Overlooked Cities in England: Norwich

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Norwich wasn’t a city I had planned to visit. To be perfectly honest, I had never even heard of it until I was checking cheap bus fares on Megabus. Other than Cambridge, this was the farthest east I’d ever been in England and with a £1.50 price tag for a 3 hour bus ride… I was sold! Yes, it’s three hours outside of London but a very enjoyable journey (if you like the English countryside!).

The only plans I had were to check into Gothic House Bed and Breakfast. This impressive Regency era, grade II-listed building has been completely refurbished inside yet still holds onto its 19th century charm. I’m immediately welcomed by Clive who makes you feel right at home. I quickly learn that there are only two rooms available to guests which makes this B&B one of the coziest I’ve ever stayed in. I’m lucky enough to be staying in the double room on the second floor and the only word that comes to mind is charming. Not that original, I know, but it’s so fitting.

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The double room at Gothic House B&B has recently been renovated and will make you feel right at home.

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Complimentary refreshments such as tea, fruit, cookies, and biscuits are available to guests in their rooms at Gothic House B&B.

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The double room at Gothic House B&B is incredibly spacious, allowing a vanity table to get ready at in the morning and a sitting area which was ideal for reading (not pictured).

For only 65 pounds a night (£95 for double occupancy), I’m blown away by the luxurious bath robes, four poster bed, and amenities such as fresh fruit and biscuits. After my little tour, I let Clive know that my only plans for the early evening are to go for a walk and take in my surroundings before dinner. Lucky for me, notable landmarks such as Elm Hill and Norwich Cathedral are only a stone’s throw away from Gothic House.

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You’ll find this lovely courtyard next to Norwich Cathedral, a notable landmark in the city.

Little known fact, England has a lot of cathedrals. Okay, I’m sure that surprises no one. In my last post about Bristol, I mentioned how I’m blown away every time I step into a cathedral. I have yet to grow tired of standing in amazement and wondering how in the hell people built these incredibly detailed and enormous buildings… HUNDREDS of years ago! Norwich Cathedral is no exception. I was lucky to visit a few minutes before closing but I certainly missed out on thoroughly exploring every nook and cranny. Next time! And yes, there will be a next time. I’m usually never satisfied with visiting a place only once, especially a city as beautiful as Norwich.

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This lovely view is from the west side of Norwich Cathedral.

Speaking of beautiful, you NEED to visit Elm Hill when you’re in Norwich. Or else. Yes, that’s a threat. Picture this: cobbled lanes, historic Tudor houses, antique shops, and tea rooms. Elm Hill is quite possibly the most quintessentially English street I have ever explored. I say this too often when describing my favorite European cities, but it was like being transported back in time. Okay, it was a bit creepy too since almost nobody was out and about that evening. But creepy in the best (and prettiest) way and I’m certainly not complaining!

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I’d highly recommend exploring Elm Hill and its many antique shops and historic buildings in the center of Norwich.

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Elm Hill gets its name from the Elm trees that have stood in the square since the first quarter of the 16th century!

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It’s easy to spot old Tudor houses while exploring Elm Hill in Norwich.

When it came time to have dinner, I remembered a conversation I had with a rather enthusiastic taxi driver from earlier. He told me I’d be a fool not to have Indian food while staying on Magdalen Street, home of his favorite curry house in the world – Ali Tandoori. I am not one to turn down a local’s food recommendation so off I went. No pictures, of course, I was too busy eating (and I forgot). I’d be a terrible food blogger. But their chicken tikka masala was to die for and only £7.25. A delicious dinner for under 10 pounds in England is hard to come by so I just had to share.

Because I’m an idiot and didn’t bother to look at a map while planning out this trip, I had a six hour bus ride to catch the next morning to Bath. But there’s always time for breakfast. Always. I was staying at Gothic House Bed & BREAKFAST after all and breakfast is included in the price, just another thing I love about B&B’s. Clive prepared a spread that was nothing short of amazing: fresh orange juice, yogurt, cereal, eggs, bacon, beans, mushrooms, toast, sausages, and wait for it, homemade bread! Also, the breakfast room is adorable which certainly made my departure even more difficult.

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I’d recommend getting the Full English breakfast while staying at Gothic House B&B! Clive’s cooking does not disappoint.

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Guests get to enjoy their morning meal in this lovely breakfast room at Gothic House B&B.

My short trip to Norwich reminded me of everything I love about England - friendly locals, great food (yes, believe it or not!), cobbled streets, historical homes, and gorgeous architecture. Norwich is more than just a charming English city. I enjoyed how laid back it was and I often felt like I was exploring a small village. Norwich was never at the top of my list of places to see in the UK but I’m so glad I went. Just because you haven’t read about it a million times in travel books and magazines, doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing! Lesson learned.

Have you ever been to Norwich? What are some overlooked cities you’ve traveled to? I’d love to know! Let me know in the comments.

Happy travels!

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*Note: I did receive a complimentary room at Gothic House B&B. However, opinions are entirely my own. I would only ever recommend something that I actually enjoyed and support!