norwich lanes


With only a few days left until Christmas, what better place to grab those final gifts than the Norwich Lanes.

The Lanes are a series of alleyways and open communal spaces set just a few steps away from the imposing clock tower of Norwich City Hall. The medieval architecture is some of the finest to be found anywhere in the UK.

Today the lanes are home to a thriving independent retail area and a vast array of cafes, restaurants and bars. Mainly pedestrianised, the lanes offers something for every one morning, noon and night.

Wander the Lanes and find your new favourite places. Visit the Norwich Lanes to find out more.

Norwich is so much more than the Lanes. Plan a trip with Visit Norwich.

Photo: Paul Sturgess
great hospital


The Great Hospital, in the heart of Norwich, was one of England’s oldest hospitals, and it has been serving the people of the city since 1249.

Originally opened the aid the priests, poor scholars and paupers of the city, The Great Hospital is now used as sheltered accommodation for the elderly, but it still has strong links to its history, offering regular tours and talks about the building’s story.

Now, the building is appreciated for its architecture. It is the finest set of medieval hospital buildings in the country, and is included in the Norwich 12 (like previous 365 item, Surrey House). Today is the final chance this year to participate in a historical tour of the building,

Find out more about the history of The Great Hospital at Norwich 12.

Norwich is full of fascinating architecture, dating from the Medieval period through to the modern day. Plan a trip to explore with Visit Norwich.

signatures at the swan


It can be argued that Lavenham was at the centre of the US military presence in the UK during World War Two.

Four United States of America Air Force (USAAF) airfields were within six miles of the village, and a US hospital was only four miles away. Because of this, Lavenham was one of the favourite meeting places of the USAAF and many officers relaxed and socialised there, particularly at the Swan Hotel.

The wall of the small bar (now called the Airmen’s Bar) at the Swan is covered in signatures of the servicemen who spent much of their down time in the hotel.

Signatures at the Swan is a project in partnership with 8th in the East and Stour Valley Community Archaeology Group, which plans to identify the signatures and link them to any surviving relatives.

Explore the Swan Hotel, and discover the signatures for yourself.

If you’re interested in seeing the rest of Lavenham and the surrounding area, find out more with Visit Suffolk.

christmas at oxburgh


In the run-up to Christmas, there aren’t many sights more wonderful than a large home adorned with traditional festive decoration. Christmas at Oxburgh offers the perfect opportunity for visitors for experience just that, and take a trip back to Christmases past.

Every December, over two weekends, experience the atmosphere of the House as it would have been dressed for the festivities 100 years ago. Alongside this, the Oxburgh Hall Choir perform classic Christmas carols in the Hall’s Chapel.

Join in with Christmas at Oxburgh at the National Trust.

Whilst you’re at Oxburgh, why not explore the rest of the county with Visit Norfolk.

Photo: Oxburgh Hall

surrey HOUSE


Located in the heart of Norwich, Surrey House is one of the most elegant and opulent Edwardian office buildings in Britain.

In the early 16th Century, the land was the city house of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, but the current Surrey House, designed by George Skipper, was built at the beginning of the 20th Century.

The Palladian-style foyer is adorned with 15 varieties of marble, classically inspired frescos and a stunning glass atrium, as well as a selection of items that were originally made for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Surrey House has been home to insurance company Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) since the turn of the 20th Century. The foyer is open to the public during office hours. Group tours of the building can be booked in advance at Aviva.

For more information about the history of Surrey House, and other buildings of historical interest in Norwich, visit Norwich 12.

Explore the rest of Norwich’s history; Visit Norwich is the perfect guide.

Image:Sarah Cocke / RACNS

outdoor ice skating


‘Tis the season for outdoor iceskating!

If you’re planning a trip to The East this festive season, make sure you take advantage of the many outdoor iceskating rinks across the region.

Temporary rinks have popped up in Bury St Edmunds, Great Yarmouth and Norwich to celebrate the festive season. The rinks will be open every day (excluding Christmas Day) until early January.

