'You can feel the energy' - buzz in the air as city campaign begins

Gentlemans Walk, Norwich city centre.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Gentlemans Walk, Norwich city centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Make the most of summer in Norwich - that's the message from city businesses preparing for a busy few months and hoping for a return to normality.

We have today launched our Summer in the City campaign, ahead of what is set to be an exciting period in Norwich, with events and exhibitions lined up and businesses working hard for their comeback. 

Our Summer in the City campaign encourages people to make the most of all Norwich has to offer this summer.

Our Summer in the City campaign encourages people to make the most of all Norwich has to offer this summer. - Credit: Archant

We're encouraging people to make the most of what's on their doorstep - from the historic pubs to vibrant market, independent shops and array of events.

Christian Motta, co-owner of Grosvenor Fish Bar on Lower Goat Lane, is among those gearing up for a new chapter, with the venue's restaurant set to reopen on Monday as part of step three of the government roadmap. 

Christian Motta, co owner at the Grosvenor Fish Bar, doing well on deliveries and serving at the doo

Christian Motta, co-owner at the Grosvenor Fish Bar - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Mr Motta said: "We are hopeful the numbers will go up to what they were before the pandemic for sure.

"Once all the restrictions have gone, we will get back to some sort of normality so we are certainly hoping for a big summer." 

The summer months, alongside Christmas, are traditionally the busiest time of the year for the fish and chip shop.

Norwich Market looking colourful in the summer sun.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Market looking colourful in the summer sun.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Mr Motta added: "We get people from all around the country and there should be a lot more because people have been stuck at home for so long." 

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Clive Harvey, who runs the Gothic House Bed and Breakfast on Magdalen Street, is expecting bookings from across the country for those interested in visiting the grade II-listed building, which is believed to have been built in the early 1800s. 

He said: "When you go out in the city you can feel there is an energy. I keep thinking of song titles like Something in the Air or Westside Story. 

"Something is coming, something good. You can just feel it when you walk in the city. There is a different buzz and everyone is feeling great because, quite frankly, it is nice when it has been so quiet, dead and depressing until now due to lockdowns." 

Lou Wilding, landlady of The Reindeer on Dereham Road, believes more people will be coming to the pub's outdoor gardens in the summer months. 

The mural on the side of The Reindeer pub on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The mural on the side of The Reindeer pub on Dereham Road in Norwich. - Credit: Danielle Booden

She said: "A lot of people have been saying 'wow I did not know this was here' so I think our garden will be busier than usual. 

"Norwich is a really lovely city and people will visit. I think people will stay closer to home and not travel abroad as much. We are just at the end of Norwich Lanes so we hope if people are exploring the city, they will come and find us." 

Events to look forward to

Norwich Castle has two summer exhibitions lined up featuring scenes from local artists. 

The first is A Passion for Landscape: Rediscovering John Crome, a celebration of one of Britain’s most important landscape painters on the bicentenary of his death.

The second is Somewhere Unexpected: Norwich Castle Open Art Show, presenting 38 artists from across East Anglia including painting, print, photography, sculpture and film.

There will be a huge dinosaur-themed celebration with Dippy on Tour being at Norwich Cathedral from July 13 to October 30. 

This is in addition to Break's GoGoDiscover trail, which will see 20 giant hand-painted and individually designed T-Rex sculptures placed across the city. 

Peter Marron from Break with a T-Rex GoGoDiscover sculpture ahead of the Norwich trail this summer

Peter Marron from Break with a T-Rex GoGoDiscover sculpture - Credit: Mark Benfield

Meanwhile, Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) will be running a City Food Trail from July 12 to August 22, where participating restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs will offer themed dishes, special offers and children's activities.

Live performance is also big in the summer's cultural calendar, with the Plantation Gardens bringing back its Sunday afternoon teas as well as a programme of entertainment, cinema and live theatre performance.

Norwich Cathedral presents Shakespeare in the Cloister between July 9 to 10, while Norwich Theatre welcomes back its big-top circus tent from July 14 to August 30, called Interlude in the Close.

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' presented by The Lord Chamber

A previous Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral - Credit: Photograph: Norwich Cathedral / Bill Smith

A Continental Circus Berlin will also be at the Showground from May 28 to June 6.

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival has the green light from May 17 to 30, and the Sausage and Cider Festival is coming to Norwich for the first time in July. 

And Chapelfield Gardens will host Laugh in the Park, which features a jam-packed programme of top comedians each night from July 29 to August 1.

'We’ve all got a lot of time to make up for'

Norwich BID is sponsoring the Summer in the City campaign, with Melanie Cook, PR and marketing manager at Visit Norwich, looking forward to a "thrilling" summer with so much planned in the city.

She said: "As we come out of lockdown it’s essential for people visiting Norwich to trust everyone has been working hard to keep each other safe so we can enjoy ourselves to the full."

With many hospitality venues and attractions requiring pre-booking, and capacity being reduced, there will be comfortable room for those visiting, she said.

Norwich City Centre on Sunday

Norwich city centre in the sunshine - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mrs Cook added: "Many have increased the size of their al fresco dining which adds to the continental atmosphere on Norwich streets alongside a strong sense of inclusivity between events, shopping, sightseeing and general appreciation of the city.

"Yet spontaneous trips are still very much on the agenda with some free city events not requiring tickets and plenty of green spaces to enjoy impromptu picnics."

Now is the right time to celebrate Norwich

A busy summer is in store for Summer in the City sponsor Chantry Place, which has been working on community projects in addition to its retail, leisure and dining offer. 

Its new rainbow feature has been greeting visitors as well as raising funds for the NHS.

The rainbow which is raising funds for the NHS at the Chantry Place centre in Norwich 

The rainbow which is raising funds for the NHS at the Chantry Place centre in Norwich - Credit: Chantry Place

And the centre is also a presenting partner of the GoGoDiscover T-Rex trail this summer, with its sculpture being the first to be revealed this morning. 

Paul McCarthy, general manager at Chantry Place, said: "With everything opening up again, now is the right time to celebrate Norwich and all it has to offer, both for residents of the city and the county, and the many tourists who choose East Anglia to visit on mini breaks or for their main holidays.

"That’s why we are delighted to be working with Archant on Summer in the City to encourage people to return and enjoy Norwich with confidence."

Chantry Place in Norwich is preparing for a big summer

Chantry Place in Norwich is preparing for a big summer - Credit: Chantry Place

Mr McCarthy added: "As more of us express the increased confidence we feel by enjoying the things we have always loved, those visits will enable all the homegrown, national and international brands we have here to rebuild and so continue to play our part in the wonderful city that is Norwich.”

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