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!

    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 🙂

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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) .

  6. 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.

  7. So interesting Jo I marvel at the age of all these buildings and the beautiful architectural details, and how lucky to strike the Bishop’s garden when it was open, love the rose photo with the spires of the church peeping behind them.

      1. Jack is back now Jo and busy catching up with the internet after being disconnected for 5 days… Hope you get your internet sorted ok…

  8. So much beauty both natural and man-made. The Cathedral was GORGEOUS and that meandering river with the clouds reflected in the water was sublime. Love that you closed with a picture of your fam! Love walking with you Jo! Thank you.

  9. What a beautiful place, Jo. I could picture Ron and myself meandering around, cameras in hand, and me reading every tidbit available. “Labyrinth of dreams” on the plaque in your opening picture says a lot as well as a City of Literature. I will check out that link. What a special time with family and the lion is a real conversation piece. I could spend months in England. Sigh! Someday! 🙂

  10. Best tour yet, Jo! I didn’t know there was so much to see in Norwich. Gotta love that Domesday Book for fun facts. Lovely photos, but my favorite was the one with your family–fun to get to meet everyone. And I wish a lion had come with MY house!

    1. Thanks, Naomi! 🙂 Could hardly believe our eyes when we saw the lion but he’s kind of cute. Keeps the other predators away 🙂 And it is a really lovely city. I’d like to have had more time!

  11. Great seeing Norwich through your lens, Jo! Beautiful impressions from a wonderful city – and even the sun came out! 🙂
    Warm greetings from cold, wet and grey Bonn, Dina x

  12. Hi Johanna,
    Norwich really is well worth a visit, isn’t it? We couldn’t see the castle, either. But we did see the cathedral. Did you look for all the bosses in the ceiling of the cloister? And that Royal Arcade is wonderful, too, isn’t it?
    Have a great time,

    1. The cloisters are lovely, Pit. One of the disadvantages of being with family is that you can’t linger and take as many shots as you might like (but they were very patient) 🙂 It’s a beautiful city. Shame just to ‘pass through’.
      Boring week this week and the weather’s dreary but I have plenty to catch up with. Take care!

  13. I didn’t know anything about Norwich and I didn’t expect it to be so pretty. I must visit the castle and the cathedral as I’m a sucker for those!

    1. Norwich is a little ‘out of the way’, isn’t it Ana? More people tend to head up to Lincoln. Reminds me- I haven’t been there for years either! So much to see, so little time… 🙂

  14. What an absolutely wonderful post. The rose and the spire is my favourite, I think – until my eye catches the flushwork, until …! There are so many wonderful places in your world, and you’re an expert at winkling them out.

    1. I always read back through my posts before I start answering comments, Meg. Often there are bits that I want to tweak or add in (there are only SO many facts I can hurl at people, aren’t there? 🙂 ) I did like this one, and especially that rose photo you mention. Many thanks for your kind words. 🙂

    1. Hi Laia 🙂 I often wondered what your name was but didn’t like to ask. Some people like to keep that private. Such a pretty name! Thank you 🙂
      I wanted to stop and see what that Monopoly bus was all about but I didn’t have time 😦 Some kind of competition… Never mind- I got the shot anyway! Thanks a lot- I look forward to those mountains again.

  15. I love your line “I found a sunny bench on which to deposit Dad, with his newspaper” – I giggled when I read that. You’re a wonderful and caring daughter, Jo, and he’s a lucky man. it reminds me of what I would have done with my dad when he was alive to keep him from getting restless while waiting 😀

    The detail in this architecture is magnificent and the amount of work that goes into your posts blows me away. I get muddled just putting up four photos – I don’t know how you do it, but keep up the great work 🙂

    1. I’ll be getting a swollen head, Diane! (but it’s very kind of you to say 🙂 ) I must have done something right with this one because I had a retweet and comment from Visit Norwich tourist information (and I wasn’t following them- but I am now 🙂 ) I enjoy what I do, though it gives me some angst at times. (like you and your wonderful novels, I suspect 🙂 ) Many thanks, darlin’.

  16. I love that Monopoly stuff! How very cool. Never seen anything like it! What a gorgeous post though….your blog must just be a total feast for the eyes…..wouldn’t it be cool to see it all spread out in one huge screen?

    1. Heavens above! I’m not sure about that 🙂 I would like to produce some kind of table top book, but actually doing it is a tall order. I can just about keep up with the blog 😦 Thanks for your enthusiasm.

  17. Goodness Jo, what a lot of walks this week – I’ve been here ages 🙂
    I’ve only been to Norwich once and with the wrong people if that makes sense? Having seen your photos I’d like to go back one day, but it’s so far away, I could almost be in Portugal quicker!

    1. I have that problem with your part of the world, Gilly! Silly, isn’t it? 🙂
      Yes, there do seem a lot this week. I assume people read some of them as they appear on here or in the Reader. I guess you can pick out anyone you don’t know? Sorry to add to the ‘workload’ 🙂 How did the stall go on Saturday?

