Once upon a time, Norwich was the largest city in England outside of London so you can imagine how important it has been in the country’s history. Today, the city has been shaped by its past and you can see this throughout the city centre. In particular Norwich has incredible medieval streets to stroll through as well as a cathedral with a distinctly Norman design. Through its winding passages and cobbled stones, there are many streets to uncover in Norwich and these are 8 of the prettiest!
1. Princes Street
On our first early morning venture into Norwich from our Airbnb this was the first pretty street that we came upon as we began our stroll through the city. Princes Street leads off Tombland back towards Norwich Lanes and it’s got a lovely curve of buildings that are settled above the cobble stones. A number of these historic buildings are listed.
Pottergate is a super pretty street in Norwich and in particular this spot is just so dreamy with the orange and pink houses complementing each other so well!
3. Hook’s Walk
Near to Norwich Cathedral is the aptly names Cathedral Close and one of the streets leading off from this grassy area surrounded by beautiful houses, is the charming Hook’s Walk. This little street was one of my favourties in the city and in each direction had a very different view!
The houses along here rise above the narrow passage and at the Cathedral Close end, joyful blossom trees flank the start of the passage next to a characterful lamp post. In Spring the pink petals bring a vibrant splash of colour to contrast against the orange brick work. We even met a little black cat along this street!
4. Elm Hill
Elm Hill is probably not just the most famous street in Norwich but probably the most famous place altogether in the city! It’s also often said to be one of the prettiest streets in the whole of England. Take a stroll along the cobble stones and past the wonderful buildings and shops that line the street and you’ll see why for yourself! There are more Tudor buildings along this one street than there are in the whole of the City of London.
The Briton’s Arms (at the top of Elm Hill) was built in the 1400s and one of the oldest buildings in Norwich. Unfortunately the coffee shop that has been there since 1951 closed its doors at the end of 2020. Elm Hill was nearly knocked down in 1927 to make way for a swimming pool but thankfully the decision was reversed at the last moment!
5. Norwich Lanes
Norwich Lanes is a series of narrow lanes that interconnect in the heart of Norwich City. The Lanes were set up to counteract the influx of chain shops and restaurants and to protect the independent businesses of Norwich. As you stroll along these lanes, make sure to admire all of the fun signs and support a business yourself by stopping in! I found some wonderful jewellery and books whilst browsing around this area!
The Lanes provide lots of photo and shopping opportunities so make sure to have your camera (and your wallet!) at the ready. The above was taken in May 2021 when the cherry blossoms were in bloom and adding plenty of colour to the city!
6. Upper St Giles
Upper St Giles is a rather swanky if not short little street which has some beautiful and quirky facades. My favourite was The Plant Den with its bottle green bricks!
Make sure to stop off at a bakery or coffee shop here to enjoy the full St Giles experience!
7. Norwich Quayside
If colourful streets is your thing then another street you have got to have on your list to check out is Quay Side. It’s down by the river Wensum where the homes have a pretty idyllic location looking out across the water. Stroll along past the brightly painted homes and make sure to get a photo from Fye Bridge as you cross over. I would have loved to see this spot at sunrise but if I remember rightly I don’t think I’ve been lucky with clear morning skies on either of my Norwich visits.
8. Tombland Alley
Blink and you’ll miss it. Tombland Alley is a tiny alley (to be fair it’s a bit cheeky that I’ve called it a street 😉) that leads from Princes Street to Tombland. The entrance from either side is so small and unassuming that you can very easily miss it as you explore the centre of Norwich.
From Tombland, duck under the archway beside Cryptic Escape and you’ll find this little gem! It looks rather charming in Autumn as the leaves change colour and carpet the ground. Be wary, it’s rumoured the lane is haunted 👻
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