Norwich, the cathedral city of Norfolk, and the terminus
of the old Great Eastern Railway.
Because, as Nikolaus Pevsner wrote in 1962, "Norwich has
What to see
Inside the cathedral, the lofty clerestory lights up the
cathedra, set high on steps behind the altar, with a wind vent so
that the odour of sanctity could waft up from relics below. The
Despenser retable in St Luke's Chapel is magnificent.
In the elegant Close you might catch sight of Norwich School
pupils in their gowns; or falcon-spotters in the car park; or a
scarlet-clad Queen's Chaplain, stiff-starched bands dancing in the
breeze. It could be a different age.
Beyond the cathedral close, Norwich is full of medieval
churches, and has plenty of independent shops in the smaller
streets. The castle houses a museum and art gallery, and the
battlements provide fine views over the city and county. Tombland
Bookshop, opposite the cathedral gate, is particularly pleasing,
but does not open on Sundays.
Where to eat and drink
Many eateries serve local fresh produce: Roger Hickman's
Restaurant, on St Giles - also closed on Sundays - gets rave
reviews; and Farmer Browns, on Tombland, offers three menus: field,
land, and sea, but it, too, closes on Sundays. There is no
Proudiesque monopoly in place, however: the cathedral Hostry
restaurant will take your money on any day of the week. Other
non-Sabbatarian establishments include the Reindeer, on Dereham
Road, which makes up for what it may lack in atmosphere with superb
food and a good wine list. Shiki, also on Tombland, offers
excellent Japanese food. How its itamae (chefs) ended up
at the west end of Norwich Cathedral, heaven only knows.
The closeness of the cathedral's quire-stalls lends intimacy to
choral evensong, where the talented Ashley Grote and his singers
ply their art day by day. After evensong, follow the lay clerks to
the Adam and Eve, on Bishopsgate, for a fine pint of proper local
With a car, Cromer, Walsingham, Wymondham, or even
Hunstanton are all easily accessible for day trips through country
roads, with church after church on the way. Arm yourself with
Norfolk Rood Screens, by Jeremy Haselock and Paul Hurst -
the number that survived iconoclasm in this part of the world is
Nearer the city, you might visit the City of Norwich Aviation
Museum, in Horsham St Faith; or spend a meditative hour at Caister,
with its medieval church built with Roman bricks in the corner of
the old fort. It is easy to feel alone with the ghosts of the past
in this eerie place, until the daydream is shattered by the
cacophony of the fast train to London.