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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

City of Norwich
Norwich City Skyline

Coat of Arms of the City Council
Shown within Norfolk
Coordinates: 52°37′42″N 1°17′48″E / 52.62833°N 1.29667°E / 52.62833; 1.29667Coordinates: 52°37′42″N 1°17′48″E / 52.62833°N 1.29667°E / 52.62833; 1.29667
Country United Kingdom
Constituent Country England
Region East of England
County Norfolk
 - Type Non-metropolitan district
 - Local Authority Norwich City Council
 - MPs Charles Clarke (Labour)
Chloe Smith (Conservative)
 - City 15.1 sq mi (39.02 km2)
Population (2008 est.)
 - City 132,000 (Ranked 152nd)
 Urban 259,100
 - Ethnicity 93.2% White
1.4% Mixed race
2.3% South Asian
2.1% Chinese or other
1.0% Black.
 - Ethnicity Density 8,774.9/sq mi (3,388/km2)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
Postcode NR1 - NR16
Area code(s) 01603

Norwich (pronounced /ˈnɒrɪdʒ/ ( listen) NORR-ij or /ˈnɒrɪtʃ/ NORR-ich)[1] is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century Norwich was the second largest city in England, after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom .

The built up area of Norwich extends far beyond the city boundary, with extensive suburban areas on the western, northern and eastern sides, including Costessey, Hellesdon, Old Catton, Sprowston and Thorpe St Andrew. The parliamentary seats cross over into adjacent local government districts. 135,800 (2008 est) people live in the City of Norwich and the population of the Norwich Travel to Work Area (i.e. the area of Norwich in which most people both live and work) is 367,035 (the 1991 figure was 351,340). Norwich is the fourth most densely populated local government district within the East of England with 3,480 people per square kilometre (8,993 per square mile).




The Romans had their regional capital at Venta Icenorum on the River Tas to the south which is near modern-day Caistor St Edmund, about 5 miles to the south of Norwich. This fell into disuse around 450 AD, before the Anglo-Saxons settled on the site of the modern city, founding the towns of Northwic (from which Norwich gets its name), Westwic (at Norwich-over-the-Water) and the secondary settlement at Thorpe.[citation needed]

Early English/Norman Conquest

There are two suggested models of development for Norwich. It is possible that three separate early Anglo-Saxon settlements, one on the north of the river and two either side on the south, joined together as they grew or that one Anglo-Saxon settlement, on the north of the river, emerged in the mid-7th century after the abandonment of the previous three. The ancient city was a thriving centre for trade and commerce in East Anglia in 1004 AD when it was raided and burnt by Swein Forkbeard the Viking. Mercian coins and shards of pottery from the Rhineland dating to the 8th century suggest that long distance trade was happening long before this. Between 924-939 AD Norwich became fully established as a town due to the fact that it had its own mint. The word Norvic appears on coins across Europe minted during this period, in the reign of King Athelstan. The Vikings were a strong cultural influence in Norwich for 40–50 years at the end of the 9th century, setting up an Anglo-Scandinavian district towards the north end of present day King Street. At the time of the Norman Conquest the city was one of the largest in England. The Domesday Book states that it had approximately twenty five churches and a population of between five and ten thousand. It also records the site of an Anglo-Saxon church in Tombland, the site of the Saxon market place and the later Norman cathedral. Norwich continued to be a major centre for trade, the River Wensum being a convenient export route to the River Yare and Great Yarmouth, which served as the port for Norwich. Quern stones, and other artefacts from Scandinavia and the Rhineland have been found during excavations in Norwich city centre which date from the 11th century onwards.

The main area of Saxon settlement south of the Wensum was destroyed by the construction of the Norman castle (see Norwich Castle) during the 1070s. The Normans established a new focus of settlement around the Castle and the area to the west of it: this became known as the "New" or "French" borough, centred on the Normans' own market place which survives to the present day as Norwich Market.

In 1096, Herbert de Losinga, the Bishop of Thetford, began construction of Norwich Cathedral. The chief building material for the Cathedral was limestone, imported from Caen in Normandy. To transport the building stone to the cathedral site, a canal was cut from the river (from the site of present-day Pulls Ferry), all the way up to the east wall. Herbert de Losinga then moved his See there to what became the cathedral church for the Diocese of Norwich. The bishop of Norwich still signs himself Norvic.

Norwich received a royal charter from Henry II in 1158, and another one from Richard the Lionheart in 1194.

Middle Ages

The engine of trade was wool from Norfolk's sheepwalks. Wool made England rich, and the staple port of Norwich "in her state doth stand With towns of high'st regard the fourth of all the land", as Michael Drayton noted in Poly-Olbion (1612). The wealth generated by the wool trade throughout the Middle Ages financed the construction of many fine churches; consequently, Norwich still has more medieval churches than any other city in Western Europe north of the Alps. Throughout this period Norwich established wide-ranging trading links with other parts of Europe, its markets stretching from Scandinavia to Spain. To organise and control its export to the Low Countries, Great Yarmouth, as the port for Norwich, was designated one of the staple ports under terms of the 1353 Statute of the Staple.

By the middle of the 14th century the city walls, about two and a half miles (4 km) long, had been completed. These, along with the river, enclosed a larger area than that of the City of London. However, when the city walls were constructed it was made illegal to build outside them, inhibiting expansion of the city.

Around this time, the city was made a county corporate and became capital of one of the most densely populated and prosperous counties of England.

In 1144, the Jews of Norwich were accused of ritual murder after a boy (William of Norwich) was found dead with stab wounds. This was the first incidence of blood libel against Jews in England. The story was turned into a cult, William acquiring the status of martyr and subsequently being canonized. The cult of St. William attracted large numbers of pilgrims, bringing wealth to the local church. On 6 February, 1190, all the Jews of Norwich were massacred except for a few who found refuge in the castle.

Early Modern Period (1485-1640)

The great immigration of 1567 brought a substantial Flemish and Walloon community of Protestant weavers to Norwich, where they were known locally as 'Strangers', but made welcome.[2] Norwich has been the home of various dissident minorities, notably the French Huguenot and the Belgian Walloon communities in the 16th and 17th centuries. The merchant's house - now a museum - which was their earliest base in the city is still known as 'Strangers' Hall'. It seems that the Strangers were integrated into the local community without a great deal of animosity, at least among the business fraternity who had the most to gain from their skills. The arrival of the Strangers in Norwich bolstered trade with mainland Europe, fostering a movement toward religious reform and radical politics in the city.

Printing was introduced to the city by Anthony de Solempne, one of the 'Strangers' in 1567 but did not become established and had died out by about 1572.[3] During this time Norwich became the fourth largest city in the country, according to Michael Drayton's Poly-Olbion.

English Civil Wars to Victorian Era

The eastern counties were profoundly Parliamentarian in nature and Norwich followed suit, at the cost of some discomfort to the Mayor, a Royalist, and the bishop, Joseph Hall, a moderate who was targeted because of his position as bishop.

The Norwich Canary was first introduced into England by Flemish refugees fleeing from Spanish persecution in the 1500s. They brought with them not only advanced techniques in textile working but also their pet canaries, which they began to breed locally. The canary is the emblem of the city's football club, Norwich City F.C., nicknamed "The Canaries".

In 1797 Thomas Bignold, a 36-year-old wine merchant and banker, founded the first Norwich Union Society. Some years earlier, when he moved from Kent to Norwich, Bignold had been unable to find anyone willing to insure him against the threat from highwaymen. With the entrepreneurial thought that nothing was impossible, and aware that in a city built largely of wood the threat of fire was uppermost in people's minds, Bignold formed the "Norwich Union Society for the Insurance of Houses, Stock and Merchandise from Fire". The new business, which became known as the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Office, was a "mutual" enterprise. Norwich Union was later to become the country's largest insurance giant.

