Saturday: today brought the early morning opportunity to take pictures of the river, now the rain had ceased, and Prince of Wales Road was bustling with activity once again. I met up with my friend/tour guide on the bridge opposite the train station. We headed towards the cathedral, Norwich cathedral is stunning, the detail in the architecture is incredible, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys exploring and appreciating old buildings Norwich is definitely a must visit, with a few to choose from, the cathedral grounds aren’t small and unfortunately it was early so we didn’t get to see inside, the fact is that despite this it was still worth doing as it is a stunning building and one I am sure I will return to several times in the future.
The next stop on our little tour was a small café called ‘That Café’, having skipped breakfast I was grateful we stopped at this lovely hidden gem, greeted by a lovely and friendly woman, who after welcoming me to Norwich took our order, the range of food available for a small café was great and little free American sweets were also a nice touch. After sitting down, our food was quickly brought over with the coffee I opted for the traditional bacon roll and latte, while my friend had some kind of sausage roll that was made with chorizo, I remembered because I don’t like Chorizo and during our welcome the lovely lady had announced they had just finished cooking. My Bacon roll was lovely I would even say perfect; the latte was great too, I am normally fussy with coffee, but this was just right not to strong, not to creamy. The atmosphere at That Café is very relaxed, I could have stayed all day, but with only one day for sightseeing and plans to go out that night it was soon time to head off again.
We walked to Norwich City Hall, which is a beautiful Art Deco building which dates to around 1938: I believe, the thing that most impressed me was the long balcony one of the longest balconies I have seen to date. Not far from City Hall is the BBC building, which is stunning and one of the most creative as the BBC buildings I have seen tend to be towers.
But the one in Norwich is set back and up on steps and is lit up at night which is quite a sight. From here we headed to the Castle Quarter (previously Castle Mall) re-branding event, we entered from the side where the first thing to hit me was the mural walls two of which are lit up, The main long one as you walk in is a children’s mural of the city which is lovely, The two smaller ones opposite are decorated with lights and have seating in front of them. Castle Quarter is lively, creative and a fun place to be and shop, but if you continue just past the mural you come to Retro Replay, an Arcade and gaming lounge with all your favourite arcade games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man etc, I love that they have a deal where you pay £10.00 and play all day, a deal we didn’t explore as I feared I would lose my friend for the rest of my trip and I am very good at getting lost. Castle Quarter had lots of fun activities planned that day but being a huge Pac-Man fan, I was most impressed with the inflatable Pac-Man maze game, I had never seen one and it was exciting. I was learning rather quickly just what a creative, innovative and exciting place Norwich can be.
After a short trip to see the exterior of The Assembly House, you can stay here or book a table for a meal too, The Assembly House (Assembly Rooms: as I call it) it a georgian gem of a building designed in 1754 by Thomas Ivory. We popped into the Sir Garnet Public house, which a lovely little place thankfully a little peaceful too, they have little tables by a window up a couple of steps the perfect place to rest and enjoy a drink.
By this point we decided to head back and get changed and just in time as that rain was back again. I resurfaced a couple of hours later ready for the evening. We headed straight for Norwich City Football Stadium, Carrow Road home to the ‘Canaries’. Now firstly yes I do like football and secondly there are two things that made the stadium stand out that I really liked: number one it’s actually a lot smaller than it looks, my first thought was ‘oh my god, he’s going to make me walk around that and my feet are still recovering’ (sorry, but’s true!) but it really wasn’t that bad. The second was you could see in although it was locked up, it was an away game week, I think! But you could see right into the seats and everything it was great, normally you can only see the higher levels of stadiums from the outside.
Finally, it was dinner time and I was craving a cheeseburger, there are lots of options as we were close to the Riverside complex, we decided on Fatso’s restaurant, Bar and Grill – a 1920’s-1930’s themed American diner. I am so glad we did this place was great, I had a ice-cream float made with Cola (a childhood favourite of mine) with a cheese and bacon burger with fries, there was so much food I couldn’t finish it but what there was lovely cooked perfectly delivered promptly which was lucky as we had about an hour before we were due to meet friends in town. My friend had a pulled pork hotdog which looked amazing my one regret is that I didn’t get that without cheese sauce, I don’t like cheese sauce I mean it’s not proper cheese.
So, feeling rather full and very contented, we headed to the Gin temple: now I must be honest, I had no idea what to expect but I was intrigued at the prospect of a passion-fruit Gin. It’s located above Rabbit coffee shop in Pottergate, in the heart of town, upon arrival and another friendly greeting from bar staff and meeting friends we ordered the passion-fruit gin cocktail and sat down, one of the things that makes this place so great is the amount of care, effort and craftsmanship they pour into every drink. The best way I can explain the cocktail which must be savoured and drank slowly is gin with pureed passionfruit in a decorated glass and it tastes exactly as good as it sounds, a little while later after lots of good conversation we tried the raspberry lemonade which was amazing served in a gin glass with the same care, attention and craftsmanship the glass had chunks of ice and fresh raspberries in there too and it was one of the best and most refreshing soft drinks I have had for a while.
My trip to Norwich was a creative and enjoyable experience and I was a little sad to be leaving it behind when I returned home the following day.
A city full of friendly faces and bustling with creative experiences and fun.