Monday, September 20, 2010

Off to Norfolk for a holiday

We got back a week ago from a week's holiday in Norfolk, but the complete insanity of the return to normal life has stopped me posting until now. Norfolk proved to be an inspired choice of location. We took an apartment about 3 minutes walk from Norwich Cathedral (we hadn’t realised it would be quite so close when we booked it!), right outside the Erpingham Gate to the Cathedral Close.

We spent some time exploring the cathedral, which felt rather tall and narrow compared to a lot of the cathedrals I’ve visited. Still very beautiful though, and with some new facilities built on the side that manage not to look obtrusive – a visitor centre and hostry, plus an education room (where I’d been to a conference a few months ago) and a refectory next to the library. Anyone else think a refectory next to the library is a GREAT idea?!

It was a monastic foundation and has impressive cloisters, including a labyrinth.

As well as a font that used to be used for making chocolate at a local factory. I kind of wish I hadn’t been baptised already so I could be baptised in it.

Apart from the cathedral Norwich itself is stuffed full of medieval churches, some redundant, some still functioning as churches but most of them operating Fair Trade cafés at incredibly reasonable prices. Must have been living in the South-East for too long as I’d forgotten it was possible to buy a cup of tea for less than £1!
This one is St Andrew’s Hall, which is now used for all kinds of concerts, productions, table top sales and other stuff, as well as having a café in the crypt.

And St Julian’s, which has the Julian Centre next door, all about Julian of Norwich who wrote Revelations of Divine Love in the 14th century.

I also liked the winding medieval streets and alleyways, some of them with amusing names.

The 900 year old Norwich Castle keep has been turned into an art gallery, Norfolk museum and natural history museum. Inside the keep itself there’s various exhibits, mainly aimed at children (but they were quite fun for adults too, I made sure I'd checked all of them out)

We had a day out to the seaside at Cromer and Sheringham. We weren’t too impressed with Cromer, but Sheringham, which I used to visit quite often for my previous job, was just as good as I remembered.

As well as the beach we went up to Sheringham Park  for a walk with some beautiful views across the parkland to the coast.

Before finishing off with a walk around Sheringham itself, another cup of Fair Trade tea (it seems to be ubiquitous round there, wish it was like that back in Staines) at the Funky Mackerel café on the promenade and then fish and chips in the evening.

Back in Norwich we enjoyed some evening walks along the River Wensum, which curves its way through the city, including around the cathedral close.

The whole city has been set up with information boards everywhere about the many historic sites. It is also largely pedestrianised in the centre, which makes it very easy and pleasant to walk around. Although we brought the car on holiday it would be very easy to come here by public transport (all the places we visited were served by both buses and trains, and sometimes steam trains too) and the centre of Norwich itself is compact and easy to visit on foot. In fact much easier than it would be by car, Oxo spent most of the week parked at our holiday apartment!
On the last day we walked to the Catholic Cathedral for a visit, which is just outside the inner ring road (but that’s only a 15 minute walk from the shops in the centre!)

There has been some knitting activity too. I pretty much failed at my Iron Knitter knitting (I am meant to be steaming away on  a pair of socks, but everyone else seems to be much much further on than I am). We also found the time to visit two yarn shops... but I’ll save that for my next post!

I bought the OH a dalek which then tried to ex-ter-min-ate my knitting...


Victoria said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time! I am jealous! The pictures are delightful. And I can't wait to read about the yarn shops. :)

Heather said...

That sounds like a lovely holiday, and you have definitely inspired me to go to Norwich.

PixieMum said...

Agree with your views about Norwich. When my husband and I visit cathedral cities we try to eat at the cafés attached to the cathedral or minster. There has been just one time when we were disappointed with the food and that was at Hereford. We wished we had eaten at one of the many Fairtrade establishments in the city.

Nearer to your home, have you tried the café at Duke Street Baptist Church in Richmond?

From the station turn left into The Quadrant, cross over pedestrian crossing and continue left. Second road on right is Duke Street and the church (60s frontage) is on the left. If you carry on past the church you reach the Green.

I think the café is mainly Fairtrade, but the ambience, friendliness is good. I'm not sure about opening times, I ate there when I worked behind the scenes at Richmond Public Library. Richmond can be quite touristy, has a good independent bookshop 'The Open Book' as well as the famous children's bookshop 'Lion & Unicorn'.


Mary Anne said...

Lovely photos of some very interesting places. I really appreciate all the links to the various sites, as I enjoy 'visiting' other countries this way. I'm happy to hear you had such a wonderful holiday!

acrylik said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday, loved all the photos. Just worked out it's been over 20 years since I went to Norwich - blimey... Time for another visit, I think :) Sounds as good as I remember it.