Best walks in Norwich
The city of Norwich is one of the most varied in the UK with a mix of ancient historical buildings, industrial heritage, and modern architecture.
It’s the perfect place for walkers as it has a very compact centre with pedestrianised streets and alleys that are riddled with nooks and crannies, ripe for exploration. You can take it at your own pace – stop for a coffee, linger a while at a medieval church and maybe even peek inside.
Once you have walked on some of these stunning routes, you'll understand why Norfolk’s largest settlement is loved by so many. You can improvise on these walking routes, change them up and riff on them as you please, but a little planning ahead never goes amiss so without further ado, here is our list of the best walks in Norwich.
1. The Plantation Gardens walk
This is a little treasure tucked away near the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Norwich. A Gothic fountain, a Medieval wall, a rustic bridge, magical woodland walkways, and beautiful lawns are all found in this Grade II English Heritage registered garden. As soon as you walk into Plantation Gardens you can sense the sheer magnitude of the rich history it has been part of.
The gardens are one of the best places for walking in Norwich. Great photo opportunities lie at every corner, while the volunteers who run the place are a wealth of knowledge and will be proud to talk you through the project.
2. The UEA lake walk
This lovely walk around the famous university lake is around a mile long but some stretches can get a bit muddy after heavy rain meaning it can be a little difficult for pushchairs in adverse conditions. There are lots of places to stop and sit as well as picnic benches and BBQ stands. Dogs will love this walk and the bridge around halfway is one of the best places you’ll find for a game of pooh sticks. You can also walk on to the Red Lion or Cellar House to make this spot of exercise into a pub walk!
3. Norwich City Walls walk
Norwich’s medieval walls were built in just a few decades during the early 14th century, at that time they were the longest circuit of urban defences in Britain with 12 gates, and 40 towers. While the impressive city gates were demolished at the end of the 18th century to make room for increasing traffic on the road, you can still see impressive stretches of the walls and it is possible to trace the entire route around the city.
The total loop is around 4 miles long and you can start and finish at any convenient point – such as the bus station or railway station, both of which are close to the wall route. The walk will take you alongside the tranquil riverside path, through Chapelfield Gardens, and past well-preserved medieval towers. This walk is unmissable for history buffs!
4. Norwich Bridges and Churches Trail
This 4.5 mile loop trail offers scenic views and is suitable for all levels of walker. The walk follows mainly well-made paths and pavements, though there are several flights of stairs. The total walking time is around 2.5 to 3 hours making it an intermediate walk.
The first half of the walk follows the banks of the River Wensum, criss-crossing back and forth via the numerous bridges - the oldest of which back to around 1340. The return leg takes you through the ancient centre of Norwich where you'll glimpse the old city walls, the castle and the numerous churches. Norwich’s bustling centre is also full of places for refreshment so be sure to stop off for a tipple should you be in need!
5. The Norwich Lanes to Cathedral Quarter
Starting in Upper St Giles, this excellent route is under a mile in length but will take ramblers past the much-photographed pink house, many blue plaques, and the old Eastern Electricity Building which is hand-painted with the entire novel of Utopia by Sir Thomas More. There is also the chance to see a tiny sliced-off 15th century Tudor house that was the former carriage entrance to the Sheriff of Norwich’s home, and even a mysterious computer keyboard embedded in concrete!
The stretch of the walk down Elm Hill, a popular filming location, is particularly memorable and it’s easy to imagine you’re in another time as you stroll down this medieval street. The home straight takes walkers down to Fye bridge where a picturesque view across the quayside can be admired, before the route loops back to the Cathedral to complete one of the finest Norwich walks.