Why I Moved To Norfolk: 'I wanted to be an actress or a journalist'

Caroline Culot, marketing manager for Brown&Co, smiling

Caroline Culot, former property editor of the EDP and now marketing manager for Brown&Co - Credit: Caroline Culot

As part of our new series we're asking YOU why you moved to Norfolk - or chose to stay here.

This week, Caroline Culot, marketing manager at Brown&Co, shares her story.

How long have you lived in Norfolk?
When I graduated from Bristol University in the 1990s, Britain was in a recession and graduates really struggled to find jobs. I wanted to be an actress or a journalist and I saw a job instead as a reporter at the Norwich Advertiser and got it. 

Had you ever visited Norfolk before?
Before I moved, I’d only been to Norwich to go shopping with my mum when I was a teenager. I had a very stereotyped image of Norfolk from TV advertising from the 1980s, such as Bernard Matthews’ ‘bootiful’ turkey campaign and Hoseasons holidays on the Broads.

I knew Norwich had a football team as my Dad was (and still is) an Ipswich supporter. My first impression was that the city seemed big and strange to me. I didn’t know it, I didn’t know anyone – so it actually seemed incredibly exciting.

Caroline Culot and Kristian Jones(centre) filming the property show for Mustard TV at Thorpe Hall.

Caroline Culot moved to Norfolk to pursue a career in journalism - Credit: Archant Norfolk

When you moved, did you buy or rent? What was your first Norfolk property like?
I rented a bedsit which probably wouldn’t be legal now. My mum used to ring the telephone box on Aylsham Road once a week (no mobile phones in those days) she was so worried about me.

All the tenants shared the same grotty toilet and bathroom. You pulled out your bed every night which was like a mattress on the floor but it was independence and I loved it. I felt very grown up living on my own and going to work every day.

In the morning I would catch the bus to work or occasionally walk in and I felt like a city slicker. The reality was I was in my early 20s in a jacket and trousers borrowed from my mum as I had no work clothes...

Have you stayed in the first area you moved to, or have you moved again since then?
I have moved a fair bit around Norwich and Norfolk. I rented a large Victorian flat on Earlham Road for many years.

The first house I bought was a walk-in terrace in Caernarvon Road in the Golden Triangle when my son was 2. I loved that little house but we outgrew it so moved to a 1930s semi in Thorpe St Andrew. It had a massive long garden with apple trees and the most magnificent cherry blossom tree. Sadly, I had to sell when I got divorced and then moved to the country in a period farmhouse near Aylsham.

I wake up and look out at the most beautiful views in all seasons. I have space and privacy. I absolutely love it. However, anyone who really knows me understands the city of Norwich is where I really like to be. I could tell the time, day or night, by the traffic noise in the city and it took me a long time to be able to get to sleep in the silence and complete darkness of the country.

Aerial view of Norwich Cathedral located in Norwich, Norfolk, UK

Aerial view of Norwich, which seemed big and exciting after she relocated - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What do you think has changed the most? 
I regard Norfolk as my home. I have worked in property nearly all the time I’ve lived here so I really do understand how it’s evolved and why.

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Norwich has seen a huge change in the way people want to live. When I first moved here, there were very few apartments, only old council-owned flats. I remember the first penthouse that went up for sale for £1m – which was staggering news at the time.

‘Lock-up and leaves’ were just starting to be a trend in the Riverside area and now the city is saturated with apartment developments. But it has enabled Norwich – and Norfolk – to catch up.

With its better shops, road links and infrastructure, Norwich is attracting huge business investment and offers a real proposition for those wanting to live here and commute into the bigger cities. It could never have evolved like that without the change in its housing. 

Earlham Road in Norwich has seen a number of road traffic incidents in recent years. Picture: Neil D

Caroline rented a Victorian flat on Earlham Road and stayed in the Golden Triangle area for a while before moving to Thorpe St Andrew and then the countryside - Credit: Archant

What do you like most about life in Norfolk? 
I’ve invested my life in Norfolk. In return it has given me, and continues to do so, the most wonderful, happy times – on its beaches, on the Broads, exploring the city and meeting some fantastic people who are friends and colleagues. I love the combination of city and country Norfolk offers – you don’t have to choose but really can have the best of both worlds.

What advice would you give to someone looking to relocate here? 
Buy now before the property you’re looking at goes!

If you'd like to share your story, about moving to or staying in Norfolk, email me at rebecca.macnaughton@archant.co.uk