What to do in Norwich (by all of us!)

posted in: Blog, UK | 53

Jess, aged 14, writes: During half term, our family visited Norwich and the Norfolk Broads. Over the course of our two days in Norwich, we visited fascinating museums, ate delicious food, and saw gorgeous sights, such as the castle and cathedral. We were very lucky to have a fair bit of sun, and loved walking around the city. Here are our favourite bits (don’t miss the video which Robert made too – just click on the link!)


We stayed in the Norwich City Holiday Inn, which was very convenient and great for families. We always find inter-connecting rooms useful, and the fact that Robert and I had separate beds was a bonus. The food was good, and everything was clean and tidy. It wasn’t luxurious, but it is a great budget choice for families, and it’s right next to Norwich City’s football stadium!

Sarah says: We decided to start at our trip at the Museum of Norwich at Bridewell and were really impressed by this lovely, informative gem of a museum. The museum gives the story of this city (once England’s second in terms of importance), and taught us a lot, impressing all of us. It is bright and easy to navigate (it’s set out logically) and also very interactive, which appealed to the children.

We loved looking around the Norwich Museum.
We loved looking around the Norwich Museum.

Norwich’s story includes that of the “strangers” – Huguenots who were invited to come from the Netherlands in the 16th century in order to help the textile industry. Thirty families of master weavers came initially (soon followed by more) and made a huge contribution to the city’s fortunes.

Norwich’s story is not only one of textiles and weaving, but also of mustard (Colman’s of course), plus football (we found out why Norwich City are called the Canaries), chocolate (Caleys and Rowntrees) and shoes (Norwich used to provide eight million pairs of shoes a year!).

We loved looking at the old fashioned objects from Norwich
We loved looking at the old fashioned objects from Norwich

We were surprised by how much there was to see in this small museum and I was especially fascinated by its darker side, as it used to be a prison. The stories of some of those who spent time here were really sobering.
The Museum is in Bridewell Alley, off Bedford Street and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 to 4.30am. It costs £5.20 for adults and £3.90 for children. You can also pop in for an hour for just £1 which seems a great idea to us.

We loved visiting Norwich Castle!
We loved visiting Norwich Castle!

Robert, aged 10, writes: I really enjoyed exploring the medieval castle. We studied an array of interesting displays on the top floor and had fun taking part in some interactive activities on British History on the first floor. My favourite was an activity where you catapulted a rock and had to try and knock over a wall. The castle used to be a prison and there was a very interesting display about this, including stories of criminals and even a prison cell.

The second floor was my favourite though. When we went there was an exhibition on dragons and the How To Train Your Dragon books so there were loads of things to do on that topic. They included listening to books being read out and arts and crafts. I created my own mini dragon.

There was so much to do, see, and make in Norwich Castle
There was so much to do, see, and make in Norwich Castle

Jess says: Norwich Cathedral is one of the most complete major Romanesque buildings in Europe, and has the second tallest spire and largest monastic cloisters in England. It was absolutely beautiful, and we walked around for about half an hour. There are guided tours around the 900 year -old Cathedral but we did not take one, preferring to walk around at a leisurely pace.

The Cathedral was absolutely beautiful.
The Cathedral was absolutely beautiful.

We really enjoyed reading the inscriptions on the walls and tombstones, and reading the memorials. We also thought the staff were extremely friendly.The Cathedral is free to enter, although they do ask for donations.

Robert loved looking at the art and drawing it at Sainsbury's Centre for Art
Robert loved looking at the art and making his own versions of it at the Sainsbury’s Centre for Art

Robert says: I loved going to the Sainsbury’s Centre for Art as it displayed a large assortment of intricate sculptures and detailed painting that had been made over the years. I was stunned by the art and felt so relaxed when I drew some of my favourites on a piece of paper I was given, as it was so quiet and calm. The building itself was enormous; you could go outside and walk around the giant plot of land surrounding the gallery which had a starring role in the second Avengers movie. I really enjoyed going there and it was the highlight of my trip.

Sarah writes: Norwich was a lovely city to walk around and we really enjoyed the combination of the old and new side. There are lovely cobbled streets to walk along and small, independent shops and galleries in the Lanes and the medieval quarter, but there are also all the high street favourites, and it’s so convenient to walk everywhere! Don’t miss the huge market, which is right in the centre, and which is full of all sorts of different stalls (from food to clothes).

Norwich was full of lovely shops.
Norwich was full of lovely shops.

We especially enjoyed the fantastic food at the Macarons and More shop in the Royal Arcade (look at their website for some amazing pictures!) and had a terrific lunch at the Britons Arms, which is set in a 15th century building – and which featured in the film Stardust.

We had a delicious lunch at the Britons Arms
We had a delicious lunch at the Britons Arms

We had hoped to visit the Strangers’ Hall, which has been a home to merchants and mayors in Norwich since 1320, but unfortunately it was closed, so definitely check up on its opening times if you’re interested in a visit.

Jess writes: We had a lovely time in Norwich – the castle was beautiful, the museum was fascinating, and I loved my cinnamon pretzel, massive pistachio macaroon, and my raspberry meringue pavlova. Norwich is full of scrumptious food, which was one of the reasons that it is perfect for families. Norwich is full of so many things to see and do, and we would love to go back and see them all.

