Monday, 25 March 2013

A mini girly guide to Norwich

If you love Norwich, you could get this at the tourist info shop
Throughout my childhood, I've spent summers, Easters and long weekends on the North Norfolk coast. Yes, we're frightfully middle class like that - black labradors, an AGA, the whole kaboodle. And what a delightful time I had cycling round quaint villages, crabbing at the staithe and feeling oh-so-grown-up the summer after GCSEs as I hung out in the park with my friends at night . Those were the days.

However, despite all that, we'd never actually visited Norwich. Not until today, that is. I know, how could we have missed out the touristic hotspot that is Norwich? Well to be honest I didn't have particularly high expectations about what we'd find, but off we went anyway.

Well, I'll tell you something: Norwich is cute. We were only there for four hours (after that the parking rate shot up so obvs we weren't going to stay), but we managed to see rather a lot. And as I liked what I found, I'm here to share it with you all, to give Norwich the respect and praise it deserves. I know, I'm a saint.

In the cloisters at Norwich cathedral

Norwich Cathedral
The city centre is rather quaint - a slight similar vibe to the ye olde-ness of Stratford-Upon-Avon, and I absolutely love all things quaint and old. I'd recommend hitting up The Forum first things first, as that's where you can find all the info you could want about the city. Obviously the main attraction most people think of when it comes to Norwich is the cathedral, so natch we had a little visit. Yup, it's beautiful and old and big and impressive. It has pretty cloisters around a grassy quad as well as a modern extension which merges very well with the old cathedral. Go see for yourself.

Shopping-wise, we discovered most of the main high-street chains pretty easily - Topshop, Primark, Accessorise... The usual culprits are all there for the taking. We also paid a brief visit to Norwich's independent department store, Jarrold, which was lovely, and made a nice change from John Lewis and House of Fraser  (not that I have anything against those two.)

Colourful roofs at Norwich market
Despite it being March, England is currently in the midst of a NEVER-ENDING WINTER, and wandering round Norwich today was bitterly cold. That said, the colourful roofs of Norwich's market really brightened up a grey day. The market itself didn't offer anything particularly exciting as far as I'm concerned, but it was cute nonetheless.

Yay vintage!
Later on in our four-hour whistle-stop tour of Norwich we discovered some delightful independent boutiques, which are always the most interesting in my books. One great vintage shop we stumbled upon was Goldfinches Vintage & Retro Fashion, which had a great selection of clothing, handbags, jewellery and accessories like a lot of vintage shops, but the difference was that Goldfinches was a lot more reasonably-priced than many a vintage store I've frequented over my years.

Lower Goat Lane
Two of my fave things at Lisa Angel
I'm really glad we found one particular little pedestrianised street called Lower Goat Lane (great name much?) - it's full of incred looking eateries such as the vintage tea room, Biddy's, a juice/smoothie place and a falafel restaurant (all of which are right up my street); and dotted with interesting boutiques. My fave shop on said lane was Lisa Angel, a girly girl's dream full of delightful jewellery, bags and gifts.

While we didn't get the chance to try out either of the aforementioned eateries (much to my dismay), the mother, sis and I did indeed lunch in the most delightfully, quaint, cute, adorable, pretty, lovely café I think I have ever visited. Yes, all those adjectives were necessary. We walked past before we were hungry, looked in the window and all agreed there and then that we'd be coming back for lunch. No question.

The café in question is Pandora's Kitchen. It was so perf, and just the sort of place we like for lunch. Apparently it's only been open for a month or so actually. I had a (huge) coronation turkey and cucumber sandwich in a yummy artisan roll, the madre went for a griddled Mediterranean vegetable, mozzarella and pesto panini (both of which came with salad on the side), and then my sister went for - just wait for it - basically roast dinner in a wrap. Except it wasn't just a wrap. She had roast pork with sage and onion stuffing, crackling and apple sauce in a YORKSHIRE PUDDING WRAP (yes, really) with gravy. Have you ever heard of anything like that? And it was just £5.95. Amazing. The food was delish and the prices were very reasonable. We were happy girlies. You can check out a sample menu here.

pic from their facebook page
The annoying thing is that we weren't there at afternoon tea time yet the cakes on offer at Pandora's looked amaze. Like, literally stop-and-drool-as-you-walk-by amazing. I'm talking scones, flapjacks, brownies, Victoria sponge, chocolate fudge cake, Bakewell tarts and more. As well as all that, they do breakfast too. I LOVE BREAKFAST. Quite frankly, I think I could've quite happily just lived in this café. This is mainly because the interior design of Pandora's Kitchen is exactly my style - pink and blue, vintage frames, polka dots and florals, tulips on the tables... It was divine, and things like that make a difference to your overall eating experience. I'm probably getting a bit too excited about a café, but I don't care. And to top it off the service was quick and the staff were friendly. Mucho recommendation from moi.

So, if you ever find yourself with four hours to spare in Norwich, I hope you now have some ideas as to how you might spend them. Perhaps I've even enthused you to make the trip to Norwich yourself. I'd definitely go back, so do let me know your recommendations!


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Norwich, I've lived here since a child and I love it. Thanks for saying such fab things! I write for a website called Vintage Norwich, well worth a check if you'd like some more recommendations on places to eat, things to do etc. Come back soon :)

    1. It's my absolute pleasure! I've only said what I thought anyway :) Thanks, I definitely will check out your website. And thank you so much for reading x


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