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Elm Hill in Norwich named among Britain’s prettiest streets

PUBLISHED: 15:32 15 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:31 16 April 2017

A walk through Elm Hill Norwich.

A walk through Elm Hill Norwich.

(c) copyright citizenside.com

With its stunning architecture and array of quaint shops, Norwich’s Elm Hill boasts plenty of charm and character making it an ideal location for a bank holiday outing.

Filming of Stardust on Elm Hill, Norwich. Filming of Stardust on Elm Hill, Norwich.

Loved by residents and visitors alike the cobbled street, which has origins dating back to at least 1200 AD, has received national acclaim as it has been ranked as the seventh prettiest street in Britain – following a survey of 1,000 people conducted by National Express.

The list, which is topped by The Shambles, York, showcases the top 15 prettiest streets in Britain and aims to act as a guide to inspire the public to visit and appreciate the myriad of unique and stunning streets of Britain during the bank holiday break.

Robert Stone shop proprietor at The Bear Shop in Elm Hill, said: “We feel very lucky to be here. I think this is marvellous news because Elm Hill has always been called the ‘jewel’ of Norwich by the city council and residents.

“It is of course a beautiful street, we have the fantastic cobbled area and we are close to the river too. The shops are all unique – the bookshop, craft shop and antique shop all sell things that you wouldn’t find in the bigger chain stores.”

Norwich's historic city streets include Elm Hill.
. Photo: Steve Adams Norwich's historic city streets include Elm Hill. . Photo: Steve Adams

Elm Hill is no stranger to appearing under the spotlight as it has been the setting for many filming locations including Stardust, a 2007 adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel starring Sienna Miller and Michelle Pfeiffer. 

MORE: From Stardust to The Go-Between: Did you know these films and TV shows were shot in Norwich?

Steeped in history the street’s name originates from the elm trees that have successively stood in the square since the 16th century, combined with an array of historic buildings and range of independent traders it is no surprise many view it as ‘a hidden gem’.

Philip Goodbody, owner of The Dormouse Bookshop in Elm Hill, said: “It’s just a very pretty street. I have been here for 20 years and pretty much the common reaction from visitors and customers is ‘I didn’t realise this was here’ – it really is a hidden gem.

“People like the cobbles and it’s very photographic and has a fantastic selection of Tudor buildings with outstanding architecture.”

Filming of the Mathew Vaughn movie 'Stardust' on Elm Hill, Norwich. One of the stars of the film, Claire Danes.; Photo:Antony Kelly; Copy:Lorna Marsh; For: EDP news; EDP pics © 2006; (01603) 772434 Filming of the Mathew Vaughn movie 'Stardust' on Elm Hill, Norwich. One of the stars of the film, Claire Danes.; Photo:Antony Kelly; Copy:Lorna Marsh; For: EDP news; EDP pics © 2006; (01603) 772434

But the street was almost lost. By the 1930s the buildings, most of which date from the 16th century, were in a bad state of repair.

Many were owned by the city council and, as part of a slum clearance programme, it was planned to pull them down.

However, civic watchdog The Norwich Society stepped in and led a campaign of resistance, which led the council to think again.

 
	Beautiful Elm Hill in the early summer sunshine 
Beautiful Elm Hill in the early summer sunshine

The top 15 prettiest streets in Britain:

1. The Shambles, York

2. The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

3. The Circus, Bath

4. Waterside (into Southern Lane) Stratford upon Avon

5. Steep Hill, Lincoln

6. Gold Hill, Shaftesbury and King’s Parade, Cambridge

7. Elm Hill, Norwich

8. Eastgate Street, Chester

9. The Market Place, Devizes

10. Main Street, Harworth and Harbour Street, Whitstable

11. The Square, Winchester

12. Thomas Street, Wells and Grey Street, Newcastle

13. Cecily Hill, Cirencester and Ledbury Road, Notting Hill

14. Catherine Hill, Frome

15. The Homend, Ledbury

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