A unique juxtaposition of
the old and new, Norwich is a sublime city
with a mighty castle, an astounding cathedral
and a curiously laid-back attitude.
Surrounded by a four-mile wall containing a dozen gateways, it started life as three separate Anglo Saxon settlements on the River Wensum and in the 10th century was ruled by King Athelstan.
Today it is both an ultra-modern shopping and
entertainment centre and a delightful piece of
history which owes a great debt to medieval
Flemish immigrants who introduced the weaving
of worsted cloth and, latterly, to the
manufacture of such domestic necessities as
chocolate, shoes and mustard.
Its powerful Norman castle looks down haughtily on the metropolis from a hill and is now a multi-faceted museum.
The city’s magnificent Cathedral of Holy Trinity, also Norman, looks delicate by comparison, especially its ornate, slender spire. Founded by Herbert de Losinga in 1096, it contains The Bishops Ancient Throne and Despener Reredos, a fine example of the East Anglian School of Painting. The Gothic architecture is spellbinding.
Within the city are no less than 33 medieval
churches, including St. John Maddermark, which
has some interesting monumental brasses, and
the 15th century church of St
The Church of St Peter Mancroft contains bells from the Spanish Armada dated to 1588.
In the restored 15th century Guildhall is the Spanish general’s sword presented by Horatio Nelson to the city in 1797.
Other museums include the St Peter Hungate Museum and Brass Rubbing Centre and the Royal Norfolk Regiment Museum.
Bridwell Museum, dating to
the 14th century, and Strangers
Hall are both medieval merchants' houses.
The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, at Earlham, was designed by Sir Norman Foster and houses an important art collection donated to the University of East Anglia by Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury in 1973. Artists include Moore, Epstein, Degas and Picasso.
At the Fairhaven Garden Trust is an oak tree said to be more than 900 years old.