Jo’s Monday walk : City of Norwich

The headstone at Norwich Castle

A plaque at the entrance to Norwich Castle

Few things in life flow entirely smoothly, do they?  I thought I’d scored a major success when the friendly driver of our National coach proposed an outing to Norwich on the tour’s ‘free’ day.  I’d spent one glorious day boating on the Broads, if you remember, and had arranged to meet with the remainder of the Polish family in Norwich the next day.  Perfect synchronicity!

Arriving in good time, I found a sunny bench on which to deposit Dad, with his newspaper, to await the family, while I hightailed it up to Norwich Castle. (not the best of benches, Jude– Dad complained because the back had broken off.  No pleasing some folk!)  It being Sunday, the castle was closed till 1pm but the views were sure to be good.

As usual, click on a photo to open the galleries

Norwich Castle dates back to the Norman Conquest.  It was noted in the Domesday Book that 98 Saxon homes were demolished to make way for the castle.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go inside, but the link will give you an insight.

Back to my story.  Receiving a text from Grażyna to say they’d arrived, I scurried back down to Castle Meadow.  Standing hopefully beside Dad, we watched the approaching cars.  ‘Is that them?’  ‘No, it’s a taxi’…. ‘Is that them?’  ‘No, it’s a taxi’…. ‘Is that…?’  The moral of the story is, don’t wait for someone to collect you on Castle Meadow.  It is reserved for coaches and taxis only!  Fortunately, because Dad’s not so mobile these days, we only had to walk 50 metres down to the next junction to meet the family.

Anyone for a game in the castle grounds?

Anyone for a game, in the castle grounds?

Before leaving the area, don’t miss the beautiful shopping arcades, just opposite the castle.  The Royal Arcade, designed by George Skipper, opened in 1899.

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I thought that Wikipedia’s Great Yarmouth page was big, but the one for Norwich is huge!  An obvious sign of the importance of the city.  The first thing I learnt was that it sits on the River Wensum, and you can travel by boat from Norwich all the way to Great Yarmouth, via the River Yare.  I would like that!

I didn’t know that in the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England, after London, nor that in company with Edinburgh, Kraków, and others, it is a UNESCO City of Literature.  But I might have guessed that its origins go back to Roman times.  The city walls, some of which are still visible, were built between 1280 and 1340 and were 4 kilometres long.  One of the things that I did notice is that Norwich has a lot of churches.  Many no longer have a religious function, but the buildings have been preserved. (I even saw one which was a puppet theatre!)

A chunk of city wall

A chunk of city wall

With Dad settled at my cousin Wojtek’s home, it was time to take a walk into the city.  Heading for the cathedral, I crossed the river for the first time.  A sign promising ‘One of Norfolk’s hidden secrets’ and the view beyond the garden gate stopped me in my tracks.  I had stumbled upon the Bishop’s House Garden on a day when it was opening for charity!

A first look at the River Wensum

A first look at the River Wensum


This 4 acre garden has belonged to the Bishops of Norwich for over 900 years.  The open day was in full swing, with draughts and snakes and ladders set out on the immaculate lawns, and a cello playing in the background.  The perfect setting for such a lovely day but time, as so often, was my enemy.  For the history and more photos see the link above.

Approaching the Cathedral, the architecture is varied and beautiful.  I enter through the cloisters.

The heraldry is beautiful

The heraldry in the alcoves is delicate and lovely

Norwich Cathedral was begun in 1096 and completed in 1145.  It was constructed from flint and mortar, and faced with cream-coloured Caen limestone.  The building has real presence, and many quiet corners for reflection.  A new refectory provides the main entrance and a space for contemporary art exhibitions.

The architecture in Norfolk is often highly distinctive due to the use of flushwork.  This was popular in Medieval times, in areas without a good local building stone.  Flushwork creates a flat flint wall where the stone is ‘flush’ to the wall.  Decorative patterns and motifs can be used for variety.  The Ethelbert Gate below is a beautiful example.

I saunter around the Market Place, with its fine Guildhall and market stalls, then turn towards the river and ‘home’.  The family are preparing a barbecue and I shouldn’t be too late.

Back to the river and meandering home

Back to the river, meandering home

It must be time to meet the family, don’t you think?  Well, here they are- from left to right, Mateusz, Kasia, Arek and Mariusz (at the back!), Agnieszka, Jarek and Grażyna (the boat owners), cousin Wojtek, Dad and Basia.

No excuses for the lion!

No apologies for the lion- he came with the house!

I hope you enjoyed my walk around Norwich.  There are numerous facts in the links I’ve provided, if you have time or interest.  But you need to save some time to join my happy band of walkers again this week.

Many thanks to everybody!  At least two cups of coffee will be required.

walking logo

I have many wonderful shares again this week.  If you’re thinking of joining me, click on the Jo’s Monday walk logo for a few simple facts.  Let’s get going, shall we?