      1. Nothing to be sorry about, I had a lovely time enjoying our beautiful world. Flybe did start flights from Exeter to Norwich but for about £200 – I don’t think so, my flight to Faro is costing slightly less! Saturday was good thanks, I always enjoy Bridport, there are a lot of arty people there who ‘get’ what my friend and I make, it’s nice to be appreciated even if they don’t buy!

  18. If only it wasn’t such a chore to get to Norwich. Having said that, my first trip away with the wife was to Hull along the M62 East (otherwise known as the road to nowhere!)

    1. You’ll be upsetting those people in Hull, Richard! Our coach driver took himself off to look around Norwich City FC after he dropped everybody off. A man after your own heart? 🙂 (and in the Garden they tried to sell me raffle tickets to win a home shirt!!! Not much use to a Pools supporter 🙂

    1. I don’t think Norwich is a place you would necessarily head for even if you were in the Broads, Elaine, but it is lovely. There was some kind of contest going on around that bus but I didn’t have time to investigate properly. 🙂

      1. I have just realised that I think I have been there! We were staying with friends in Cromer and took the train one evening to have a meal, and go bowling. We didn’t see anything other than the road from the station to the bowling alley (and the restaurant opposite)!

    1. Evening, Debs! So many lovely poppies around at the minute but the blue ones always make me ooh and ah! 🙂 Oh, goodie- a Berlin walk! Thank you very much 🙂

  19. It is a beautiful city, Jo. Thanks for the introduction. I do enjoy your story and (history and culture) telling style. Walking with you is expanding my horizons.
    You do have a lovely family too.
    Thank you!

      1. 🙂 I like this line and may use this cat too!
        I think we live blessed lives and am grateful for that.
        Thanks for letting me join, even by bike. I know that I would need to arrange a horse carriage for the ladies, though!

  20. Glad I joined you on your walk in Norwich. All of your photos are lovely. I’ve only been to the London area, nice to visit other locations via your blog. Hope everyone enjoyed the barbeque!

    1. We have some beautiful cities in the UK and Norwich is a match for most. It’s fairly small too, so not overwhelming. I’m really happy you could join me. 🙂

    1. It’s quite a good mix, isn’t it, Jet? There is so much history to this city that it’s impossible to do more than skim the surface, but the links are there for anyone who’d like more. Many thanks for your time. 🙂

  21. I just love that bus Jo and what an exciting trip that must have been. Great family too. I love the lion. 😀

    Stunning shots of that awesome architecture. I wish I had some blue poppies here. It’s so beautiful. 😀 ♥

    1. It’s a lovely city, Sonel. I was last there something close to 40 years ago and I have very happy memories of it. The Bishop’s Garden was such a treat! I’m in love with those poppies too 🙂 Many thanks for your company, hon. Hope life is treating you more kindly. 🙂

      1. It sure looks like it Jo and that is a long time ago for sure. 😀

        You’re very welcome hon and life has no choice but to treat me kind. LOL! Hope to hear the same. ♥

  22. Back in a wee while Jo ! Thinking the one and only time I visited Norwich was for a wedding years and years … got lost 😦 Will enjoy a look round .

    1. Be glad to have your company, Pops 🙂 It’s close to 40 since Michael and I spent our first ever holiday away together so it has some good memories. I’ve not been back since 🙂

      1. An awful lot more to Norwich han I realised Jo ! You sure make it look worth another visit along with adding a longer trip to the coast and big skies … I’m still trying to get my head round the Unesco business Lol
        The Bishop’s garden looks very nice this time of year !

      2. No no not at all Jo … lol it’s the kind of thing that will stick with me and bound to be remembered unlike a lot of other stuff … I’ll be able to sound awfully knowledgeable and high brow * haha and drop that nugget nonchalantly into a conversation 😉

      1. You are most welcome. My sick holiday is over tomorrow so I must do all I can to recover somewhat by then. Have a good day, Jo!

  23. Golly Jo, you have waved no end of temptations under my nose with this one! History, architecture, garden, castle – utterly charming and how nice for the family to let you go touring on your own! I shall have to bookmark this post for future reference.

    My walk is up for this week (another floral one I’m afraid, but I do have a couple of coastal ones coming soon, one especially for you 🙂 ):

    1. Thanks, Jude 🙂 Gratefully received.(actually I did have some family members along with me or I’d never have found my way back to their house, but I haven’t written it that way 🙂 )

  24. Jo, my eyes nearly fell out of my head when I saw the title of your post. Because for most of the morning, before your post arrived, I had been researching Norwich, and in particular Norwich Cathedral. It was as if we were walking the same path, at the same time, though of course we weren’t in reality. 🙂 Actually, in truth, it wasn’t so much Norwich I was researching as the great British heroine, Edith Cavell. It is almost a 100 years since her execution during WW1. There is to be a special centenary service in Norwich Cathedral, with specially composed music. Her grave is in the grounds of the Cathedral. Perhaps you saw it. Then, this evening, another link to you came through BBC TV ~a reporter visiting Whitby to record the seaside sounds of Whitby. It is part of a National Trust campaign to record a sound map of the Coastline. How about it Jo? You must hear some lovely sounds on your coastal walks. 😉

    1. Our world just keeps getting smaller, Ann 🙂 I didn’t see her grave but I am aware of the links. I was with family and time was limited so I saw what I could.
      The sound map is a lovely idea, though it’d be mostly gulls squawking at Whitby, I suspect. I’ll have a look at the site a bit later 🙂

      1. They are happy to hear squawks, apparently. By the way, I didn’t mention how good it was to see your extended family gathered by the lion.

      2. The lion was the cause of much laughter but we rather like him. Such a noble beast 🙂 Many thanks for all your likes, Ann. I’ll be back when I’ve done the pesky ironing (it’s raining 🙂 )

    2. My memory was jogged to come back to this because it was featured on TV here at teatime! I went and had a look at the site, Ann, and I’ll think about it when I’m out and about. Thanks a lot for the link 🙂

    1. That makes me smile because at Bishop’s Garden I was offered raffle tickets and the prize was a Norwich City shirt. Mick’s a Hartlepool season ticket holder (for his sins 🙂 ) Yes, I had a lovely day, thanks, Carol. How was Canterbury?

  25. Lovely buildings! I know we spent a day in Norwich on my teenage holiday to Great Yarmouth but I don’t remember it looking like that. We went to the cathedral, definitely – maybe at 18 that was enough culture for us and we ignored the rest.

    I’m tackling my blogging backlog, including several walks. This one’s from Easter when the weather was much better than it is now! Loch Ardinning

    1. Norwich was the first place I ever spent a few days with my husband-to-be (26 years of captivity this August 🙂 ) so I have fond memories. Truth be told I didn’t recognise a lot of it either. I would like to have spent more time by the river but the Bishop’s Garden was a wonderful surprise.

      Waiting for the other half to come back from this morning’s walk like a drowned rat. I didn’t go because our son’s home and I needed some shopping for him (so I got soaked walking back from town 🙂 ) Did someone mention summer? Thanks, Anabel!

      1. Sounds similar to here! We got drenched on our walk yesterday. Not ventured out yet today – I need to soon, which will no doubt be cue for another downpour.

      1. The full story is told in Aileen Orr’s book Wojtek the Bear and there is also a film: – Wojtek the Bear that went to War.
        I came across the story when researching Golf in the Wild – The Haining country house at Selkirk (not far from the golf club) claims a connection which turned out not to be true. However, he does have a distant connection with Jim Clark and a race circuit in the Borders. I even have a golfing buddy who went to to see Wojtek at Edinburgh Zoo, his final home. He was quite a star in his day.
        Much to be discovered in Golf in the Wild 😀

    1. Thanks for sharing this story, Robin. I just found time to look at it this morning. Dad’s coming for tea tonight. I’ll have to tell him about our ‘smiling warrior’ cousin and show him the photos. 🙂

  26. What a lovely walk, Jo, and through such an important city (if you use the size of the Wikipedia page as an indicator!). Your pictures are perfect, with those blue skies and that fabulous architecture. Thanks for sharing your walk with us. 🙂

    1. It’s a lovely city, Cathy, and has some sentimental attachments for me. (first place I ever stayed at with Mick, many long years ago, and I haven’t been since) Thanks, hon.
      You must have been posting today? I spotted you on FB as I was on the bus into town(almost the only time I use FB). I walked back and got soaked! Hey ho! 🙂

      1. Oh, so a romantic association! That always makes a place special. I’ve been trying my best to post in my spare time, but I’m so hopelessly behind, it will be months after I return home before I can finally catch up, if ever. Sorry you got soaked on your walk home, Jo!

  27. The Royal Arcade is very pretty both inside and out. I enjoyed the interesting journey through Norwich, I wish I’d visited it when I lived in England. It seems it has a lot to offer.

  28. Thoroughly enjoyed joining you on the walk. All without leaving the comfort of the sofa!! Still I think I deserve the hot chocolate and cake though. I went to Norwich years ago and didn’t see any of this, beautiful and inspiring.

  29. Never been to Norwich, thanks for the stroll, Jo! And bang to rights about few thing s in life flowing entirely smoothly…..perhaps I should get that coffee!

    1. You’d love the coffee places in NZ then Sue. They serve a long black (short Americano) with a separate jug of hot water so you can add as little or much as you like. MUCH better than the Americano we get served here which tend to drown out the lovely espresso flavour. Oddly enough I got addicted to flat whites there (and I always used to drink my coffee black).

  30. Hoi Jo, ich habe diesen wundervollen Spaziergang mit Dir durch Norwich sehr genossen. Die eindrückliche Architektur und die inspirierende Natur haben mir besonders gut gefallen.
    Ich wünsche Dir eine gute Zeit. Ernst

    1. It’s a good little city, Andrew and there are some parts I never managed to fit in (like the little steam-powered paddle steamer). Restricted by time and family 🙂 I know I owe you a visit. Will pop by soon.

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