City folk share memories of where they went on first dates

Dancing the night away at the dear old Samson & Hercules. Photo: Norwich 1945 to 1960

Dancing the night away at the dear old Samson & Hercules. Photo: Norwich 1945 to 1960 - Credit: Norwich 1945 to 1960

Romance will soon be in the air as couples take to the city's venues to woo their other-halves on Valentines Day.

Do you remember where you shared your first meal, trip to the cinema, or a night out dancing?

We asked the public for their memories of first dates in Norwich to find out the haunts that people visited for a night of romance.

PeopleThe "Teen Beat Night" at the Samson and Hercules, Norwich. The dances that evening include

The "Teen Beat Night" at the Samson and Hercules, Norwich. The dances that evening included the Limbo Rock, Locomition, Popeye, Hully Gully and The Twist. The fashion of the day included the distinctive "beehive hairstyle and winklepicker shoes". Dated 9th January 1963 . - Credit: Archant

1. Samson and Hercules

Samson and Hercules is a landmark building in Tombland, known for its guard statues that stand either side of its front door.

The building is now owned by a mortgage company from Great Yarmouth but back in the day it was the place to be for the city's movers and shakers.

Norwich - BuildingsA picture of the main dance floor in the Samson and Hercules which had just

A picture of the main dance floor in the Samson and Hercules which had just had a major facelift including new scenery of palm trees and clusters of fairy light. Dated 10 September 1970. - Credit: Archant

In the 1930s the building was renovated into a ballroom and later became Ritzy's nightclub in the 1980s which remained open until 2003.

The dancefloor at the Samson and Hercules building was no doubt witness to many first dates over the years, igniting passions under the twinkling lights of the ballroom. 

The Woolpack, Norwich. Date: April 1968

The Woolpack Inn pictured in 1968 - Credit: Archant

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2. The Woolpack Inn

Several people said that the Woolpack Inn, located in the city centre in Golden Ball Street was their choice of destination for a first date.

The pub is thought to have opened in 1845 and since changed hands several times, including coming under the ownership of Bullards brewery.

Today it is run by Bury St Edmunds Brewery, Greene King, who reopened the pub following a refurbishment in 2018. 

 STER CENTURY, CASTLE MALL.

Ster Century Cinema in Castle Mall, Norwich - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

3. Ster Century Cinema

Ster Century Cinema was another popular destination for courting couples.

3OF3 Ster Century cinemas cheap ticket price advertisment, on view to the public edp 9/8/01

3OF3 Ster Century cinemas cheap ticket price advertisment, on view to the public edp 9/8/01 - Credit: EDP © 2001

The chance to see any film on the big screen for £3.50 made it a cheap date as well and the surrounding entertainment venues in Castle Mall meant there was lots to do after the film came to an end.

CAPTION; Photos of Ster Century in the Castle Mall in Norwich.PHOTO; Matthew UsherCOPY; NORWICH

CAPTION; Photos of Ster Century in the Castle Mall in Norwich. PHOTO; Matthew Usher COPY; NORWICH OFFICE FOR; EDP NEWS COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2005 TEL; (01603) 772434

 Ster Century later became Vue after the company sold its assets in 2005, and it remains open to movie-goers today.

Namco Funscape advertiser's announcement.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Namco Funscape advertiser's announcement. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

4. Namco Funscape

Namco Funscape is a bowling alley and entertainment destination in Bowthorpe. 

Namco Funscape advertiser's announcement.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Namco Funscape advertiser's announcement. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

It is easy to see why this would make a first date destination, offering lots of opportunity for wholesome fun for couples in their honeymoon phase.

Norwich Buildings -- AABC Cinema exterior. The Regent as it was formerly known opened in 1923. I

Norwich Buildings -- A ABC Cinema exterior. The Regent as it was formerly known opened in 1923. In 1973 it was split into a multi-screen cimema and changed its name to the ABC and in 1987 the named changed again this time to the Cannon. On October 29th 2000 the cinema was closed and there are plans (2003) to turn it into a nightclub Dated -- Not dated Photograph -- C5592 - Credit: Archant

5. ABC Cinema

The ABC Cinema originally opened as the Regent Cinema in 1923 but later became the ABC Cinema in the 1960s.

Many couples in the city would have ventured here to catch the latest cinema flick in the early days of a relationship, and a number of people said this was where they went on their first date.

The historic cinema closed in the early-2000s, becoming the Mercy nightclub until its closure in 2018.