Monday, 24 Jun 2024

Pretty little UK city hardly anyone visits ‘just as good as York’ without the…

Think of Norwich and there’s likely only one thing that will come to mind: Alan Partridge.

The comedy character played by Steve Coogan grew to god-like status in the 1990s and essentially put Norwich on the map for those who didn’t already know it.

There is, of course, more to the ancient city whose cathedral was consecrated almost 1,000 years ago.

It is often described as the jewels in East Anglia’s crown, a region closely tied up with the Royal Family and one that was much loved by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Now, for those looking for a quick escape this winter, Norwich is pitched as the perfect place to indulge in, somewhere said to be just as good as York but far less travelled.

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In 2019, Duong Tri Thanh, the CEO of Vietnam Airlines described the most beautiful place he had travelled to, a man whose travel repertoire included some of Earth’s most exquisite locations.

He chose Norwich, describing it as a “serene” and “irresistible” destination for tourists on a par with an Indonesian island.

For starters, Norwich is comparably ancient and claims to be the most complete medieval city in the UK.

Its cobbled streets at Elm Hill, Timber Hill and Tombland ring with history, and ancient buildings like St Andrew’s Hall (built in 1307) hint at just how long people have called Norwich home.

Then there are Norwich’s grade-listed buildings, like Dragon Hall, The Guildhall, and the Strangers’ Hall.

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And for those who aren’t fussed about the pleasures of yonder, the more recent Art Nouveau Royal Arcade might take your fancy a little more.

The city’s winding streets and many medieval lanes transport any visitor back hundreds of years, to a time when the plague raged through Britain and kings and queens ruled with iron fists.

And it is one King, William the Conqueror, who once often ruled from Norwich itself, from his great castle which is today a museum.

While Norwich has some of England’s best-preserved history, many are uncertain whether to visit the city given its relatively far-flung location and when there are so many other high-profile sites to visit.

TripAdvisor is full of people’s trepidation over potentially missing out on other British gems, though those who are familiar with the city have stamped out any doubt.

One person compared it to York, the gem of northern England, though said it was considerably better, explaining: “We have visited York more than 30 times in the past decade following on from when my Wife worked for Norwich Union and had to go up there some weeks.

“It is definitely comparable to York although far less touristy. Unfortunately, Sunday nights can resemble a ghost town, but Friday and Saturday there is always something happening.”

Alongside its history, Norwich is famed for its abundance of pubs. The old saying goes that the city has a church for every week of the year — but a pub for every day.

There are many to choose from, but the Fat Cat and St Andrews Brew House are favourites for their delicious craft beers made on-site.

There are also tonnes of places to eat, like Grosvenor Fish Bar, Farmyard Restaurant, and the Woolf & Social.

And for the culture vultures, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts boasts one of the best galleries in the UK, and recent exhibitions have included controversial works by Antony Gormley and displays of landscape paintings by David Hockney and Claude Monet.

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