The Cathedral of Norwich
(photo by Trojan_Llama)
Situated on the banks of the winding River Wensum, this is one of the five most populous cities in Norman England. Its city centre has a very irregular street plan inherited by the medieval Saxon town on this place. This can make your orientation not so easy. However, there are three city landmarks which will help visitors find their way from very spot in the city. This is the Cathedral with its tall spire, the Norman castle with a commanding position on the top of big mound and the remarkable clock tower of the City Hall. Don't plan your visit to Norwich in Sunday, because all important monuments, museums and tourist attractions, except the Cathedral, are closed. Most of the restaurants and shops don't work on Sundays too.
Norwich was once a major distribution centre in the trade clothes. Most of the clothe production from East Anglia was brought here by river and after that exported elsewhere in the UK and overseas. That makes Norwich the second richest English city after London, a position it held until the beginning of 18th century.
In the time of the Industrial Revolution the city lost ground to the rapidly developing northern towns. The famous mustard producing company Colman's is among the few serious industrial successes of Norwich. On the other side, the not very intensive industrialization and the geographically isolated position of Norwich beyond the Fens, helped in preserving the original medieval street plan of the city and many interesting old buildings.
The Norman Castle
(photo by den99)
The most famous sights are the Cathedral and the majestic castle. But Norwich is also known for the presence of more than 30 well preserved medieval churches, built of flintstone with sturdy towers and beautiful windows, surrounded by graceful stone decorative motives. Many of these churches are not functioning now and are in the care of the Historic Churches Trust of Norwich.
The relative geographical isolation is also the reason for no dramatic growth of the city's population during the past centuries. Today it is around 130.000 making Norwich a calm and easy to enjoy destination. But if you imagine Norwich as a provincial backwater, you are wrong. With the opening of the University of East Anglia here during the 60s of the 20th century, the city became a major cultural centre with lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Additionally in the 80s of the same century many high-tech companies were attracted to the city and it lived something of mini-bloom, becoming one of the wealthiest cities of England.
Norwich is a major transport hub in East Anglia too. It is a perfect base for exploring the Broads and the picturesque coastline of North Norfolk.
The large railway station of Norwich is located on the opposite eastern bank of Wensum River, not more than 10 minutes on foot from the historic city centre. The major bus terminal is the Surrey Street Station, situated 10-15 minutes walking southwards from the centre. Many buses also stop on the Castle Meadow in the heart of Norwich. The tourist office is housed in the central Forum building, facing the Market Place. The best way to see the historic city centre is on foot. There is also a river bus running from the train station to Elm Hill Quay close to the Cathedral thus providing an ideal inexpensive opportunity to cruise the central waterway of Norwich.