From earliest times, Norwich was a centre of textile manufacture. Towards the end of the 18th century, in the 1780s, the manufacture of Norwich shawls became an important industry [4] and remained so for nearly one hundred years. The shawls were a high-quality fashion product and rivalled those made in other towns such as Paisley (which entered shawl manufacture in about 1805, some 20 or more years after Norwich). With changes in women's fashion in the later Victorian period, the popularity of shawls declined and eventually manufacture ceased. Examples of Norwich shawls are now highly sought after by collectors of textiles.[5]

Until the Industrial Revolution, as the capital of England's most populous and prosperous county, Norwich vied with Bristol as England's second city.

Norwich's geographical isolation was such that until 1845 when a railway connection was established, it was often quicker to travel to Amsterdam by boat than to London. The railway was introduced to Norwich by Morton Peto, who also built the line to Great Yarmouth.

From 1808 to 1814 Norwich hosted a station in the shutter telegraph chain which connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships in the port of Great Yarmouth.

20th century

In the early part of the 20th century Norwich still had several major manufacturing industries. Among these were the manufacture of shoes (for example the Start-rite brand), clothing, joinery, and structural engineering as well as aircraft design and manufacture. Important employers included Boulton & Paul, Barnards (inventors of machine produced wire netting), and electrical engineers Laurence Scott and Electromotors.

Norwich Cathedral.
Norwich Cathedral in 1929.

Norwich also has a long association with chocolate manufacture, primarily through the local firm of Caley's, which began as a manufacturer and bottler of mineral water and later diversified into making chocolate and Christmas crackers. The Caley's cracker-manufacturing business was taken over by Tom Smith [6]in 1953, and the Norwich factory in Salhouse Road eventually closed down in 1998. Caley's was acquired by Mackintosh in the 1930s, and merged with Rowntree's in 1969 to become Rowntree-Mackintosh. Finally, it was bought by Nestlé and closed down in 1996 with all operations moved to York; ending a 120-year association with Norwich. The demolished factory stood on the site of what is now the Chapelfield development. Caley's chocolate has since made a reappearance as a brand, and is still produced in Norwich.

HMSO, once the official publishing and stationery arm of the British government and one of the largest print buyers, printers and suppliers of office equipment in the UK, moved most of its operations from London to Norwich in the 1970s.

Jarrolds, established in 1810, was a nationally well-known printer and publisher. In 2004, after nearly 200 years, it passed out of family ownership. Today, the Jarrold name is now best-known and recognised as being that of Norwich's only independent department store. [7]

The city was home to a long-established tradition of brewing[8], with several large breweries continuing in business into the second half of the century. The main brewers were Morgans, Steward and Patteson, Youngs Crawshay and Youngs, Bullard and Son, and the Norwich Brewery. Despite takeovers and consolidation in the 1950s and 1960s in attempts to remain viable, by the 1970s only the Norwich Brewery (owned by Watney Mann and on the site of Morgans) remained. In 1985 the Norwich Brewery closed, and was subsequently demolished. Small-scale brewing continues in Norwich in "microbreweries".

Norwich suffered extensive bomb damage during World War II, affecting large parts of the old city centre and Victorian terrace housing around the centre. Industry and the rail infrastructure also suffered. The heaviest raids occurred on the nights of 27/28th and 29/30 April 1942; as part of the Baedeker raids (so called because Baedeker's series of tourist guides to the British Isles were used to select propaganda rich targets of cultural and historic significance rather than strategic importance). Lord Haw-Haw made reference to the imminent destruction of Norwich's new City Hall (completed in 1938), although in the event it survived unscathed. Significant targets hit included the Morgan's Brewery building, Coleman's Wincarnis works, City Station, the Mackintosh chocolate factory, and shopping areas including St. Stephen's Street, St. Benedict's Street, the site of Bond's department store and Curl's department store (now Debenhams).

In 1976 the city's pioneering spirit was on show when Motum Road in Norwich, allegedly the scene of "a number of accidents over the years", became the third road in Britain to be equipped with "speed bumps", intended to encourage adherence to the road's 30 mph (48 km/h) speed limit[9]. The humps, installed at intervals of 50 and 150 yards, stretched twelve feet across the width of the road and their curved profile was, at its highest point, 4 inches (10 cm) high[9]. The responsible quango gave an assurance that the experimental devices would be removed not more than one year following installation[9].


Since 1974, Norwich has had two tiers of local government. The upper tier is Norfolk County Council, which provides "wide area" strategic services such as education, social services and libraries. The lower tier is Norwich City Council, which provides more local services such as housing, planning and leisure facilities.[10]

County council

Norwich returns 13 county councillors to the eighty-four member county council. The city is divided into single-member electoral divisions, with all county councillors elected every four years.[11] The most recent county elections in 2009 saw the election of 6 Green Party, 3 Liberal Democrat, 2 Labour Party and 2 Conservative councillors. The county council has a large Conservative majority.[12]

City council

Norwich City Council consists of 39 councillors, 3 representing each of 13 wards. Elections are held by thirds, with one councillor in each ward being elected annually (for a four year term) except in the year of county council elections.[13] As of February 2010 the strength of parties on the council was: Labour Party 15, Green Party 13, Liberal Democrats 6 and Conservatives 5.[14] The Labour Party forms a minority administration, holding all seats on the eight-member executive.[15]

Lord mayoralty and shrievalty

The civic head of Norwich City Council is the Lord Mayor. The office of mayor of Norwich dates from 1403.[16] The office was raised to the dignity of lord mayor in 1910 by Edward VII "in view of the position occupied by that city as the chief city of East Anglia and of its close association with His Majesty"[17] The title was regranted on local government reorganisation in 1974.[18]

From 1404 the citizens of Norwich, as a county corporate, had the privilege of electing two sheriffs. Under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 this number of sheriffs was reduced to one, and it became an entirely ceremonial post. Both lord mayor and sheriff are elected at the council's annual meeting.[16] [19]

Coat of arms

The city council's arms consist of a red shield on which is placed a silver domed castle above a royal lion.[20] [21] [22] The blazon of the arms is:

Gules, a castle triple-towered and domed Argent; in base a lion passant guardant Or.[20] [22]

The city arms with unofficial angel supporters from a 1903 cigarette card

The arms appeared on a fifteenth century seal, and were confirmed during a heraldic visitation in 1562 by William Harvey, Clarenceux King of Arms. The royal lion was, according to Wilfrid Scott-Giles, "said to have been granted by Edward III".[21] By the nineteenth century the city corporation had added supporters, two angels, to the arms, which were surmounted by a fur cap. These apparently originated in a carving of about 1534 outside Norwich Guildhall. A C Fox Davies noted that "whether or not these figures were then intended for heraldic supporters is a matter for dispute. At any rate there is no official authority for their use".[22]

Local government reform in 1974 saw the abolition of the county borough of Norwich and its replacement by a new Norwich City Council. An order in council transferred the ancient coat of arms (the shield alone) to the present authority.[23] The city council has also received the grant of an heraldic badge, depicting the seal of 1404 encircled by the lord mayor's chain.[24]

Proposed unitary status

The Department for Communities and Local Government recently considered whether Norwich should become a unitary authority, separate from Norfolk County Council.[25] [26] [27] It was not selected as one of the new creations in July 2007 as its proposals did not meet the strict criteria. [28]

However, on 10 February, 2010, it was announced that, contrary to the December 2009 recommendation of the Boundaries Commission, Norwich will be now be given unitary status.[29] The proposed change has been strongly resisted, principally by Norfolk County Council and the Conservative opposition in Parliament.[30] [31] Reacting to the announcement, Norfolk County Council issued a statement that it will seek leave to challenge the decision in the courts.[32] A letter was leaked to the local media, in which the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Communities and Local Government noted that the decision did not meet all the criteria and that the risk of it "being successfully challenged in judicial review proceedings is very high".[33] The Shadow Local Government and Planning Minister, Bob Neill, has stated that should the Conservative Party win the 2010 general election, they intend to reverse the decision.[30]

Parliamentary representation

Since 1298, Norwich has been represented in the parliament by two members of parliament. Until 1950 the city was an undivided constituency, returning two MPs. Since that date the area has been divided between two single-member constituencies: Norwich North and Norwich South.[34]

Both constituencies have proved to be marginal seats in recent elections, switching between the Labour and Conservative parties:

  • Norwich North, which includes some rural wards of Broadland District, was held by Labour from 1966 to 1983 when it was gained by the Conservatives. Labour regained the seat in 1997, holding it until a by-election in 2009. The current MP is the Conservative, Chloe Smith.[35]
  • Norwich South, which includes part of South Norfolk District, was held by Labour from 1966 to 1983 when it was gained by the Conservatives. Labour regained the seat in 1992. The current MP is Charles Clarke.[36]



Norwich's night-time economy of bars and nightclubs is mainly located in Tombland, Prince of Wales Road and the Riverside area adjacent to Norwich railway station.


