We stayed over on Norwich on Sunday night, after our Ely trip, taking the train from Ely soon after we'd mooredup. It is half term so there was no school for James on Monday. We love the city - every time we visit we enjoy it more and this was no exception. We'd booked to stay in another one of the MJB apartments we'd used when we went to North Norfolk. It was on Unkthank Road, a big old high ceilinged house, just on the edge of the city centre. For just £20, we had a large living room, with a kitchen/dining area, a big double bedroom and a bathroom to ourselves. It wasn't perfect - neither of the two TVs worked and the shower was temperamental but it was fine. Again, we were given a code to get in to the house and the apartment which worked perfectly. These pared down, concierge-less hotels are a real find and I wish a similar model for hotel management was more widespread. Even Youth Hostels are more expensive!
We had a lovely meal out at the independent Italian restaurant, Paolos. We were lucky enough to arrive in time for their early evening special menu - for £6.50 each we had delicious traditional pasta dishes. James's carbonara was perfectly buttery and creamy, while my aubergine bake was heaped with lovely melty mozzarella and a tasty creamy tomato sauce. Would definitely recommend it.
In the morning, I cooked bacon sandwiches in the apartment, then we did a spot of Christmas shopping in the city centre. Norwich is full of little, independent shops, some really great charity shops and second hand shops, as well as the fabulous market. I picked up a pair of Clarks leather ankle boots in Oxfam for £4.99, which I'll dedicate a Favourite Finds post to soon.
We stopped for tea in Strangers coffee shop (my favourite cafe, Franks, is closed on Mondays), before walking back to the station through the cathedral grounds, past Norwich School and along the river. So many pretty buildings!