We are proud to call Norwich UNESCO City of Literature our home and there is nothing more we like to do than wander through its medieval streets, discovering stories and creating our own along the way…
During these tricky times, you might find yourself longing for your favourite cultural hotspots and independent businesses that give Norwich its unmistakable buzz. Join us on a virtual tour of the city and discover the range of activities you and your family can get involved with, all from the comfort of your own home.
First stop, the bookshop!
Norwich is host to a collection of fantastic independent bookshops to suit every biblio-appetite, from The Book Hive with its stock of fresh, booker-nominated debuts and literature-magazine-bookmarks (it’s true, they’re real) to Tombland Books where you’ll find stacks of rare and collectable books, set over two floors in one of Norwich’s signature chocolate-box buildings. Browse online offers:
Bookbugs and Dragon Tales
– Open for online orders
– Tune in to Facebook Live for storytime at 1pm & 5pm every day
– Book recommendations and bookpack deliveries
The Book Hive
– Free postage on orders to anywhere in the UK
– Self-isolation reading packs – Five hand-picked books on your chosen theme
– Subscribe to a Book Hive Year package
– Buy-one-get-one half price on a wide range of books
– A huge range of topics, from local history to art & photography
– Order online before 2pm and your order will be dispatched the same day
– Experts in second-hand and antiquarian books
– Order by telephone by telephone (01603 490000)
– Prices starting at £1!
Norfolk Children’s Book Centre
Marilyn Brocklehurst, Children’s librarian and owner of the Norfolk Children’s Book Centre, is offering a book recommendation service to anyone who calls, emails or gets in touch via social media. She is happy to chat to anyone and offer recommendations about any particular fiction or non-fiction topics. The book centre has around 60,000 books in stock at any time, so if you have a particular book in mind, get in touch! Marilyn can order in any book in print to be delivered to you (including adult books for parents who also need something to read during lockdown!). NCBC’s service to schools, which includes their unique approval and supply services, are running as normal.
Not local to Norwich? Explore The Bookseller’s list of independent bookshops and the services they can offer
Explore the castle museum
Norwich Castle was built as a royal palace over 900 years ago. Now a museum, art gallery & study centre, the Norman castle remains a magnificent feature of the Norwich skyline.
We had some questions about storing costume hanging as opposed to flat following our dress videos, so we thought we’d show you how we store items that are too fragile to be hung. This silk brocade man’s coat dates from c.1735 and is carefully padded for support inside the drawer. pic.twitter.com/4Fo7V3SyEa
— Norwich Castle (@NorwichCastle) March 28, 2020
Try your hand at puppetry
The Norwich Puppet Theatre has moved online! With a range of behind-the-scenes footage, snippets from live shows and puppet-making activities, there’s fun to be had for all the family.
Learn and create with the kids
The Sainsbury’s Centre is a must-visit for any art-lover in the region. As well as housing a vast collection of world art, and outstanding works by Picasso, Bacon and Degas, the centre offers an award-winning learning programme of gallery talks, lectures and art workshops for children and adults alike.
Image: Glen Jamieson
Download a free resource pack for children at KS2 level and use everyday household objects to interact creatively with world. Explore the ‘Hands Find Form’ project, which saw 80 young children, plus staff, parents and carers discover the qualities of ‘being animal’. More resource packs are available here >>
Looking for more creative activities? Download our free Neverending Stories pack for storytelling tips, activities and fun, cut-out worksheets.
Support local indie publishers
Norwich is host to an impressive and diverse selection of independent publishing houses, from booker-nominated Galley Beggar Press to Hinterland – a quarterly, print and digital magazine, based out of the University of East Anglia.
Order your next favourite read:
Galley Beggar Press – multiple award-winning small press publishing ‘fiction that might make a difference’
Strangers Press – specialises in publishing the finest literature in translation
Eggbox – An imprint of UEA Publishing Project focussed on widening participation and opening up the publishing industry
Hinterland – a quarterly magazine dedicated to creative non-fiction
Plan your next theatre trip
Book your tickets for the new season! The Norwich Theatre family has been keeping the people of Norwich entertained with first-rate live theatre, opera, musicals, dance, drama & comedy for over 250 years.
Image: The Book of Mormon, Norwich Theatre Royal
From well-loved touring productions and pantomimes at the 1,300-seater Theatre Royal to bold performances from emerging artists at Stage Two and post-show drinks at the Playhouse, there is something for everyone who wants to dip their toe into the theatre scene. Tickets available >>
Drop-in to the eLibrary
Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library holds the trophy for the most items issued out of any other library in the country –according to statistics from CIPFA – and stands as a bustling hub of activity opposite the St Peter Mancroft Church.
Image: Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library
While the glass doors might be shut for now, Norfolk Library Services have frozen all late fees and renewal restrictions, so that you can enjoy your novels, DVDs and audiobooks without fear of library fines! You can also browse the library service’s amazing online catalogue of eBooks, eNewspapers, eMagazines and eAudio.
Join Adam from the Millennium Library for daily storytime! Check the NML Facebook page for event times, and head to the Norfolk Library Information Service to access the video link (shared 3 minutes before the start).
Try some free theatre lessons
Set on the border of the beautiful Chapelfield Gardens, The Garage provides year-round lessons in the performing arts for the budding thespians of Norwich, as well as a fantastic programme of dance, music, and theatre performances.
Ever dreamed of trying some tap? (42nd Street style of course..)
— The Garage (@_TheGarage) March 27, 2020
Follow @_TheGarage on Twitter for more free demos in everything theatrical, from vocal warm-ups to tap dance and drama exercises.
Request a handwritten poem
TOAST makes live poetry events and workshops with some of the best poets in the UK. A joint project between National Centre for Writing, Norwich Arts Centre, Young Norfolk Arts and funded by Arts Council England, you can usually catch TOAST on Sunday evenings at the vibrant Norwich Arts Centre.
Image: Gallery, TOAST
If you’re in need of a poetry fix, head to The Grain Store where you can purchase poems to order! Choose from a 5-line, 10-line, or prompt-inspired poem, handwritten and posted to you. You can also book onto virtual poetry mentoring sessions with published poets Keith Jaratt and Jo Bell.
Read a zine produced by Norfolk young people
The talented young folk at Young Norfolk Arts have created a beautiful collection of bright, engaging zines for you to sink your teeth into.
Illustration: Celeste Simpson
Enjoy hand-drawn illustrations, opinion pieces and articles on the themes of nature and the environment, the significance of youth voice, the political climate and more.
Artwork: Immy Lee
Feeling inspired? Learn how to make your own zine at home with this handy video guide from Apryl at Norfolk &Norwich Millennium Library:
Here’s Apryl from @NorfolkLibs showing you how to make a simple folded zine – all you need is one sheet of paper and scissors.
— Norwich Millennium Library -Norfolk County Council (@MillenniumLib) March 28, 2020
Catch up with live literature events
Since its inception in 1991 the widely popular UEA Literary Festival has welcomed the likes of Arthur Miller, Doris Lessing, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and a host of incredible authors, journalists, illustrators, scientists, economists and broadcasters to speak about their work.
For the first time, catch these sensational, sell-out events for free, in the online archive>>
Travel back in time
Want to brush up on your local history? Look further afield to the Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth and explore their archive of 10,449 photographs and images, depicting the development of the coastal town. Embark on a photographic journey through the fascinating history of Great Yarmouth over on Twitter and Facebook, and browse the Collections Archive for more interesting artefacts.
— Time & Tide Museum (@timetidemuseum) March 29, 2020
Don’t forget to check out the Collections Blog for an insider’s look at daily life in one of Norfolk’s most-loved museums.
More from the city of stories…
The cultural scene is still thriving in the city and is always open to you! If you’re struggling with being inside, check out these handy links to help you stay connected with the outside world.
– Róisín Batty, Communications Assistant
Are you getting your vitamins?
Norwich is one of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in the country, famous for its array of fresh local produce.
Keep your immune system in tip-top condition with a personalised package of fresh fruit and veg delivered straight to your door!
Image: Mike, Debs and Sons Facebook
More of a carnivore? Paul’s Family Butchers is open for deliveries!
Need a bird’s eye perspective on things?
Tip-toe into the nest of Norwich’s resident peregrine falcons to get your nature fix. These rare birds moved in to Norwich Cathedral‘s spire back in 2009 and several generations later, continue to call Norwich their home.
Looking for someone to talk to?
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