Top places to live in Norfolk Norwich
With its indie shops, buzzy cultural scene and riverside walks Norwich is one of the UK's coolest cities with a radical history and vibrant future-facing energy.
It’s UNESCO City of Literature and has a zillion other awards besides – and when it comes to independent shops, bars, cafés, restaurants, galleries and theatres you’re in heaven. Plus, it’s known as the most vegan-friendly city in the UK, with a strong sustainability ethos – and it’s less than an hour from the coast!
Mentioning all the foodie fabulousness in Norwich will take a whole book so we literally stuck a pin in the map and came up with this lucky dip. There are Muddy finalists aplenty but every one of these is a winner! All of them celebrating fantastic seasonal eating and most of them family run. Cafe No. 33 is a favourite for brunch, lunch and lush cakes. Funky ‘bistronomy’ dining always delights at The Farmyard, as does plant-based cuisine at The Gatherers, and the heavenly dessert-only menu at The Fig Bar. Special occasion? Head to celebrity chef territory – The Last Wine Bar, Benedicts and Roger Hickman’s. Cocktail queens will love Gonzos Tea Room, Mr Postles Apothecary, Rooftop Gardens and Gyre & Gimble. The Assembly House is a must for afternoon tea (and more!) as is Norwich institution Biddy’s Tea Room which has gorgeous bakes and over 50 blends of tea. Fave pubs include the groovy Earlham (host of the Muddy Awards 2021), The Unthank in the Golden Triangle and the Fat Cat Brewery Tap in the north of the city. And no need to travel for authentic flavour when you can eat the world at fantastique family bistro Français L’Hexagone, Turkish inspired speakeasy Haggle, The Merchants of Spice with its renowned Indian signature dishes, and delectable Japanese Shiki in Tombland.
Pop to The Lanes via Norwich Market, a hive of both small street food vendors and indie outlets, including Muddy Award-winning gift and jewellery boutique Lisa Angel. Don’t miss Gentleman’s Walk and its brilliant 250-year-old family-run department store Jarrold with an innovative Store Folk section championing eclectic indies artisan makers across the county. Fashionistas head to Vanilla and for excellent personal service, niche brands and Danish style and Ginger on Timberhill (so much good stuff on this street!). Carrie Bradshaws will love Milly J Shoes for strikingly unconventional shoe clips to jazz up your old size nines and lovers of pearls check out Stoned and Hammered on Elm Hill – exquisite! And we LOVE Atwin Store – a gorgeous lifestyle hub with its heart and soul in Norfolk’s vibrant community of indie makers and designers. Meanwhile Seven Wolves is the biz for cool menswear and Dogfish for street gear. And all the main brands can be found at Chantry Place.
If you’re shopping for little ones you NEED Muddy Award winning Flicka for beautiful Scandi gifts or classic toy shop Langleys in the Royal Arcade. Also in the Arcade is gorgeous Muddy Award winning jeweller Sonkai plus Saffire Chocolates and Masterchef Finalist Tim Kinnaid’s Macarons and More – both super glam sugar fixes. And in this most bookish of cities your luck’s in with the brilliant Book Hive and joyous, uber child-friendly Muddy Award winner Bookbugs and Dragon Tales.
Norwich Castle graces the city skyline and is great for a family day out. There’s world-class entertainment at Muddy Award-winning Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich Arts Centre and Norwich Playhouse and more. The Sainsbury Centre on the UEA campus is a fantastic space with a fabulous permanent collection, exhibitions and sculpture park in the landscaped grounds. Fans of the Marvel movies will be in for a surprise too! (Clue: it features in Avengers: Age of Ultron.) There are lovely parks and green spaces, two cathedrals and two rivers the Yare and the Wensum – Norfolk Paddleboards will get you out on the peaceful city backwaters. Plus the Broads and stunning coastline are in easy reach.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
Plenty of excellent private school options in the city centre including Norwich School in the cathedral grounds, Norwich High School for Girls and Town Close. Nearby countryside boarding options – Wymondham College and Langley. State options include the many Good and Outstanding primaries across the city. High schools include Ofsted Good Jane Austen College with an Outstanding sixth form, which specialises in English, humanities and the arts, in partnership with Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form, the UK’s first specialist science and mathematics sixth form. Also rated Outstanding is Notre Dame High School and Sixth Form. Creative teens eyeing up London art schools should look at City College‘s UAL diplomas taught in modern Creative Arts studios. There’s an impressive range of traditional and alternative courses plus the uber cool new multi-million-pound Digi-Tech Factory.
BEST KEPT SECRET
Norwich’s own Diagon Alley – completely hidden secret passageways and abandoned houses have been discovered beneath Castle Street. The Shoebox Community Hub offers tours with a historian storyteller. If you love crime novels, read The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths which features disturbing goings on in these old tunnels deep under the city.
118 miles and 2 hours 17 drive from Norwich to London or 1 hour 30 mins by direct train into Liverpool Street. Cambridge is 1 hour 14 mins by car or 1 hour 20 mins by train.
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