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Living in Norwich: The Local Area Guide

Looking for a city that blends history and culture with modern day shops and amenities? In Norwich, you’ll find it all. There are ancient buildings and historic attractions, including Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle, and the many old, ambient churches; as well as brand new shopping malls that boast the best in high street shopping. The city also boasts not one, but two fantastic universities – the University of East Anglia and Norwich University of the Arts, which have further added to the region’s charm and culture.

Here, you can enjoy the many coffee shops, explore the old, cobbled streets, and pick up a unique gift or two at the city’s independent department store, Jarrolds. Established in 1810, the one-of-a-kind department store is one of the region’s best-known and most-loved shops. What's more, The Broads and beautiful Norfolk coastline are just a short drive away – ideal for those days when you want to escape the city.


Norwich’s rich history has had a huge impact on the city’s demographics, impacting the population and the most popular industries worked in. The population was last recorded as 132,512, back in 2011, with residents here being younger than those in other UK cities. In fact, the median age here is just 34, compared to an average of 37. This is likely to be influenced by the city’s university population and students staying on to live in the city after graduation.

While the majority of residents here are of working age, only 43.9% own their property or have a mortgage on their own property – many choosing to rent instead. At the time of the census, the most common accommodation type was a terraced house or bungalow (33%), closely followed by a flat / maisonette / apartment (29%). Additionally, almost a fifth of those in employment are in Professional Occupations, with the biggest industries worked in being Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motor Cycles (17.2%), Human Health and Social Work Activities (13.9%), and Education (11.5%).


Parents won’t struggle to find a good primary school in Norwich. There are a total of 38 to choose from, many rated as “good” or “excellent” by Ofsted. Some of the best primaries in the city include Lionwood Infant and Nursery School, and Heather Avenue Infant School. The Free School is another school rated highly by Ofsted. In 2015, 83% of pupils here achieved KS2 Level 4 and above in reading, writing and maths.

When it comes to further education, there are 13 secondary schools, three further education colleges, and two universities in the city. Some of the best secondary schools include Norwich School and Norwich High School for Girls, both independent Schools, and Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, a maintained secondary school. University choices here include the University of East Anglia and Norwich University of the Arts.


Getting in and around the city is easy. Norwich is served by two major trunk roads, the A11 and A47, which ensure easy access to the nearby cities, and a good internal road network, enabling residents to travel around the city by car. Most major streets also offer separate bicycle lanes, and city transport is available on FirstGroup buses, which service the train station, entertainment area, universities and airport.

For travel further afield, you might like to consider train or plane. Thorpe Station is the region’s main train station, which offers transportation to London in under two hours and Cambridge in an hour. If you’re planning a trip overseas, you’ll find Norwich International Airport located nearby. With connections to over 200 locations worldwide, via Manchester, Edinburgh, or Amsterdam, holidays and business trips are made easy.

Amenities and shopping

Whether you’re looking for groceries, gourmet delights, hot fashion buys, or a good tipple or two, you’ll find it all in Norwich. The city has all your usual big brand supermarkets as well as a Waitrose store, big city malls and fantastic one-of-a-kind pubs. Real ale enthusiasts will particularly like Fat Cat, serving over 25 ales. In fact, it’s the only pub in the UK to twice win the CAMRA National Pub of the Year award.

The city’s best shopping centres include The Castle Mall, and Intu Chapelfield, which opened in 2005. Here, you’ll find all your favourites including Boots, New Look and House of Fraser. For more unique finds, head to Norwich Market or one of the city’s many cobbled streets, home to antiques, tea rooms, and speciality stores.

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