Norwich Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Norwich

Norwich contains many prominent landmarks to be proud of, including a very famous theater, the Cow Tower, several parks and other interesting attractions. The following tour guide will lead you to some of Norwich’s most significant historic landmarks.
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Norwich Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Norwich Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: England » Norwich (See other walking tours in Norwich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles
Author: Maia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Norwich City Hall
  • Norwich Guildhall
  • Strangers Hall Museum
  • St. Andrew's and Blackfriars' Halls
  • Elm Hill
  • Norwich Cathedral
  • Dragon Hall
  • Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery
  • Assembly House
  • Theatre Royal
  • Chapelfields Gardens
  • St. John the Baptist Cathedral
  • The Forum
  • Norwich Market
Norwich City Hall

1) Norwich City Hall

Norwich City Hall is an Art Deco building completed in 1938. It is one of the Norwich 12, a collection of twelve heritage buildings in Norwich deemed of particular historical and cultural importance. The building had been designed by architects Charles Holloway James and Stephen Rowland Pierce, after Robert Atkinson had prepared a layout for the whole Civic Centre site at the request of Norwich Corporation (now the City Council). A competition took place in 1931 which attracted 143 entries, with Atkinson as the sole judge.

Over the years many Art Deco buildings have lost their hallmark fixtures and fittings, but Norwich retains many of its original features. This is particularly fortunate as the furniture, light fittings and other details throughout the building were designed by the architects themselves. The materials used include Italian marble and English stone, Honduras mahogany and Australian walnut. Seating is upholstered in Moroccan leather, and rooms paneled in elm, oak, teak and birch. The Lord Mayor’s octagonal parlor is paneled in sycamore with French walnut trim, with the door finished in English walnut. The main frontage of the building is 280 feet long, incorporating a 200ft balcony. Norwich City Hall was officially opened by the King and Queen on 29 October 1938 and a huge crowd turned out to celebrate. Less than a year later the Second World War broke out and Norwich was extensively bombed, but the building survived intact.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Norwich Guildhall

2) Norwich Guildhall

Norwich Guildhall is an historic listed building on Gaol Hill. It was constructed between 1407 and 1413 and served as the seat of city government from the early 15th century until 1938, when it was replaced by the newly-built City Hall. The Guildhall currently serves as the offices of Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust and also contains a Caley's Cocoa Café. It is one of the 12 historic Norwich buildings in the Norwich 12 initiative.

The Guildhall was constructed to enable the greater self-governing powers conferred upon Norwich by the Charter of 1404 to be administered more efficiently. Prisoners first occupied the crypts of the building in 1412. Two timber and tile towers on the north and south sides of the building were destroyed when the roof of the Council Chamber collapsed in 1511. In 1534 a new Council Chamber was completed. Civic affairs were conducted in the building until 1938, when the new City Hall was opened. Magistrates' Courts continued to be held in the old Common Council Chamber until 1977 and prisoners were held in the building until 1980.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Strangers Hall Museum

3) Strangers Hall Museum (must see)

Erected in 1320 and one of the oldest and most fascinating buildings in the city, here guests can discover life from Tudor to Victorian times. Its wide variety of historic exhibitions are loaded with interesting information, including who the Strangers were.
St. Andrew's and Blackfriars' Halls

4) St. Andrew's and Blackfriars' Halls

St. Andrew's Hall and the adjoining Blackfriars' Hall is a Grade I listed building in Norwich, dating back to the 14th century. They make up the most complete friary complex surviving in England. The complex is made up of several flint buildings. The centerpiece is St Andrew's Hall.

The first Dominican Black Friars' priory was destroyed by fire and St Andrew's Hall formed the nave of the new church, completed in 1449. There is also a Blackfriars' Hall as well as a crypt, chapel and cloisters. During the Reformation, the site was saved by the City Corporation, which bought it from the king for use as a 'common hall.' Since then the complex has been used for worship, as a mint and as a workhouse. It has been used regularly for civic occasions since 1544, when the first Mayor's feast was held for the inauguration of Henry Fuller. The Norwich Triennial Festival, the third oldest in the country, began here in 1824. The Halls are now used for conferences, weddings, concerts, beer festivals and meetings. The maximum capacity is 1200 people.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Elm Hill

5) Elm Hill (must see)

Elm Hill is an historic cobbled lane with many buildings dating back to the Tudor period. It is a famous Norwich landmark and features the Briton's Arms coffee house, The Stranger's Club, The Tea house (in wrights court) and the famous Dormouse bookshop. It is frequently used as a film set for TV and movie productions - most recently Stardust.

