Nick Conrad: ‘Why is Norwich always the butt of jokes?’

The City of Norwich viewed from the River Wensum. Cow Tower. Picture: Denise Bradley

The City of Norwich viewed from the River Wensum. Cow Tower. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

We love our 'fine' city… but Norwich must be marketed as the Gateway to Norfolk.

Last week I ended up talking on BBC Radio Devon, promoting our fine county. My producer took a call from our Exeter-based studio asking if I was available to extol the virtues of Norfolk on their afternoon show.

The reason? A new air route linking east with west had just been announced. Their problem – they couldn't see why anyone would want to fly to Norwich!

Marketing our county to Devonians is like selling ice to the Eskimos.

Whatever we've got, they've got – apart from a Premier League football team. Presenting the show was Bill Buckley, remember him from 'That's Life'?

I know Bill well; we worked together for many years on LBC Radio and I bet his tongue was firmly in his cheek when inviting me onto his show. Why is it that Norwich always seems to be the butt of the joke?

There are lots of reasons for holidaymakers to visit us.

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Norfolk is the most fantastically diverse destination for a getaway. But we need to market the county cleverly.

Norwich as a brand is far less alluring than Norfolk. The county, with royal connections, conjures up an image of a peaceful backwater with a unique charm!

We should capitalise on this. A simple marketing ploy – all routes into Norwich should be branded The Gateway to the Countryside & Coast: Norfolk. The Gateway to Norwich just sounds like something on a heritage trail.

'So what's worth seeing in Norwich?' asked Bill, starting the interview.

After rolling off the usual tourist attractions of the city, I progressed onto the county as a whole.

Well…the interview was scheduled to run for five minutes, however, I was still gassing a quarter of an hour later! On a canter I'd circumnavigated the coast from King's Lynn to Gorleston, visited Sandringham, trundled through Thetford Forest before ending up on The Norfolk Broads. Quite exhausted, Bill said, 'I wish I hadn't asked you on'

'I haven't even started yet' I replied.