How to Visit Norwich on a budget

Norwich UK: a budget guide to help you save

Norwich may be tucked away in the East of England, but it’s a gem of a city and well worth visiting for the weekend. Much smaller and easier to navigate than most cities, yet still bursting with cultural highlights, free attractions, unique shopping and independent cafes, bars and restaurants, it’s also a vibrant student town.

From getting there on the cheap to affordable accommodation tips, low cost things-to-do and eating out for less, read on for our budget guide to Norwich.

Getting to Norwich on a budget

The cheapest way to get to Norwich from London is via the Megabus which departs Victoria Coach Station and takes three hours. Single journeys cost as little as £5. National Express also has regular coach services.

The train can be costly if you are arriving from London, but reserving tickets well in advance can see you make huge savings. You can get to Norwich by train from the North or West of the UK via Peterborough.

By Air
Norwich also has an airport which connects with a few UK cities including Edinburgh, Exeter and Manchester via the low cost carrier Flybe.

Airplane departing from UK airport

Getting around the city for less

The great thing about Norwich is that for a city, it’s fairly small. Most of the top things-to-do are found in the centre which can be easily navigated on foot.

Parking in the city centre is difficult and pricey; a better option for those staying out of town is to take advantage of one of the many Park & Ride routes. Tickets for Park & Ride are even cheaper after 12pm.

River Yare Bridge in Norwich city centre

Where to stay

Like any city, Norwich is home to a wide choice of accommodation from the budget to the incredibly expensive. Those looking for a room for less should head to the Oaklands or Stracey hotels, both near the city centre with single rooms for well under £50. The Riverside Travelodge is also dependably cheap and a short walk from the centre.

Should you be visiting friends or family who go to UEA you may be able to get a discounted room at the already reasonable Broadview Lodge on campus.

It’s also possible to camp near the city centre at the Whitlingham Broad Campsite (a 35 minute walk from Norwich Station). This is far cheaper than staying in a hotel, plus it gives you access to the Broads National Park as you can hire canoes and kayaks very close to the campsite.

Rowing boats at Filby Bridge on the Norfolk Broads

Free or low-cost attractions

The Forum
The Norwich Forum is found to the northwest of the city centre close to the City Hall and Market Square. Housing a library and exhibition space there’s usually something going on here.

Norwich Castle
Norwich Castle isn’t as expensive as many UK castles, but it’s still over £30 for a family ticket and just over £9 for an adult. However those who arrive up to an hour before closing can take advantage of the Twilight Entry price of £2 per person. With just 60 minutes to look around, be sure to stop in at the Ancient Egyptian and Roman exhibitions.

Plantation Gardens
This gem of an attraction is often overlooked by visitors as it’s located just outside of the city centre, close to the cathedral. That being said, it’s well worth a visit and the £4 entry free makes it quite affordable. These ‘secret’ gardens are a stunning place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre.

Norwich Cathedral
Completely free to enter is the majestic Norwich Cathedral. Wander around the medieval cloisters of this stunning landmark and attempt the labyrinth in the courtyard.

Norwich Cathedral in England

Art Galleries
Norwich is a city that truly does art and you can find many free galleries dotted about the city centre. The best however is arguably the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, which is out of town at the UEA campus. It’s open Tues – Sun year round and entry is free to all.

Green Spaces
Norwich is a proud green city, with over 150 green spaces in and around the main urban area. This includes nature reserves such as the atmospheric Whitlingham Country Park and the very popular and grand Eaton Park, home to a miniature railway, skate park, boat pond, pavilion and bandstand.

Eating out on a budget

One of the most popular places to eat for less in Norwich is to buy a cone of chips at the Market Square from Lucy’s, and enjoy them on the steps opposite the City Hall. That being said you will find numerous more food stalls in the city centre including crepes, hot dogs (made from Norfolk sausages) and Mexican food.

For vegetarians a popular choice is Namaste Indian, which has mid-priced meals but a BYO drink policy (with corkage), that can bring your overall meal price right down).

As always, the city’s three Wetherspoon’s offer a wide range of cheap meals (particularly breakfasts). For a nicer experience walk to the Glasshouse in Tombland or to the Riverside Complex to the Lloyds Inn rather than the more crowded city centre Bell.

Should you download a voucher for a chain restaurant you’ll most probably find it in the Intu Centre where names such as Ask, Café Rouge, Gourmet Burger, Pizza Hut and Giraffe are located.

Food sign outside English pub

Evening Drinks

When it comes to evening time, the easiest way to drink for less is to hit Princes of Wales Road where university students are well served with cheap drinks deals and low entry nightclubs.

If you want to go somewhere a little hipper and more grown-up than the bars and clubs of Prince of Wales Road then head to the north of the centre where you can get a cheap pint in the artsy Playhouse, the traditional Ribs of Beef or the cheerfully named The Mischief.

guys drinking beer in UK pub

Cheap Accommodation in Norwich