Things to do in Norwich for students

19 October 2023

Things to Do for Students in Norwich

Norwich is a gem of a city nestled in the heart of East Anglia. Its rich history and fresh, youthful vibe make it a great place to spend your student years.

Are you wondering, “Is Norwich a good place for students?” or “How do I spend a day in Norwich?” Whether you’re about to start your university journey or visiting a friend, this guide will provide plenty of ideas for fantastic student experiences in Norwich.

Free Things to Do as a Student in Norwich

The Forum

More than just a library, The Forum is a hub of activity. With free WiFi and cosy spots, it’s also a favourite hangout for students. Whether it’s the free exhibitions, film screenings, or just lounging in its spacious atrium, you’re sure to find something that interests you. Find out what’s on at the Forum.

Norwich Cathedral

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the majestic atmosphere of this historic building. A fine example of Romanesque architecture, Norwich Cathedral is a serene space to reflect, meditate, or simply marvel at the intricate stonework. Wander around its grounds, witness the beautiful architecture, and perhaps attend one of the free organ recitals. Find out more about Norwich Cathedral. 

norwich cathedral

Walk along the River Wensum

The scenic river flows through Norwich, providing a peaceful backdrop for strolls. As you amble along, you’ll come across various historical landmarks and possibly some local wildlife. Discover Pull’s Ferry, Cow Tower, and the picturesque riverside pubs, perfect for some Instagram-worthy shots. Find out more about Pulls Ferry

Attend UEA’s free lectures

The University of East Anglia frequently offers free public lectures. This is a golden opportunity for students to gain knowledge outside their specific field of study. They also provide a fantastic networking opportunity. Find public events at UEA here

Elm Hill

A historic cobbled lane, Elm Hill boasts beautiful buildings and is a treat to wander through. As a student, you’ll appreciate the artsy vibes and boutique shops lining this iconic street. Find out more about Elm Hill here

Nature and green spaces

Beyond urban delights, Norwich offers a choice of open, free and green spaces. Eaton Park with its sprawling 80 acres is perfect for sports enthusiasts. Wensum Park, with its beautiful river views, is an idyllic spot for relaxation. Then there’s Heigham Park, which is a testament to the 1920s garden design.

Fun Things to Do as a Student in Norwich

Norwich Lanes

Explore this quirky part of the city, laden with independent shops, cafes, bars, and vibrant street art, theatre and events. It’s a perfect spot for students to unwind and discover unique finds. Dive into this maze of narrow alleys filled with artisan cafes, independent boutiques, and graffiti art. A perfect spot to hang out, shop, or grab a bite. Find more about what you’ll find in Norwich Lanes

Norwich Lanes

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Located on the UEA campus, this art centre offers a wide array of contemporary and world art. Enjoy the outdoor sculpture park (its free!) or immerse yourself in the indoor exhibitions and events, many of which operate on a ‘Pay If and What You Can’ basis. There’s even a café packed with tasty treats. Find out more about the Sainsbury Centre.

Riverside Entertainment

A popular student haunt, this venue offers an enticing mix of food, drink and entertainment. Need a break from studying? Challenge your friends to a bowling match, bounce away at the trampolining park, catch a film or engage in a friendly game of pool. Find out more 

Castle Quarter

Previously known as Castle Mall, this shopping centre has been revamped to include not only retail stores but also entertainment options like bowling, battle bar and virtual reality experience, together with a wide range of places to eat. Fancy some shopping or catching the latest movie? Castle Quarter has it all, and its location in the city centre makes it a favourite spot for students. Discover the Castle Quarter

The Plantation Garden

A Victorian-era garden located close to the city centre. It’s an oasis of calm and beauty, making it perfect for a sunny afternoon stroll or a picnic with friends. Whilst not free, entry is only £2 to an honesty box. Discover the secret garden of Norwich

Norwich: A Culinary Delight for Students

You can’t talk about Norwich without mentioning its eclectic food scene. From vegan delicacies at The Tipsy Vegan to the best fish and chips at the Grovenor Fish Bar, there’s something for every palate. Don’t forget the Norwich Market, which is a smorgasbord of culinary delights, with stalls serving everything from Spanish paellas to traditional hog roasts.

Here are a few more of our favourites:

The Bicycle Shop: No, you don’t buy bicycles here! It’s a quirky eatery offering scrumptious meals amidst eclectic decor. Take a look

Moorish Falafel Bar: Offering some of the best falafels in the UK, this is a vegan paradise. Find out more

Brick Pizza: Craving authentic wood-fired pizza? Look no further. Their range and flavour are sure to win your heart (and stomach). Explore the menu

The Unthank Kitchen: A friendly family-run business offering a particularly brilliant breakfast selection.  Find out more

Music, Festivals and Events: Norwich’s Cultural Prowess

Norwich isn’t just about historic sites and eateries. The city is a cultural melting pot:

Norwich Film Festival: A haven for film enthusiasts, it showcases both local and international talent. Explore the festival

Norwich Beer Festival: Held annually, students can sample a vast array of beers and ciders alongside lively music. Find out more

Norfolk and Norwich Festival: One of the UK’s oldest city festivals, it’s a blend of music, arts, literature, and more. Discover what’s on

Sundown Festival: 3 days of camping, music and summer vibes with the best in Drum n Bass, Pop, Rap, Garage and more. Book your tickets

The Waterfront: A live music venue and nightclub run by the UEA Union in King Street, which, alongside the LCR on the UEA campus, has hosted bands including Pulp, Radiohead, Artic Monkeys and many more. Check out what’s on

How Do I Spend a Day in Norwich?


Start your morning with a visit to the Norwich Market., one of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in the UK. Treat yourself to a delightful breakfast from one of the many stalls. From there, make your way to the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, where you can delve into Norwich’s rich history.


Visit the Plantation Garden and breathe in its tranquillity before making your way to Norwich Lanes. Here, indulge in a leisurely lunch and perhaps pick up a trinket or two. Then, take a stroll along the River Wensum, soaking in the picturesque views.


As dusk falls, head to Tombland, an area teeming with restaurants and bars. Finish the day with a performance at the Norwich Theatre Royal or the Maddermarket Theatre, both offering various shows catering to diverse tastes.

Where Do Students Live in Norwich?

For students not living on campus, Norwich has several popular student areas, each with their own selection of places to eat and things to do:

The Golden Triangle: Bordered by Earlham Road, Unthank Road, and Newmarket Road, this area is teeming with student houses and is only a short bus ride away from the UEA campus.

City Centre: Ideal for those studying at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) or those who want to be in the heart of the action.

Earlham Road & Dereham Road: Popular areas with a mix of students and professionals, offering a range of amenities and excellent transport links.

So, is Norwich a good place for students?

Absolutely! With a blend of historical landmarks, modern amenities, and a bunch of free and fun activities, Norwich ensures students have a fulfilling academic experience and an enriching personal journey.

Whether you’re a student or just visiting, Norwich welcomes you with open arms and promises a memorable time. Dive in, explore, and let this fine city weave its magic around you.