In the spotlight: Norwich

Each year we run a spotlight series, highlighting places around the UK that our programme team think you should explore. First up this year is James Goldsmith, who gives you the lowdown on the city of Norwich.

The perfect place to escape the bustle of the big city, Norwich is an oasis of calm nestled in the gently rolling Norfolk countryside.

For many years one of the most important and wealthy cities in England, Norwich was the gateway to the European mainland in the pre-industrial era. Later though, its geographical remoteness led to a steady decline from the 18th century onwards. Today, this has resulted in the city centre being remarkably well preserved, containing a wealth of listed buildings spanning almost 1000 years.

Famed for its medieval churches, two cathedrals and imposing Norman castle, the city has countless beautiful winding streets packed with independent shops and cafes, all centred on a bustling six-day market. Be sure to make a visit to Elm Hill, a charming cobbled medieval street with more than a few hidden tea shops and gardens…

The city is however firmly rooted in the 21st century, with the hugely popular Forum hosting many free events throughout the year. It is a thriving shopping destination and also home to the University of East Anglia, consistently ranked among the top modern universities in the UK.

Norwich is also the perfect base for exploring East Anglia, where you can visit a number of beautiful old houses, hire a boat for a day out on the Broads or head to the coast for the beaches at Waxham or nature reserve at Blakeney. With some of the sunniest weather in the country, Norwich is perfect whether you’re looking for a historic city break or a relaxing trip to the seaside!

You can find out more about Norwich and the surrounding areas through the local tourist information centre.