Norfolk is: The hidden gems waiting to be explored in the Norwich area

Plantation Garden off Earlham Rd in Norwich. Photo Simon Finlay.

Plantation Garden off Earlham Rd in Norwich. Photo Simon Finlay. - Credit: EDP / Archant 2003

In recent months we have seen much of the beautiful scenery on offer in Nelson's County as part of the Norfolk is... campaign.

Henry Moore's 'Reclining Figure' of 1956-62 at the east end of Sir Norman Foster's iconic Sainsbury

Henry Moore's 'Reclining Figure' of 1956-62 at the east end of Sir Norman Foster's iconic Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.; Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2011

Now, with the summer holidays in full swing, the campaign is switching focus to the tourist attractions in different areas of the county.

Preserved pharmacy at Norwich's Bridewell Museum. Photo: Bill Smith

Preserved pharmacy at Norwich's Bridewell Museum. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2012

Over the next fortnight we will look at the top attractions and hidden gems in the different regions of Norfolk, starting today with Norwich and the city's surrounding areas.

Norwich Union building on Surrey Street, Norwich. Marble Hall / Surrey House. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY.

Norwich Union building on Surrey Street, Norwich. Marble Hall / Surrey House. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY. - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC 2

With a Norman castle, two cathedrals, thriving shopping areas, the quirky offerings of the Norwich Lanes and several museums and entertainment venues, there is certainly no shortage of things to do in the city for all ages.

This summer there is even the added attraction of the GoGoGorillas trail, with 54 decorated gorillas scattered around the city, and the Visit Norwich Alpha Norwich walking tour, boosted by the international coverage of the world premiere of the Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa movie.


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But Melanie Cook, senior marketing executive at Visit Norwich, says there is plenty more to be explored in Norwich as well.

'Norwich is full of amazing hidden gems to visit which provide great photographic subjects whilst being lots of fun at the same time,' said Ms Cook.

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'My favourites include Plantation Garden; a beautiful, tranquil Victorian garden in the heart of the city – yet you would never know it.

'Only £2 to get in, the garden is perfect for a relaxing picnic, it's a safe environment and easy to get to - walk up to the Cathedral of St John the Baptist and entry is just a bit further along Earlham Road. On Sundays in summer the garden offers delightful afternoon home-made teas.'

Ms Cook also recommends free tours of the marble hall at Aviva's Surrey Street headquarters, which can be booked in advance between Monday and Friday during office hours.

The 'spectacular piece of Edwardian architecture' features 15 varieties of marble and Ms Cook recommended booking a tour by calling 01603 681062.

She continued: 'Hop on the number 25 bus to the Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts and you will not be disappointed.

'So many people miss the Sainsbury Centre and yet it is a world-class collection spanning 5,000 years of international art in a world-class building built and designed by Sir Norman Foster.

'The permanent exhibition is free to enter. In my eyes this is a don't miss morning or afternoon out and when the weather is good there are extensive grounds by the river, complete with Henry Moore sculpture to boot!'

Visit Norwich offer Blue Badge Guide walks of the city for £4 per person but Ms Cook had one other strong recommendation for people from Norwich, or just visiting.

'The delightful Bridewell Museum is another gem,' she added. 'A bijoux museum filled to the brim with stories and fascinating people who have helped shape the city we love so much today.'

The attractions continue on the outskirts of the city.

The Marriott's Way stretches 26 miles all the way from central Norwich, going past Whitwell Hall Country Centre near Reepham, to Aylsham.

From there the Bure Valley Railway can take you across to Wroxham and the gatweway to the Norfolk Broads.

While other attractions include the Dinosaur Adventure Park, at Lenwade beyond Taverham, or Caistor Roman Town in Caistor St Edmund, to the south of Norwich.

Whatever attraction takes your fancy, there is plenty to explore this summer in the Norwich area.

- Tomorrow we focus on the Norfolk Broads as part of the Norfolk is... campaign, taking a look at the best attractions the man-made waterways have to offer. - Share your photos using the #Norfolkis hashtag on Twitter or at www.iwitness24.co.uk, with 'Norfolk is...' in the headline.

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