Norwich Market (before renovation)
Norwich Market (after renovation)

Norwich was the eighth most prosperous shopping destination in the UK in 2006.[37] Norwich has an ancient market place, established by the Normans between 1071 and 1074, which is today the largest six-days-a-week open-air market in England. The market has recently been downsized and undergone redevelopment, and the new market stalls have proved controversial: with 20% less floorspace than the original stalls, higher rental and other charges, and inadequate rainwater handling, they have been unpopular with many stallholders and customers alike. Indeed, the local Norwich Evening News characterises Norwich Market as an ongoing conflict between the market traders and Norwich City Council, which operates the market.[38]

The Mall Norwich (Castle Mall until 2007), a shopping mall designed by local practice Lambert, Scott & Innes and opened in 1993, presents an ingenious solution to the problem of sensitively accommodating new retail space in a historic city-centre environment - the building is largely concealed underground and built into the side of a hill, with a public park created on its roof in the area south of the Castle.

The new Chapelfield shopping mall has been built on the site where the Caleys (later Rowntree Mackintosh and Nestlé) chocolate factory once stood. Chapelfield opened in September 2005, featuring as its flagship department store House of Fraser. Detractors have criticised Chapelfield as unnecessary and damaging to local businesses; its presence has prompted smaller retailers to band together to promote the virtues of independent shops. Despite this in August 2006 it was reported by the Javelin Group that Norwich was one of the top five retail destinations in the UK,[39] and in October 2006 the city centre was voted the best in the UK, in a shopping satisfaction survey run by Goldfish Credit Card.[40]

To the north of the city centre is the Anglia Square shopping centre. The centre and the surrounding area is to be redeveloped; demolition work will commence in 2010 after an archaeological dig is conducted in 2009 due to the centre being located around the site of a saxon fortified settlement. The new development will be a mixture of shops and housing, unlike the original which consisted of offices, shops and a cinema.[41] In February, 2009, it was announced due to the economic climate that plans for the area have been delayed and developers are unable to say when work will commence.[42]


Norwich City Hall

The city's economy, originally chiefly industrial with shoemaking a large sector, has changed throughout the eighties and nineties to a service-based economy. Aviva (formerly known as Norwich Union) still dominates these, but has been joined by other insurance and financial services companies.

New developments on the former Boulton and Paul site include the Riverside entertainment complex with nightclubs and other venues featuring the usual national leisure brands. Nearby, the football stadium is being upgraded with more residential property development alongside the river Wensum.

Archant, formerly known as Eastern Counties Newspapers (ECN) is a national publishing group that has grown out of the city's local newspaper, the Norwich Evening News and the regional Eastern Daily Press (EDP).

Norwich has long been associated with the manufacture of mustard. The world famous Colman's brand, with its yellow packaging, was founded in 1814 and continues to operate from its factory at Carrow. Colman's is now being exported world wide by its parent company Unilever (Unilever UK Export) putting Norwich on the map of British heritage brands. The Colman's Mustard Shop, which sells Colman's products and related gifts, is located in the Royal Arcade in the centre of Norwich.

Norwich is also the home of the global educational software and equipment manufacturer, LJ Create, since it was founded in 1979[43] when a City College Norwich lecturer won a competition for a factory in Bowthorpe[44]. LJ Create produce the well-known Scantek Engineering Resources for schools around the world. Norwich South MP Charles Clarke is a non-executive director of LJ Create.


The University of East Anglia on the outskirts of Norwich was one of the so-called plate glass universities founded in 1963, following the Robbins Report. UEA adopted the city's motto of independence Do different and is especially well-known for its creative writing programme; established by Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson, its graduates including Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan. The university campus is the home of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts which houses a number of important art collections in many media. It is also well known for staging exhibitions of work on a wide range of diverse themes. The city also has a long-established (since 1845) art college, the Norwich University College of the Arts (formerly Norwich School of Art and Design), which is situated in the city centre. Additionally, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on the city's periphery at Colney was opened in 2001.

Norwich city skyline

Norwich Theatre Royal has been on its present site for nearly 250 years, the Act of Parliament in the tenth year of the reign of George II having been rescinded in 1761. The 1300-seat theatre hosts a mix of national touring productions including musicals, dance, drama, family shows, stand-up comedians, opera and pop.

The Forum, designed by Michael Hopkins and Partners and opened in 2002 is a building designed to house the Millennium Library, a replacement for the Norwich Central Library building which burned down in 1994, and the regional headquarters and television centre for BBC East. The building provides a venue for exhibitions, concerts and events, although the city still lacks a dedicated concert venue.

The Forum, housing (among other things) the Millennium Library and the BBC's Eastern England News Rooms

The Millennium Library contains the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library, a collection of material about American culture and the American relationship with East Anglia, especially the role of the United States Air Force on UK air bases throughout the Second World War and Cold War. Much of the collection was lost in the 1994 fire, but the collection has been restored by contributions from many veterans of the war, both European and American.

Recent attempts to shed the backwater image of Norwich and market it as a popular tourist destination, as well as a centre for science, commerce, culture and the arts, have included the refurbishment of the Norwich Castle Museum and the opening of the Forum. The proposed new slogan for Norwich, England's Other City, has been the subject of much discussion and controversy - and it remains to be seen whether it will be finally adopted. A number of signs at the approaches to the city still display the traditional phrase - "Norwich - a fine city".

As part of ambitious aims to promote Norwich's heritage internationally, Norwich 12 has been launched - a collection of listed buildings in Norwich. The group consists of: Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral, The Great Hospital, The Halls - St Andrew's and Blackfriars', The Guildhall, Dragon Hall, The Assembly House, St James Mill, St John the Baptist RC Cathedral, Surrey House, City Hall and The Forum.

In February 2010, it was announced that Norwich was among four finalists for the prestigious title of UK City of Culture in 2013. This is a new designation, and it is expected that the winner will be announced in Summer 2010.[45]

Art and music

Each year the Norfolk and Norwich Festival celebrates the arts, drawing many visitors into the city from all over eastern England. The Norwich Twenty Group, founded in 1944, presents exhibitions of its members to promote awareness of modern art.

Norwich Arts Centre is a notable live music venue, concert hall and theatre located in St. Benedict's Street. The King of Hearts in Fye Bridge Street is another centre for art and music. [46]

Norwich has a thriving music scene based around local venues such as the University of East Anglia, Norwich Arts Centre, The Waterfront, The Queen Charlotte (closed March 2010) and the Marquee. "Live" music, mostly contemporary musical genres, is also to be heard at a number of other public house and club venues around the city. The city is host to many artists that have achieved national and international recognition such as Goober Patrol, Cord, Tim Bowness, Sennen, Magoo, KaitO, Mantoid, Teknikov and The Sadtowns.

Established record labels in Norwich include; NR ONE [47], Hungry Audio, Burning Shed, MQ Projects, Wilde Club Records and Mummy Where's The Milkman.

