Christmas and Winter events in Norwich

Find things to do in Norwich this Christmas. Christmas markets, family friendly events, shopping, pantomime and the famous ‘Tunnel of Light’. Everything you need to know to plan your trip to Norwich this Christmas. 

Written by Melanie Cook |

Norwich Christmas Lights 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.


There’s a host of things to do at Christmas and during winter in Norwich. 2020 is going to be an exceptional year starting with a brand-new festival over Valentine’s weekend – Love Light Norwich.

Things to do this November in Norwich 

We barely get Guy Fawkes out of the way and then the Christmas lights are switched on. The infamous ‘Tunnel of Light’ returns until 5 January so get ready with your camera for some lightastical, fabulous selfies. Use your social currency from the oft with #mytunneloflight #cityofstories when you share!


One of Norwich’s best kept secrets has to be Country & Eastern on Bethel Street. This smorgasbord of Eastern delights, artwork, rugs, clothing and furniture is a sight to see. Part shop, part exhibition space – it’s all housed in a vast Victorian skating rink. Until 30 November see The Blumenthal Collection – embroidered textiles.
We might have a moan about our weather but it’s lovely to experience all four seasons. Join Pensthorpe’s Head Gardener, Jonathan, for an afternoon walk on Friday 22 November around four of the Park’s contrasting gardens, with particular focus on winter displays. Tickets £13.95 and includes lunch. Booking is essential.

Don’t miss your last chance to see Magdalene Odundo at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (closes 15 December). This major exhibition brings together over 50 of Odundo’s works culminating in the third gallery with a spectacular installation made up of 1001 pieces of hand blown glass.

Norwich at Christmas 2016 – Pic by Keiron Tovell

Shopping in Norwich

TV ads, Instagram posts and social chatter will be awash with the best ‘money can buy’ treats, fashion and gifts that come with the festive season. Start your shopping early to be ahead of the game but also to give yourself time to buy a bit and relax a bit too.

Brimming with over 300 independent businesses we have The Norwich Lanes where you can easily spend a day browsing and drinking coffee in scandi-inspired eateries. Particular mention has to go to Upper St Giles. This small but perfectly formed ‘high street’ is a miniature copy of a street you would find in Notting Hill or Maida Vale.

The Cathedral Quarter is another early shopping trip to pop into the calendar. In this area explore vintage and collectable establishments – take a peak around Elm Hill, Tombland, Wensum Street and Magdalen Street.

Norwich Christmas Lights 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

What’s on in December in Norwich 

On 3 December join the Walking Women of Holkham. Starting at 10am this free walk takes around 1.5 hours along Wells Beach. It’s a great way to meet new people and you’re welcome to take well behaved dogs along too.

Strangers’ Hall has an annual programme of joyous Christmas events which includes visits to meet the big man himself and a Chris Mouse trail.

Live performance is huge at Christmas so get yourself tickets for panto, orchestra’s, comedy and music at: Norwich Theatre Royal, The Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Puppet Theatre, The Playhouse, Norwich Cathedral, St Andrew’s Hall, St Peter Mancroft and OPEN.

Finally, attractions around Norfolk offer all types Christmassy things to do. Check out: Bure Valley Railway, Holkham Hall, Banham Zoo, Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, Thursford, Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden and Broads Tours.

Read our guide to pantomines in East Anglia.

Norwich Christmas light tunnel 2016

Christmas Markets in Norwich

21 – 24 November: Festive Fair at The Forum is a Christmas market to mark the start of the festive season with over 60 stalls over four days filled with merriment and music. The market stalls offer everything you need for presents, decoration and treats – all locally made. Free entry.

29 November– 1 December: Deepdale Christmas Market is held in the lovely village of Burnham Deepdale. This is a market for a ‘not on the high street’ experience. Now in its 11th year pick up gifts, decorations, food and drink. Free entry.

1 December: Proudly Norfolk at OPEN is a celebration of the best local food and drink, plus cake decorating, and visits to Father Christmas. Entry £1.50.

6 – 7 December: Christmas Fair in the Cloisters at Norwich Cathedral is presented by the Norfolk Agricultural Association with Norwich Cathedral. This seasonal event offers wonderful locally made and produced food, drink and products all under one-roof and in a beautiful setting. Free entry.
14- 15 December: Festive Food Fair at Holkham Hall is an annual celebration and a much-loved weekend in the Christmas calendar. This is where you are invited to try and buy the best local food and drinks from producers all over Norfolk.  Don’t miss English Whisky Company, Walsingham Farm Shop and Candi’s Chutneys. 

Find a Christmas market near you.

Things to do in January in Norwich

So if Christmas is full of light try the exact opposite in January with Dining in the Dark. Tease your senses with a sensory and culinary event which will provide a rare and unique dining experience. This all takes place in The Club at OPEN, on 30 January, tickets cost £30.

January is also a time to get out for a walk, to brush the cobwebs away. Norwich is bursting with open spaces so head to the likes of: Eaton Park; Mousehold Heath, Marriott’s Way and Whitlingham Country Park.     

fire show

Valentine’s Day in Norwich

In 2020 an exciting inaugural festival launches for all the family including man’s best friend. Love Light Norwich festival is taking place between 13 – 15 February. Presented by Norwich Business Improvement District and supported by Arts Council England, this is going to be a weekend of epic proportions. With the theme of love and belonging, the festival will include an illuminating trail of light and fire artworks, extraordinary installations, stunning performances and interventions which will transform the city centre into a captivating trail of discovery, accessible to all.

For full details of all these events and much more go to

Plan a Christmas break in Norwich with our guide to the best hotels in Norwich. 

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