Bury’s ice rink is in Charter Square, right in the middle of town, whilst Great Yarmouth’s is at Market Square. If you decide to skate in Norwich, you’ll have Norwich Castle as a backdrop in Castle Mall Gardens!

Individual and family tickets are available at all three rinks, and advance-booking is recommended.

To find out more about outdoor iceskating visit Our Bury St EdmundsVisit Great Yarmouth or Visit Norwich, and whilst you’re there, plan the rest of your trip to the area.

Photo: Visit Norwich
winter walks


Aside from the fantastic culture we’re sharing every day, the East is also known for inspiring landscape and breathtaking views, particularly during the winter months. This is particularly evident in the parks and woodlands of Blickling, Felbrigg and Oxburgh – enjoy winter walks around these beautiful idylls.

The grounds of these National Trust properties in Norfolk are some of the best places to experience this stunning scenery, and luckily, the Trust have curated a series of walks around their properties across the county.

Above is a view you can expect on the Felbrigg Hall church and ice house walk, a circular walk that explores a church, ice house and a selection of interesting flora and fauna.

For more information about this and other routes, including their selection of seasonal winter walks, visit the National Trust.

Why not make a trip of it, and stay for a while? Visit Norfolk is full of tips for making the most of your Norfolk holiday.

Photo: National Trust


Have you ever been to a gallery in a skating rink? The Old Skating Rink Gallery in the heart of Norwich is home to the South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection Trust (SADACC).

Designed by Horace Lacey and built in 1876, the building was Norwich’s first roller skating rink. It opened on 19th September 1876 to around 1000 visitors. Despite initial success, the roller rink closed in May 1877 due to financial difficulties. The following years saw the building fitted out as a Vaudeville Theatre, a temporary home for the Salvation Army, a storage facility for tinned meat, and a warehouse for a building manufacturer. It remained a warehouse until the early 1990s, when Philip and Jeannie Millward purchased the Rink and renovated it.

Today, large architectural items are on display permanently throughout the building, and display cases installed in 2011 reveal the best of the SADACC Trust collection. The SADACC Trust is currently displaying a selection of textiles from South Asia, in the exhibition Cloth: A Journey through South Asian Textiles, inspired by the recent major exhibition The Fabric of India at the V&A.

For more information, and to plan a trip to the Old Skating Rink Gallery, visit the SADACC.

Want to explore Norwich’s many galleries, but not sure where to start? Visit Norwich is the perfect guide!



One of the UK’s earliest cinema buildings, The Palace of Lights in Great Yarmouth first opened in 1908.

It wasn’t always a cinema though. It was first used by the showman C. B. Cochran and his live shows, the ‘Cochran Revues’.

The Palace of Lights got its name from over 1,000 lightbulbs on the exterior – quite impressive for the early 1900s.

Over the years, the building has served many other uses, and been called by many other names. It was renamed The Gem in 1910, and became a cinema. Showing films for most of its life, it did recommence staging summer shows from 1948 when it was renamed the Windmill Theatre.

If you’re interested in learning about Great Yarmouth’s fascinating history, visit the Time and Tide Museum.

Great Yarmouth also has a thriving contemporary art scene, plan a trip to immerse yourself in it with Visit Great Yarmouth.

Photo: innpictime


Through the reigns of nine monarchs, massive changes in the world of retail, and two World Wars, Jarrolds has played a part in the lives of generations of Norfolk families.

The Jarrolds story began back in 1770 when John Jarrold I opened a grocers and drapers in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Throughout this time, he kept a detailed notebook of activity, including local happenings and ‘Rules to Make a Good Tradesman’. His business grew until his death in 1775, it was at this point that his widow returned to her native Norwich.

John Jarrold II established his own company in Norwich, and chased the most economically advantageous business at the time, including agriculture, and printing (an offshoot of Jarrolds was a forerunner of modern-day publisher Archant). The business continued to grow, and moved into its current premises in 1909.

Today, Jarrolds is regarded as the premier independent shop in Norwich, and is hugely active in the local community.

Find out more about Jarrolds’ unique history, and see what’s on at the Jarrold website.

Find out why the Jarrolds settled in Norwich, and explore for yourself with Visit Norwich.