Norwich Landmarks and Monuments
(Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK)
During the Second World War, the city of Norwich was targeted by the Luftwaffe, due to its industrial importance, beautiful landmarks and historical interest. However, despite weeks of nightly bombing raids during the Blitz, many impressive landmarks in Norwich managed to escape lasting damage.
In recent years, the city has chosen to increase its image in the world of tourism and actively market its rich heritage. As a result, the Norwich 12 was officially born and consists of the following collection of 12 individually listed buildings in the city:
- Norwich Castle
- Norwich Cathedral (Church of England)
- Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist (Roman Catholic)
- City Hall
- The Assembly House
- The Dragon Hall
- The Great Hospital
- The Forum
- The Guildhall
- St. Andrew's and Blackfriars Halls
- St. James Mill
- Surrey House
Of note, each year for four days in the middle of September, many private landmarks and buildings in Norfolk and throughout England open their doors to the public completely free of charge, in an event named the 'Heritage Open Days'.
Address: Shirehall, Market Avenue, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 3JQ, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 493625
Norwich Castle is famous throughout Norfolk and was built in 1067 at the request of William the Conqueror, to serve as a fortified royal palace, with a very distinctive cube-shaped keep measuring 28 metres / 92 feet square by 21 metres / 69 feet high. This hilltop fortress has been used for a number of different purposes and in the 13th century functioned as the city gaol. Various alterations were made in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the castle was then converted and opened as a museum in 1895 - the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery
. Be sure to check out the castle's spiral staircase, fighting gallery and primitive four-berth communal toilets (garderobe), which simply discharged their waste outside.
Open hours: September to late July, Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 16:30, Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00; late July and August, Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 16:30, Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 13:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children under 16 years old, seniors and families
Address: 12 The Close, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 4DH, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 218300
The number one landmark in the city, Norwich Cathedral is a splendid Church of England cathedral and is around 900 years old, being primarily Romanesque in its appearance. This Norman cathedral really is of epic proportions and measures some 140 metres / 460 feet in length, featuring a spire added in 1965 that towers almost 100 metres / 328 feet in height, and dominates the city's skyline, making it the country's second-tallest spire after that of Salisbury Cathedral
. Many remarkable works of art are housed here, including a world-class collection of roof bosses, some historic religious paintings and a series of early wall paintings. The Refectory Restaurant and Coffee Shop, library, herb garden, gift shop and 'Jubilee Labyrinth' complete the main attractions here.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 18:00
Admission: free, donations suggested
Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist
Address: Unthank Road / Earlham Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 2PA, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 624615
The United Kingdom's second-biggest Roman Catholic cathedral, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist really is quite a sight to behold. Construction of this landmark commenced in 1882 and lasted just under 30 years, and in the mid-1970s it was consecrated as the official cathedral church for the regional Diocese of East Anglia. Features of this 'other' cathedral include magnificent stained-glass windows and imposing stonework. Each Saturday, the tower is opened to the public and those with enough energy to climb the staircase to the very top will be rewarded with stunning city views.
Open hours: daily - 07:30 to 19:30
Admission: free, donations suggested
Address: 115 - 123 King Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 1QE, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 663922
Full of medieval character, the Dragon Hall of Norwich is a restored trading hall sited on King Street, on the south-easterly side of the city centre. Dragon Hall was built in the 1430s, although is steeped in some 1,000 years of history, and was recently awarded the title of 'Best Norfolk Attraction' at the Eastern Daily Press Tourism Awards. Offering hands-on displays, audio tours and a host of family based activities, Dragon Hall was recently restored by means of a substantial grant provided by the Heritage Lottery Funding organisation.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 17:00, Saturday - special events only, Sunday - 11:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children under 16 years old, seniors and families (two adults and up to three children), children five years old and under are free
Address: Charing Cross, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 4AL, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 667229
An old and fascinating city landmark, the Strangers Hall originates in the early 14th century and consists of a labyrinth on interconnecting rooms, which are decorated with various period antiquities and furnishings. In 1900, the hall was opened as a museum of domestic life and displays many household objects and donated items, which now number more than 25,000 and include everything from toy soldiers, board games, teddy bears and dolls, to old children's books, hand-painted greeting cards, textiles and costumes. The Tudor Great Hall and the Great Chamber are two particularly impressive rooms within the building, as is the 17th-century walnut-paneled bedroom of Lady Paine. Costumed guides lead you around the Strangers Hall and explain its interesting history in an entertaining fashion.
Open hours: late February to early December, Wednesday to Saturday - 10:30 to 16:30.
Admission: charge, discounts for children under 16 years old, seniors and families, children four years old and under are free
Address: University Drive, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 456161
A public research university founded in 1963, the University of East Anglia (UEA) was planned for many decades before it finally become a reality. Situated on the very outskirts of the city, some 3 km / 2 miles from the city centre, and now accommodating roughly 20,000 students, the university is extremely proud of its academic achievements and deserved reputation. The University of East Anglia is made up of four different faculties (Arts and Humanities, Health, Science and Social Sciences) and employs more than 2,500 staff. Tourists to the city of Norwich will find a selection of attractions within the university campus, including the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
and the biggest indoor sports centre in England
Open hours: daily
Address: Bishopgate, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 4EL, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 622022
A characterful medieval hospital that has been in existence since the middle of the 13th century, the Great Hospital of Norwich stands within landscaped grounds covering approximately 3 hectares / 7 acres, where it was an institution for poor locals in ill-health. The Great Hospital is to be found next to the River Wensum, directly to the north-east of the cathedral, and ranks highly amongst the most distinguished historical landmarks in the city. The groups of buildings comprise the Birkbeck Hall, the Ivory Room and the Refectory, all of which are used for functions, meetings and official receptions.
