Hometown Holiday: Norwich

Warn nighttime photo of cobbled street in Norwich
Jacob Edwards

It has often been said of me that I speak far too frequently and highly of my hometown. A friend of mine even times how long it will take me to mention Norwich in a conversation. Jacob Edwards tells us about his hometown… Norwich.

I was born and raised in the same household in the same city for my entire life, and seeing it grow from a predominantly elderly population and a bit of a bore into a quaint, joyous little corner of the UK, full of life and loveliness, as well as an incredible crowd of artsy people who crafted it into what it is today, has made me almost proud of the place.

I think it helps that Norwich is home to two universities, one of which is an arts school in the city centre, and the other of which, the UEA, a campus uni similar to Nottingham and well-renowned for its bunnies and the Sainsbury’s centre – an art gallery which also features as the Avengers HQ in the Marvel films.

it is the rest of Norwich that is so awe-inspiring

Increasingly, both have gained a great reputation for the creativity that they inspire and attract. 

Some of the aforementioned artsy crowd that the universities and city have attracted also happen to be my friends, who, having now graduated, either own their own independent business, or are an employee of one of the many other fantastic independent businesses.

Of course, being somewhat the centre for shopping in the East of England, Norwich has your bog-standard brands and highstreet superstars, but it is the rest of Norwich that is so awe-inspiring. 

One would not expect the cobblestoned streets to contain countless independent shops that give the city a more homely and communal vibe. 

A town pic of Nowich

It truly has everything you could need, from plants to caffeine, at a high standard and for a reasonable price.

There are a collective of coffeeshops, ranging from artsy ones that offer other exciting evening activities like ‘Drink and Draw at Artel’ – turning casual coffee-goers into local artists in their own right, with direction from the wonderful Ed Le May – to Norwich-based roasteries like Kofra and Strangers, whose beans both pack a punch. 

Unfortunately, Artel announced recently that they are closing up shop, but it is the people who truly make the city the haven that it is. 

a space for some underground, albeit legal, indie gigs which are always a hoot to attend

I met a number of my closest chums from there, who are each doing their own thing and consequently helping the city thrive. 

Another wonderful pair, Cat and Jack, own a record store called Lowell which is also a vintage clothes store, as well as a space for some underground, albeit legal, indie gigs which are always a hoot to attend.

Speaking of the music scene, Norwich is also full from its head to its toes with music. Not only will you find plentiful quantities of people busking about the city, most distinctly in front of the market, one of the largest and oldest open-air markets in the UK, stretching back over 900 years, but there are multiple top spots to find yourself at for a fabulous night out. 

A particular favourite of mine, along with Lowell, being ‘Voodoo Daddy’s Showroom’, which rightfully boasts of its spicy pizzas, vibey arcade games and cocktails, and a cute upstairs that hosts a wide range of acts, from jazz to comedy and poetry nights. 

A girl with a guitar

My so-called ‘gang’ also throw their own big event about once a month at the Last Pub Standing, with local artists, both musical and literal – there are bits and bobs on sale from a little mobile cart, ironically bestowed with the title “The Big Fat Art Cart”, which is proudly pushed around by Dom Sellars, or “NoGlum” as he’s known in the community. 

There are, of course, other venues which get the more nationally-known artists, such as the likes of Wet Leg, playing at Norwich Arts Centre and the LCR, and Cavetown at The Waterfront, even going as far as The Arctic Monkeys, who are playing at Norwich’s Carrow Road football stadium this summer. 

I could not have been happier to have grown up in such a wonderful city full of wonderful people.

However, I generally like to stick to the smaller venues to support the little guys, as well as for the delectably adorable atmosphere, which can sometimes get a bit steamy and often in the literal sense. If you have ever attended one of the faster-paced bands at Lowell, you might have found yourself sweating by the bucket towards the end of the night.

The heightened sense of community is something that can be seen all over the city though, as when a teensy shop on St. Benedict’s Street called The Little Shop of Vegans was on the verge of parting ways, the community was determined to keep it alive and shopped there solely until they had enough money and support to keep going.

In fact, veganism in general is exceptionally easy, to the point where back in 2019, Norwich was ranked the UK’s most vegan city

It is worth trekking outside the centre to get one’s mitts on a bun or two from the vegan Danish bakery

I used to work for a restaurant called The Tipsy Vegan, which lay on the same street as ‘Little Shop of Vegans’, and it is genuinely some of the best food I have encountered – as a testament to that, my friend Amina made a YouTube video in which the restaurant and a few other top spots feature. 

Also on that road is a fantastic vegan board games café, Slice + Dice, which delivers some delectable dishes to delight oneself in, and a bit further up the road is Tofurei, and then only a bit further still is Moorish, which has some of the best falafel in the business. 

I think you get the gist, although I will say that it is worth trekking outside the centre to get one’s mitts on a bun or two from the vegan Danish bakery, Frå Kost

[The Book Hive] arranges some insanely wacky bookish competitions

On the topic of food generally though, Norwich is even throwing a “City Food Trail” once again, with treats and specials based on literary works, given Norwich is such a literary-and-historically-rich city, all throughout the month of March, so there is no better time to visit.

That brings me onto my final note: literature

Norwich birthed writers such as Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro – not literally, but they attended the University of East Anglia and dabbled in its celebrated creative writing course. 

Consequently, as well as the centuries of history within the walls, which one can find more about at Norwich Castle, Norwich has a load of lovely little bookshops, including my favourite in the whole world, The Book Hive, which is run by a good bunch of people and every once in a while arranges some insanely wacky bookish competitions and fascinating events. 

I could not have been happier to have grown up in such a wonderful city full of wonderful people.

A group of friends

Jacob Edwards

Featured image courtesy of Chris Spalton via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

In article images courtesy of Jacob Edwards. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to these images.

For more content including Uni News, Reviews, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.

If you just can’t get enough of Lifestyle, like our Facebook as a reader or contributor. 

LifestylePlacesTravelTravel OpinionTravel Tips

Leave a Reply