Norwich named best place to live in the East for 2022

A view over Norwich from St James' Hill

Norwich is truly a great city - Credit: colinsd40, Unsplash

A Sunday Times study has declared Norwich the best place to live in East of England. Here are our 10 favourite things about the city.

Last week, the Sunday Times released the results of an annual survey where they searched for the best cities across the country. Whilst the overall title went to Ilkley in West Yorkshire, Norwich was declared the Best in the East. We can't say we're surprised!

The Times said: 

"If we have learnt anything about a post-pandemic life/work balance, it is that to nourish is to flourish, and Norwich is the ideal liberal, progressive place to do just that. Here among a patchwork of glorious ancient buildings, from the imposing cathedral to medieval cobbled alleys and the Norman castle, to the high-tech glass and steel Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (which doubled as the Avengers HQ in the Marvel films) and the 100-home Goldsmith Street development (the first social housing scheme to win the Stirling prize for architecture), residents can feed their minds and their bodies."

10 reasons to love Norwich

Norwich is a fantastic city to both visit and live in. With towering churches and events happening almost every day of the month, it holds so many wonderful memories for so many people. So, here are our top ten reasons to love Norwich:

1. Shopping

Many things bring people to Norwich and every weekend the city comes alive with the bustle of people shopping. The city has a great mix of chain and boutique shops to fill everyone's needs. Fancy knitting a blanket or getting in to a new hobby? Norfolk Yarn or Sew Creative have you covered. Looking for a new record? There are many vinyl shops dotted around and we recommend Venus Vinyl and Lowell's just to name two. The Lanes just off the market are filled with small, friendly shops where you can definitely treat yourself without breaking the bank. The Arcade is another great example of this, with clothing, food, and toys all on offer.

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2. Cafes and Restaurants

After a busy day wandering, Norwich has an abundance of places to put your feet up and relax. You can find our favourite coffee shops in the city here. Whatever it is you fancy, Norwich will provide. There are plenty of fine dining options on St Benedict's Street, or for something different you could go to Rooftop Gardens for panoramic views whilst you eat. One thing's for certain, you won't go hungry. 

Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, Timberhill, Norwich 

Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, Timberhill, Norwich - Credit: Bookbugs and Dragon Tales

3. Bookshops

A shout out has to go to the bookshops of Norwich. Named City of Literature in 2012 by UNESCO, the city shines as a beacon for all book lovers. Keep an eye out as you walk for street art commemorating the city and its literature history, then pop into one of the many bookshops for a souvenir. There are too many to list all of them but you can find five of our favourites in our roundup of Norfolk bookshops here. They put on a great deal of events throughout the year so it's worth following them all on social media to keep updated.

4. The Market

Another spotlight has to be shone on what some consider the heart of the city: the covered market. One of the largest and oldest in Europe, the space has been used as a place for buying and selling for more than 900 years! Whilst it has changed somewhat in that time, you can find all manner of wonderful things hidden in its depths. This includes spices, chees, meat, fish, clothes, plants, cut flowers, and so much more. 

The market is the perfect meet-up point with friends as you can each pick your lunch-time cuisine of choice, then sit on the steps in front of the Council Building in the sun. On any given day, groups of families and friends can be found sitting round and relaxing, enjoying delicious street food of all kinds. What's not to love!

Bishop's Garden, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Bishop's Garden, Norwich. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

5. The History

Norwich has a claim on being the most medieval city in the UK, and it's easy to understand why when you wander the cobbled streets of the city centre. Many of those lanes have been around for centuries, including Elm Hill and Tombland. About five miles south of the city is where the infamous Iceni Tribe made their homes, and the city itself was established somewhere between the fifth and seventh century. The castle and a market were built by the Normans after their conquest, with the covered market resting on the site of the original. Of course, no history of Norwich would be complete without Norwich Cathedral which is almost 1000 years old. Walking parts of the city can be like going back in time.

6. The Broads

Just a stones throw from the city, lies some of the most beautiful countryside England has to offer. The Norfolk Broads is a huge landscape of meandering rivers and lakes that are home to a variety of wildlife. One of the most relaxing ways to spend a day is hiring a boat and exploring at your own pace, particularly when the sun is shining.

7. The Nightlife

After a day of sightseeing or working, nothing beats a walk into the city centre to meet with friends and family. Norwich has everything you could need on offer, from casual pubs to a self service wine bar, cocktails and fine dining. You could visit a new place every weekend and still barely scratch the surface.

8. UEA / NUA

A feather in the cap of the city has to be the two centres of academia which entice students and professors from around the world. Home not only to an award winning publishing house and the Tyndall Centre for Research, UEA is the home of the Sainsbury's Centre for Visual Art which often hosts breath taking and internationally acclaimed art exhibitions. NUA was the start for many famous artists and creatives, including the current president of the Royal Academy and Keith Chapman, the creator of Bob the Builder, just to name a couple.

Norwich Christmas Lights 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

Norwich Christmas Lights 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

9. Events 

Pick any day of the year and you will probably find an amazing event happening in Norwich. From music to art, fairs and theatre, there is something to everyone's taste. Intimate poetry nights can be found next door to sell-out gigs plus just about everything in between. Every year before Christmas, the city really outdoes itself with decorating and the Tunnel of Light becomes a hotspot for selfies.

10. The People

We have to finish off our list with the best thing about Norwich: the people. You are the reason people come back time and time again. Norwich offers a friendly and welcoming atmosphere to all that visit and it is wonderful that this has been recognised nationally.