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A snapshot guide to Norwich

Norwich

A fine city (or so the signs say!), Norwich is a cathedral city, the capital of East Anglia. It boasts two cathedrals in fact – one Anglian and one Roman Catholic – and the spire of the Anglian cathedral can be seen for miles around. From the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was the largest city in England after London and one of the most important. The streets carry a lot of its history, with a wealth of historic buildings such as Norwich Castle, St Andrew’s Hall, Dragon Hall, The Guildhall and Strangers’ Hall, and remains of some of the ancient city walls are still intact. The cobbled streets of Elm Hill are much unchanged from years gone by, while the 1899 Royal Arcade offers a further walk down memory lane.

Historically, Norwich has been associated with art, literature and publishing, which continues to this day. It was designated England’s first UNESCO City of Literature in May 2012, and is filled with cultural venues across the city, from the Theatre Royal, The Maddermarket and Norwich Playhouse, to The Forum and Norwich Arts Centre. Norfolk and Norwich Festival celebrates international and home-grown talents, drawing in visitors from all over eastern England, while the city’s many museums reflect Norwich’s history in weaving, shoe and boot making, the manufacture of metal goods, brewing and chocolate making. Strangers’ Hall at Charing Cross is one of the city’s oldest buildings, a merchant house dating from the early 14th century. The rooms are furnished in the styles of different eras, and exhibits include costumes and textiles, domestic objects, and children’s books, toys and games. Norwich also has a strong media connection – Sale of the Century was famously filmed here and the character of Alan Partridge is a Norwich radio broadcaster. The film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa was shot in and around the city.

Norwich’s economy was historically manufacturing-based, but transitioned throughout the 1980s and 1990s to a service-based economy. The city’s largest employment sectors are business and financial services, public services and the retail sector. Archant is a national publishing group that has grown out of the city’s local newspapers, while the world-famous Colman’s brand has its origins in Norwich. Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) is one of the biggest employers in the city – if you speak to any local, they are likely to have some kind of connection with the company. And with the development of the Riverside and Intu Chapelfield shopping mall, Norwich has a thriving night-time economy of bars and night clubs, as well as a reputation as a prosperous shopping destination. What’s more, its array of colourful market stalls means the city holds the title of the largest permanent undercover market in the whole of Europe.

Norwich is somewhat off the beaten track over in East Anglia it but has seen recent duelling of the A11 motorway at Elveden, cutting down on journey time to the capital. Destinations throughout Norfolk and beyond are served by rail services from Norwich Railway Station, while Norwich International Airport acts as a feeder to KLM’s Schiphol in Amsterdam.   

There are 56 primary schools, 13 secondary schools and eight independent schools in Norwich, along with two universities – the University of East Anglia and the Norwich University of the Arts. The student population of the city is around 15,000, many of whom come from overseas.

The best place to live in the UK, according to The Sunday Times 2018 guide, most of the house sales in Norwich over the past year were terraced properties, fetching around £219,024, with an overall average property price of £233,874. A nostalgic city with a unique country feel thanks to the surrounding landscape of the scenic Norfolk Broads, the football club is at the heart of this Norfolk city, which has a real family atmosphere on match days.