Anniversary break in Norwich and Norfolk

Norwich cathedral

Date visited: November 2022

With our wedding anniversary in early November on several occasions Chris and I have seen this as a good opportunity for a holiday, especially to somewhere hot and sunny! In the past we have been fortunate to have enjoyed anniversaries in Madeira (2011); Malaysia (2013); Seychelles (2015); Argentina (2016) Antigua (2017) and Grenada (2018). This year Chris had run out of his annual leave allowance so with just a weekend at our disposal, we spent this in not-so-sunny Norfolk!

Norwich cathedral

I had never visited Norwich and the plan was to spend the Saturday exploring this capital of Norfolk, treat ourselves to one night in a lovely country hotel with a meal on the Saturday night and have a bracing 6 mile walk along another section of the Norfolk coastline on the Sunday. Things didn’t go quite to plan but more on that later!

In the east of the British Isles, Norfolk is the fifth largest county in England. Driving from home took a couple of hours and on the Saturday morning we parked in a multi-storey car park near to Norwich Cathedral. It’s over 900 years old and is one of the main attractions of the city. Entry is free and while the interior isn’t as grand as some cathedrals, it’s worth a look around.

Erpingham Gate

The Erpingham Gate was donated to Norwich in 1420 by Sir Thomas Erpingham, one of Henry V’s commanders. This can be found across a large courtyard area, opposite the entrance to the cathedral.

Painting by Anya Ichenska

Located in a The Crypt Gallery in the courtyard just in front of the cathedral we had a look at an exhibition by a Ukrainian artist called Anya Ichenska. Anya is a refugee who arrived in Norwich from Kiev and we were inspired both by her work and her story. Anya’s style is ‘Myth & Magic’ a mix of traditional spirits, life and nature and we were fortunate to meet Anya in person.

Ethelbert Gate

A couple of minutes’ walk from the cathedral is the Ethelbert Gate which dates back to 1316.

Norwich market

From the cathedral and the gates we walked for about 10 minutes to the heart of the city and the main shopping area which was just like any other British high street with the usual selection of stores and shops.

BBC Radio Studios

Making our way past the shops we walked to the home of BBC Radio Norfolk where you can see presenters making their broadcasts.

Adam and Eve pub

Walking around a city is thirsty work so following the theme of our recent visit to Oxford we decided to find the oldest pub of Norwich. A quick Google search showed this to be the Adam and Eve. Apparently this was the original site of a tavern in the 1240’s which was used by workmen building the cathedral!

Next up was a wander along the river towards Elm Hill which is a historic cobbled street lined with tudor buildings.

Elm Hill
Elm Hill
Bookshop in Elm Hill

16th century Elm Hill contains a range of quaint shops and cafes. The autumnal weather was rather dull when we visited on this day, but a drink and snack in one of the cafes was a lovely warm and welcoming experience.

By the time we ventured out of the cosy cafe it was nearly 4 pm and getting dark! We had a quick look in a couple of shops before making our way back to the car and our drive east towards the hotel.

Our room for the night was in the Ingham Swan, a delightful country hotel located in the tiny hamlet of Ingham near the Norfolk coast. We were familiar with the restaurant having visited several times with Chris’s parents so it brought back some lovely memories of happy times with spent with them.

Evening meal: pan roasted cod

As always, the evening meal was spectacular and full of delicious flavours. In 2017 the Ingham Swan suffered a horrific fire in which the building was completely gutted. Thankfully the rebuild was successful and this gorgeous characterful building was fully restored.

Rainy Ingham Swan

After a gloomy Saturday we woke up to a torrential downpour on the Sunday morning. While we don’t mind a bit of drizzle while walking, the thought of trudging along the coast in driving rain and puddles with nothing to look at except a grey sea was not appealing. We decided against another section of the Norfolk coast (from Sea Palling to Winterton) and reluctantly drove home after a super tasty breakfast.

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