Out & About
September Staycations – Norwich
A change is as good as a rest, so what better than a short stay not far from home packed full of wonderful things to see, do and eat Walk to soon-to-be favourite eateries, enjoy charming museums, shows and exhibitions, and soak up the atmosphere of a lively welcoming city centre.
18a at The Grosvenor
This two-bedroomed stylish apartment is such a find – in a great location in the heart of the Norwich Lanes. Owned by the renowned and wonderfully hospitable Grosvenor Fish Bar, staying here means you have every reason to eat fish and chips without feeling guilty! You can always walk it off as you explore Norwich. Prices per night from around £130.
The Assembly House
Again another stylish and centrally located place to rest your head – and in true luxury. Autumn offers mean you can stay for selected nights where the price includes parking, breakfast, a legendry afternoon tea and a bottle of fizz, all for two people. Choose from 1 night £199, 2 nights £350 and 3 nights £500. Offer ends 17 November.
The Maids Head Hotel
Having finished a multi-million-pound renovation in 2020 the hotel has a range of beautiful rooms from standard to suite – some with cathedral views. Offers here include a 1-night stay in a classic double room with a credit of £40 per person in their 2AA restaurant for dinner, breakfast and parking all for £195 per night (Sunday to Friday). Guests also get a short trip around Norwich in their vintage Bentley as an added benefit for free!
Situated on the edge of the Cathedral Quarter, Gothic House is another wonderful and beautifully presented place to stay. With only 2 bedrooms and parking included in the price, this is a welcoming bed and breakfast close to everything. Prices £105 per room, per night.
Barnham Broom- stay and play
Slightly further afield Barnham Broom has two championship golf courses in an idyllic countryside setting – play from £39 per person. There are also golf packages from £23 per person which include 18 holes and dining. And of course, there are golf stays too from only £99 which includes a 1-night stay, breakfast, dinner, 18-holes on one of their two contrasting courses, as well as complimentary use of The Edge Health & Fitness Club including swimming pool, integrated relaxation pool, sauna, steam room and gym.
Mix your break with slow countryside pursuits and city fun from morning to night.
In my opinion autumn is the best season. The air is fresh, and the trees are turning. The sun retains its heat but its manageable, and if we are lucky enough to get an Indian summer then picnics and outdoor pursuits are still extremely pleasurable.
With Norwich being a city situated within the Broads National Park, beautiful countryside and open water is never far away. From Norwich city centre enjoy the autumn months walking or cycling for free in and around The Marriot’s Way, Mousehold Heath, Whitlingham Country Park and the Sculpture Park and grounds at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Or head over to Wroxham and get out onto the water by hiring a day boat with Broads Tours. Standard day boats cost from £19 per hour and run until the end of October. There are also day cruisers (£210 a day, up to 8 people), Large Electric Day Boats (£168, 11 people) and Wheelchair Friendly Day Boat Hire (£85, 3 hours, 5 people including a wheelchair).
Guided walking tours are huge fun, and you always learn something. There are loads to choose from with Paul Dickson Tours, in Norwich and the Broads. And tours can be privately booked too. Or enjoy one of our most beautiful heritage parks – Eaton Park. Perhaps join the Saturday Park Run, play a round of 18-hole crazy golf or simply walk, stopping for a coffee at the café.
Up for a challenge? Then take a look at escape room escapades which are a great idea for multi-generational family get-togethers – it brings out your competitiveness, be warned! Both Cryptic Escape and History Mystery offer fantastic games, with City Escape Games taking their adventure outdoors across Norwich.
Norwich is hugely cultural, and autumn sees some fantastic exhibition ‘firsts’, theatre, Heritage Open Days (10-19 September) and the return of Hostry Festival (October-November).
Autumn exhibitions in Norwich include Japanese-Swiss artist, Leiko Ikemura: Usagi in Wonderland (until 12 September, not open Monday’s) at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Presenting a selection of 50 paintings, sculptures, drawings and photography in her first UK exhibition, Ikemura has selected 50 works that span three decades of her career. Tickets cost £8.
From 19 September (until 30 January, tickets £12) the Centre also welcomes Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years. Grayson Perry’s groundbreaking ‘lost’ pots will be reunited for the first time to focus on the formative years of one of Britain’s most recognisable artists. This is the first exhibition to survey Perry’s earliest forays into the art world, introducing the explosive and creative works he made between 1982 and 1994.
September is your last chance to see two exhibitions at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery. A Passion for Landscape: Rediscovering John Crome (closes 5 September) and Somewhere Unexpected Norwich Castle Open Art Show (closes 12 September). Both are included in general admission tickets.
Love a catchy musical? Then book tickets at Norwich Theatre Royal for Six The Musical between 20-25 September. I saw this a few years ago – a relatively new musical then, it blew my socks off! I thoroughly recommend it. This is followed by Bedknobs and Broomsticks (28 September-3 October) plus loads more performances of music, ballet and comedy including a full programme at The Playhouse.
Fabulous food and local drink experiences
Eating out is something to savour and linger over whether you want lunch or dinner. And when I’m away (and even if I’m not) I love to dress up and feel great.
Norwich has a great choice of ‘dress up’ places to eat and both The Ivy for colourful, elegant French surrounds and Benedicts for its stylish paired back Scandi décor hit the spot. I’m also delighted that both welcome family groups proving that it’s possible to enjoy fine dining with your offspring or grandchildren.
Leisurely, decadent afternoon teas are getting more and more popular. So, take a look at The Assembly House (£23.95), The Maids Head Hotel (£21) and The Ivy (£24.95). Afternoon tea isn’t quite what it used to be so expect creative savouries as well as traditional sandwiches and plenty of wonderful cakes with a large selection of tea. Remember if the cake gets too much you can take it home.
If you don’t have much time you don’t need to miss out. Norwich Market offers an incredible choice for lunch with food from around the world. I love picking up something delicious and then heading to Sir Toby’s for a beer. Find Sir Toby’s facing onto Guildhall Hill. It’s got to be Norwich’s smallest bar!
If you are looking for something a bit different on Thursdays and Saturdays start as you mean to go on by booking into the Gin Academy at Gyre & Gimble. For £85 you get a two-and-a-half-hour experience where you make your own recipe gin (70cl bottle to take home), drink gin cocktails, learn about the history of gin and store the details of your unique blend in case you want to come back and make more.
At The English Whisky Company just outside Attleborough you can enjoy tastings and tours. Celebrating a birthday, they have a new 15 Year Anniversary Tour for one and a half hours. Taking place once a month, tickets are £30. However, if you want to go a step further book yourself onto a Whisky Blending Masterclass (2 hours; £100) where you will blend your own single malt English whisky. Once you have created your perfect blend, you will then hand bottle it, write your own label and take it home with you. There are tastings and a tour included too.
Finally, we also make great beer in Norfolk. Lacons offers a click and collect service for their beers and aged ales at both Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.
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