“While today the population is around 213,000, Norwich was once the largest city of England after London during the 11th century”
Moving to Norwich
Tucked away in deepest Norfolk and the capital of East Anglia, Norwich is a pretty city which tends to keep itself to itself – an attitude which many residents approve of, hoping to keep this charming, well-appointed city under the radar. Relatively isolated from other urban centres (Cambridge is the nearest city, over 60 miles away), Norwich is known today for it’s historic Medieval past, vast array of churches and close proximity to the Norfolk coast, a big draw for many residents hoping to enjoy the amenities of the city as well as the fun of the seaside.
While today the population is around 213,000, Norwich was once the largest city of England after London during the 11th century, but these days is seen as an old-fashioned, traditional spot surrounded by pretty countryside, where independent business thrive and the general ambience is slow and relaxed. Students from the nearby University of East Anglia add some vibrancy to the city, but otherwise the area is largely occupied by families and retired couples who tend to settle here for the long-term. Despite this apparent sleepiness, Norwich does also offer a surprising amount of cultural activities, and was named as England’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2012.
House prices in Norwich
Rising at a rate of around 9% a year, prices in Norwich are now higher than the national average, at around £227,000 as of 2017. For more affordable properties, the village of Old Catton in north Norwich is a popular choice, while the sought-after Eaton is rather more expensive. For those wanting to live more centrally, the Golden Triangle is at the heart of the action yet still offers detached properties and lefty streets, while for something a little more modern there are various new developments springing up near the station.
“Ranked within the UK’s top 10 cities for shopping in 2014, the thriving retail scene in Norwich ensures residents don’t have to travel far to get their shopping fix.”
For drivers, Norfolk is surrounded by A roads such as the A11 and A47, though with the motorway over 60 miles away near Cambridge you’ll struggle to get anywhere outside of Norfolk quickly. Within the city there are regular buses, as well as a Park & Ride to ease congestion and a train station with regular connections to London taking around 2 hours. As a small city, many residents living near the centre also often choose to walk or cycle to their destination.
Ranked within the UK’s top 10 cities for shopping in 2014, the thriving retail scene in Norwich ensures residents don’t have to travel far to get their shopping fix. As well as modern shopping centres such as Castle Mall and intu Chapelfield Shopping Centre providing locals with popular high street chains including H&M, Zara and Apple, the city is renowned for its independent boutiques, many of which are located on cobbled streets such as Elm Hill, whilst the Norwich Lanes are another top spot for local-run businesses, including some brilliant bookshops.
As you’d expect from a city where the Norwich City FC Stadium restaurant is run by none other than famed chef Delia Smith, there’s plenty of good restaurants to be found here. Highlights the include the stylish Roger Hickman’s Restaurant, lively gastropub the Last Wine Bar and Benedict’s for those seeking classic French bistro food. Close to the coast, the nearby towns of Cromer and Sheringham also host an annual Crab and Lobster Festival for fans of these tasty crustaceans.
As well as small branches of all major supermarket chains, Norwich boasts an Asda Superstore, Tesco Superstore and a large Waitrose on the outskirts of the city, ideal for those looking to stock up on a family shop. Good independent traders can also be found throughout the city, such as Howard & Son fishmongers, for those who prefer to shop more locally.
Health & Sport
For residents looking to get (or stay) in shape, there are a respectable number of gyms and sports centres here, ranging from private Crossfit studios to branches of national chains including The Gym. Council-run services are also good, with the Riverside Leisure Centre on Wherry Road a favoured spot for those seeking to use both swim and gym facilities.
For a small city, cultural life in Norfork certainly packs a punch – not least because Radio 1’s Big Weekend is held here annually. The city’s three theatres, the Theatre Royal, Maddermarket Theatre and the Playhouse, all put on regular crowd-pleasing performances, while Norwich Cathedral and the Castle Museum regularly bring in plenty of visitors. Film fans are particularly well provided for, with the Odeon Imax, Vue Cinema and unique Cinema City ensuring that locals are never too far away from a screening.
“For a small city, cultural life in Norfork certainly packs a punch – not least because Radio 1’s Big Weekend is held here annually.”
Schools and Education
Norwich generally fares very well in educational league tables, with a selection of good independent and state schools enjoyed by locals with school-aged children. Primary schools are particularly strong with many boasting 100% of pupils achieving expected levels at Maths and English, including West Winch Primary School, Hanford Primary Partnership School and Coltishall Primary School. For older children, the independent Norwich School and Norwich High School for Girls GDST and the state Wymondham College are among the best secondary schools in Norwich.
For older students, the area is also home to the University of East Anglia, a well-respected establishment which regularly ranks among the top 15 universities in the UK.
With an average crime rate of 107 crimes per 1000, crime in Norwich is higher than the national average, although it is largely considered to be a safe, quiet city.
Situated on the edge of the Mid-Yare National Nature Reserve and home to a number of historic, Grade II listed parks, you’ll never have to go far to find greenery in Norwich. Highlights include the tennis courts and pond at Heigham Park, the 80-acre Eaton Park and the charming Waterloo Park north of the city centre, whilst Local Nature Reserves Danby Wood and Marston Marsh are perfect for a day out exploring the countryside.