Norwich - I Love You

Ahh Norwich, my beloved home town (well, almost - we live about 15 minutes away) There was a time, when I was about 18 and planning where to go to uni, that I couldn't wait to get away from here and live in a bigger, busier city. So, we moved to Leeds and while we loved it, by the end of our four year jaunt to the North, we couldn't imagine living anywhere else but good old East Anglia. It's slow paced and rural (contrary to common belief not everyone is a farmer...but, yes, there are lots!), the coast is never very far away (and you have a choice of the amusement arcade, circus, candy floss and doughnuts type seaside day out, or the wilder, windswept and craggy coastline of North Norfolk) but Norwich can also be a really fast paced city if that's what you're after!

Norwich seems to be snowballing at the moment into the perfect balance of culture, cosmopolitan shopping, independent cafes and up and coming businesses - and it's ours, and we love it! Yesterday we had a few errands to run, and I had a raffle prize to collect (hopefully a sign of lots more luck to come this year!) so we went out in the drizzle, grabbed a coffee and had a stroll about with the camera.

We usually find ourselves in the area of the city known as The Lanes, which is the old part of the city and home to almost exclusively independent businesses. It's mostly pedestrianised, and there are lots of treasures to be found tucked away in the cobbled streets.

I could have picked several different coffee places to write about here, but Strangers is one of our favourites! They are really serious about coffee, have several different brewing methods, and always grind the beans to order. They even roast it on site! Add to that cakes and ciabattas, sugar in treacle tins and coffee to take away and brew at home, and you've got a winner with us! 

Jarrolds sits at the beginning of the Norwich Lanes, and as department stores go, you can't get much better! I buy a lot of the fabrics I use from their haberdashery department, I'm currently sitting on the sofa we bought from there two or three years ago and my Mum bought her outfit for our wedding here! The beauty department has a nail bar and spa, and the biggest MAC counter I've seen outside London. There's also a deli in the basement and their bookshop is just brilliant!  

Something synonymous with Norwich is the market place, but even we are a bit guilty of overlooking it sometimes! It's changed a lot over the years, and now you can get everything here. There are the usual fruit and veg stalls, fishmonger and things like watch batteries and cobbler, but also vintage shops, an amazing bakery stall, vegan food, market chips, flowers, haberdashery and as we noticed yesterday, a new wood fired pizza bar which we can't wait to try! In the distance there you can see the Norwich Castle Museum which is brilliant, we most recently went there for the Jeff Koons show which was part of the Artist Rooms Tour.

D had to climb up the architecture to get high enough for a picture, and we didn't realise till we looked back through them how dark it had got!

The forum sort of overlooks the city, and was built to celebrate the Millennium. It houses the city library, as well as a couple of places to eat and shop. The forum also plays host to various events and exhibitions, including farmers markets, health and wellbeing events, and antique fairs. It's also a nice place to go and work, or just get a coffee and read (or do some colouring in!)

It wasn't till yesterday that I registered properly that pretty much the whole city centre is mostly pedestrianised! Here I am modelling that fact (I didn't actually realise I was modelling...I was just finishing my drink before I went to stroke the cashmere jumpers and squee over baby clothes in The White Company!)

The Royal Arcade sits between the market place and the road leading to the Norwich Castle Museum, and although I would rather everyone took down their decorations before New Years Day as I do, it does look lovely still decorated for Christmas! In here there is a proper toy shop, an old fashioned sweet shop and chocolatier, clothes and shoe shops, and the Coleman's Mustard Shop (for all your mustardy needs!) There is also the Norwich Branch of Jamie's Italian (which used to be a book shop which is a bit sad - but it's fairly easy to get over it and forgive Mr Oliver once you've eaten there!) and Macarons and More, opened a few years ago by Masterchef contestant Tim Kinnaird. Thanks to his cookery school (and my husband!) I can finally make them after years of disasters!

It got suddenly very dark and rainy, so the photo taking sort of fizzled out, but suffice to say we bloomin' love it here right now! Below is a list of bits and bobs around the city that we use and love if you should ever visit!

The Forum (for the library, various events and exhibitions, and Cafe Bar Marzano)

Norwich Market

Norwich Castle


The Lanes (links here for everything and it's best to have an explore in person really, but we particularly like:

Strangers (for coffee) 
Clarke and Ravenscroft (for sandwiches, soup and deli bits and the best brownies)
Rainbow Wholefoods (for every ingredient going!) 
Wild Thyme (the veggie cafe above Rainbow - it's lovely and they do great gluten/dairy, and sometimes even sugar free cakes!)
Swagger and Jacks (the men responsible for D's beard!)
U and Your Skin (The best facials, great advice and products, I've written about the skin lounge here before)
The Book Hive (A really unique bookshop, you can easily loose a few hours in here!)
The Orange Grove (great massages, wellbeing, nutrition, alternative therapy - we've both spent quite some time in here!)
Wilkinsons (for specialist tea and coffee)
Franks Bar (great for a meal, coffee, or drinks, and they also have a gallery and show films on a Sunday)

I'll stop there, I know I've forgotten a million things, but that's a pretty good start I reckon! 

(You see, I knew I'd forget somewhere - this bag is from Lisa Angel)

1 comment

  1. oh my goodness, I'm almost in tears! To think that I was there only 2 months before yu took these pics... we might have even crossed paths during that weekend...
    I love these type of posts around town!!