student life

Why Norwich is the best university city ever

The University of East Anglia sits some way out of the city centre, but Norwich has a very definite influence over its students.

The University of East Anglia sits some way out of the city centre, but Norwich has a very definite influence over its students. If you can break out of the university bubble once in a while, it’s got a huge amount to offer and enormous potential to inspire you.

The pen is mightier than the sword

UEA is famed for its creative writing courses and alumni like Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro only strengthen Norwich’s reputation as being one of the best places for would-be authors and poets. Most recently, Norwich was given the honour of being England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, on account of the number of literary festivals that happen here, the quality of Norwich’s publishing houses and the city’s dedication to nurturing new literary talent. With a range of literary talks, workshops and events throughout the year, Norwich is the place to be for creative minds, or people who just love getting stuck into a good book. We also have a lot of tea rooms and coffee shops. The two must be related.

The sweet sound of music

It’s not just literature where Norwich ticks the culture box though, with music venues spread across the city attracting everyone from huge names like Coldplay through to up-and-comers on the music scene. Widely regarded as one of the best places outside of London to see live acts, if you go far enough back in history, you’ll see that Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kings of Leon have all graced the LCR stage, UEA’s on-campus venue. Meanwhile, places like The Bicycle Shop, B2 and Brickmakers all host local or emerging artists and provide a smaller, more intimate musical experience.

Shop ‘til you drop

If there’s one thing we love in Norwich it’s vintage or quirky clothing. Sure we have Topshop and H&M, but there’s a whole area of the city dedicated to independent retailers. It’s pretty much a real life version of Etsy. It’s not just clothing though, with home furnishing, antique jewellery and even vintage hairdressers thriving in Norwich. Anyone muttering something about ‘hipsters’ here should also note the 2 large, modern shopping centres we have, The Castle Mall and Chapelfield, for all your New Look and Claire’s Accessories-related needs.

Architect’s delight

One of the best bits about living in Norwich is that it’s just so damn pretty. Wherever you look there’s a church, a cathedral or a ridiculously beautiful old building for you to enjoy. The architecture of Norwich is stunning, from the 12th Century castle, the Norman Cathedral and the Elm Hill area, parts of which date back to the 1500s, Norwich’s history is plain for all to see.

Last calls

Norwich has its priorities straight. There’s an old saying about the city that we have “a church for every week of the year and a pub for every day.” That sounds like a pretty damn good ratio to me. Every UEA student has their favourite pub, and you can’t walk round the city without being tempted in by a pint or six. You can keep your “Kings Head” and “Queens Arms”, here in Norwich we like to name our pubs things like “The Mad Moose”, “The Murderers” and “The Walnut Tree Shades”. You can’t have a university city without an insane number of pubs and I challenge you to find another place as well adapted to the needs of students as Norwich.

Hidden away in deepest darkest East Anglia, visitors are often surprised about how much there is to do in Norwich, it’s not all farming and Alan Partridge you know. I’ve spent 4 years here and can honestly say that the best city to go to University in is Norwich, without a doubt.

What do you think about Norwich? Do you think its the best uni city ever? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.