British artist Stella Vine lived in Norwich during her childhood, from the age of 7,[48] and again later in her life with her son Jamie. Vine included the city in her large painting Welcome to Norwich a fine city (2006).[49]


Norwich has a number of important museums which reflect both the rich history of the City and of Norfolk, as well as wider interests.

The largest is Norwich Castle Museum. This contains extensive collections of archaeological finds from the county of Norfolk, art (including a fine collection of paintings by the Norwich School of painters), ceramics (including the largest collection of British teapots), silver, and Natural History. Of particular interest are dioramas of Norfolk scenery, showing wildlife and landscape. The Museum has been extensively remodelled to enhance the display of the many collections.[50]

The Bridewell Museum, in Bridewell Alley, is currently (2010) closed for a major redevelopment, and is not expected to re-open until Summer 2011. Previously, it was mainly devoted to displaying exhibits connected with the historic industries of Norwich. These include weaving, shoe and boot making, iron foundries and the manufacture of metal goods, engineering, milling, brewing, chocolate making and other food manufacturing.[51]

Strangers’ Hall, at Charing Cross, is one of the oldest buildings in Norwich, and is a merchant's house dating to the early Fourteenth Century. The many rooms are furnished and equipped in the styles of different eras, from the Early Tudor to the Late Victorian. Exhibits include costumes and textiles, domestic objects of all sorts, and collections of children's toys and games, and of children's books. The latter two collections are considered to be of national importance.[52]

The Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum is housed in a part of what was the Shirehall, close to the Castle. Its exhibits illustrate the history of the Regiment from its formation to its incorporation into the Royal Anglian Regiment. There is an extensive and representative display of medals awarded to soldiers of the Regiment, including two of the six Victoria Crosses won.[53]

The City of Norwich Aviation Museum is located at Horsham St. Faith, on the northern edge of the City and close to Norwich Airport. There are static displays of both military and civil aircraft, together with various collections of exhibits, including one concerned with the United States 8th Army Air Force.[54]

The John Jarrold Printing Museum, at Whitefriars, is dedicated to the history of printing and contains many examples of printing machinery, presses, books, and related equipment. Exhibits range in date from the early Nineteenth Century to the present day. Many were donated by Jarrold Printing.[55]

Dragon Hall, in King Street, is a fine example of a medieval merchants trading hall. Mostly dating from about 1430, it is unique in Western Europe. The building has recently undergone an extensive restoration, re-opening in 2006. Its magnificent architecture is complemented by displays showing the history of the building and its role in the life of Norwich.

The Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service Costume and Textiles Study Centre, at Carrow House, in King Street, contains an extensive collection of more than 20,000 items, built up over a period of some 130 years, and which were previously kept in other Norwich museums. Although not a publicly-open museum in the usual sense, the collection is accessible to the general public, students, researchers and others by prior appointment.[56]


Norwich has a wealth of historical architecture. The medieval period is represented by the 11th century Norwich Cathedral, 12th century castle (now a museum) and a large number of parish churches. During the Middle Ages, 57 churches stood within the city wall; 31 still exist today.[57] This gave rise to the common regional saying that it had a church for every week of the year, and a pub for every day. Most of the medieval buildings are in the city centre. Notable examples of secular medieval architecture are Dragon Hall, built in about 1430, and the Guildhall, built 1407-1413, with later additions. From the 18th century the pre-eminent local name is Thomas Ivory, who built the Assembly Rooms (1776), the Octagon Chapel (1756), St Helen's House (1752) in the grounds of the Great Hospital, and innovative speculative housing in Surrey Street (c. 1761). Ivory should not be confused with the Irish architect of the same name and similar period.

The 19th century saw an explosion in Norwich's size and much of its housing stock, as well as commercial building in the city centre, dates from this period. The local architect of the Victorian and Edwardian periods who has continued to command most critical respect was George Skipper (1856–1948). Examples of his work include the headquarters of Norwich Union on Surrey Street; the Art Nouveau Royal Arcade; and the Hotel de Paris in the nearby seaside town of Cromer. The neo-Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to St John the Baptist on Earlham Road, begun in 1882, is by George Gilbert Scott Junior and his brother, John Oldrid Scott.

The city continued to grow through the 20th century and much housing, particularly in areas further out from the city centre, dates from that century. The first notable building post-Skipper was the city hall by CH James and SR Pierce, opened in 1938. Bombing during the Second World War, while resulting in relatively little loss of life, caused significant damage to housing stock in the city centre. Much of the replacement postwar stock was designed by the local authority architect, David Percival. However, the major postwar development in Norwich from an architectural point of view was the opening of the University of East Anglia in 1964. Originally designed by Denys Lasdun (his design was never completely executed), it has been added to over subsequent decades by major names such as Norman Foster and Rick Mather.


Satirical comedian Steve Coogan decided to base his unbearably vain, cheesy broadcaster character 'Alan Partridge' in Norfolk, specifically hosting the pre-breakfast show on the fictitious independent station 'Radio Norwich'. It exploited the county's reputation as being somewhat detached from modern trends, past its prime, and rather peripheral to national life. Since then Radio Norwich has ceased to be a fictitious station - it began broadcasting in 2006 - although, unsurprisingly, "Up With The Partridge" does not feature in its schedule.

Other comic entertainers who have drawn comedy from that stereotype include Allan Smethurst 'The Singing Postman' and The Kipper Family lately represented by 'son' Sid Kipper, though these are associated with Norfolk in general and not just the City. These have been joined by The Nimmo Twins.

Independent radio stations include Heart, Gold, and 99.9 Radio Norwich. BBC Radio Norfolk and the University of East Anglia's Livewire 1350 also broadcast to the city. A community station, Future Radio, was launched on 6 August 2007.

ITV Anglia, formerly Anglia Television, is based in Norwich. Although one of the smaller ITV companies, it supplied the network with some of its most popular shows such as Tales of the Unexpected, Survival and Sale of the Century (1971-83), which began each edition with John Benson's enthusiastic announcement "And now from Norwich, it's the quiz of the week!" The company also had a subsidiary called Anglia Multimedia which produced educational content on CD and DVD mainly for schools, and was one of the three companies, along with Granada TV and the BBC vying for the right to produce a digital television station for English schools and colleges.

Launched in 1959, Anglia Television lost its independence in 1994 following a takeover by MAI and subsequent mergers have seen it reduced from a significant producer of programmes to a regional news centre. The company is still based in the former Norfolk and Norwich Agricultural Hall, on Agricultural Hall Plain, near Prince of Wales Road. However, despite the contraction of Anglia, television production in Norwich is by no means ended.

Anglia's former network production centre at Magdalen Street has been taken over by Norfolk County Council and extensively re-vamped. After total investment of £4m from EEDA - the regional development agency - it has re-opened as EPIC - the East of England Production Innovation Centre. It is now a creative industries enterprise hub, providing office space for local production companies and giving them access to state of the art production facilities, including one of the best equipped High Definition TV Studios in Europe. Degree courses in film and video are also run at the centre by NUCA (Norwich University College of the Arts, formerly Norwich School of Art and Design.) EPIC has commercial, broadcast quality post production facilities, a real-time virtual studio and a smaller HD discussion studio. The main studio opened as an HD facility in November 2008. Throughout 2008, the centre has concentrated on the development of new TV formats and has worked on pilots shows with, among others, Les Dennis, Gaby Roslin and Christopher Biggins.


