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Located in the heart of the English countryside, Norwich has often been described as a laidback city with a medieval character. Historical and cultural attractions are indeed the main sights in town. Beautiful religious structures as well as an old castle and city walls are often what impress visitors to this Norfolk city. Navigating the city on foot is easy and practical, but you can also cycle around this bike-friendly town. For trips out into the scenic and quiet areas of the county, however, hiring a car is the best option.
Who to Book With
Norwich is the county town of Norfolk, so many car rental companies have their offices here. Those who like to plan ahead can check online rates for the car hire companies in the county. They include Norwich Car Hire and First Self Drive, both of which are found along Paddock Street. Norwich Airport, located north of downtown, is home to international car hire firms such as Europcar and Hertz.
Best Time to Go
Its closeness to the east coast of the British Isles lends Norwich, and the rest of Norfolk County, a milder climate than most areas of England. Rainfall average throughout the year is low, which means a high chance of seeing the sun during your vacation here. Summer and spring are great times of the year to visit, with average daytime highs ranging from 15°C to 21°C.
Need to Know Essentials
When heading to the car rental company to retrieve your vehicle, you must bring these documents:
- A print-out of the booking
- The renter’s credit card
- The UK driving licence of the renter (or his/her International Driving Permit)
- Photo ID
Being the county town means that Norwich is also the transport hub of Norfolk. Highways head to Norwich from major cities in England. The M11 motorway from London runs north to Cambridge, and from there, drivers can take the A11 northeast to Norwich. Park-and-Ride sites near Norwich provide 4,912 parking spaces outside of town. This effectively frees up traffic within Norwich, making for a pleasant vacation for drivers and pedestrians alike. Other parking spots can be found in multi-storey car parks or on the street.
Two transports hubs can be found in Norwich, which itself is considered the transport hub of Norfolk County. The Norwich Railway Station and the Surrey Street Bus Terminal boast local, regional and long-distance connections. Train and bus services for the London are frequent, and cabs can be hired by phone for shorter journeys.
National Express East Anglia operates trains to Norwich Railway Station, conveniently located near the city centre. From London, trains leave frequently with up to 35 services daily. The trip only takes two hours and passes through either Ipswich or Colchester. Trains also run west to cities towards Cambridge and Peterborough.
Many companies in Norwich provide taxi and private coach services for people travelling around Norfolk County and heading out to the rest of the UK. The following are just some of the companies operating here: Five Star Taxis, ABC Taxis and A2B Taxi. All these companies can be contacted via the phone and sometimes on their websites.
Surrey Street Bus Station is the main bus terminal for Norwich. National Express runs services to London, and there are routes specifically for travellers heading directly to any one of the many airports of London. Local and regional buses also terminate at Surrey Street, providing services to the many towns around Norwich.
When done exploring the many important sites within Norwich, curious travellers can head out to the many scenic destinations within an hour’s drive of the city. Norwich is, after all, surrounded by the wide plains, rivers, lakes and streams of Norfolk County. There are many opportunities to do some hiking or boating, while less energetic holidaymakers can simply go out into the country and have themselves a lovely picnic.
The Broads - These cover both the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, and is a protected area of rivers, streams and lakes. They offer visitors the chance to engage in outdoor activities such as boating, kayaking and punting. Picturesque water mills, which abound here, make for great photography subjects too.
King’s Lynn - Reachable by driving west from Norwich. This is a great daytrip thanks to the myriad historical sites in this medieval town. These sites include the St Margaret's Church, Red Mount Chapel, Greyfriars Tower, the Guildhalls, the Custom House and the old town.
Great Yarmouth - This is a popular seaside destination immediately east of Norwich. Aside from the beach and the boardwalk, anther tourist draw here is the Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, a theme park that does not charge for entry.