Things to do in Norwich this summer
Norwich is a beautiful city to visit at any time of the year, but during the summer months it comes alive.
Video by Laura Stafford Smith
The stylish lifestyle and fashion bloggers have pulled together their favourite restaurants for brunch, dinner and drinks, shopping hotspots and attractions in Norwich.
Each have a love of the city and everything it offers, Laura said: “Once home to a pub for every day of the year, Norwich continues to play host to a vibrant and bustling culture of independent restaurants, shops and ways to spend a day out this summer.”
While Shelley, who moved to the city eight years ago, explains why its so special to her: “I fell in love with the fine city of Norwich, when I moved here for University. I loved it so much that I never left and started writing a blog about my life here. Norwich has so much to offer. It has everything you could possibly want from a city with the added bonus of a relaxed pace of life.
“The thing that makes Norwich stand apart from the crowd is the thriving independent quarter with its own community of locals that make it that extra bit special.”
Here, they list their favourite Norwich hotspots – all worthy of an Instagram snap, of course!
Places for brunch in Norwich
Laura: No.33, 33 Exchange St, Norwich NR2 1DP | www.no33cafe.co.uk
Perhaps the most famous amongst residents for its brunch, No. 33 is not to be missed if you’re starting your day early. Also famed for its vast assortment of cakes (including GF), No.33 is a relaxed café perfect for an intimate brunch. If you plan to go, be sure to get there early, as the queue for the café typically extends up the hill – testament to the fact it’s worth the wait.
PONO, 15 St Giles St, Norwich NR2 1JL | www.staypono.co.uk
If you’re looking for something a little different, new to the Norwich breakfast scene is PONO, a Hawaiian-inspired superfood bar, which offers fresh, healthy food and drink, all available to eat in or take away. If you love cold-pressed juices, smoothie bowls and iced coffees, this is almost certainly the dreamy breakfast destination for you.
Shelley: Wild Thyme The Old Fire Station Stables, Labour Lane Vain Yard, Norwich, NR2 1JD | www.wildthymenorwich.co.uk
Tucked away in peaceful cobbled yard, Wild Thyme has a relaxed and social vibe. They are known for their wide ranging, easily adaptable menu packed full of fresh and seasonal dishes. Head there for peanut butter pancakes and sweet potato hash to name but a few. On warmer mornings, sit outside in the courtyard for a side of sunshine!
Good restaurants for dinner in Norwich
Laura: St Benedict’s Street, Norwich NR2 4PE
If you’re more inclined to check out somewhere independent, St Benedict’s Street is home to an extensive range of independent eateries, including Farmyard, Haggle, and the rather aptly named Benedicts, owned by Richard Bainbridge.
Here you’ll also find several bars, and just a stone’s throw away, the Grosvenor Fish Bar, who just happen to serve the best fish and chips around. Situated opposite the quirky Birdcage pub, this is the perfect place to start your evening, or end your day, whether you choose to eat in the corrugated iron clad grotto downstairs, or have your food delivered across the road to the Birdcage.
Shelley: Franks Bar, 19 Bedford Street, Norwich, NR2 1AR | franksbar.co.uk
Whether you want, breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or drinks Franks Bar is the place to head. This chilled out cafe bar is one of the most popular spots in Norwich and rightly so. Their seasonally changing menu and small sharing plates are delicious, as are the cocktails. On Sunday evening they run movie nights. There’s often a queue out of the door but it’s well worth the wait.
The best places for a drink in Norwich
Laura: Rooftop Gardens, The Union Building, 51-59 Rose Ln, Norwich NR1 1BY | rooftopgardens.co.uk
Since opening in October 2016, Rooftop Gardens has become one of my favourite lunch spots. Tucked away on the roof of The Union Building, it offers unrivalled views of the city, al fresco dining, interior design inspiration aplenty and an extensive menu. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, or want to bask in the sunshine for a while, head on up to the roof for a truly memorable dining experience.
Shelley: Hawthorn, 2-4 St Benedicts St, Norwich NR2 4AG | barhawthorn.com
Split over two levels, Hawthorn create some of the best cocktails in the city. The downstairs bar serves a range of classic cocktails, beers and wines. There’s £5 cocktails between 5 and 7pm and the popular Brick Pizza have a residency in the week. Upstairs is a bit of a hidden gem, here you’ll get table service and a wide range of unique cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else. The atmosphere in here is laid back, over the weekend the place has a real buzz about it.
Shopping in Norwich
Laura: Norwich Market
At the heart of the city centre, you’ll find the brightly coloured stalls of Norwich Market. Combining both shopping and eating, this is the perfect place to spend an hour browsing whilst you decide what to eat – with so many different cuisines on offer however, you may well need an hour just to decide! Once you’ve chosen, grab a seat in the gardens above the market and watch the world go by.
Shelley: Jarrold, 1-11 London St, Norwich NR2 1JF | jarrold.co.uk
This independent family run department store has had roots in Norwich since the 20th century. Today the store on London Street sells everything from books and beauty to clothing, children toys and kitchenware. There’s also a spa in store so you can get pampered whilst you shop. The popular Deli and wine bar are downstairs, stop by for a glass of wine and some nibbles. The Exchange is the latest addition to the store, serving wood fired pizza, pasta and desserts.
Places to visit in Norwich
Laura: For those wanting to explore the city on foot, a stroll through the Norwich Lanes is not to be missed, whilst the Cathedral grounds are both beautiful, and perfect for a picnic.
Just outside of the inner ring road, you’ll find Norwich’s very own secret garden which is planted on the site of an old quarry; not only is this place beautiful, and ideal for picnics, but you can also bring a deck chair and enjoy the outdoor cinema on certain dates.
If rain stops play, why not check out Bowling House, Norwich’s newest, intimate bowling alley? Apparently you should be prepared to forget everything you thought you knew about bowling.
And at the end of a long day, where better to fall asleep than in one of the many hotels Norwich has to offer? Recommendations include the Maid’s Head (the oldest hotel in the UK) and The Assembly House. If you’ve a sweet tooth, the Assembly House also offers a brilliant Afternoon Tea, and will cater to a variety of dietary needs. What’s not to love?
Shelley: The Museum of Norwich at The Bridewell, Bridewell Alley, Norwich, NR2 1AQ | museums.norfolk.gov.uk/museum-of-norwich
What better way to learn about a new city than walk through its past? The Bridewell Museum takes guests on an adventure through Norwich from the Medieval times to the present day. Uncover Norwich’s past as the second largest city, it’s textile history and the people who make it special. The building used to be a prison and you can still wander around the undercroft today. It’s a great one for a rainy day and there’s plenty to keep children entertained too.