As always, I forget how long I've been in London and realise it's been a while since I've left the city. So after four years of my best friend living there, I decided to make my way to Norwich to explore the beautiful city just two hours north of London. So what can you do there? First port of call was The Waffle House. Sounds normal but it's basically whatever you want, on a waffle. Deciding on an avocado and houmous large one, and a miniature Rosemary garlic butter and a dark chocolate mouse duo, I didn't get the fuss (I mean it's just another carb?) but upon the first bite, can safely say I'd sell my grandma for another session there. Having never had a savoury waffle before, the mix of rosemary and sea salt was so much delicious that I almost didn't want to leave so I could order five more. Until I also devoured the rich dark chocolate mouse and fell into the best kind of food coma. And luckily? You can get whole grain or gluten free waffles for all of your waffley joy.
Of course what is a city break without a few coffee breaks. Luckily Norwich has a great selection of cafes that aren't your usual Pret. Among them was Stranger, a chic simple coffee and cake place with two branches in the city. With friendly baristas and Caffeine magazines one selection, to a great pit stop when you need a break from walking. Otherwise some other beautiful places include Artel for your Scandi chic box sized coffee shop.
No city break is the same without a few sweet treats from the local bakeries. Luckily Macarons and More covered the base for that. You know when you go past a shop and do a double take at the window display? That was me upon seeing the most beautiful raspberry and passion fruit large macaron. They have every variety and with 6 for £8, it doesn't take too much out of your purse. Adding in the kitsch spiral staircase and cute pink decor, it's every little girls dream to pick out a few tasters. If you need something a bit more substantial then I recommend Biddys Teashop. You can get a hugely satisfying Afternoon tea for under £20 but unfortunately on the day we went, a party had booked out the whole of the tiny upstairs. Whilst disappointed, the amounts of tea, savoury snacks and cakes on offer are still some of the best. Where else can you get 40 kinds of tea, a huge sausage roll and alas and the biggest slab of Oreo rocky road one has ever seen? And being surrounded by bespoke wedding cakes always helps...
Whilst it's easy to fall into the usual Topshop and River Island, branch into the lanes for the prettiest home store Lisa Angel, just beware of leaving with your bank account severely drained. I'd been lucky enough to get some belated presents in the form of a pineapple bracelet and star necklace from the place but that didn't stop from adding to my future wish list. Tiny rose gold star earrings, delicate animal necklaces, pastel China crockery and stunning typography on gifts; it was like a kid in a candy shop moment. You'll come out with a gift for your mum and a gift for yourself....or three. If you fancy a splurge, homeware store Lisa Angel has palm prints and vogue candles galore.
Did you know that Norwich has more standing medieval churches (32) than any city north of the Alps? The lanes, boutique market stalls and various churches and cathedrals make for a beautiful walk around the city. Add in a lot of greenery and trees with some calm river walking and it's easy to escape the city crazy.
Don't write off Norwich as it really is a beautiful place for a city break; it has the friendliest people, the tastiest food and enough of a countryside feel without being that far. And hey, any bus driver that gives me a reduced rate for being chatty is a win with me.