Hotels, B&Bs & Self-Catering in Norwich - Cool Places to Stay in the UK

Norwich

One of England’s prettiest large towns, Norwich sits in a wide bend of the River Wensum, an ancient place that in its medieval heyday was the second largest city in the country. These days its cobbled lanes and narrow alleys zero in on the Market Place, a wide and open piazza that is very much the centre of town. There’s lots to see, not least Norwich’s amazing Gothic cathedral, and all of it is within easy walking distance; it also has great restaurants, a fantastic array of pubs (the highest density per square mile in the UK) and a lively performing arts scene, enervated by the city’s large student presence. In short, it’s a world away from the unfashionable rural backwater satirized by Alan Partridge and co, and as such makes for an ideal weekend away. That said, it's not great on accommodation, and although the number of decent places to stay is growing, there is currently only a handful of truly nice, non-chain city centre hotels. The Maid's Head claims to be England's oldest hostelry, and there are one or two other boutique hotels, but otherwise you're looking at B&Bs or hotels out of town.

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Eat and Drink

Until relatively recently, eating out in Norwich was a relatively dull affair. But in the last few years a number of good, mostly Modern British restaurants have opened, and there is also a number of pubs that have upped their game with regards to food. Add to this a decent sprinkling of  ethnic eating, serving the sorts of choices you'll find in most medium-sized British town centres, and you have a city that's as good as anywhere in the country for culinary options. Much as you would expect from the home city of Delia Smith.

Shop

Norwich is a great a place to shop. Not only is its centre small and easily covered on foot, it also contains a wide variety of retail opportunities within its boundaries, from the permanent stalls of its large central market place to the more mainstream outlets that surround, and from the genteel elegance of its Royal Arcade to the more mundane pleasures of the various enclosed malls that dot the centre – Chapelfield and the Castle Mall being just two. There's the famous old Norwich department store too, Jarrolds, which has updated itself nicely, and all manner of independent shops in the 'Lanes' quarter nearby.

Things to Do

With one of the finest medieval city centres in England, Norwich has plenty to see, and in any case its tight network of a streets is worth a stroll even if you have no clear destination in mind. You'd be crazy to come and not visit the city's cathedral, which is the jewel in the city's crown, as are its precincts which stretch picturesquely down to the river, and Norwich's other main landmark, its castle, is also worth seeing. But really the thing is to just walk: in Norwich's 'Lanes'  in particular you're bound to come across something worth seeing, and what you can't see on foot you can see by boat – the river defines much of the city centre, parts of which are almost Dutch in look and feel.