SHOPPING: Indulge in a different shopping experience

Emma HarrowingIf you take a break from the high street this weekend and spend the day pottering around the cobbled streets in the city instead and you could discover that Norwich has a lot more to offer.Emma Harrowing

If you take a break from the high street this weekend and spend the day pottering around the cobbled streets in the city instead and you could discover that Norwich has a lot more to offer. EMMA HARROWING takes a look at what is on offer on two of the streets in Norwich Lanes.

Norwich Lanes is the ideal place to spend the day shopping and relaxing. The array of unique and independent shops, cafes and bars in the city's historic quarter gives you the opportunity to find something just that little bit different to the mainstream shops. Set against the backdrop of some of Norwich's beautiful architecture you can spend the day shopping and taking in a bit of culture at the same time.

Bedford Street and Bridewell Alley are at the heart of Norwich Lanes. On just these two streets you can spend a day shopping for the latest fashions, getting a makeover, finding unique and locally produced gifts for friends and family (perfect for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day), learning how to improve your fitness levels, enjoying a traditional afternoon tea, getting advice on how to save money on your next holiday and relaxing with a pint of locally brewed ale at the end of the day.

To get you started here is our guide to how you can spend your day.

Have a relaxing breakfast at The Pantry restaurant in Jarrold

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Start your day with a nutritious and satisfying breakfast at The Pantry on the third floor in Jarrold. Since the local department store's restaurant revamp last year there is more emphasis on providing meals and snacks made from top quality ingredients which are sourced locally wherever possible.

The full English breakfast, served until 11am, is definitely a highlight. Or why don't you have one of Jarrold's legendary scones for a lighter option?

Have a makeover

While you are in Jarrold it's worth making an appointment with personal shopper Judy Chapman. She can show you how to look great by choosing clothes and accessories that suit your colouring and body shape. You can then browse the many concessions in store from White Stuff to Jaegar.

Alternatively you can book a Pampering Experience day at Jarrold and spend the entire day getting style and beauty advice. The day includes a personal skin care consultation and makeup in the Beauty Room, a Mini-Cure hand and nail treatment in NailSpa, a personal shopping experience and a �10 gift voucher to spend in store. Morning coffee, afternoon tea and lunch are also part of the day.

The Pampering Experience day costs �50 and can be booked by calling 01603 697215.

Shop for your style

Now that you know what styles and colours suit you why not spend a couple of hours perusing the fashion boutiques and treat yourself to a new outfit?

As well as Jarrold, Bedford Street and Bridewell Alley offers a collection of stylish boutiques such as Long Tall Sally for those who are tall, Nola for those who like to wear clothes that are stylishly practical, Lady Luck for those who like to add individual style to their look and for the men there is Chadds for the traditional and designer label wearing guy and Dogfish for the man who wants to dress in the latest trends.

Have lunch at Karma Kafe

Head to the newest caf� bar on Bedford Street for a relaxing lunch and rest those tired feet. With comfy chairs and sofas and a chilled out atmosphere Karma Kafe is a great place to meet up with friends for a coffee or lunch and a glass of wine.

The food is very basic but very good. Make your own sandwich or jacket potato by choosing from a range of fillings, or try one of Karma's burgers.

Top tip: You can get each of the above meals with a drink for �6.95 as part of a meal deal, a saving of up to �4.

Find gifts for loved ones

With Valentine's Day and Mother's Day on the gift-buying horizon head to Aurum just across the way from Karma Kafe on Bedford Street and treat your loved ones to a piece of jewellery. The friendly shop has a modern collection of bracelets, rings, necklaces including its stylish Ag Silver range and the popular Troll Beads, which enable you to make your own bracelet out of silver and glass beads. Buy a chain and start them off with one of the many beads available in store (Aurum can also buy in other beads from the brochure which you can look through in store).

Aurum is soon to launch its Spring and Summer Ag Silver range including the new Indi collection which includes pretty floral designs.

For more gift ideas go to The Granary on Bedford Street and browse through the colourful and modern kitchen gadgets and home accessories and furniture. You can also get a great card and designer gift wrap.

Or head to Oxfam a few doors down and peruse the second hand books and music.

If you are looking to arrange a surprise dinner for Valentine's Day or Mother's Day take a walk down to Bags of Fun on Bridewell Alley as they have a range of balloons, streamers, banners and table confetti that will add a sense of occasion to your meal.

Have a traditional afternoon tea

If you are in the city on a Wednesday celebrate one of the most British of traditions in style with one of the best cream teas in Norwich. Every Wednesday afternoon from 3.30pm Caf� Benjamin in Jarrold serves a delicious traditional tea which includes a selection of sandwiches and blinis, mini brioche, individual handmade pastries, mini scones with clotted cream and jam and a pot of tea or your choice of coffee. Afternoon tea costs �12.50 per person and it's best to book in advance. Call 01603 660661 ext. 269.

Book a holiday

Beat the winter blues by booking your summer holiday now. Fred Olsen Travel is situated in Jarrold's book department on the ground floor and is a good place to get independent holiday advice. The travel advisors work with a wide range of companies such as Inghams, Sandals, Thomas Cook Signature, Virgin Holidays and many cruise companies to get you the best deal for your budget.

Fred. Olsen Travel also specialise in tailor-made holidays to match your exact requirements, so you get what you want, when you want it and for the exact length of time.

Get fit and lose weight ready for summer

Do you want to lose weight and/or improve your fitness levels? If you do there is a guy you should go and see. Spencer Jackson is a qualified conditioning coach, personal trainer, sports therapist and sports nutritionist and runs Heroes Fitness on Bridewell Alley. With 20 years experience in the fitness industry, Spencer can give you advice on how to get trim and fit for summer.

Says Spencer: 'Anybody wanting my professional experienced fitness advice can do so by coming in store.

'What I am interested in at the moment is core stability training and its amazing effect on increasing muscle tone, fat loss and helping people increase their sporting ability and improving their everyday fitness.'

Heroes stock a range of core stability equipment such as gym balls and wobble board, sports supplements, boxing, martial arts, fat loss, running, cycling and rugby equipment and lots more.

End the day with a relaxing drink

The drinks menu at Frank's Bar on Bedford Street is definitely worth a look. Whether you are want a particular gin with tonic, a local ale or an organic, fairtrade coffee, take the weight off your feet, peruse the drinks menu and tell the friendly staff what you would like from the comfort of your table.

The bar has been run by James and his cousin Ella since April 2008 and since it's opening the quirky bar has gathered quite a following of loyal locals.

If you are feeling peckish after a day's shopping the bar's main menu is available until 10pm from Tuesday to Saturday (the bar is closed on Mondays). The majority of dishes on the menu are made from local ingredients such as Brancaster mussels and meat from Attleborough and Peasenhall.

Sunday is one of the best days to go to Franks. Not only do they serve a breakfast menu from 11am until 6pm, the bar also shows an afternoon film at 4.30pm in the back room. Currently Frank's is running a New York, New York themed series of films such as Moonstruck, Ghost Town and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Alternatively pop into The Whiskey Shop on Bridewell Alley and choose from hundreds of different whiskeys to take home with you. The shop also let's you try before you buy so that you can find a whiskey to suit your taste.