Day Trip Diaries: Norwich
This month our Norwich boutique welcomes a new manager, Denise, who has a wealth of experience in women’s fashion and has worked closely with Sahara before. To celebrate, our Day Trip Diaries takes a visit to East Anglia’s great capital to sample some of its medieval sights, sounds and tastes.
Norwich is the unspoilt jewel in East Anglia’s crown. This city, steeped in hundreds of years’ worth of history, has ambled into the 21st century at its own pace, creating a unique and idiosyncratic day trip experience.
The obvious choice to start your adventure lies of course with the beautiful Norwich Cathedral. Almost 1,000 years old and surrounded by 45 acres of ‘Cathedral Quarter’, this imposing piece of Norman architecture stands amid a crisscross of cobbled streets and some of the city’s oldest houses.
Just a short, 10 minute stroll from the cathedral is our two storey Sahara boutique, situated right on the corner of Orford Hill and Timber Hill. Set just on the edge of the Norwich Lanes – a collection of independent boutiques and eateries against a backdrop of narrow alleys and historic buildings – we’re lucky to find ourselves in the epicentre of Norwich’s vibrant shopping scene.
Taking advantage of such a generous amount of space, the ground floor of the boutique features our seasonal collections, selected designer pieces and the much-loved changing rooms occupy the first floor; creating a relaxed lifestyle space that allows our wonderful staff to provide a personal styling and shopping experience.
When you’ve finished browsing, the perfect place for tea and cake or a lunch of fresh antipasti is Cupcakes & Bubbles. Specialising in sweet treats, rustic afternoon tea and fizz, it’s the perfect stop off point and is just around the corner from our boutique. Or you can spend an hour browsing Norwich Market, a treasure trove of food stalls, perfect for a sunny day.
A mere stone’s throw away is Norwich Castle. Built by the Normans 900 years ago as a royal palace, the castle lives on today as an art gallery and museum of local history. Both the castle and cathedral form part of The Norwich 12 – a collection of the most iconic buildings dotted around the city, reflecting history dating back to the Norman period and travelling through medieval, Georgian and Victorian eras right up to the present day.
Many of The Norwich 12 are free to enter and often double as special event venues, giving you the perfect excuse to enjoy these extraordinary buildings in a completely new way. One such example is The Assembly House, a Grade I-listed, Georgian gem in the heart of the city. They host everything from weddings to an award-winning, year-round cookery school with famed chef Richard Hughes, along with their renowned food festival, which runs from September all the way through to November.
When in Norwich, a museum experience not to be missed is a visit to Stranger’s Hall, on Charing Cross. A beautifully preserved building dating back to 1320, Stranger’s Hall is an ode to Norwich’s long history. Each room is decorated in a range of period settings, from the Tudor Great Gall to a Georgian Dining Room, creating a life-size, doll house effect and a rabbit warren of interlinking rooms. If the weather is fine, a walk around their beautiful lavender garden is an absolute must.
Where to end the day? Take advantage of one of Norwich’s finest dining experiences and book a table at Roger Hickman’s on Upper St. Giles Street. Run by Michelin-starred chef Hickman, this chic restaurant focuses on the Modern British menu made with local produce and creative flair. A real treat to toast a day spent in one of the UK’s most fascinating cities.