Thoroughly modern

The Forum Designed by Hopkins Architects, the Forum was built as a millennium project on the site of the previous Norwich Library, which burned down in 1994. Completed in 2001, it is home to the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, the local Tourist Information Centre, the BBC East offices and studios, and a café and restaurant. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Designed between 1974 and 1976, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts was the first of architect Norman Foster’s major public buildings. The innovative building is formed around a steel framework, with individual aluminium and glass panels. It houses the famous Robert …

The Lanes

Winding their way through the centre of the city are the Norwich Lanes. Mostly pedestrianised and including some narrow alleyways, these enticing streets have an abundance of history and charm. Stroll down Bridewell Alley, Lower Gate Lane or Bedford Street to take in the array of exquisite character properties and architectural styles – or walk along St Giles or London Street to see some of the impressive historic buildings, where the great and good of the city once lived and worked. Today the Norwich Lanes are home to a plethora of interesting and unusual businesses. Those meandering through the pretty streets will …

A place in history

Before the Romans invaded in 43AD, Norfolk was the land of the Iceni, whose most famous leader was Boudicca. Following her defeat, the Romans inhabited the area for more than 300 years, with their local capital, Venta Icenorum, just outside the present day city. A new Anglo-Saxon town with a number of settlements then grew up on the River Wensum – one of these was “Norwic.” After a Viking invasion there was a period where the Danes and Saxons fought and alternately ruled the area before settling down together and creating a large prosperous town. The arrival of the Normans from France in 1066 …

Norwich – a unique city

A wealth of history, a lively arts scene, fantastic food and drink, and superb shopping – Norwich is a city that has it all. Set in the heart of tranquil East Anglia, surrounded by beautiful countryside and not far from the spectacular coast, it is a vibrant hub with much to offer visitors to the area, as well as those living in the city. Norwich grew from a small Anglo-Saxon settlement into a bustling centre for trade and an inland port – and evidence of its long history can still be seen today in its cobbled streets and fascinating architecture. But the …

Smart thinking

At the touch of a screen or even the sound of a voice, homeowners in Norfolk can light up their rooms, control their music or even open their blinds in the morning. High tech, cutting-edge solutions are becoming more and more popular both in new and old homes, as well as in holiday properties. Christie Orton, director of Norfolk Smart Homes, believes connectivity is the key to easy 21st century living, as well as to saving energy and enjoying leisure time. “After training as an electrician and running my own successful electrical contracting company for five years, I found clients were interested in …

Great Escapes

Sowerbys Holiday Cottages, North Norfolk Those thinking of taking flight for an autumn break or of booking a comfortable place to light a fire and hibernate this winter could consider the properties available through Sowerbys Holiday Cottages. Owner Andrea Sowerby points out that North Norfolk is superb at this time of year for anyone who enjoys watching wildlife, especially birds. “There is nothing quite like seeing the pink-footed geese flying overhead when they arrive here for the winter,” she says. “It really is a lovely sight.” Others worth spotting include brent geese, merlins, avocets and little egrets, as well as wintering gulls, hen harriers …

Seasonal sparkle

Aurum, Norwich Contemporary jewellery boutique Aurum nestles in the heart of the Norwich Lanes, where it specialises in fine wedding, engagement and designer jewellery, but also has an extensive range of silver and men’s jewellery, which could make fabulous Christmas gifts. Owner Jon Maddocks explains he and his team select their jewellery designs from around the world, resulting in unique pieces unlike anything else in East Anglia. “New products this year include the British-designed Cornerstone Creations, a new range of men’s silver Buddha to Buddha bracelets, and some stunning pieces and cutting-edge designs from Decho Echo,” he says. “We will also have new collections …

In the Know – Damien Cabanis

How long have you lived in Norfolk?   I was born in Brittany, but my roots are from the South of France, where I spent all my summers. I remember following my grandfather around vineyards in the Languedoc, Rhône, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Cahors. I arrived in Norfolk in May 1997 having spent a year in Surrey working as a restaurant manager. One of my sisters was living in Norfolk and told me she would take me to the best parties! What do you enjoy about living here? My two children were born in the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. Norwich has been a great …

Jewel of the town

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A modern inn set in a historic building, the Crown at Woodbridge attracts visitors to Suffolk from across the country to its bar, hotel and restaurant. Laura Ford, house manager, explains the establishment on the Thoroughfare offers 10 boutique bedrooms and a real Suffolk food experience. “It combines all that is great about escaping to the country, with all that is good about staying in a wonderful market town,” she says. The historic building has stylish interiors: “Bedrooms have been  transformed into luxurious yet affordable retreats, created by award-winning, London based designers, Bentheim, with goose-down pillows, crisp cotton bed linen and underfloor heating.” Warming autumnal …