Disclosure: Our visit to Norwich was organised with help from Visit Norwich. We stayed in the Holiday Inn on a complimentary basis, although neither Visit Norwich not the hotel had any input into this piece. Our rooms at the Holiday Inn would have cost £95 per night including breakfast. Kids eat free at the hotel (we took advantage of this!)

More by us:

Seeing seals at Horsey Beach in Norfolk

Our Top Tips for Getting Around in London

A Fascinating Day at the Newseum in Washington DC


53 Responses

  1. Joanna

    We have been to the cathedral before a few years ago when on holiday that way.
    We really loved it there.

  2. Sonya Cisco

    Looks like there is loads to do and see – I have never been to that part of the country, but I would really like to visit one day.

  3. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    What a great guide to Norwich – I visited briefly ages ago, and remember finding so much more to do there than I’d expected. And that’s without half the things on your list as well. I don’t think I’d realised quite how important a town it had been historically either. Definitely one which deserves another visit from me.

  4. Kara

    I have not been to Norwich but it is somewhere I hope to venture to this year so have pinned for future reference

  5. Tori Gabriel

    What a great post. I love how you have used everyone’s perspective. I have never been to Norwich despite my brother living there. I will have to rectify that.

  6. Mel

    I’ve never been to Norwich but it sounds like a great place to visit. The museum in particular seems full of interesting stories and artefacts.

  7. Kerry norris

    Looks like there is a lot to do. I’ve never been but my hubby went to uni near there so we should make an effort to go. The cathedral looks lovely x

  8. Baby Isabella

    What a lovely combined view post! Love that your children had an involvement in writing this! I write for my mummy too 😉 Norwich Castle looks very grand! We’d love to visit this part of the country!

  9. The Mummy Diary

    We’ve never been to Norwich or anywhere in Norfolk but it is on our list of places to visit and it looks great, my son would love the How to Train Your Dragon exhibition, he loves the books. It looks like you had lots of fun and saw plenty, oh and the food sounds delish.

  10. Globalmouse

    What a great trip. I really like Holiday Inns, I think they’re a great chain. And what a lot you packed in – love the look of Norwich Caste, so unique looking.

  11. Whitney

    Such a cute trip and guide, especially getting your kids involved! I think Norwich is so pretty, the cathedrals are stunning! x


  12. Ness

    I’ve never been to Norwich which is quite shocking really as my great grandfather came from Norfolk. I really must put it on my list of places to go. My parents have been several times as my Mum has visited all the places our family came from.

  13. Chetan Jadhav

    Jess, Sarah, Robert you all got a Wonderful plans! I hope all your travels will be great and keep posting loved the experience you people share. 🙂

  14. Mark Frary

    Glad to see that Robert enjoyed staying next to the home of football. On the ball City! Lovely post and made me feel quite homesick

  15. Ashleigh

    Enjoyed this post, great how you involved everyone’s ideas very important when you travel with family! Norwich sounds like an interesting city. Yet another one to add to my list!

  16. Stacey Valle

    I’m sure many have already said this several times, but I love how you include your children to write and share their experiences! Usually, it’s the parent(s) who write it when it’s a family travel blog, but it’s great what you all doing!

    Norwich! That honestly wasn’t on my mind! Although I haven’t been to UK or anywhere in Europe yet, Norwich didn’t cross my mind. First thing comes to my mind is London, but I’m completely open to visiting different cities, including off the beaten path 🙂 It’s great that all of you had a great time in Norwich!

    • Sarah Ebner

      Thank you very much. I love the children’s viewpoint too, and the way they make the videos!
      There are so many great cities to visit in the UK. As we live here, we love to try to get to as many as possible. When you come, do come to London first, but then you should add some more unusual places to your list!

  17. Susan Martin

    What a great post! Love hearing from the whole family and seeing all the photos of the places and faces. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Kanika Kalia

    Wow Norwich appears to be a complete family travel destination and I love the fact you have portrayed it from everyone’s perspective. History is so entertaining ( atleast I find it very intriguing) and seems like Robert loves it too. Are 2 days good enough to explore Norwich??

    • Sarah Ebner

      I think so, though three would be even better, as the Sainsbury Centre, which is well worth a visit, is not in the centre of the city.

  19. Shell Louise

    We’ve never been to Norwich before and it’s not somewhere I’d have thought of going, however, we like seeing castles and cathedrals so maybe we’ll add this to the list one day 🙂

  20. oana79

    Sounds like a great visit and hotel stay, you cannot beat an interconnecting room for £95 and kids eating for free :-)!xx

  21. Michelle

    What a great video from your son! I love the look of that museum, love all the old signs and packaging. Definitely a place I would love to visit.

  22. kirstie

    Who knew there was so much to do in Norwich? My kids would love the Train your Dragon exhibition and I’d like the art gallery. We’d have to fight over schedule! Or stay longer?

  23. Candace

    I’ve never been to Norwich before and to be honest I didn’t not what to expect. You have shown me it’s a place with history and many attractions for families

  24. Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me)

    A London friend of mine grew up in Norwich and she rates it as a good place to bring up children. I particularly like the sound of the How to Train your Dragon exhibition – and the pavlova!

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