Somewhere for the Weekend: Norwich

There's no better place to escape for the weekend than Norwich – one of the country's most underrated cities. It's always had more pubs per head of population than anywhere else in the UK, but it now also has a ton of good places to eat too. Top this with a wanderable old centre full of remnants of the time when it was the second biggest city in Britain, and what's not to like? There are a few key sights, which you'd be mad to miss, but above all Norwich is a nice place just to loaf about, idling from shop to pub to café. Plus the Norwich and Norfolk Festival started last week, so it's a lively time to be here.


Giles House Hotel Maybe the coolest place in town, in a nice location and with a stylist bar and restaurant. It's not that expensive either.

The Grove Only three rooms, but in our opinion this is the nicest B&B in town, with beautifully furnished rooms with cast iron bedsteads and an old-fashioned, comfy feel. Good breakfasts, too.


Norwich Cathedral Norwich's best sights are the most obvious, and this is the most glaring one of all – don't leave town without seeing one of the oldest and most lavish Norman structures in the country.

Norwich Castle Dominating the centre of town from a strategic peak, Norwich's Castle is fascinating for the remains of its Norman keep, but also for its role as local museum. Hard not to find something of interest, and especially good if you have small children in tow.

Stranger's Hall Norwich in the Middle Ages was Britain's wealthiest and most cosmopolitan city, and the Stranger's Hall tells the story of those years in evocative fashion.

Make Merry...

The Birdcage We love this eccentric city pub, in the heart of the Norwich lanes, where you can hang out and drink cocktails and pop across the road to the chippieif you get peckish.

The Last Wine Bar A lively and über-relaxed wine bar and restaurant close to the river – eat in the clubby wine bar, where they serve a great value set menu, or the more upscale environment of the restaurant next door.

The Mad Moose We love the Mad Moose, in the student, slightly boho area just north of Norwich city centre – part of a small local chain that has become renowned for good food and ales served in a relaxed, youthful environment.

Roger Hickman's Restaurant On the edge of the city centre, Roger Hickman is rightly considered one of the best places to eat in town. The focus is on quality seasonal ingredients, and the cooking is high-end without ever being flashy.

The Sir Garnet This revitalised city centre watering-hole, on the edge of Norwich's large daily market, has been around for years, and it occupies a nice old Georgian building, but the stripped-down interior, contemporary-retro menu of old-fashioned bar snacks, great burgers and changing daily specials, are firmly rooted in the twenty-first century. Lovely selection of local ales too.