Mind the cobbles on Elm HillBrian Key

When Cambridge feels too small, too stifling and too overwhelming, it’s time to escape. Norwich isn’t exactly the city of lights or the city of love, but there’s still more than enough to do there! Give your mind a break from the stresses of Exam Term by wandering around a Norman castle, lazing in the Plantation Gardens and sampling craft beers.

Take the train from Cambridge to Norwich Station. An off-peak day return costs £18.60 (£12.30 with a railcard!), and the fast train takes about one hour and 15 minutes.

Norwich isn’t exactly the city of lights or the city of love, but there’s still more than enough to do there!

From the station, make your way to Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery on Castle Hill. Take in the castle with its 900-year-old spiral staircase and original stone carvings, and admire the oils, watercolours and prints in the fine art galleries. The castle also houses a history museum; a particular highlight is the exhibition on Boudica and her revolt against the Romans. The Iceni tribe’s capital was close to the village of Caistor St. Edmunds, about five miles south of Norwich, and according to local rhyme, Norwich came about from Caistor’s demise. As the saying goes: “Caistor was a city when Norwich was none, Norwich was built of Caistor stone”. This exhibit also displays the Snettisham treasure, the largest collection of Iron Age gold and silver neck rings in Europe, and the Worthing helmet, a rare Roman cavalry helmet made from bronze and beautifully decorated with an eagle and dragons. Admission to the Castle and its galleries and museum is £9 for students.

It might even be this sunny at Norwich Castle when you go!Andrew Hurley

Head from the Castle to the Plantation Gardens. These gardens were planted in 1856, and feature a huge gothic fountain, snaking paths, an Italianate terrace and colourful flowerbeds. They are a perfect place to relax after a good few hours exploring the castle, and an ideal picnic spot! Bring your own, or pop into Grosvenor Fish Bar on Lower Goat Lane and pick up some fish and chips. Paul W from TripAdvisor says that Grosvenor’s fish and chips are the “best in Norwich!”, and if Paul says so, it’s probably true. Admission to the Plantation Gardens is £2.

After lunch, explore Elm Hill, one of the oldest and most picturesque streets in Norwich, complete with cobbles and Tudor houses, built in 1507. The street has galleries, craft and antique shops that you can explore. If you still aren’t full after stuffing yourself with fish and chips, and maybe want something a little fancier, stop off at Storm in a Teacup for a delightful afternoon tea.

Dive into Art Nouveau in the Grand ArcadeRichard Thomas

Peek inside independent boutiques as you stroll along the Royal Arcade. This covered shopping street was built in 1899, and has all of the opulence and grandeur you can expect from the Victorians. At the time the arcade was described as “a fragment from the Arabian Nights dropped into the heart of the old City”, and it’s definitely worth a look.


Mountain View

Varsity Escapes: A comfort food quartet in London

If you fancy a drink before you catch the train back to Cam, Norwich has loads of pubs to choose from. One that is a little further out of the centre is The Fat Cat Brewery Tap on Lawson Road. It serves beer from the Fat Cat Brewery, which is just opposite, as well as other quality real ales and ciders. The pub is also a bookshop and holds a book club when it isn’t hosting live music. If it’s a lovely day, there’s a covered patio and garden in which to leisurely sip your drink. The Fat Cat won Norwich Pub of the Year in 2016 – proof that it’s worth the walk!

You’ll return from your day trip refreshed, de-stressed and filled with a love for Norfolk you didn’t think you were capable of.

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