent Department Store of the Year twice and Britain’s Favourite Independent Department Store by readers of The Times in 2011 tempts shoppers with upmarket and regional products. Elm Hill - Norwich’s most famous medieval cobbled street to be found in the Norwich Cathedral Quarter, combines beautifully preserved Tudor timber framed houses with retailers selling everything from antiques to teddy bears! In the heart of the city sits another iconic sight, Norwich market, the largest outdoor 6- day- a- week, market in the UK dating back 800 years. Overlooked by The Guildhall (15thC) the market thrives on its ancient site flanked on one side by the art-deco City Hall and the other by Norwich castle. Norwich market is the life and soul of this area, a bustling bazaar where shoppers and visitors congregate to source local produce such as cheese, fish and meat but where patrons can also shop for vintage paraphernalia, Norfolk artefacts, haberdashery and more.
Norwich has over 30 medieval churches within the city walls alone. Many still function as parish churches, but others have been imaginatively converted to other uses such as Norwich Arts Centre and Norwich Puppet Theatre. The city is also home to the impressive 20th century St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral, standing imposingly at the top of Grapes Hill. On Saturday mornings you are able to take tower tours to admire the breathtaking views of the city.Norwich has a large number of beautifully ornate and well maintained parks and gardens and is justifiably proud of it floral displays. A notable example is the lovingly restored Victorian Garden, Norwich’s secret garden, set in the heart of the city it is breathtakingly calm and beautiful, an absolute must see. Another example is the Castle Gardens where during the summer you can see outdoor theatre and cinema adding that little extra sparkle to a day or evening out. Chapelfield Gardens situated next to Chapelfield Shopping Centre has a working bandstand and during the year is one of the main venues for the utterly wonderful Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the international arts festival for the East of England.
Norwich has also always been a great place for a night out with stylish café bars, pubs, clubs, art-house cinema, theatres, restaurants, nightclubs, concerts, exhibitions and festivals. Wonderful restaurants offering excellent value for money are open for pre-theatre and pre-cinema dinner and likewise there is a good choice of places to end the evening with a drink or cocktail.You can regularly see West-End productions at the Theatre Royal Norwich or enjoy foreign films, classics and live stream ballet and opera from St Petersburg and New York at art-house cinema - Cinema City. The Norwich Playhouse is a cosy venue for well known comedians and with its lively bar and garden by the river is a perfect place for a good night out.Other city venues provide a 12 month programme of exhibitions, concerts, plays, gigs and theatre such as The Assembly House and St Andrew’s Hall. Norwich is justifiably regarded as the arts capital of East Anglia boasting a truly vibrant arts scene comparable with much larger cities. Norwich has more cultural activity per head than anywhere else in the UK from permanent and visiting exhibitions to lunchtime recitals and outdoor concerts.
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