Norwich – Medieval City
Norwich is a thriving medieval City, rich in historic architecture, with the perfect balance of historic and modern life. The Anglo-Saxons settled on the River Wensum between the 5th – 7th centuries and, following the Norman Conquest in the 9th century, work began on the castle and cathedral, using stone transported by sea and river from Caen, France.
The City flourished during the Middle Ages and, thanks to a thriving wool industry, Norwich became a wealthy trading hub. Norwich Market is one of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in the country and dates back over 900 years. The market is flanked by the 1407 Norwich Guildhall, built for the Mayor, on one end and the church of St Peter Mancroft, the largest church in Norwich, built between 1430 and 1455, on the other. Both are stunning examples of medieval architecture. Overlooking the market is the ‘Art Deco’ City Hall and the contemporary glass-fronted building, The Forum, which is the central library and internet hub, and also houses a Tourist Information centre. It was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2002.
The festival Halls connect to the historic cobbled streets and medieval buildings of Elm Hill, which have featured in period films and TV documentaries. Norwich Market, The Guildhall, The Church of St Peter Mancroft, City Hall and The Forum are all just a five-minute walk from the festival Halls of St Andrew and Blackfriars.
The Halls are also a 3-minute walk to Norwich Castle or to the Maids Head Hotel, proclaimed to be the oldest hotel in Britain, 5 minutes from Norwich Church of England Cathedral and 13 minutes from Norwich Roman Catholic Cathedral.
Norwich has been ranked in the Top 10 shopping cities in the UK. As well as the market, there are also two shopping malls and the boutique-style Royal Arcade and Norwich Lanes, where you can find independent shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries.
There are also sports facilities including swimming pools and tennis courts, an indoor dry-skiing-slope and climbing walls. There is access to watersports, including kayaking and sailing, at Norwich’s Whitlingham Broad.
Norwich’s historic writers include Max Sebald and Anna Sewell and, in 2012, Norwich became England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. In 2007 Norwich became the first City in England to be admitted to the World League of Historical Cities (WLHC), which seeks to conserve and regenerate some of the most stunning places around the world. Other cities admitted include Paris, Vienna, Prague, Barcelona, Budapest and Rome.
Norwich and The Norfolk Broads can all be enjoyed by boat, bicycle or on foot. The Norfolk Broads are navigable by boat and are particularly popular as there are no locks to manage. Norwich is on the doorstep of the Norfolk Broads. The river Wensum runs through the City and flows south of the City past Carrow Road, the home stadium of Norwich City Football Club, and on to Whitlingham Country Park, ‘the gateway to the Broads’. Here it merges with the River Yare and continues eastward, through the Broads and into the North Sea. The Norfolk Broads are 125 miles of magical man-made waterways, originally built to carry goods and materials such as cotton and building materials and is now enjoyed by tourists to take in Norfolk’s natural beauty and wildlife.
Norwich City is in the heart of the picturesque Norfolk countryside.
Norfolk attracts walkers and cyclists to its beautiful, flat landscape and is home to Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coast Path.
The Norfolk Coast is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a protected landscape in Norfolk and the area includes Blakeney, Sheringham and Cromer and the nature reserves at Blakeney Point and Winterton Dunes. Norfolk is also home to The Sandringham Estate.
Norwich transport links
- The Festival Halls are only a 6-minute walk from Norwich Train Station
- Norwich is within easy reach of London, Cambridge and the Norfolk coast
- Norwich International Airport is only 15 minutes from the City centre by road
- London Stansted Airport is only 1 hour 40 minutes by direct train from Norwich
- London is less than 2 hours by direct train from Norwich
- Cambridge is only 1 hour by direct train from Norwich