Living in Norwich
The perfect student city
For a student, Norwich strikes a perfect balance between the buzz of a big city and the calm of the country.
Norwich has been voted one of the best small cities in the world (Times Good University Guide 2013) due to its perfect balance of rural charm and urban vibrancy.
Student polls consistently rate it highly thanks to its unique mix of nightlife, shops and community feel.Find a course in Norwich
What makes Norwich unique?
A busy city steeped in history and heritage, Norwich is also one of the safest.
It is large enough to host lots of major events, such as literary and live music festivals, but small enough for students to quickly familiarise themselves with the many shops and tourist attractions.
Norwich is full of fun things to do and unique places to visit.
- Norwich Castle was built by the Normans as a Royal Palace 900 years ago, and is now a museum and art gallery that it is home to an outstanding collections of fine art, archaeology and natural history.
- The Forum is a unique community building that offers free art exhibitions, craft and food markets, films, music, access to local creative and community groups, and more.
- Last year, the Millennium Library had more visitors (1,500,695) and lent more books (1,139,090) than any other in the UK. It includes special areas for visitors to read and relax, borrow the latest CDs, DVDs and console games, and make use of over 100 PCs offering free internet access.
- The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is located on the University of East Anglia campus, and holds a world-class collection of more than 1,200 examples of fine and decorative arts including works by Picasso and Degas. It also offers an award-winning programme of gallery talks, lectures and art workshops.
Norwich was England's second biggest city for more than 700 years. Reminders of its historic past are everywhere, including two cathedrals (including one with a 315 foot high spire) a Norman castle, 659 surviving medieval churches - the highest concentration in Europe - and more than 150 deserted medieval villages in the surrounding county.
The city's famous medieval Lanes recently won the Great British High Street of the Year award. The cobbled streets of old Norwich serve as a counterpoint to the abundance of modern attractions, which includes the biggest free Wi-Fi network in the UK and more Park & Ride sites than any other UK city.
Alongside iconic architecture spanning 900 years of British history, Norwich is one of the greenest cities in the UK. There are 23 parks, miles of riverside walks, and 150 acres of historic woodland running right into the city centre.Inspiring events and festivals
Norwich became England's first UNESCO City of Literature in 2012, thanks to its inspiring literary heritage and future potential.
The city offers a year-round calendar of events and festivals, including:
- Spring and Autumn Literary Festivals, Worlds International Literature Festival, and Shakespeare Festival
- WoW Music Festival, Sundown Festival, and Reload Festival
- Norwich Beer Festival, Norwich City of Ale Festival, and Norfolk Food & Drink Festival
- Lord Mayor's Celebration - a large street procession, fireworks, music festival, funfair, outdoor theatre, comedy, dancers, street artists and more
- Norfolk & Norwich Festival - 16 days with more than 100 performance, including music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts as well as free outdoor events
- a number of free attractions
Shopping in Norwich
Norwich has been rated the sixth best shopping destinations in the UK, thanks to its thriving independent retail sector and high street department stores.
It is also host to the largest open-air market in England, which regularly hosts farmers markets and a popular twice-yearly French market.
Shopping highlights include:
- Two modern shopping centres – Chapelfield and Castle Mall.
- Jarrolds – award winning independent department store.
- Norwich market – open 6 days a week, with over 200 stalls.
- The Lanes – an array of independent and boutique shops situated in medieval lanes and alleyways.
- Elm Hill – the most intact medieval street in Norwich, and home to a range of craft shops and antique markets.
- Magdalen Street – boho chic, vintage fashion, art galleries and secondhand book stores.
- Numerous food markets, independent cafes, dining pubs and restaurants serving fresh, local produce.
Entertainment in Norwich
Norwich is a city for young people, with over a quarter of the population aged between 16 and 29 compared to the UK average of 18%. This gives it a friendly atmosphere, but with the buzzing culture and social scene of a far larger city.
There is an eclectic mix of modern and traditional pubs, live music, film and performance arts, as well as other events and activities including a relaxing river cruise.
The city has numerous theatres, which range in seating capacity from 100 to 1,300 and offer wide variety of programmes, as well as one of only three dedicated puppet theatres in England that is situated inside a converted medieval church.
- Norwich offers a unique blend of traditional and modern
- Norwich Castle is more than 900 years old
- Explore the largest open-air market in England
- Cycling is a great way to get around
- One of the best shopping destinations in the UK
- A quarter of the population is aged between 16 and 29
Travel in and around Norwich
Norwich is easy to get around on foot or cycling, and there are frequent bus services around the city.
Norwich is just a 2 hour train journey to London, and an international airport offers access to a variety of destinations in the United Kingdom and Europe.
As a student, you'll be eligible for discounted bus tickets. An annual pass, which gives unlimited travel throughout Norwich, costs around £200.
Employability in Norwich
There's a diverse range of industry in Norwich, including the business and financial sector, public services, retail, manufacturing and tourism.
Rent in Norwich is much more affordable that in other areas of East Anglia (such as Cambridge), making it ideal for students.
The University of East Anglia also offers the CareerCentral service to help students look for part-time jobs, work experience and volunteering opportunities.
About the local area
Norfolk has nearly 100 miles of unspoilt coastline, with 280 square miles designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The famous Norfolk Broads are among the most important wetlands in Europe, and are a haven for rare birds, plants and insects. You can explore these unique wetlands on a Broads Tours river trip or self-drive dayboat, or stay longer as part of a relaxing boating holiday.
While Norfolk is the fifth largest county in England, you’ll never be more than an hour from the coast where you can enjoy miles of sandy beaches and all forms of watersports, from sea fishing to windsurfing.
The Norfolk Trails network brings together more than 1,200 miles of walks and cycle routes throughout the county, ranging from nine miles to 78 miles with a choice of shorter walks, circular routes and long distance trails.
Other Norfolk highlights include the Bure Valley Railway – the county’s longest narrow gauge heritage railway running through 9 miles of beautiful countryside – and Amazona Zoo, which was award the 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
Read about more things to do in Norfolk.