Thursday, 10 May 2018

Christmas In Norwich, Norfolk With A Visit To The Cathedral

We had a couple of days in Norwich to get in some Christmas shopping and also to see the Christmas lights.  Norwich is such a lovely city, there are lots of streets, large and small, lined with large shopping chains, right down to independent boutiques for you to browse around.  You are never to far away from a cafe or restaurant to have a rest and people watch.  There is also plenty of history dotted around the city to keep your interest as well.

As it was quite a clear bright start to our day, we walked up to the gardens surrounding the castle to get a glimpse of the skyline, even from here you can see buildings representing many different ages.

Some of the Christmas decorations in the newest indoor shopping centre, intu Chapelfield which was opened in 2005.

In contrast, later we were standing in the courtyard of Strangers Hall, the oldest parts of the building date back to the fourteenth century, with later additions of the years.  It has had many uses but is most known as the residence for many of Norwich's Lord Mayors, the first one back in 1340.  Today it is a Museum showcasing domestic history.

A couple of the shop windows that caught my eye are shown here, this music shop had some very unusual guitars for sale, not sure I have seen anything like them before.

This beautiful window was at Berrys and Grey, designer furnishings, soft furnishings and finishing touches.

and of course, sweet shops, especially traditional ones always look colorful this time of year.

This is one of the classic views of the center Norwich the market place with its colorful market stall roofs.  The market is one of the oldest , it dates back to 1066 after the Norman Conquest, and is one of the largest outdoor markets in the country.  The whole market area was remodelled in the 1930's and at this moment in time it has 189 stalls trading Monday to Saturday and a handful on Sunday.

After spending the day wandering around the town we stopped off for some food, I really liked the lights twinkling in the darkness.

Fed and watered we headed back to the market place to see the Christmas lights.  Here we are standing in front of City Hall which stands above the market place, with the Castle standing above everything in the distance.

Norwich is very much a city of contrast with periods of architecture standing side by side, this shot is a typical example.

We are standing in St Peters Street, to our right just coming into shot is City Hall, an art deco building, completed in 1938.

Next to it is The Forum, completed in October 2001, it is an impressive glass building, housing Norwich Library, the local Tourist Information Office, and BBC East's offices and studios.

Standing tall and proud looking over both of these buildings is the parish church of St Peter Mancroft, built for the Norman Colony.  There are records showing it being rebuilt in 1430.  It is one of 32 surviving medieval churches around the city of Norwich.

One of the Christmas lights highlights was the Tunnel of Lights, which made its first appearance last year.  The 47 feet long tunnel and its 50,000 LED bulbs, has a light display programmed in that not only changes the colour of the lights but also the display.  It certainly is stunning and feels quite surreal when you are standing inside.

I have to say that overall I was quite disappointed with the lights around the town.  Yes the Tunnel Of Lights was impressive and so too the projection on the side of the Castle which we are coming too, but as for the rest of the town apart from a few lights strung across the walkways and in the trees and the department stores Jarrolds looking as I would expect most stores too, there was very little else.

This impressive building standing in front of us and to the side of the Market Place and St Giles Street is the Guildhall.  It was built between 1407 and 1413 and has some lovely chequered flint work making it stand out.

As I mentioned earlier, Jarrolds never fails to disappoint, not only to they have an impressive building on the corner of the market place, but they certainly know how to dress it up at Christmas, it almost looks like it has been iced.

I took these photos of the projections on the side of the Castle while we were waiting at the bus stop for the Park and Ride Bus.

Now all the years we have been coming to Norwich we have never visited the Cathedral so on a very sunny afternoon we decided to put this right.

Norwich was not the first choice for a centre of worship back in 1070 when William the Conqueror replaced the Saxon bishop of East Anglia with a Norman, who transferred the See of East Anglia to Thetford.  However in 1904-5 the bishop Herbert de Losinga, who had already failed to gain control of the great Abbey at Bury St Edmunds, moved the See to Norwich., which was the largest town in East Anglia and proceeded to build the Cathedral and Priory in 1096.

Here we are looking at the Erpingham Gate, which leads into Cathedral Close.  This gate was built soon after 1424, for entry to the Cathedral Close which was a monastic precinct.  Today many of the buildings are either private homes or offices.  This gate was given to the Cathedral by Sir Thomas Erpingham a Norfolk Knight, who is best known for being the commander of Henry V's longbow army in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

Looking across part of the Cathedral Close at some of the lovely buildings with the Cathedral looming over the top, this close is the largest of all the Cathedral Close's in England.  The statue that you can see in the foreground is of The Duke Of Wellington.  This statue was originally erected in Gentlemen's Walk in Norwich Market in 1854 and then moved to its current location in 1937.

The Cathedrals full title is The Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity.  We are now inside the Cathedral and if I thought the outside was impressive, the interior is stunning, and huge.  We are looking down the centre of the Nave, with its Romanesque structure and Gothic vault, dwarfing the pulpit and the alter at the end.

