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.
It was a solid looking building
With views down over the city
And a useful lift!
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?
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.
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
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
Imagine a garden with the cathedral as backdrop!
Topiary and fountains
And exquisite blue poppies
The borders were crammed full of planting
The ruins of Bishop Salmons Porch
The cathedral silently looming
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.
A pretty ‘face’, looking directly at the Cathedral
A fine example of a Norfolk flint-faced building
The mighty Cathedral
Approaching the Cathedral, the architecture is varied and beautiful. I enter through the cloisters.
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.
The Guildhall in Market Place
St. Ethelbert’s Gate, one of the entrances to the Cathedral complex
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, 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 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.
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 :
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?