INTO UEA city of Norwich skyline

What is living in Norwich like?

Living in Norwich is the ideal middle-ground between a big, busy metropolis and a small, friendly town. It strikes the perfect balance between the buzz of a student city and the peaceful calm of the countryside.

The city is large enough to host major events, such as the stunning theatrical acts of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, but small enough for you to find hidden gems in its many independent stores and restaurants.

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What is there to do in Norwich?

There's a wealth of fun things to do and see while living in Norwich, so you'll never get bored. You'll find:

  • Historical sites. Norwich Castle was built by the Normans 900 years ago and is now a museum and art gallery.
  • Art galleries. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts holds a world-class collection of artwork and exhibitions.
  • Festivals. Norwich offers a year-round calendar of festivals, including food and drink, literature and music festivals.
  • Markets. Discover one of the largest open-air markets in England, with 200 stalls selling food, crafts and more.
  • Shops. Norwich has two shopping centres, an independent department store and many boutique and vintage shops.
  • Live music venues. You'll find top music acts performing at The Waterfront, run by the UEA Students' Union.
  • Cinemas and theatres. Norwich has four cinemas and six theatres that have a diverse programme of events all year.
  • Natural beauty. Norfolk has 100 miles of coastline and 280 square miles of ‘areas of outstanding natural beauty'.
  • Restaurants and pubs. There's a mix of modern and traditional pubs and restaurants catering to most cuisines.
  • Sporting opportunities. Try sailing, windsurfing and kayaking, or stay on dry land with skiing and snowboarding.

Norwich is rich with history and culture

Norwich was England's second biggest city for more than 700 years. Reminders of its historic past are everywhere, including two cathedrals (one has a 315 foot high spire!), a Norman castle, 659 surviving medieval churches – the highest concentration in Europe – and more than 150 deserted medieval villages in the surrounding county of Norfolk.

The cobbled medieval lanes of old Norwich serve as a counterpoint to the abundance of modern attractions. Alongside iconic architecture spanning 900 years of British history, Norwich is one of the greenest cities in the UK. There are 23 parks, miles of riverside walks, and 150 acres of historic woodland running right into the city centre.

Norwich living costs and transport links

The cost of living in Norwich is 33% cheaper than London (Expatistan – Dec 2018). This is an inexpensive place to live if you're good at budgeting and find the right places to shop. After a few weeks of living in Norwich, you'll begin to know what things cost and how to budget appropriately so that you can keep track of your money.

Here's an estimated monthly budget for the main expenses you'll have, excluding your accommodation and tuition fees. If you've chosen an accommodation option with a meal plan, your estimated monthly food budget will be much lower.

  • Food – £120
  • Entertainment – £100
  • Travel (local) – £18.75
  • Clothes and toiletries – £60
  • Other expenses – £40

Norwich is easy to get around on foot or by cycling, but it also has a frequent bus service that will take you around the city. There are discounted bus passes available for UEA students that you can also purchase as an INTO UEA student.

If you want to explore the UK, it takes just under two hours to get to London by train and an hour and 20 minutes to get to Cambridge. Norwich also has an international airport with regular flights to Manchester, Edinburgh and Amsterdam.

Shopping and entertainment in Norwich

With two modern shopping centres – Chapelfield and Castle Mall – and an independent Jarrold department store, you'll never run out of places to buy the best high street brands. For something a little different, explore the Norwich Lanes – home to creative independent retailers. Here, you'll find an array of boutique shops running through the medieval lanes.

Elm Hill is the most intact medieval street in Norwich and has a range of craft shops and antique markets, while Magdalen Street houses vintage fashion stores, art galleries and second-hand bookshops.

The city has a variety of cinemas, including an Odeon, Vue and Cinema City – an ‘art house' cinema within a Grade I listed building. As well as the latest Hollywood movies and indie films, you can also watch comedy and plays. There are range of theatres, such as the Norwich Playhouse and the Norwich Theatre Royal, that bring you the latest performances.

For live music, most UEA students head over to The Waterfront – a venue ran by the Students' Union. There's always something going on here, whether it's performances from some of the best bands of the moment or a themed dance night.

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