Norwich North Stars (2008)

The principal local football club is Norwich City, also known as the Canaries, who play in the Football League One. Majority-owned by celebrity chef Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones, their ground is at Carrow Road. They have a strong East Anglian rivalry with Ipswich Town. The club has enjoyed considerable success in the past, having played in the top division for a collective total of 19 seasons since 1972, their longest spell being a nine-year spell from 1986 to 1995. They have also won two Football League Cups, and finished third in the inaugural Premier League in 1993. Perhaps their most famous result to date came later in 1993 when they eliminated German giants Bayern Munich from the UEFA Cup. Before emerging as a top division club, they famously eliminated Manchester United from the FA Cup in 1959, and went on to reach the semi-finals of the competition, a run they achieved again in 1989 and most recently in 1992. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the club produced some of the most highly rated talent of that era, including striker Chris Sutton, winger Ruel Fox, defender Andy Linighan, midfielder Mike Phelan, midfielder Tim Sherwood and striker Justin Fashanu. The club's most successful managers have included Ken Brown, Dave Stringer, Mike Walker and Nigel Worthington.

The city's second club, Norwich United (who are based in Blofield some 5 miles east of the city) play in the Eastern Counties league, whilst AFC Norwich play in the Anglian Combination. The now-defunct Gothic F.C. were also based in Norwich.

Norwich also has an athletics club, City of Norwich AC (CoNAC), a rugby club, the Norwich Lions, an ice hockey team, the Norwich North Stars, and five field hockey clubs, University of East Anglia Hockey Club, Norwich City Hockey Club, Norwich Dragons Hockey Club, Norfolk Nomads Hockey Club and the Veterans only side Norwich Exiles.

Outside the city boundary, the dry ski and snowboarding slopes of Norfolk Ski Club is located at Whitlingham Lane in Trowse. Located close by in the parish of Whitlingham is the Whitlingham Country Park [58] home to the Outdoor Education Centre [59]. The centre is based on the south bank of the Great Broad which is also used by scuba divers from one of the city's 3 diving schools and other water and land sports.[60]

Speedway racing was staged in Norwich both before and after WWII at The Firs Stadium on the Holt Road, Hellesdon. The Norwich Stars raced in the Northern League of 1946 and the National League Division Two between 1947 and 1951, winning it in 1951. They were subsequently elevated to the Speedway National League and raced at the top flight until the stadium was closed at the end of the 1964 season.[61] One meeting was staged at a venue at Hevingham but the event, staged without an official permit, did not lead to a revival of the sport in the Norwich area.

In the world of boxing, Norwich can boast former European and British lightweight champion Jon Thaxton,[62] reigning English light heavyweight champion Danny McIntosh[63] and heavyweight Sam Sexton, a former winner of the Prizefighter tournament.[64]


Norwich is sometimes portrayed in the UK media as a place which is remote, unsophisticated, gauche, and out-of-step with national trends (see Alan Partridge, who once described Norwich as "the Provence of Great Britain"). This is perhaps primarily due to its geographical isolation, and an identification of Norwich as the epitome of Norfolk, a largely rural county.


Norwich was the second city of England (after London) for several centuries before industrialisation, which came late to Norwich due to its isolation.

In November 2006 the city was voted the greenest in the UK.[65] There is currently an initiative taking place to make it a transition town. Norwich has recently been the scene of open discussions in public spaces, known as 'meet in the street', that cover social and political issues.[66]

According to the 2001 census, 27.8% of respondents in Norwich stated that they were of "no religion", the highest percentage in England.[67]

There are rail links from Norwich railway station to Peterborough and London, and direct services to Cambridge were added in 2004. It is a commuter city, with services running on the train route between Norwich and London. Travelling by train to London from Norwich, travellers arrive at Liverpool Street Station, in the heart of the 'City of London', the central financial district.

A large proportion of the population of Norwich are users of the Internet. A recent article has suggested that, compared with other UK cities, it is top of the league for the percentage of population who use the popular Internet auction site eBay.[68] The city has also unveiled the biggest free Wi-Fi network in the UK, which opened in July 2006.[69] Open Link will be undergoing essential work during August.[70]

In August 2007 Norwich was shortlisted as one of nine finalists in its population group for the International Awards for Liveable Communities LivCom Awards The city eventually won a silver award in the small city category."


Norwich Bus Station


Norwich sits above the A47 (bypassed to the south of the city) which connects it with Great Yarmouth to the east and with Kings Lynn to the west, which ultimately connects to Peterborough. At present the A47 is in the planning stages of upgrades, largely to sections which are still single-carriageway and with much focus on improving the road network in conjunction with the in-construction Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour. Norwich is linked to Cambridge via the A11, which leads to the M11 motorway for London and the M25. It is linked to Ipswich (to the south) by the A140 and to Lowestoft (to the south-east) by the A146. Norwich is currently the largest population centre in the UK not to be connected to any other centre by an unbroken dual carriageway.


Norwich railway station is situated to the east of Norwich city centre and is managed by National Express East Anglia. It forms the northern terminus of the Great Eastern Main Line with half hourly services to London Liverpool Street provided by British Rail Class 90 locomotives. It is also linked to the Midlands with hourly services to Liverpool Lime Street and are operated by East Midlands Trains Class 158 DMUs via Peterborough, Nottingham and Manchester. These additional hourly regional services to Cambridge, and out of Norwich as far as Ely, are run by National Express using the Breckland Line which can be considered a line of major economic importance but not a mainline. National Express also runs hourly local services to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, using the Wherry Lines, and to Sheringham, using the Bittern Line. These all use either Class 156 or Class 170 DMUs. Norwich is also the site of Norwich Crown Point Traction Maintenance Depot (TMD).

Bus and coach

Norwich is served by many bus operators including Anglian, First, Konectbus, Norfolk Green and Sanders. The biggest bus operator is First with their Overground network normally served by low floor buses and other routes served with a mixture of low floor and standard floor vehicles. Destinations throughout Norfolk are served and some beyond including Peterborough, and Lowestoft. National Express also run ten coaches a day to the three main London airports (Stansted Airport, Heathrow and Gatwick), five a day to London, and one a day to Birmingham. Most bus and coach services run from Norwich bus station in Surrey Street or from Castle Meadow.

Park and Ride

As of 2005, Norwich had the biggest Park and Ride operation in the UK. Run by Norfolk County Council it runs from six purpose-built sites into Norwich bus station using colour-coded buses:

  • Norwich International Airport (off the A140) to the north via Aylsham Road; 620 spaces, yellow buses.
  • Sprowston (off the A1151) to the northeast via Wroxham Road; 788 spaces, purple buses.
  • Postwick (off the A47) to the east via Thorpe Road; 525 spaces, red buses.
  • Harford Bridge (off the A140) to the south via Ipswich Road; 1088 spaces, blue buses.
  • Thickthorn (off the A11) to the southwest via the Newmarket Road; 786 spaces, pink buses.
  • Costessey (off the A47) to the west via Dereham Road; 710 spaces, green buses.

Altogether nearly 5000 parking spaces are provided and in 2006 3.4 million passengers used the service. Services begin running into the city at 06:40 Monday to Friday, with the last buses returning from 19:25 (20:30 on Thursday).


Norwich International Airport is a feeder to KLM's Schiphol hub. FlyBe, Eastern Airways, and Bristow Helicopters all serve Norwich, in addition to a strong holiday charter flight business. The airport was originally the airfield part of the former RAF Horsham St Faith. One of the former RAF hangars was once the home of Air UK, which grew out of Air Anglia and was then absorbed by the Dutch airline KLM.


Norwich Whitlingham.png

National Cycle Route 1 passes through Norwich, linking Beccles and Fakenham (and eventually Dover and the Shetland Islands).[71]


The River Yare is navigable from the sea at Great Yarmouth all the way to Trowse, south of the city. From there the River Wensum is navigable into Norwich up to New Mills, and is crossed by the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge. Scheduled trips through the city and out to the nearby The Broads are run by City Boats [1] from outside Norwich Station and also Elm Hill.

