Until recently, Norwich wasn't seen as a place to visit on a city break, having long been the butt of Alan Partridge jokes. But Norwich's star has been on the ascendant for a few years now, with brand new shopping centres and a Waterfront that's proving to be a big attraction to tourists as well as locals. The nightlife, buoyed up with the help of students from the University of East Anglia, is pretty varied too.
If you're visiting Norfolk and want to spend some time at a spa hotel in Norwich, you won't be lost for things to do during your stay. Norwich likes to be cultured and has a whole host of museums, arts venues, theatres and cinemas at your disposal, as well as a thriving live music scene and some gorgeous green spaces to relax in if fresh air is in order.
Being in Norfolk gives you the perfect excuse to sail away along the famous Norfolk Broads, or you can enjoy the stunning landscapes of the broads on foot or by bicycle if you're feeling a little bit more energetic. The countryside around Norwich gives nature lovers the perfect place to indulge in some bird watching or splash out and hire a Norfolk Wherry yacht complete with crew.
- For a spa break that mixes sublime Norfolk countryside with city life and a fabulous spa, barnham broom hotel and spa is perfect. it's got the countryside covered as it's set in 250 acres of it, and it/"s well within easy shopping distance of Norwich city centre. Book some spa time and you will be ushered into one of the five treatment rooms to sample one of the many ESPA beauty treatments on offer. Then you can spend some time in the mood lit relaxation zone, feel the under floor heating, and if you can be bothered to move, head off for a workout. Or not.
- Another perfectly placed spa hotel is the gorgeous sprowston manor hotel spa in norwich, which has some stunning features, including the tropical themed swimming pool area, which you won't be able to resist even if you're not on a pamper day. the beauty facilities are second to none, with seven treatment rooms and a spa menu that gives an amazing choice of top notch spa brands like guinot, espa and decleor to choose from, and a huge list of treatments all designed to leave you feeling totally relaxed and gorgeously pampered. for a bit of fitness in the fresh air there/"s a golf course nearby and also an air conditioned gym.
- The recently opened Spa at St Giles is part of the luxurious four star St Giles House Hotel, and likes to offer guests a holistic approach to their break. Relaxation is the order of the day, with a spa that likes to tailor its treatments to the individual. Four treatment rooms and a choice of ILA products and treatments are on offer to provide sanctuary and pamper time, and the candle lit relaxation suite just has to be experienced.
- The Dunston Hall, along the A140 and on the way to Norwich is an imposing red brick country house hotel which is set in 150 acres of Norfolk parkland. The hotel is delightful in its own right, and the Lilac Room Spa is well worth a visit. Choose from a full list of holistic therapies and deliciously indulgent beauty treatments, including Sothys spa facials, or simply make the most of the pool, sauna and steam room to chill out and relax in style.
Norwich caters for all tastes when it comes to the very important matter of where to eat out. Cafes and brasseries share space with restaurants that take their inspiration from all around the globe, from modern British to spicy Thai and Indian. There's even a football theme to some of the eateries, Norwich being very proud of its football team and the culinary heritage of Delia Smith that goes alongside it.
- Talking of football, there are two restaurants at the Norwich City Football Ground, catering for different dining styles and tastes, For an informal bite, Yellows New York style diner is perfect for a taste of American style food; you'll find a selection of homemade burgers, salads and barbeque dishes on the menu, and the diner is open brunch, lunch, dinner, coffees, beers and cocktails. If you prefer something with a celebrity theme, and you want to know how Delia's recipes taste when they are cooked properly, there's also Delia's, the only celebrity restaurant in Norwich. All the recipes are her own published work.
Address: Canary Catering, Norwich City Football Club, Carrow Road, Norwich NR1 1JE
Tel: 01603 218704
- Trattoria Rustica is not to be overlooked if you want good old fashioned Italian style food. It's a fabulous restaurant housed inside a 16th century building between medieval Elm Hill and Norwich Cathedral in the heart of Norwich. There's a real medieval feel to the restaurant, complemented with a delicious menu that makes the most of regionally inspired Italian dishes which are all freshly cooked and served in traditional Italian style.
Address: 20 Princes Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1AE
Tel: 01603 621 043
- For an Oriental flavour or two, Baby Buddha Chinese Teahouse is a reasonably recent addition to the Norwich city restaurant list, and offers hungry diners a taste of Cantonese cuisine. The Teahouse is run by the Ngai family, who harboured a long time ambition to open up a speciality restaurant, after successfully running a successful takeaway in nearby.
Address: 139 Ber Street, City Centre, Norwich NR1 3EY
Tel: 01603 490 889
- Finally, chocoholics must make a point of visiting Caley's Cocoa Cafe which is to be foundin the 15th century Norwich Guildhall. There's also new cafe on White Lion Street, both serving scrumptious snacks, cakes and drinks, with of course a superior selection of chocolate and gifts.
