Perched in East Anglia, Norwich is one of the totally gorgeous and historic cities in England to visit. The city is well over 1,000 years old and there’s a heap of the best things to do in Norwich that are nestled all across the city limits. This is exactly why I love it, there’s just so much to see and do over a long weekend!
Plus, being around 100-miles away from the big smoke of London, it’s really easy to pop across via the train. This makes it totally easy to visit if you’re not planning on driving around the UK.
Now, the city might be smaller than places like; London but it’s similar in size to other historic cities like Bath or Cambridge. So, if you’ve already been to the latter, you’ll know how manageable it is to explore by foot.
Honestly, that’s why I love smaller cities, like Norwich, so much. They’re just so easy to navigate and you don’t need to overly plan your day as you’re never too far from all the action and all the best things to do in Norwich.
Anyway, with that, take a little gander at some of the best things to do in Norwich when you visit. Have the best time.
1.) Norwich Cathedral
Built almost 1,000 years ago, Norwich Cathedral towers over the city and is totally stunning to visit.
Once you arrive in the city, head inside to explore the stunning nave and to see the second-largest cloisters in the whole of England (the first being in Salisbury).
Honestly, for me, exploring the cathedral is one of the best things to do in Norwich. Plus, it’s free to enter and you can donate any amount you wish.
Also, don’t forget to see Ethelbert Gate that’s one of the historic access points to the cathedral’s grounds.
There is so much history in this place, you honestly can’t miss it.
Afterwards, reserve a table at Benedict’s and try some of their incredible dishes that are so fresh and tasty.
Yes, it might be a little pricier than some other spots but it’s well worth it. The dishes are so good; especially the mackerel.
2.) The Royal Arcade
Completed in the 1800s, the Royal Arcade is a Victorian shopping arcade that’s packed full of independent little shops and stores.
It’s a great little place to wander and is open every day of the week. Plus, it’s covered which all makes it a great little spot if you get caught up in the rain.
It’s one of the best things to do in Norwich, which is totally stunning (even if it’s only a fleeting visit).
Oh, and pop over to o Louis’ Deli (on Upper Giles) for a breakfast, too. We stopped here as we arrived early in the city and totally loved it. It’s so kitsch and informal (and the food is delicious).
3.) Norwich Market
Made up of hundreds of stalls, exploring Norwich Market is easily one of the best things to do in Norwich when strolling the city.
You see, the market itself has been a permanent fixture for over 900 years, making it one of the oldest markets in England to visit.
Plus, it’s a great spot to visit around lunchtime as you’ll see a heap of yummy and fresh foods to gorge on.
4.) Elm Hill
For me, rambling through Elm Hills is one of the best things to do in Norwich, especially as it’s so historic.
So, what makes Elm Hill special is that it’s cobbled streets go all the way back to the Tudor times and still stands proudly to this day.
When strolling through Elm Hill, make sure to spot the iconic Tudor buildings and little haunts like; Briton’s Arms coffee house, The Stranger’s Club and Pettus House , the Tea House, too.
Oh, and don’t forget to pop into Dormouse Bookshop, too. It’s a rare book shop that’s totally kitsch and great if you want to find yourself a little book.
Afterwards, take a little stroll across Quayside and pop onto Pig Lane, too. Oh, and pop across Tombland, too.
From here, you’ll get to see the Erpingham Gate that’s another entry to the cathedral.
It’s another one of Norwich’s most historic streets to visit and the whole area is gorgeous.
We loved this whole area!
5.) Pulls Ferry
Perched on the River Wensum, Pull’s Ferry is a historic gatehouse date all the way back to the 15th Century and is totally gorgeous to see.
You see, this is the exact route that the stonemasons used to bring all the stone to Norwich to build the cathedral itself.
It’ll only take you around a 5-minute walk to see from the Cathedral and you’ll also spot the historic Bishop Bridge in the distance, too. For me, it’s one of the best things to do in Norwich if you’re interested in the history of the city.
Afterwards, make sure to pop into the Grosvenor Fish Bar that serves up some of the best fish and chips I’ve ever had.
Honestly, my tummy still rumbles at how good this was.
6.) Norfolk Broads
If you fancy a little jaunt away from the city itself, head out to the Norfolk Broads. Perched in between Norwich and Great Yarmouth (on the coast), The Broads is a stunning area to visit that’s well worth the trip.
Now, if you feel confident, you can even take a canal boat and explore The Broads by water. The whole area is beautiful.
Oh, and don’t forget to see some of the iconic windmills, too. Some of the best are the; Berney Arms Mill, Horsey Mill, Hardley Mill and St. Olaves Drainage Mill.
They’re totally gorgeous.
Also, if you’re planning on leaving Norwich for a little explore of the area, pop into the Fur and Feather for a tasty lunch or early dinner. We loved it here so much and the food is delicious.
7.) Cow Tower
Built around 700-years ago, Cow Tower is actually one of the first artillery blockhouses ever built!
You see, long ago, each city in England had to protect itself with high walls and defensive barriers to stop them from being overrun and pillaged.
You can still see lots of these walls and defences in other cities like York, too. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Norwich if you love history but you might want to give it a miss if it’s not your cuppa tea.
8.) Plantation Garden
Around a 10-minute stroll from the market, seeing Plantation Garden is one of the best things to do in Norwich on a sunny day.
Now, these Victorian Gardens might be relatively small but they’re totally lovely and well worth a little stroll whilst exploring the city.
Plus, you’ll get to see the gothic fountain that towers over the park, too.
Entry is something like £2 each, so it won’t break the bank either!
9.) Norwich Castle
Built almost 1,000 years ago, Norwich Castle is another one of the historic spots to visit in the city. After all, it was built by William the Conqueror and has stood proudly ever since.
Once here, make sure to explore the grounds of the Castle and pop in to see the museums artefacts and collections, too.
Oh, and don’t forget to spot the Happisburgh hand axe! It’s a Lower Palaeolithic (human-made axe) that has been dated to 700,000 years old!
It’s officially the oldest human-made item in all of Northern Europe and means that people have lived in this area for over half a million years. Wow.
This, alone, makes it one of the best things to do in Norwich; it still blows my mind at how old it is!
10.) Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Nestled on the outskirts of Norwich itself, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is a great place to visit!
It’s easily one of the best things to do in Norwich if you love art, especially as it houses so many pieces that are so diverse. Here, you’ll see everything from Roman sculptures, contemporary art and pieces by Monet, too.
Oh, and if you’re into architecture, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts was one of the first ‘big’ constructions by Norman Foster and Wendy Cheesman.