Open hours: daily, guided tours can be arranged in advance
St. Andrew's Hall and Blackfriars Hall
Address: St. Andrew's Plain, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1AU, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 627950
Located side-by-side and close to Elm Hill and the riverfront, the adjoining St. Andrew's Hall and Blackfriars Hall are Grade 1 listed landmarks of great note. These halls are available for hire and are frequently used to host conferences, city events, wedding receptions and various trade fairs. This Friary complex is actually the most complete of its kind still standing in England and dates from the end of the 13th century, being first used by the Sack Friars and shortly afterwards by the Dominican Blackfriars. The Crypt Coffee Bar is one of the oldest structures still remaining here, virtually unchanged.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00
Address: St. Peter's Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1 NH, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 212212
A beautiful Art Deco landmark building built in the 1930s, the design of Norwich City Hall was actually chosen from a competition that attracted almost 150 entries in total. Completed in 1938 and officially opened by King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth, the City Hall quickly became a landmark of national significance, being known for its extreme attention to detail, tremendous craftsmanship and extensive use of Italian marble. The octagonal-shaped Lord Mayor's Parlour is one of the more elaborate rooms here and features wooden sycamore panelling, with a walnut trim. Measuring just over 85 metres / 280 feet in length, the City Hall features a long balcony at its front, which stretches for some 60 metres / 200 feet. Eye-catching features include a tall clock tower and six enormous stone columns, which stand directly above the main entrance and its pair of bronze lions.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00
St. Julian's Church and Shrine
Address: St. Julian's Alley, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 1QT, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 624738
Rather hidden away and out of sight, St. Julian's Church is an often overlooked local landmark and is an important centre for pilgrimage, since it contains the shrine to Lady Julian of Norwich (1342 to 1416). Lady Julian had strong religious beliefs and led a solitary existence, being most famous for writing a collection of books entitled 'The Revelations of Divine Love'. Located next door to the shrine is the Julian Centre, which is run by volunteers and stocks all of the books in Lady Julian's series, including an edition actually written in medieval English.
Open hours: daily, April to September - 07:30 to 17:30; October to March - 07:30 to 16:00
Address: Gaol Hill, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1NF, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 305575
A majestic building dating back more than 600 years, construction of the Guildhall in Norwich began as far back as 1407. The majority of the building work was completed in a period of five years, although it was not until 1453 that the Guildhall was considered to be finally 'finished'. In the 16th century much of the facade was faced with flint stone, and in the early 1860s, the architecture was given a somewhat Gothic appearance by the Victorians, reflecting the latest fashions of that period in time. Guided tours of the ground floor are available, although these should be arranged in advance. Refreshments are available at the Guildhall, in the Caley's Cocoa Cafe.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 16:30
Admission: free, charge for guided tours
The Assembly House
Address: Theatre Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1RQ, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 626402
An iconic and historical Georgian building in central Norwich, the Assembly House dates from the mid-18th century and was built on the former site of St. Mary's in the Field Chapel. The Assembly House possesses grand proportions and spacious rooms, and has been used to host many famous functions and parties over the years, including a celebratory naval party following Lord Nelson's victorious Battle of Trafalgar in 1850 (where he sadly lost his life), and a waxwork display of royalty and statesmen, organised by Madame Tussaud. The Grand Hall is still used to hold receptions and events, while other attractions here include the Noverre Garden, the Music Room, and the onsite Ivory's Restaurant, where pre-theatre suppers have become a speciality.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 21:30, Sunday - 10:00 to 16:00
St. James Mill
Address: Whitefriars, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1SH, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 677100
Standing on the actual site that was once home to a large church complex used by the Carmelite Friars (the White Friars), St. James Mill was built in the 1830s, in an attempt to revive the already lagging textile trade in Norwich. State-of-the-art power looms were installed to increase efficiency and profit, although it soon became apparent that this was too little, too late. Today, only two of the original six buildings remain standing - the actual mill, which is an enormous six-storey red-brick landmark in its own right, as well as its adjacent engine house. St. James Mill is now owned by Jarrold and Sons, and is used for the head office of this company.
Open hours: limited access to members of the general public
Address: 8 Surrey Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 3ST, England, UK
Tel: +44 01603 681062
A beautiful and elegant building located on Surrey Street, Surrey House is a Grade 1 listed landmark in Norwich. Surrey House was built at the beginning of the 20th century, although it features very convincing and authentic Edwardian architecture. This grand structure houses the offices for the Norwich Union insurance company (now Aviva) and is famous for its opulent use of marble, which is especially apparent in the main entrance hall, which has become known as the Marble Hall and is open to the public. Of interest, the 40 marble columns used to create this hall originated from Italy and were actually imported for Westminster Cathedral, being sold off at a discounted price after plans changed.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 17:00