Proposed developments

Norwich Northern Distributor Road

A controversial new 8.7 mile road to the north of Norwich linking from the A140 road/Norwich International Airport to the north of Norwich to the the A47 road to the east of Norwich was given Program Entry status in December 2009 and an estimated completion data of 2015.[72]

The Postwick hub, an integral park of the NDR is a development of the junction between the A47 road and the A1042 road to the east of Norwich with an additional 500 parking places in the Postwick park and ride site.[73]

There is also discussion about building the section from the A140 west to the A1067 and also from the Wensum Valley to the A47 southern bypass to the west as originally proposed.[74]

Cycle bridge from Riverside area and Whitlingham County Park

Sustrans plans to build a bridge between the Riverside area and Whitlingham County Park as part of the Connect2 project from the National Lottery. The country park is currently disconnected from the main residential areas by the River Yare and River Wensum. [75]

Other proposals

Other proposals in the Norwich Transport Strategy include:-[76]

  • Banning traffic from Westlegate and Rampant Horse Street
  • Buses only in Prince of Wales Road, St Stephens Street, and Surrey Street
  • Two- way traffic in Rose Lane, Golden Ball Street and Farmers Avenue
  • Five rapid bus links into the city from Taverham, Drayton, Easton and Wymondham and a 'train-tram' link to the Rackheath ecotown stopping at Dussindale.


Climate data for Norwich
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.7
Average low °C (°F) 2.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 41
Source: MSN Weather 2009


Norwich is a popular destination for a city break; attractions include Norwich Cathedral, the cobbled streets and museums of old Norwich, The Castle, Cow Tower, Colman's Mustard Shop, Dragon Hall and The Forum. Norwich is also one of the UK's top ten shopping destinations, with a mix of chain retailers and independent stores as well as Norwich Market, one of the largest outdoor markets in England. It is currently ranked the 147th biggest city in Europe.[citation needed]

Travellers' comments

In 1507 the poet John Skelton (1460–1529) wrote of two destructive fires in his Lament for the City of Norwich.

All life is brief, and frail all man's estate. City, farewell: I mourn thy cruel fate.

Thomas Fuller in his The Worthies of England described the City in 1662 as -

Either a city in an orchard or an orchard in a city, so equally are houses and trees blended in it, so that the pleasure of the country and the populousness of the city meet here together. Yet in this mixture, the inhabitants participate nothing of the rusticalness of the one, but altogether the urbanity and civility of the other.

Celia Fiennes (1662–1741) visited Norwich in 1698 and described it as

a city walled full round of towers, except on the river side which serves as a wall; they seem the best in repair of any walled city I know.

She also records that held in the City three times a year were-

great which resort a vast concourse of people and wares a full trade.

Norwich being a rich, thriving industrious place full of weaving, knitting and dyeing.

Daniel Defoe in his Tour of the whole Island of Great Britain (1724) wrote of the City-

the inhabitants being all busy at their manufactures, dwell in their garrets at their looms, in their combing-shops, so they all them, twisting-mills, and other work-houses; almost all the works they are employed in being done within doors.

John Evelyn (1620–1706) Royalist, Traveller and Diarist wrote to Sir Thomas Browne-

I hear Norwich is a place very much addicted to the flowery part.

He visited the City as a courtier to King Charles II in 1671 and described it thus -

The suburbs are large, the prospect sweet, and other amenities, not omitting the flower-garden, which all the Inhabitants excel in of this City, the fabric of stuffs, which affords the Merchants, and brings a vast trade to this populous Town.

George Borrow in his semi-autobiographical novel Lavengro (1851) wrote of Norwich as-

A fine old city, perhaps the most curious specimen at present extant of the genuine old English Town. ..There it spreads from north to south, with its venerable houses, its numerous gardens, its thrice twelve churches, its mighty mound....There is an old grey castle on top of that mighty mound: and yonder rising three hundred feet above the soil, from amongst those noble forest trees, behold that old Norman master-work, that cloud-enriched cathedral spire ...Now who can wonder that the children of that fine old city are proud, and offer up prayers for her prosperity?

Borrow wrote far less favourably of the City in his translation of Faust-

They found the people of the place modelled after so unsightly a pattern, with such ugly figures and flat features that the devil owned he had never seen them equalled, except by the inhabitants of an English town, called Norwich, when dressed in their Sunday's best.

In 1812, Andrew Robertson wrote to the painter Constable-

I arrived here a week ago and find it a place where the arts are very much cultivated....some branches of knowledge, chemistry, botany, etc. are carried to a great length. General literature seems to be pursued with an ardour which is astonishing when we consider that it does not contain a university, as is merely a manufacturing town.

In 1962, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner stated in his North-West Norfolk and Norwich volume of The Buildings of England that

Norwich is distinguished by a prouder sense of civic responsibility than any other town of about the same size in Britain.

Notable people

Throughout its history, Norwich has been associated with radical politics, nonconformist religion, political dissent and liberalism. It has also produced notable people in many other walks of life, particularly the Arts. Famous past names associated with the City include:

Contemporary names associated with Norwich include:

Twinned cities




  1. ^ Nearly rhyming with porridge in the local pronunciation
  2. ^ R.W. Ketton-Cremer, "The Coming of the Strangers", in Norfolk Assembly1957:-30.
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  4. ^ Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service website - "Norwich Shawls"
  5. ^ Norwich Textile website - "The Norwich Shawl Story"
  6. ^ Tom Smith Crackers
  7. ^ Jarrold's store Retrieved 16 November, 2009
  8. ^ Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service website - "Brewing in Norwich"
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  10. ^ Local government in England and Wales: A Guide to the New System. London: HMSO. 1974. p. 72. ISBN 0117508470. 
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  21. ^ a b Scott-Giles, C Wilfrid (1953). Civic Heraldry of England and Wales, 2nd edition. London: J M Dent & Sons. p. 290. 
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  28. ^ "Ministers Statement". Retrieved 26 July 2007. 
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  30. ^ a b Shaun Lowthorpe (2 Febraury 2010). "At last, a verdict on Norfolk councils' future". Eastern Daily Pres. 
  31. ^ "Unitary Authorities". House of Commons Hansard Debates. Parliament of the United Kingdom. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  32. ^ "Reaction to announcement on Local Government Reorganisation Announcement". News Archive. Norfolk County Council. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  33. ^ "Peter Housden's letter in full". Eastern Daily Press. 12 February 2010. 
  34. ^ Youngs, Frederic A, Jr. (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol.I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. p. 751. ISBN 0901050679. 
  35. ^ "Norwich North". Politics. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  36. ^ "Norwich South". Politics. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  37. ^ CACI web site - CACI Retail Footprint, 2006
  38. ^ Norwich Evening News web site - Market is hit by new cash blow
  39. ^ Jenkinson, Caroline (2006-08-19). "New centre sees city climb shops league". Norwich Evening News. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  40. ^ Chessum, Dominic (2006-10-13). "Norwich is top of the shops". Norwich Evening News. Retrieved 2006-10-29. 
  41. ^ Calvert Square Retrieved 01 December 2008
  42. ^ Norwich Evening News item Retrieved February 6, 2009
  43. ^ "Celebrating 30 Years of Success in Education 1979-2009". LJ Create News. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  44. ^ "BBC Visit LJ Create - 30 Years On.". LJ Create Blog. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  45. ^ Department of Culture Media and Sport Press Release 24 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010
  46. ^ King of Hearts Retrieved 15 February, 2010
  47. ^ record label Retrieved 02 March, 2010
  48. ^ a b Barber, Lynne. "Vine Times", July 8 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  49. ^ a b Stella Vine at Modern Art Oxford, Modern Art Oxford 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
  50. ^ Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service website – Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery
  51. ^ Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service website – The Bridewell
  52. ^ Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service website – Strangers’ Hall
  53. ^ Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum website – Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum
  54. ^ City of Norwich Aviation Museum website – Aviation Museum
  55. ^ John Jarrold Printing Museum website – John Jarrold Printing Museum
  56. ^ Norwich Textiles website - Costumes and Textiles Study Centre
  57. ^ "Old Norwich - Churches". Historical Norwich. Retrieved 8 March 2006. 
  58. ^ Whitlingham Country Park Retrieved 23 November, 2009
  59. ^ Whitlingham Outdoor Centre Retrieved 23 November, 2009
  60. ^ DiveNorwich - scuba diving
  61. ^ Norwich Speedway Retrieved 17 January 2008
  62. ^ | Thaxton rolls back the years
  63. ^ Boxing News | Interview with English champion Danny McIntosh
  64. ^ BBC Sport | Sexton joins the big guns
  65. ^ Norwich Evening News (2006-11-13). "Norwich voted greenest place in UK". Press release. Retrieved 2006-11-14. 
  66. ^ MEET IN THE STREET - Positive Change through Public Discussion
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  68. ^ (2005-02-02). "Norwich is eBay capital of UK". Press release. Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  69. ^ Oates, John (2006-08-02). "Norwich turns on UK's largest Wi-Fi network". Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
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  77. ^ Searches Into the History of the Gillman or Gilman Family, Alexander Gillman, London, 1895
  78. ^ Norwich: Mayors, Lord Mayors and Sheriffs, 1835-1990, GENUKI
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External links




Tourism and pictures

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Norwich (disambiguation).

