With the release of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa this summer came a turn in the spotlight for the eponymous radio DJ’s city of residence, Norwich.
The fictional creation of comedian Steve Coogan called the film his “love letter to Norwich” as he trod the red carpet at its world debut in the city’s Anglia Square – a 1960s site that has been earmarked for development for several years.
Local tourism authorities have capitalised on the exposure and the film’s release even spawned the launch of a limited run of ‘Alpha Norwich’ walking tours by Visit Norwich. Taking in some of Alan Partidge’s favourite spots in the city, the tour begins at The Forum. This striking glass-fronted building opened in 2001 and is now home to the city library and BBC East studios and hosts regular cultural events.
Investment elsewhere in Norwich includes a £26million grant from the government for development at Norwich Research Park to the west of the city. It is home to over 30 businesses with a combined research budget of over £100million.
Other notable organisations include the University of East Anglia and Aviva – formerly Norwich Union – which has been joined by other insurance companies, and historic Unilever brand Colman’s mustard.
Name: Norwich Theatre Royal
Address: Theatre Royal, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL
Tel: 01603 598571
<p">This 1,300-seat art deco theatre was modernised in 2007, some 250 years after the original Theatre Royal opened on the same site. Today, there’s a range of meeting rooms, lounges and bars available for private hire by day or night. They include the light and airy Targetfollow Room overlooking Theatre Street, the Town Close for smaller meetings and events, and the adjoining Circle Lounge and Adnams Bar.
Address:Cathedral Office, 12 The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DH
Tel: 01603 218321
Norwich’s 900-year-old Norman cathedral saw the addition of the Refectory in 2004 and the Hostry in 2009, the latter officially opened by HM the Queen. Set in the shadows of the cathedral, the two venues combine medieval and modern architecture in spectacular style and have spaces available for corporate hire. The Weston Room can accommodate up to 150 people theatre-style and comes with state-of-the-art AV equipment and free wifi, while the Refectory has capacity for 100 people for early morning or evening events.
ON A SHOESTRING
Name: River Green Café
Address: River Green Café, The Street, Trowse, Norwich, NR14 8AH
Tel: 01603 622448
The River Green Café is a popular vegetarian and vegan restaurant located in Trowse – a 20-minute walk or five-minute drive from Norwich city centre – specialising in organic and locally-sourced produce. It also has a meeting room available for half or full-day hire, benefitting from plenty of natural light, free wifi, 52-inch LCD screen, soundproofed doors, flipcharts and seating for up to 35 people. Food and refreshment requirements can of course be catered for.
Name: Norwich University of the Arts
Address: Norwich University of the Arts, Francis House, 3-7 Redwell Street, Norwich, NR2 4SN
Tel: 01603 610561
The progressive Norwich University of the Arts is located in the heart of the city and offers a diverse range of modern, nicely designed venues available for hire. The large main foyer can host up to 250 delegates while its smaller counterpart has a separate entrance and impressive floor-to-ceiling glass façade. A lecture theatre seats up to 200 people and comes with comprehensive audio-visual facilities, as well as the option of hiring additional technical support. There are a number of seminar and break-out rooms with capacity for between 35 and 60 people – each with AV equipment and wifi access – plus specialist facilities such as computer rooms, technical workshops and recording and photographic studios.
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
Name: The Old Rectory
Address: The Old Rectory, 103 Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St. Andrew, Norwich NR7 0HF
Tel: 01603 700 772
To the east of the city centre in Thorpe St Andrew, The Old Rectory is a privately-owned Grade II listed Georgian hotel with just eight guestrooms. Its solitary meeting room, the Wellingtonia, has large windows looking out across the pool terrace and gardens and has capacity for up to 18 delegates theatre-style or 16 in a boardroom set up. Facilities include free wifi and parking, projection screen and AV equipment, as well as extensive catering options. The meeting room’s adjoining Conservatory provides an informal area for refreshment breaks.
OUT OF TOWN
Name: DeVere Dunston Hall Hotel
Address: Dunston Hall, Ipswich Road, Norwich, NR14 8PQ
Tel: 0871 222 4683
De Vere’s Dunston Hall is a luxury country hotel set in 150 acres of parkland around five miles south of Norwich. The main building is an Elizabethan-style mansion built in 1859 and now restored to its former glory, while excellent facilities include a spa, pool, par 71 championship golf course and two stylish restaurants and bars. There are 11 meeting rooms from which to choose (from the boardroom for ten people up to the Sunningdale Suite for 300 theatre-style), plus a wide range of break-out and team building activities such as golf, mountain biking and hiking. Corporate hire includes free wifi and parking, free-flow refreshments and flexible lunch options.
Getting there: Flybe operates year-round flights to Norwich Airport from Manchester and Edinburgh, plus seasonal services from Guernsey, Jersey, Newquay and the Isle of Man. Eastern Airways and bmi both operate between Abderdeen and Norwich. By rail, Norwich is 1h50m from London.
Contact: For more information on meetings and events venues in Norwich, see: visitnorwich.co.uk; email: