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Norwich Town Information

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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.

Norwich Castle Entrance - Photo © Katy Appleton
Norwich Castle Entrance -
Photo: Katy Appleton CCL

Norwich Cathedral Cloisters and Tower - Photo © Mark Anderson
Norwich Cathedral Cloisters and Tower -
Photo: Mark Anderson CCL

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 Andrews.

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.

Church of St Peter Mancroft - Photo © Katy Appleton
Church of St Peter Mancroft -
Photo: Katy Appleton CCL

Royal Arcade - Photo © Katy Appleton
Royal Arcade - Photo: Katy Appleton CCL

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.