Norwich [1] is the two-cathedral city in the English county of Norfolk in the region of East Anglia. It lies some 185 km (115 miles) from London and is a convenient base for exploring the Broads and the North Norfolk Coast.


Norwich has a population of about 125,000. It was one of the main cities of medieval England, and retains a significant heritage of medieval buildings. In the 1960s it became a university city with the foundation of the University of East Anglia, which has helped the flourishing of local culture.

The history and culture of Norwich and Norfolk was showcased in the Origins exhibition, which has unfortunately now closed.

Get in

By road

Major trunk roads to the Norwich Area are the M11, A14, A11 (via Cambridge), A12, A140 (via Ipswich) from London, the South East of England and the ferry port of Harwich.

The A14, A11 and A47 serve the Midlands and the North.

Parking in the city is limited to expensive mult-storey parking lots. But there is a very good park and ride service National Park and Ride Directory. There are 6 car parks served by 6 colour-coded lines numbered 601-606. Buses run every 6-7 minutes throughout the day but stop around 7-8pm. Tickets are purchased from machines at the car park and are valid for a group of up to 5 people. The prices regularly change but there's generally a 25% discount for tickets purchased after 12pm. You'll be issued two tickets - one is to display inside the windscreen of your car and the other is to show the bus driver when boarding/alighting the bus. Note that the yellow line and car park is adjacent to the airport.

By train

Despite the city's size, there is only one large station. The station is a terminus and all services start/finish here. The two main routes run south to London (1hr50) via Ipswich (40min) and Colchester (1hr) and west/northwest towards Cambridge (1hr) and Peterborough (1hr45) with some services continuing to other major cities in the Midlands and North. Connections to Scotland and East Coast cities are available at Peterborough. There are also a handful of local services to destinations including Sheringham, Cromer, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. The station is only 10 minutes walk from the city centre and has bus connections to the University and the Airport. For details call National Enquiry Line, tel 08457 48 49 50.

By bus

Norwich's brand new Surrey Street bus station is a major hub for local, regional and long-distance buses. There are regular National Express services to/from London although the journey takes roughly twice as long as the train and can sometimes be almost as expensive. There are also regular coaches services to London's Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick airports. All surrounding towns are served by regular (but slow) regional buses - these are mostly useful for reaching towns/villages with no train connection. Tickets for National Express buses can be purchased from the ticket counter at the bus station or booked online.

By air

Norwich is home to a major regional airport - Norwich International Airport - with over 300 worldwide connections via Manchester, Edinburgh or Amsterdam. London Stansted is also within easy reach by road (65 miles and regular coaches from St Andrews Street bus station serve all three major London airports.

To/from the airport - a taxi will cost about £7 from the airport to the city centre. Park&Ride Yellow Line buses run every 7-8 minutes from the airport car park to St Andrews Street bus station non-stop, however the one-way fare is £2.50 so if there's a group it's easier to buy a park & Ride ticket from the machines as this covers up to 5 passengers. Local bus 23 runs every 15 minutes from outside the airport to the city centre and costs about £1.70.

For more information, contact Norwich Airport on (01603) 411923 or Fax (01603) 487523.

Get Around

Norwich city centre is fairly compact and can be explored easily on foot. It is also a very cycle-friendly city with most major streets having separate bike lanes and also several cycle tracks along the two rivers. City buses are mostly operated by FirstGroup and are handy for reaching the train station and riverside entertainment district, the university and the airport. Fares change regularly but expect to pay between £1.50 and £2.00 for one way trips. Return tickets and day pass tickets are also available - buy tickets from the driver (change available) or from the ticket machines located at the bus stops. Metered taxis are fairly cheap (by British standards) and are of the purpose-built 'black cab' variety as in London, whilst telephone-booked minicabs are cheaper for longer trips.

  • Norwich Cathedral [2] - the 900-year old Norman cathedral church. Don't miss 'old As I Am', a grinning skeleton on the south aisle wall.
  • Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery [3] 'Pop in for a pound' in the last hour of opening.
  • Dragon Hall [4] - restored trading hall from medieval era, unique in England
  • Many fine medieval churches including St John Maddermarket, St Peter Mancroft by the Forum , St Stephens, all of which are usually open
  • the Forum [5] - a new landmark building, architecturally dynamic, housing the municipal library, arts and information centre - includes the amazing Origins exhibition of local history and culture
  • the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts [6] - located on the campus of the University of East Anglia - Well worth the visit, lovely building and an underground section with changing exhibitions in art, ceramics, xtiles....creative and imaginative. It was designed by Norman Foster and it is an example of an early work of his in the 1970's. Housed in the building is a permanent exhibtion of the Sainsbury supermarket family pottery and sculpture a lot of rare chinese and tribal stuff - worth spending at least half a day there.

If you want some peace and tranquility in the middle of the city, "the plantation " is a small nicely formed private garden. Walking downhill from the Roman Catholic Cathedral (not the Church Of England one) the gardens are on the left between the two parts of the Beeches Hotel. If there is no one there pop your £2 in the box and enjoy.

  • Norwich Theatre Royal [7]
  • Maddermarket Theatre [8]
  • Norwich Puppet Theatre [9]
  • Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA Beer Festival [10] held every October
  • Norwich is the key site for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival [11] held every year in the month of May.

Norwich is home to Norwich City Football Club, a team currently residing in the second league of UK football ("The Championship") and its ground, Carrow Road, is fairly close to the city centre and the railway station. The ground seats 26,000, and if you visit Norwich and are keen on football, it's worth a visit - a friendly ground, with large amounts of family spectators.


Norwich punches above its weight in retail terms and is regarded as one of Britain's major regional shopping centres. The Castle Mall shopping mall has recently been joined by a major new city-centre development, the Chapelfield mall, on the site of a former chocolate factory. It has a big "Cigar entwined in a wire frame" sculpture on top to help people find it.

Other than the shopping centres there is a big John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and local department store Jarrolds. This particular store is unusual in that it is still locally owned and gives 25% of its profits to the John Jarrold Trust - a charity that grant aids worthy causes. London Street is nearby and was England's first pedestrianised street. The market is the site of the principal shopping area and is occupied by well-known chain stores; additionally, a wide range of independent specialist stores is concentrated around the Upper Goat Lane/Pottergate/St. Benedict's area of the city centre. This area is known as the Norwich Lanes. One street not to miss is Elm Hill. It's a medieval cobbled street near Norwich Cathedral that backs onto the River Wensum and is renowned for its antiques and tea shops.

That leaves us with the market! Apparently the largest permanent outdoor market in Europe, and one of the finest city markets in the UK. It has recently been refurbished and is a riot of primary colours and retracting roofs. It was designed by the same architect as the Castle Mall, Michael Innes.

