Norwich maintains a strong character of its own, the city has an authentic mix of old and new, it has preserved some traditional attractions alongside quirky new places to shop, eat and drink. Unlike a lot of British cities that have had their features ripped out by poor quality developments and isolating traffic systems, large areas of the inner city like the Lanes have been made semi-pedestrian and left to develop an offbeat charm all of their own.
You can be in Norwich within 20 minutes by car or bus (30 minutes) direct from Aylsham. Norwich is small enough to be navigated on foot, shopping is good with lots of independent shops as well as the usual chains and even one of two of the several shopping malls that have mushroomed during the last 30 years are really well-planned and have those essential shops like the Apple Store and large department stores like House of Fraser.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants to grab a bite, there are the better high street chains like Patisserie Valerie in the centre, below Norwich Castle and then there is Macaroons and More and Jamie’s Italian at one end of the charming Royal Arcade.
There are reassuringly capable department stores like the excellent Jarrolds with a well-stocked shopping experience, which is arranged over several inter-connected sites in the centre and a large, purpose-built John Lewis. The central market has lots of independent stalls selling everything from vintage clothing, flowers to pet accessories.
Norwich has one of the country’s most groundbreaking purpose-built universities. University of East Anglia is on the western perimeter of the city spanning an expansive, green site which includes the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, housing world-class international exhibitions. UEA has one of the most respected creative writing courses which has contributed to Norwich being designated a UNESCO centre for literature and there is the Writers Centre, Norwich that holds regular seminars and writing workshops for those wanting to improve their own writing.
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There are historic sites to explore taking the visitor from Roman settlements, through Saxon and Dane heritage to the impact of the Norman period. Norwich cathedral is still a ‘must see’ for any visitor and lies at the heart of the City. Skilled Walloon and Flemish weavers came to settle in Norwich following the boom in the wool trade in medieval times. This wealth led to the construction of many buildings well worth a visit, from Norwich Castle to the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell.
In later centuries Norwich gained more prominence as a centre for printing and leather production aided by the growth of the railway making it Britain’s second city. Check out what are considered to be Norwich’s 12 most significant sites here
Go to our links page to find out more about the places we recommend you visit whilst in Norwich.
Norwich is 900 years old with over 1,500 heritage buildings from every British era making its historical pedigree unsurpassed. It is a place to discover many architectural gems and is ideally placed for exploring the unspoilt beauty of Norfolk itself.
NORWICH EAT, DRINK, SHOP
A short journey from Aylsham by car or as a passenger on one of the regular bus services from the Market Place and you are in the heart of Norwich. As you pass through the City limits you will see the sign that states "A Fine City" – it really does live up to this billing.
There are numerous gardens and open spaces to visit across Norwich and in the countryside just outside the city. Here are just a few of our favourites.