Elm Hill today extends from the Church of St. Peter Hungate where the top of Elm Hill meets Princes Street, to the Church of St. Simon and St. Jude, sited at the bottom of Elm Hill on the corner with Wensum Street. Elm Hill acquired its name from the elm trees that have successively stood in the square since the first quarter of the 16th century when the Churchwardens of St Peter Hungate Church planted the first one.

There is no record of the date when Elm Hill first came into being, but there is some evidence for its existence around A.D. 1200. Very few buildings standing above ground in Elm Hill are of an earlier date than 1507, when a disastrous fire destroyed over 700 houses in Norwich.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Norwich Cathedral

6) Norwich Cathedral (must see)

Norwich Cathedral is an English cathedral dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity. It is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral was begun in 1096 and constructed out of flint and mortar and faced with a cream coloured Caen limestone. A Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings. The cathedral was completed in 1145 with the Norman tower still seen today topped with a wooden spire covered with lead. Several periods of damage caused rebuilding to the nave and spire but after many years the building was much as it is now, from the final erection of the stone spire in 1480.

The large cloister has over 1,000 bosses including several hundred carved and ornately painted ones. The cathedral is on the lowest part of the Norwich river plain with Mousehold heath, an area of scrubland, to the north. The total length of the building is 461 feet (140 m). Along with Salisbury and Ely the cathedral lacks a ring of bells which makes them the only three English cathedrals without them. One of the best views of the cathedral spire is from St. James's Hill on Mousehold Heath. Norwich Cathedral has a fine selection of 61 misericords, dating from three periods - 1480, 1515 and mid-19th century.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Dragon Hall

7) Dragon Hall (must see)

Dragon Hall is a Grade 1 listed medieval merchant's trading hall located in King Street, Norfolk close to the River Wensum. The Great Hall was built between 1427 and 1430, but some parts of the site, such as the undercroft, are older. Archaeological research has shown evidence of 1,000 years of human habitation on the site.

Dragon Hall was built by a merchant called Robert Toppes as the hub of his international trading empire. The Great Hall is the centre piece of the site with its magnificent crown post roof which contains an intricately carved dragon on one of the spandrels, which gives the building its name. This was where Toppes displayed goods from home and abroad to other English and European merchants. Dragon Hall is unique because it is the only known surviving building of its type built by one man for his own use rather than by a Guild. The building operated as a showroom and warehouse for about 30 years. Dragon Hall is managed by a small team of staff and relies on the support of a large body of volunteers. It operates as a heritage museum and is also a venue for all sorts of community, cultural,and learning activities such as weddings, parties, theatre and music, markets, school visits and workshops.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

8) Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery (must see)

Norwich Castle is a medieval royal fortification that was founded in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of England when William the Conqueror (1066–1087) ordered its construction because he wished to have a fortified place in the important city of Norwich. It proved to be his only castle in East Anglia. It is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The castle remains a museum and art gallery today and still contains many of its first exhibits, as well as many more recent ones.

Two galleries feature the museum's decorative art collections, including costume, textiles, jewellery, glass, ceramics and silverware, and a large display of ceramic teapots. Other gallery themes include Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, Queen Boudica and the Iceni tribe, Ancient Egypt, and natural history. The fine art galleries include works from the 17th to 20th centuries, and include English watercolor paintings, Dutch landscapes and modern British paintings. G. T. Clark, a 19th-century antiquary and engineer, described Norwich's great tower as "the most highly ornamented keep in England". It was faced with Caen stone over a flint core. The keep is some 95 ft (29 m) by 90 ft (27 m) and 70 ft (21 m) high, and is of the hall-keep type, entered at first floor level through an external structure called the Bigod Tower.

Operation hours: Monday to Saturday: 10 am - 5.00 pm; Sunday: 1 pm - 5.00 pm.

Open most Bank Holidays (hours as above) except 24, 25 and 26 December 2017 and 1 January 2018.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Assembly House

9) Assembly House

The Assembly House is a Georgian Grade I listed building located in Norwich. Today, the Assembly House is used for weddings, conferences and exhibitions and is owned by a registered arts charity which supports a range of visual and performing arts activities. It is one of the twelve historic Norwich buildings in the Norwich 12 initiative, a project to develop an integrated group of heritage attractions in the City.

