7 places to avoid the crowds in Norwich

Canoeist Nick Hannington is operating Pub and Paddle trips through Norwich city centre.

Pub and Paddle run by Nick Hannington - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

With restrictions lifted and summer upon us, we all want to get out of our houses, but it's nice to beat the crowds. Here are seven  places to find some quiet in Norwich this summer.

UEA Sculpture Park Novemeber 2019, Sainsbury Centre. Lynn Chadwick Crouching beast 2 1990 Pictures:

Crouching Beast II by Lynn Chadwick in front of the Sainsbury Centre on the UEA Campus. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Sainsbury Centre

Where: University of East Anglia, Norfolk Road, Norwich NR4 7TJ

When: Tuesday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Price: Free, some exhibitions are charged separately - pre-booking recommended

Parking: Available on the UEA campus

An art gallery and museum on the campus of the UEA, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts houses a collection of world art. Currently on exhibition is the intersecting careers of Bill Brandt and Henry Moore, as well as sculptures by Leiko Ikemura and Tony Cragg. There is also an outdoor gallery and a cafe.

Norwich Cathedral Refectory Cafe. Picture: SUPPLIED

Norwich Cathedral Refectory Cafe. Picture: SUPPLIED - Credit: Archant

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Norwich Cathedral Refectory Cafe

Where: 10 Tombland, Norwich NR3 1HF

When: 10.30am to 3.30pm

Price: The menu is available online

Parking: There is parking on St Martin-At-Palace Plain and St Helens Wharf 

Run by Jarrold, the Refectory Cafe is a lovely place for cream tea. With the large windows giving a view of the beautiful cathedral grounds, you can enjoy local food and drink and baked goods made fresh. Afterwards, you could wander around the cathedral or walk down Ferry Lane and The Close.

Pub and Paddle tours have multiple routes. Picture: Nick Butcher

Pub and Paddle tours have multiple routes. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Pub and Paddle

Where: 24 Wensum St, Norwich, NR3 1HY

When: 10am-5pm

Price: Routes start at £12.50 per person

Parking: Available at Monastery Court and St Andrews

Pub and Paddle is great to avoid crowds. Make your way down the river to each pub and if you find them too busy, then simply move on to the next one!

Ranked the top tour in Norwich by Tripadvisor, there are four routes available, taking you in different directions and varying lengths of time. All routes take you into the countryside, to enjoy the idyllic pubs on the riverside. 

Snow on rooftops and window sills as Elm Hill is transformed into a Victorian style winter setting f

Historic street, Elm Hill - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Elm Hill

Where: Elm Hill, Norwich NR3 1HN

When: Most shops on Elm Hill are open at least 10am to 5pm

Price: Free

Parking: Available at Monastery Court and St Andrews

As the most complete medieval street in the city, Elm Hill contains many buildings dating back to the Tudor period. Its historic charm shows why it is frequently used as a location for TV and film - including recent Netflix film Jingle Jangle and Stardust. There's plenty to see with The Bear Shop, galleries, coffee houses, craft shops, and more. 

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

Riverside Walk 

Where: Starts at Barn Road Roundabout, Norwich, NR3 3BA

When: Anytime

Price: Free

Parking: Available at Westwick Street or St Andrews

Starting at Barn Road Roundabout, the walk takes you on a two-and-a-half-mile tour along the River Wensum. Wrapping around Norwich, the walk finishes at the train station, though you could continue walking if you liked. There are many historic sites along the walk, including the former Bullards Brewery, parts of the old city walls, the Cow Tower, and Pulls Ferry.

New Fire and Rescue recruits wade out to rescue victims of a kayak accident during their water rescu

Many courses are available at Whitlingham Adventure - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Whitlingham Adventure

Where: Whitlingham Lane, Trowse, Norwich, NR14 8TR

When: The park itself is open 24 hours a day, the centre is open 10am to 4.30pm

Price: The park itself is free, courses at the centre vary in price

Parking: There is on-site parking available

There is plenty to do at Whitlingham. If you wish to stay on dry land, there is walking or cycling around the broad. But if you want to be more adventurous, you could try windsurfing, paddleboarding, or kayaking. There are other courses available, such as archery, climbing, and bushcraft. Whitlingham is perfect for a family day out.

The Plantation Garden. Photo: Bill Smith

The Plantation Garden. - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Plantation Gardens

Where: 4 Earlham Rd, Norwich NR2 3DB

When: 9am to 6pm

Price: £2 per adult

Parking: Available next to Plantation Gardens or at Chantry Place

This three-acre Grade II English Heritage garden was created in an abandoned chalk quarry. The gardens feature a gothic fountain, as well as a Victorian-style greenhouse, and 'Medieval wall. With different types of areas to enjoy, everyone can be happy, from a wooded area to flower beds. Though many call it a secret garden, it's easy to find next to the Roman Catholic Cathedral.