Drake was first past the gate post again this week.  Join him in Alsace… and across the river  :

Hospitality across the river

Jude’s flower images are always a delight.  Did you know she has this second blog?

Garden Portrait: Glendurgan

Anabel has found me some wonderful waterfalls this week  :

Lake District walks: Elterwater circle

A lover’s house on the Mekong!  Sound intriguing?

Vietnam- Marguerite Duras

Amy’s trees in the Canyon are one of the most beautiful things I have seen all week!

Monday Walk: Trees in Grand Canyon 

Back down to earth for a Suffolk walk with Geoff.  Lovely irises!

Bulcamp to Halesworth and back again

You will love this small piece of Tasmanian paradise!  Many thanks, Ruth  :

Bruny Island

And if it didn’t keep hiding in a vale of cloud ….

Playing hide-and-seek in Franz Josef Glacier

Gently does it in northern France, with a little haiku from Viv  :

Happy Haiku Chain

For a sunburst of colour, I defy you to find anywhere better than Valparaiso!

The Hills of Valparaiso, Chile- UNESCO city of colour and steps

I love industrial heritage walks, especially beside water, and this one from Karen is a beauty  :

A walk in Riverside Park, Manhattan

Rub your eyes!  You might not believe that this Causeway is in Australia (but the beach is a bit of a giveaway)

A walk to the Giants Causeway

Richard is another Cornwall fan so he and Jude will get along just great!

History and beachlife on the Porthtowan to Wheal Coates coastal walk

Wherever you end up this week, I hope you enjoy it.  We’ve passed the solstice now.  Hope it’s not all down hill!  See you next Monday?


  1. Your photos make Norwich look so beautiful. The one time I was there it was freezing cold and raining heavily. Sigh. Perhaps one day I’ll make it back there.


    1. I was lucky to see it at its best, Su- in our 2 weeks of Summer! My visit was all about family and I would have liked to see more. Story of my life… 🙂 Thanks for calling!


  2. This was very beautiful and I appreciate it so much since I haven’t really had much of a chance to travel….but we never know what the future holds. 🙂


    1. Thank you, Heather 🙂 I had very little money when I was young but always the longing to see more. Many of my walks are just local wanderings. I would go so much further if I could! I’m glad you’ve joined me 🙂


  3. East Anglia is a bit of the country I hardly know at all and even less about Norwich so thanks for the introduction. My husband’s uncle lives over that way so maybe a trip for the autumn?


  4. Norwich truly comes alive in this post! I had visited before and enjoyed the lovely shopping arcade but hadn’t spotted it was a thriving place as far back as 11th Century. Now I can remember my earlier visit there with much more glee 😉 the Castle looks terrific in the sunshine you capture so beautifully. Another winner. What a great chance to revisit a city I had only seen previously in the rain. Love the lion and the flowers are a delight. Super walk!


  5. Your walks get more interesting by the week Jo! Norwich looks fabulous. Love the roses and the close-up of the heraldry. And the lovely shot of the family 🙂


    1. I’m just doing this week’s walk and thinking it looks a little dull by comparison, Madhu, but gotta take the rough with the smooth. 🙂 Norwich was fabulous!


  6. A lovely reminder of Norwich a city I’ve not been to in years. The Cathedral is beautiful and I certainly don’t remember a river. Was intrigued by the area called ‘Tomb Lands’ did you come across it when you were there?


    1. It was the first place I ever went to with Mick for a few days away, 40 years ago, Suze, and my fondest memory was a little steam powered boat on the river. i didn’t make it back there this trip, but yes, we did walk through Tomblands. Strange name, isn’t it? I meant to Google it and include some information but I didn’t find much and the post was already too long 🙂 (my usual fault) .


  7. Everything seemed so unique in this post. This is due to your trained “photographic eye, ” Jo.
    I liked the old shopping gallery with such beautiful details, brilliant flowers in the Bishop’s House garden, the lovely reflection on the peaceful, winding River Wensum, the faded aged turquoise with possibly gold leaf decorated crest and I could go on. . . So glad your father is “hanging in there” and enjoying this remarkable trip. Your extended family members are beautiful and I can see warmth and much love there. 🙂


    1. Family! We are eagerly awaiting the news of a birth from Krakow, Robin. First grandchild for my cousin Adam. But it’s overshadowed by his wife Marta having been admitted to hospital for stomach surgery. Always love and warmth. Worry too! Inevitable I guess.
      Thanks, Robin 🙂


      1. Family means connections and worries for people here and far away. So sorry to hear of Marta’s stomach surgery and hope birth of grandchild goes smoothly. Poor Adam, too. It seems as we get older joys are balanced with concerns. By now, repeating thought, hope Marta is healing and “on the mend.” 🙂


      2. Happy to report that Marta’s out of hospital and that baby Bartek was born on Sunday 🙂 All send their love 🙂 Thanks for your concern, Robin.


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