Published The Times April 29 2010. Paul Shearer with Francesca Steele

How it rates

It’s known for its pubs and architecture, but the city is also of political interest right now. Once a Labour stronghold, it was thrown into confusion last year when the Norwich North MP was dismissed by Labour after the expenses scandal. The result: angry voters, a by-election and a new Conservative MP, Chloe Smith. But with loyal Labour voters expected to return to the polls on Thursday, Smith’s future is unsure.


The 2007 refurbishment of the Theatre Royal puts it on the circuit for leading productions. The Norfolk & Norwich Festival is held every May. There are lots of cinemas, galleries and museums.

Architectural gems

Norwich has more than 1,500 listed buildings within its walled centre. Highlights are Norwich Castle, the Forum building (home to the UK’s busiest library), the cathedral, the Georgian Assembly House, a Victorian Mill and Dragon Hall, a medieval trading hall.

Green spaces

Miles of riverside walks along the banks of the Wensum and more than 150 green spaces within the city centre.


Norwich airport has domestic flights and regular flights to Paris, Dublin and Amsterdam. Trains to London take less than two hours. There is an hourly service to Cambridge and direct trains to Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Smartest streets

A few rarely available houses are in the historic centre, Cathedral Close and the cobbled Elm Hill. An area of period houses in the southwest quarter of the city towards the A11 is home to much of the city’s academic and professional classes. From £150,000 for a two-bedroom terraced house, up to £1 million for a detached six-bedroom home with large garden.

Restaurants and nightlife

Plenty of independent eateries such as The Assembly House and Elm Hill Brasserie. Upscale nosh at Tatlers and Delia Smith’s Norwich City Football Club. Local legend says that there are 365 pubs in Norwich — one for every day of the year. The Adam & Eve claims to have been serving beer for more than 700 years.


There are two shopping malls, fixed stalls at Norwich Market and plenty of independent retailers in Norwich Lanes.


Good independent schools, including Norwich School and Norwich High School for Girls. Notre Dame High School, is a good Catholic comprehensive. For higher education, City College Norwich is one of the largest in the UK. The University of East Anglia is a Top 20 university.

What’s new?

A lot of development in the past decade, including riverside apartment blocks. Fellowes Plain, a Charles Church scheme, has almost 600 properties, mostly sold. Centenary Ashcroft is due to start work on its £60 million Anglia Square project next year.

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