I’ve lived in Norwich for three years now, and I’m not afraid to admit that I’m completely in love with the city. From its variety of vintage clothing boutiques to its many charming cobbled streets to its plethora of independent cafés and bars, it’s a place that truly caters to my every need. In my final guest post here at Manfrotto Imagine More – at least for now – I decided to take a walk around and become a hometown tourist for the day.
My meandering began in the most historic part of Norwich – the artisan quarter known as Elm Hill. The medieval buildings in this area have remained the same since they were rebuilt in 1507 after a devastating fire engulfed more than 700 local houses. Part of the Cathedral Quarter, Elm Hill is full of specialist shops and cafés, old courtyards, art galleries and gorgeous listed buildings. To think, The Guardian newspaper missed this out in their brief piece on the county of Norfolk back in April.
Norwich was named England’s first UNESCO City of Literature last year, and for obvious reasons. As well as the city’s University of East Anglia boasting the best creative writing programmes in the UK, you’ll also find Norwich Writers’ Centre hosting events from the world’s most interesting and eclectic authors, poets and journalists, especially when the Norfolk and Norwich Festival is going on each May. For real bookworms and literary enthusiasts, the city also has an amazing independent bookshop called The Book Hive. Stephen Fry called it ‘The kind of place I dreamt of existing when I was growing up’ when he visited – and his opinion is one we should all trust. Pop by for a browse and soak up the atmosphere of literary Norwich.
Next stop is my favourite street in the city (or perhaps in the world): St. Benedicts Street. Dubbed ‘Music Street’ by the international audience of the annual Norwich Sound and Vision Festival which centres around this bohemian stretch, there’s always lots of interesting things going on here. Norwich Arts Centre is a 300-capacity converted church that always has an eclectic programme of music, theatre and comedy, and has hosted names such as Mumford and Sons, Nirvana and Damien Rice in the past. Further up the street you’ll find The Bicycle Shop – formerly a bicycle shop and now a café-restaurant-bar-venue-gallery. It may no longer sell bikes, but it does everything else you could wish for. Its homemade falafel and intimate folk gigs are well worth a try – in combination, they create a winning formula of an evening.
Venturing further along the River Wensum, my final stop is a hidden away gem called 42 King Street (the name is also the address). It’s the perfect spot for tapas and cocktails. It’s easy to walk straight past, so do look for a chalkboard sign on the street just in front of it, and then books and plants in the windows. This tiny bar has only five tables, and they’re often occupied, so it’s a good idea to pre-book if you have your heart set on visiting. Their delicious menus of munch and tipple are a wonderful beginning, middle or end to an evening out.