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Norwich – Ancient Capital of East Anglia
The origin of Norwich dates back to Roman times. It was during the Norman period that the city really came of age, becoming the second largest city in England up until the industrial revolution cause it to be displaced. Norwich holds several attractions dating from Norman times, including the lovely Norwich Cathedral. Modern developments and the large student population of the University of East Anglia keep things fresh. Norwich has a cosy and vibrant city centre and a reputation as one of the most ecologically conscious cities in the United Kingdom.
A Compact Centre Ideal for Walking
Special efforts have been made in the Norwich city centre to ease pedestrian travel, allowing those on foot to get around as part of the city’s strong “green” commitment. A good place to start a walk around Norwich would be in the streets surrounding Norwich Castle. These streets are home to some of the city’s best hotels, restaurants and nightlife. Due to the city centre’s compact size, it’s usually a simple matter to walk back to your hotel after a visit to one of the pubs or clubs.
Norwich Market is a lively outdoor market dating from the 11th century. It is one of the largest markets in the UK and consists of more than 200 stalls selling food, crafts, flowers and more. It is in the very heart of the city, adjacent to Gentleman’s Walk, which itself is home to many boutiques and luxury stores.
Castle, Cathedral and 900 Years of History
Though Saxons were living in the area for some time before the cathedral was built, it was the building of Norwich Cathedral 900 years ago that was the initial impetus to the city’s growth. The development of the Cathedral catapulted Norwich into becoming the second largest city in the British Isles, a position it maintained for centuries. Constructed mostly in the Norman period, the cathedral’s interior is both simple and inspiring, with visitors eyes being directed heavenward to the massive vaulted ceiling. It is especially well known for its cloisters, the covered walkways which offer wonderful views of the gardens and spire. Norman settlements required solid defences, with the order to construct Norwich Castle having come from William the Conqueror himself. While relatively modest in size, the castle benefits from being right in the city centre, close to the city’s best hotels and guest houses. The attached museum includes exquisite art objects dating from Queen Boudica’s time to the present day.
A Vibrant Arts and Cultural Centre
Norwich has a strong history of supporting the arts, culture and learning. The city was the site of the first provincial library, which opened in 1608, and has maintained a strong publishing industry and literary scene up to the present day. The people of Norwich and municipal authorities have made a strong commitment to free speech, which has helped the arts flourish. The main cultural event on the calendar is the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. This festival features a variety of artists and performers who showcase their work and talent each May. It is especially well-known for its musical acts, but also includes theatre, dance and other visual arts as well. The Norwich Theatre Royal has an extensive program featuring operas, plays, musicals and much more. The Forum is a striking modern complex right in the centre of the city close to many hotels. It offers a casual atmosphere to enjoy art exhibitions, outdoor shows and an award winning library all in one place. The city also has a number of professional sports terms, including the very popular Norwich City Football Club, which is known for its friendly fans. Norwich Rugby Football Club is a smaller outfit and plays its games at grounds near Norwich Airport.
A Base for Exploring the East Anglia Countryside
Visitors to Norwich who get a little tired of city life can easily make quick daytrips into the East Anglia countryside and coast to revive their spirits. Recently rebranded as the Broads National Park, this lovely area of lowland rivers and lakes is popular with day trippers from the city. Many of its waterways are navigable, with small sailing craft being a particularly popular choice among those looking to get out onto the water. The area is also well known for its historic windmills, constructed to help process the wheat grown in the region. The endless beaches of the East Anglia coast are also very popular, with Great Yarmouth being the destination of choice for many. Great Yarmouth is just 22 miles from Norwich, and can easily be visited on a day trip, though some prefer to book into a hotel on its beachfront so as to have more time to explore the beach and traditional seaside amusements in Great Yarmouth.
Price rangefrom £26to £1,047
- Hotel Travelodge Norwich Central Riversidefrom £34
- Hotel Holiday Inn Norwich Cityfrom £52
- Hotel The Maids Head Hotelfrom £80
- Hotel Travelodge Norwich Centralfrom £47
- Hotel Sprowston Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Clubfrom £75
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