Just outside the city centre are a number of shops worth a look. Upper St Giles is home to a number of independent shops, restaurants and delicatessens. Over the bridge and down Earlham Road towards the University of East Anglia (UEA) is a fine independent organic and local food shop called the Green Grocers. You will find a good range of locally sourced food as well as catering for vegetarian and vegans. They have a Farmers' Market outside the shop every second sunday of the month.


Restaurants in Norwich are getting better.

There is a Malaysian buffet on Timber Hill called Malaysian Delights. The food is good but rather toned down for the average British palate. It has a reasonable range for lunch and a bigger range for dinner. The best thing though is that you can eat as much as you want for £5.50 for lunch and £9.99 for dinner.

There is a range of Chinese restaurants in the city. Mainly they seem to be run by one family under the banner of Lucky Star. They run two big buffets (Riverside and above a car park at the top of St Stephens Street). They are all much of a muchness but Riverside is the most popular and therefore busiest. There are some others (mainly of Prince of Wales Road).

Near the market, between Gentlemans Walk and Rampant Horse Street is a small Lebanese restaurant that does excellent lunchitme flaffels or evening meals.

There seem to be loads of Thai restaurants in Norwich. Not sure why it has more than its fair share but since most of them are good we shouldn’t complain. The best two are Sugar Hut and Silk Thai. Sugar Hut is owned by a couple who have 3 restaurants in the city and this one is the original and best. Good menu and choice of wines, lovely staff and well prepared food. Quite busy on the weekend for dinner so book in advance. Thai Silk on the other had seems to always be quiet. Very well decorated with lovely fixtures and fittings. It has a good range of food and but is slightly more expensive than Sugar Hut.

Indian restaurants in Norwich have, over the past decade or so, been engaged in a fierce price war which has seen menu prices stay low - sometimes, it has to be said, at the expense of quality.

A very good Indian restaurant called Oasis is on Queens Road. It is in a converted church so it has big high ceilings and lots of space. There are quiet little enclaves off to the side where they seem to put couples which is a nice idea as the main restaurant can be noisy with a band. If you want fun and a lively atmosphere then it is great. Well decorated with a very modern style so as different as you will get from the stereotypical Indian restaurant. Food is medium hot by English standards so if you are used to Asian or Indian food then you need to ask them to spice it up a bit (which they seem happy to do). The staff seem helpful and friendly if not the most traditional of service.

There are several other Indian restaurants on Magdalene Street and a good place on St Benedict’s called Bengal Spice.

The standard Cafe Uno, Pizza Express etc are all present but are of a fairly chain restaurant standard so go if you want but there are some better choices. Zizzis in Tomblands is nicer than average with a traditional big wood burning oven so they do some nice flavoured pizzas and baked pastas. The best value for money is probably Figaro's. Pizzas around £6-£7 and generous toppings and some very good calzone.

There is one other place to mention as you should avoid it. Italia Nostra. It is just off Tombland and looks really authentic from the outside. That is about all it has going for it though. It is dark inside, the staff are fairly arrogant and forgetful and the food is disappointing.

Two worth trying are Pedro’s (Mexican)in Chapelfield gardens and Mambo Jambo’s. Pedro’s is ok nice setting in the park but the service is poor. Mambo Jambo’s on the other hand is great. Don’t go expecting great food but you get loads of it. It also has a cheap bar and is always full of groups of friends, work parties and birthday parties. This may be because for a reasonably price you get loads of drinks and huge portions of food.

The Belgian Monk on Pottergate in the city centre is fantastic for mussels and does very good food at reasonable prices. They also do a variety of different beers: cherry beer is definitely worth a try.

If you enjoy pub fare, there are two excellent locations on Ipswich Road in the South end of the city. Both Maid Marion's and the Marsh Harrier will fill you to the brim. For a quintessential dinner of fish and chips, the Marsh Harrier cannot be beat, with their "whale of a fish". Selection of beer was also excellent. Staff is courteous and service is excellent.

For vegetarian restaurants try The Greenhouse, an environmentally friendly cafe and shop on Bethel Street, [12] or Pulse on Guildhall Hill. Also on Guildhall Hill is The Waffle House, [13], a daytime and late-opening classy, but low priced, waffle emporium, offering a variety of sweet and savoury Belgian waffles. Some are vegetarian, some not, but the produce used is almost all organic. There's great coffee there too, and the service is generally quick.


Norwich was once famous for having a church for every week in the year and a pub for every day. It had the highest number of pubs per square mile in the UK.

For real ale enthusiasts, Norwich is home to the multi award-winning Fat Cat [14], a real ale paradise serving over 25 ales, and the only pub in the UK to twice win the prestigious CAMRA National Pub of the Year. Other popular real ale pubs in the city centre include The Coach & Horses and the historic Adam & Eve. North of the city are the King's Head in Magdalen Street, the Shed (with Fat Cat Brewery), and the Duke of Wellington, all real ale pubs with an extensive selection of ales and some cider.

There is a major beer festival, organised by the local branch of CAMRA, held every year in St Andrews Hall. Beware that it gets extremely crowded though.

The local real ale of choice is Woodforde's Wherry. Woodfordes also brew Nelson's Revenge among others. Also popular in pubs around the area are the two popular Adnams ales, The Bitter and Broadside, brewed in nearby Southwold.

  • The Bicycle Shop, 17 St Benedicts Street. 10:00 - midnight. A lovely new addition is The Bicycle Shop bar/restaurant. Great for lunch or a drink in its downstairs bar. Good wines and local beers.  edit
  • Maids Head in Tombland but it is a bit old fashioned and out of date. They tried refurbishing their restaurant so maybe they will sort the rest of the inside soon too. It is in a very pretty building so it is good for tourists who want a bit of old England.
  • Nelson hotel by the railway station. Very convenient but full of middle managers come to do some work for Norwich Union. Also can be very noisy at night as it is opposite Riverside (a big entertainment complex).
  • Holiday Inn, Ipswich Road, just South of the outer ring road. During a February 2006 visit, it was noted by a group of Canadian visitors to have well appointed rooms. The bar area was stocked with numerous local beers, as well as some of the more well known continental brews. The restaurant was rather expensive, and breakfast was questionable.
  • Hilton, Cromer Road. To the North of the city. Nice enough as all Hiltons are and convenient for the airport and Norfolk Broads.

There are a couple of new chains hotels in town. On Duke Street next to a new car park is the Premier Travel Inn, clean, cheap and central but very bland. There is also a new Travelodge next to the new bus station, bland but clean and convenient.

Out of the city there are some larger golf-type hotels. Dunston Hall (owned by the De Vere group) just south of the city and Sprowston Manor (owned by the Marriott group) just north of the city. Both are OK and generally get 4 star ratings but they are hardly hotels you would choose to go on holiday to. They have lots of facilities (spas, gold pools etc) and are the best place to stay around Norwich if you don’t need to be in the city centre.

Get out

Although Norwich is a comparitively small city by international standards, there is still plenty to do. The main attraction in Norwich are the Broads - a network of rivers and tributaries famed for it's scenic beauty. Visitors can either take a stroll along the network of footpaths along the Broads or rent a small cruiser or narrowboat.

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun


  1. A city in England, the county town of Norfolk


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

Norwich is the name of several places:

In England:

In Canada:

  • Norwich, Ontario (in Oxford County)

In Jamaica:

  • Norwich, Jamaica

In the United States:

  • Norwich, Connecticut
  • Norwich, Massachusetts
  • City of Norwich, New York
  • Town of Norwich, New York
  • Norwich, Vermont
  • Norwich Township, Missaukee County, Michigan
  • Norwich Township, Newaygo County, Michigan

Other meanings:

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Norwich is the county town of Norfolk, a county in the East of England. In 2005, 127,600 people lived in Norwich. It is one of the oldest cities in England.

Norwich International Airport provides many flights out of the city, to places such as Amsterdam, Spain and some places within the United Kingdom.

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