Address: The Guildhall, Gaol Hill, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1JP
Tel: 0 1264 781 611
Norwich is a lively town after dark, populated with plenty of pubs; some of which are held in great affection for their historical significance as well as their choice of beer. The oldest pub in Norwich is the Adam and Eve, and that's always a great place to start any Norwich pub crawl. There are plenty of venues for live music, including the UEA which is on the list of many a touring band, and the student population ensures a lively club and bar scene as well as keeping the pubs busy into the early hours.
- Music lovers who like a club night won't be disappointed with Media; the atmosphere is eclectic and the events are popular, meaning that Media is one of the best venues for underground music. The best DJs and a mix of everything from techno and electro to drum and bass, hip hop and more are all on offer. Achingly hip and a good night out.
- Lola Lo is the place to hang out for cocktails and a banging night out, with Zombie Nation, Kitch nights combined with a great funky ambience and a Hawaiian vibe. The ceilings are low and the atmosphere is intimate; and they like to play alternative music. The student night is a crowd and pocket pleaser, with a more mainstream playlist on offer and cheaper drinks too...
- Mercy has been a top attraction in Norwich for years; mainly due to the huge dance floor, long bars and the 'cheese room' for lovers of retro tunes! Music is mostly chart oriented so it's a good, non 'imagey' place to spend a night. Occasional live music adds to the variety and it can get really busy on Fridays and Saturdays; queues are somewhat inevitable.
- Close to Lola Lo's is Knowhere, where you'll find a lot of people on most nights, mostly because of the reputation for a great drinks selection, and laid back atmosphere. Add to that the deals and music and you could end up staying there all night. There's a smallish dance floor and lots of seating, with a large bar where you'll usually be served quickly.
- A big hit with the party crowd is Essence, on Prince of Wales Road, where you can down a Jagerbomb or three and either hang out until you move on to one of the big clubs, or just chill out and enjoy the dance floor all night. For £50 you can reserve a place in the secluded Cristal Corner close to the main bar, and they'll even put on a pizza party if you like.
- If you're after a sophisticated yet cosy brasserie, complete with subdued lighting, The Langtry is a friendly, laid back place to chill out and enjoy a few drinks. Perfect for relaxed eating and even more relaxed drinking.
- For music, sport and a fun ambience, Delaney's is Norwich's biggest and most popular Irish pub and relaxed opening hours make it even more popular.
Get your retail therapy head on and your comfy shoes as there's plenty to see in Norwich that you'll want to buy. The high street and smaller lanes are crammed with good quality outlets, from well-loved high street favourites to some classy designer brands, as well as one off independent boutiques. Not only that; Norwich was voted one of the top ten places to shop in the UK as well as being the only location in the UK other than Oxford Street to boast four national department stores as well as its own local independent version, Jarrolds.
The best places for vintage, quirky and independent shopping is the Norwich Lanes, Upper St, Giles, St. Benedicts, Elm Hill, London Street or Timberhill. You can wander the alleyways here and browse boutiques and pretty little shops that you might not find elsewhere.
Norwich also offers two fashionable shopping malls, one of which is the new and very upmarket Chapelfield with 90 shops to choose from and some nice places to stop for a bite to eat. Everything from Anne Summers to Zara is represented fashion wise, along with some classy jewellery shops, sports, shoes and just about anything else.
The Mall also offers some great retail opportunities, with high street favourites such as Boots, TK Maxx and the Early Learning Centre, as well as a Vue cinema.
Riverside Retail is close to the railway station and here you'll find bigger stores like Mamas and Papas, Argos and Next.
NORWICH'S TOP THREE SPAS
- bannatyne/"s Health Club in Norwich doesn’t disappoint on any level; down to the relaxing treatment rooms, all serving up a menu of Elemis treatments, and the gorgeous mosaic tiled heated loungers. It gives you the perfect opportunity to combine a workout with a pamper day as you get the run of the club. If you feel like glamming up for your city beak, you can even try our one of the clubs odourless spray tans.
- Norwich loves its health club spas, and another one to look out for is Gorgeous spa at Greens Health and Fitness in Norwich. They take the spa selection seriously here with a menu that features some high end spa favourites Collin, Fake Bake and Caci, as well as relaxing aromatherapy, indulgent facials and holistic therapies. All this right next to some of the best fitness facilities in Norwich, plus a swimming pool, whirlpool, steam room and a sauna too.
- The Day Spa at Hartford House is a stone's throw from Norwich City Centre and offers everything from relaxing, indulgent spa experiences and holistic acupuncture, to medi-spa procedures like OXYjet, Rejuvanessence and Teeth whitening treatments. The spa has a gorgeous whirlpool bath, steam room and sauna along with beauty treatments galore; with cosmetic beauty procedures and male grooming also on offer.