One of the many beautiful, colourful, stained glass windows, full of story.  The stone work elements of this window date back to the early 15th Century, however the stained glass was designed and made in 1854, after the original was destroyed and replaced with plain glass following the Reformation.  The window was restored on 1995 to bring back the vibrant colours.

One of many stone coffins you can see around the Cathedral.

This stained glass window depicting a Crusader Knight in the center, with soldiers from the First World War on the left, and the Second World War on the right, has an inscription in the bottom corner.  It reads: 'Erected by the Officers of the Kings Own Royal  Regiment Norfolk Yeomanry in memory of fallen comrades of all ranks 1914 - 1918.'

This stained glass window dates back to 1918 and the 'is dedicated by the 7th Princes Royals, Dragoon Guards, to the glory of god and in affectionate remembrance of their comrades who lost their lives in the service of their King and Country during the Great War 1914 - 1918.'

Whilst we were in the Cathedral a short reading was read together with the Lords Prayer at 11am.

We are now standing in the Presbytery the crowning space of the Cathedral, with all the focus on the High Alter.  Behind the High Alter you can just make out the bishop's throne.  The flower arrangement on the floor in front is placed onto of the tomb of Herbert de Losinga, how founded the Cathedral in 1096.

This area is The Choir and is lined with 15th Century oak stalls containing misericords (leaning-seats to support the monks during long services).  The church organ is perched high above everybody's heads and you actually walk under it.

Here we are in St Saviour's Chapel with a door on the right leading to the grave of Nurse Edith Cavell.  The Chapel was built in the 1930's as a memorial to those who died in the First World War.

Nurse Edith Cavell was born in Swardeston near Norwich, and was the pioneer of professional nursing training in Belgium before the First World War.  She was executed by the German authorities in 1915 for helping Allied soldiers escape to neutral territory from behind enemy lines.

One of the benefits of having a long lens on your camera is being able to capture a moment in time from a very discreet distance.  Here we are witnessing a service being held in Jesus Chapel, the service is Holy Communion (BCP), BCP meaning using the Book Of Common Prayer 1662, which is no longer used in most churches.

Here we have climbed up the narrow staircase to the Reliquary Chapel where relics of beloved Saints would have been kept and displayed, you can still see the medieval wall and ceiling paintings dating to around 1278.  Today this room is used as the Treasury, displaying gold and silver communion vessels from many parish churches.

Here we can clearly see the tomb of Herbert de Losinga, whom I mentioned earlier, who was the founder of the Cathedral in 1096.

Here we are walking along part of The Cloisters, which were passageways that linked the different parts of the Monastery and would have been used by the monks during their daily duties.  They overlook the green that dominates the area between the Monastery buildings and the Cathedral.

The view of the Cathedral from The Cloisters and across the green, it certainly is one very impressive building.

Useful websites for more information:

intu Chapelfield Mall -

Norwich Cathedral -

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Boat Trip Along The Broads From Wroxham

Last summer we took a two hour cruise along the Broads at Wroxham, with the Broads Tours, the trip departed from Wroxham sailing into Salhouse Broad and onto Horning Reach before the return journey

The Vintage Broadsman is one of the boats that cruise up and down the Broads.  It was launched in 1988 and has some lovely patterns and lines, which really stands out against the blue sky.

This is the boat we took our cruise on, Queen of the Broads, launched in 1977.  Originally a single deck passenger craft, an upper deck was added in 2002, and can now carry 120 passengers.

These are some of the self-drive day boats and holiday cruisers that can be hired through Broads Tours.

I have a love of the different types of weathervanes that you come across stretching up to the sky, this one is no exception.  This one looks like a Viking Ship of some description.

During the cruise the Captain gave a running commentary of some of the items of interest, along this stretch of water it was the stunning properties and how much some of them are on the market for.  A lot of them were thatched, which I guess is not surprising when you consider that a lot of the raw material used in thatching would have grown around here.

The gardens surrounding the properties were equally as stunning as the properties themselves.

This was a busy stretch of water with the sailing club being put through there paces, cutting through the glistening water.

I have to say that I was surprised at how little you could see along the route, considering we were on the Broads which is pretty flat, the views were blocked out with some quite dense areas of trees and vegetation.

There were several fishermen about, although not the quietest stretch of water for a bit of peaceful fishing.

I always think looking down at the ripples in the crystal clear water with the sun shining on it looks like an oil painting.

One of the old Windmills along this stretch of water that still remain standing, its new role is a holiday let with lots of character and a beautiful location.

Coming towards us was the Sky Lark 982X, a Farrington 30 river cruiser, a traditional Broadland yacht (gunter rig), built in 2015.

Even cruising down the broads you can find an ice cream seller,   Aldous Ice Cream was founded in 1921 in Norwich and has been serving ice cream every since.

This Heron had found a lovely spot to stand watching the world go by in the afternoon sunshine.

This one had found an even better place to patiently wait, in the hope of getting a free meal.  I wonder if the couple knew it was there?

If you get the chance put one of these trips on your list, a lovely relaxing trip.

Useful websites: