How to get there and back – by Train (ca. 1h20min) £10.25 (with 16-25 railcard)
How long it takes – Daytrip
How much I paid – £17
Where to stay – N/A
Where to eat – Adam & Eve Pub in Norwich
What to do and see – suggestions:Norwich Castle, Cathedral and Adam & Eve Pub
A trip to Norfolk is a great idea. It is not very far away and England’s East is vastly underrated. Norwich is the gate to the Norfolk Broads, a beautiful network of rivers and lakes in the country side that enjoy a protection status similar to that of a National Park. But before I will tell you more about the Broads and how to explore a National park without a car, I feel Norwich deserves some credit. This town is very old and cozy and there is a lot to do.
Since I like to get some sleep on Saturdays we arrived there around lunchtime and immediately headed for the city centre. Not a long walk away you will find Norwich Castle. Surprisingly, much of the original structure is still visible in the city. The Castle Garden is usually a popular spot for locals to have a picnic and if you brought a snack for lunch with you here is a great spot to eat.
You can also visit the Castle. It holds many exhibitions and is interesting. The main Castle building is filled with an interactive museum about life in the castle and medieval times – perfect for children. Other parts of the museum are filled with natural history artefacts and paintings. Right now there is a special exhibition of portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and her family throughout her reign made by photographer Cecil Beaton to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
My tip: wait until 1 hour before closing. Entrance is only £1 (catchy phrase: “Pop in for a Pound”). You won’t see everything in that time, but you will see enough and in my experience many museums/exhibitions are too much after an hour or so anyway.
If closing time is still a while away the town is home to two very imposing cathedrals (annoyingly at different ends of the city): The Norwich Cathedral and the Cathedral of St John the Baptist. For those who get bored of cathedrals easily I am sorry to announce that England has a lot of them. However, they are often worth a look and if they don’t appeal to you I think you can at least marvel at the feat of building them.
Two other places I would recommend are the Norwich market and the Royal Arcade, even if you don’t want to buy anything. The market is usually a great place to explore. But I am most fascinated by the Royal Arcade. It was built in absolutely beautiful art nouveau styling and links two of the main shopping street. There you can find a lovely mixture of independent and chain stores: most notably the famous Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum (even if you – like me – are not a mustard fan it is worth to stick your head in).
When the day is heading to a close and you are looking for a place to eat go to the Adam & Eve Pub. No debate! It is a bit of a walk, but it takes you by one of the two Cathedrals (so you could combine that) and it is an absolute gem! It is the oldest pub in Norwich and was registered as an alehouse in 1249. So if you are quite tall get ready to duck. It is a terrific real ale pub and traditional in almost every way. From the moment you either duck or hit your head in the doorway on you feel not only catapulted back in time, but also cosily at home. Frequented by many locals you get the feeling that this is what English life should be like. Many of the nooks and crannies invite you to huddle up in a corner in a cold night. If you happen to catch a sunny day it is also worth to sit outside and enjoy the sunrays and the explosion of colours from all the flowers around. This place does not only have excellent service (which is such a rarity these days unfortunately), but also amazing food at reasonable prices. I tried the hamburgers for around £6 and they were delicious. The Adam & Eve knows how to make a burger that is delectable and juicy and actually enjoyable. Why have fastfood when you can eat very well in a magnificent environment?
The Adam & Eve, 17 Bishopgate, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1RZ
Image taken from: http://www.oldcity.org.uk/norwich/tours/arcade/index.php