The house was designed by Thomas Ivory, who also built the Octagon Chapel, and was originally used as a 'House of Assemblies' where events were held for the gentry of Norwich. The building was later used by Norwich High School for Girls. During the Second World War the building was converted for use as a camouflage school. After the war the house underwent considerable restoration program, encouraged by Messel and funded by leading Norwich shoe manufacturer, H. J. Sexton.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Theatre Royal

10) Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal, Norwich’s largest theater, was designed by Tim Foster Architects. It features a wide range of events, from drama to dance and comedy. Many famous thespians have performed here over the years. One of its greatest productions was the absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.
Chapelfields Gardens

11) Chapelfields Gardens

Chapelfields Gardens, located in the center of town, was established in 1880 on the property of St. Mary’s Chapel. You will find a charming playground, and a large chess set built in 1973 that is a very interesting sight. You will also find a pavilion with a tea room and a beautiful wooden sculpture.
St. John the Baptist Cathedral

12) St. John the Baptist Cathedral (must see)

The Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the city of Norwich.

The Cathedral, located on Earlham Road, was constructed between 1882 and 1910 to designs by George Gilbert Scott, Jr. as a parish church dedicated to John the Baptist, on the site of the Norwich City Gaol. The funds for its construction were provided by Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk. In 1976 it was consecrated as the cathedral church for the newly erected Diocese of East Anglia and the seat of the Bishop of East Anglia. It is the second largest Roman Catholic cathedral in England. In 2005, St John's Open Days proved to be very popular, resulting in many first time visitors coming to view the Cathedral. Celebrity chef Delia Smith is one of the regular worshipers at the cathedral.
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Forum

13) The Forum (must see)

The Forum is a community building which stands opposite from the St. Peter Mancroft Church. Designed by Michael Hopkins and Partners, the Forum was built as a millennium project for the East of England and finished in October 2001. Built on the site of the previous Norwich Library which burnt down in 1994, the Forum is visited by more than 2.5 million people every year. The building is home to the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium (NML) library, the local Tourist Information Centre, and the BBC East offices and studios, where the regional television news bulletin BBC Look East and local radio station BBC Radio Norfolk are based.

Since The Forum opened, the amphitheater-like steps at the front have provided a venue for many different functions such as: amateur theatrical performances, outdoor opera, musical competitions, art exhibitions, processions, celebrations and a real-ice skating rink. Because the forum is funded partly by lottery grants, they hold certain events which are free of charge for people to attend. For example Retro Arcade 2: Megablast in which Fusion (a digital gallery) is transformed into a vast array of gaming machines. The Forum is part of Norwich 12, a collection of notable buildings in Norwich spanning the Norman, medieval, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Norwich Market

14) Norwich Market

Norwich Market, or Norwich Provision Market, is an outdoor market consisting of around 200 stalls. Founded in the latter part of the 11th century to supply Norman merchants and settlers moving to the area following the Norman conquest of England, it replaced an earlier market a short distance away. It has been in operation on the present site for over 900 years.

In the Georgian era, Norwich became an increasingly popular destination with travelers and developed into a fashionable shopping town. Buildings around the market were developed into luxury shops and coaching inns. The eastern side of the market was particularly fashionable and became known as Gentleman's Walk. The area around the market had become very congested by the 19th century, but the council was unable to raise funds for improvement and few alterations were made. Because many of the market's stalls were privately owned, the council was unable to rearrange the market into a more rational layout. Following the First World War, the local authority began to systematically buy up all the stalls on the market, eventually bringing the entire market into public ownership. It was radically redesigned in the 1930s: stalls were arranged into parallel rows and a new City Hall was built along the entire western side of the marketplace to replace the by then inadequate Guildhall. This new arrangement survived with few significant changes for the rest of the 20th century.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Norwich, England

Create Your Own Walk in Norwich

Create Your Own Walk in Norwich

Creating your own self-guided walk in Norwich is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Norwich Religious Buildings Tour

Norwich Religious Buildings Tour

Containing a wide assortment of churches and cathedrals, Norwich has much to be proud of when it comes to its religious heritage. Each one is beautifully decorated and has its own story to tell. Check out Norwich’s most fascinating religious edifices in the following tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Shopping Streets of Norwich

Shopping Streets of Norwich

Norwich is a wonderful city with streets containing many useful shops and street vendors. If you want to get a unique souvenir or walk down a beautiful street and buy some useful merchandise, take the following tour to discover Norwich’s most popular shopping.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles