As the fourth most hipster city in the United Kingdom, it is no surprise that there is some incredible street art in Norwich. The capital of East Anglia has long been a hub for creatives and the presence of two universities, the University of East Anglia and Norwich University of the Arts has shaped the city’s appearance and style.
If you’re looking for things to do in Norwich and want to check out the city’s murals, this article will tell you everything you need to know. I’ve collated the best street art in Norwich and included them all on a handy map. I love to showcase the work of local creatives so whenever possible, I’ve credited the artists. If I have missed anybody, please reach out by email and let me know!
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The Creative History of Norwich
Norwich was England’s first-ever city to be awarded the UNESCO City of Literature accolade and the historic Dragon Hall is also home to the National Centre for Writing. Creativity runs deep within the veins of this city which sparked the introduction of the ‘City of Stories’ tourism campaign in 2014.
The result has been a cultural overhaul of the city’s public spaces by the Norwich Business Improvement District. They have adopted the City of Stories theme and used it to commission artists to create incredible murals all over the city. This isn’t all that the city has to offer though. As well as the carefully curated artworks which aim to draw visitors to Norwich, the city has its fair share of murals that offer political and social commentary on 21st-century life.
Norwich Street Art Map
The Best Places to See Street Art in Norwich
Artists: Various including Knapple and others
On the surface, Edward Street may look like it is located way outside of the city. However, the reality is that it is just a stone’s throw from Anglia Square. A whole host of artists come to this area to try out their skills at the Broadside Warehouse car park.
If you are already familiar with Norwich’s street art scene, you are likely to see a few names here that you recognise. During a recent stroll past the area, I saw one of Ruth Knapp’s (a.k.a Knapple) signature pineapples. As one of Norwich’s most prolific street artists, you’ll be seeing more of her work throughout this post.
Location: Edward St, Norwich NR3 3BW
Unlike the street art which characterises the city centre, there are fewer ‘City of Stories’ artworks in the Anglia Square area and more political commentary. Keep an eye out under the St Crispins flyover as this is where most of the artwork appears.
In keeping with recent events, there is a piece paying homage to the Black Lives Matter Movement. It calls out Donald Trump for failing to acknowledge police brutality against the black community in the United States. Trump is portrayed as the Grim reaper, holding a list of names of black people who needlessly lost their lives at the hands of cops and white extremists. These statements of solidarity make me very proud to call Norwich my home city!
Alongside the Trump mural, is a depiction of the character Finn (played by John Boyega), who first appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He was one of the franchise’s first black characters to land a starring role.
Location: Magdalen Street, Norwich, NR3 1JD
Artist: Derek Jackson
This piece of street art is dedicated to Norwich’s literary past and is called ‘The Case for Norwich’. It is a 3D effect mural by Derek Jackson, an architectural illustrator. In his piece, he has transformed many of the city’s classic buildings, including the castle and the clock at City Hall, into books. The mural is painted on the side of the Virgin Money Lounge.
Location: Castle St, Norwich NR2 1PD
Artist: Joey La Meche
Arguably one of Norwich’s most famous pieces of street art, this mural covers the archway which leads onto Castle Meadow, opposite one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
The artwork was inspired by the rich history of East Anglia and in particular, the Iceni tribe. A number of characters from this period can be seen at the marketplace depicted, including one of Norfolk’s oldest historical figures, Boudica the Queen of Iceni.
I love the way this mural incorporates the small cutout in the wall, it is easy to believe that this tiny door could transport you back in time!
Location: Arcade Street, Norwich NR2 1PN
St Andrews Hill/London Street
Artist: Ella Goodwin
Designed for the Norwich Business Improvement District, this artwork called ‘The Cats in the Walls’ sits above Tickety-Boo toy shop, close to the Book Hive (one of my favourite spots in the city)! The mural is based on an old 17th-century folklore from Norfolk.
It is believed that cats used to be buried inside the walls of buildings to keep away bad spirits. However, in this depiction, the buildings are inside the cats. Goodwin, who is a self-confessed cat lady, has long been inspired by folklore and chose the site close to The Book Hive as she felt it fitted with her style. For the best view, head up the hill from Bedford Street – it’s picture purrrrfect!
Location: London Street, Norwich, NR2 1HL (View from Bedford Street)
Artist: Anmar Mirza
This mural was commissioned as a part of the ‘Get Walls’ project. It is situated above Bar Tapas along Exchange Street and stretches three stories high! Artist Anmar Mirza claims that the idea for the mural is based on an abstract story. The artwork features aboriginal figures, lanes, plants and a variety of architecture. Mirza dedicated the street art to his mother, who used to tell him stories as a child.
Location: Bar Tapas, 16 Exchange St, Norwich NR2 1AT
There are 12 small murals scattered around Norwich market. These are all dedicated to the heritage of Norwich. Keep an eye out for popular local brands that you may recognise!
If you are visiting the market to check out the street art, don’t miss the food stalls. There are plenty of tasty eateries to choose from and they even cater for veggies and vegans – yay!
Location: 1 Market Pl, Norwich NR2 1ND
Red Lion Street
Artist: Malca Shotten
Although it is hard to choose, Snap the Dragon is probably my favourite piece of street art in Norwich. The city has long had a connection with dragons, dating back from the Medieval period.
If you scratch the surface, it is possible to see dragons all over the city, whether they be hiding in the beams at Dragon Hall or touring as part of the GoGoDragons campaign. In fact, the history of Norwich has become so entwined with dragons that we actually used to hold a Dragon festival here!
Traditionally, people would have dressed up as dragons in street parades at these festivals. Many of these costumes were very inventive and people set about creating a way to snap the dragon’s jaws closed with a cord, resulting in the Snap name. The last Dragon Festival ever held in Norwich took place in 2009.
It is from these costumes, that Malca Shotten was inspired to recreate Snap the Dragon. Her journey began at the Book Hive when she designed a window display depicting George and the Dragon for the festival. Some years later, she entered her Snap idea into the Business Improvement District’s competition to brighten Norwich’s public spaces. As you can see from the photo, she won one of the coveted spaces.
Location: Red Lion St, Norwich NR1 3QF
St Stephens Street
Artist: Andrew Wilson
As is the case in many cities across England, the recent closure of big brands such as BHS, Debenhams and Topshop has left holes in the high street. To breathe some life into these neglected shop fronts, Norwich Business Improvement District has commissioned some of these to be filled with artwork.
The first of these new murals to be completed is located along St Stephens Street where BHS used to be. BID have also commissioned two more murals from local artist Andrew Wilson, for the front of Argos and Brighthouse hoardings.
Location: St Stephens St, Norwich NR1 3QN
St Stephens Street Underpass
Although it isn’t the most glamorous of locations, I love checking out the street art in underpasses. As St Stephens Street is one of Norwich’s busiest, the underpass is quite heavily foot trafficked so don’t be scared to have a wander through to look at the artwork.
All of the murals located here have been created by a variety of different artists and tend to be a standard size. I’ve included the names of the artists I know but I may have missed some. Please let me know if I have!
Location: Underpass, St Stephens St, Norwich NR1 3SH
Located a little walk out of the city close to Grapes Hill, the Pottergate underpass is the scene of some very cool artwork. It recently made national headlines when local artist Knapple painted a mural in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Somebody anonymously reported the artwork for being ‘offensive’ and the local council’s automated system ordered for it to be painted over. Upon realising their error, they publicly expressed their support for BLM and recommissioned Knapple to restore the mural.
This underpass in particular does seem to be a hotspot for social and political statements. During my latest visit, there were some incredible paintings taking jibes at the new proposed Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson instigating ‘The Great Reset’.
Location: Pottergate Underpass, Norwich, NR2 1EQ
Artist: Poppy Cole
Norwich University of the Arts graduate Poppy Cole painted the ‘City of Stories’ mural which lives on the side of Pymm & Co. down Ber Street. This was the first of the series to be unveiled. The artwork features a number of the city’s most famous buildings and businesses including the cathedral, Jarrold’s and the Book Hive.
Location: Pymm & Co, Ber Street, NR1 3EJ
Artist: Julia Alum
Situated on the back of Tesco Metro, lies this homage to Norwich as a UNESCO City of Literature. On the left-hand side of the painting, you can see the River Wensum which is a nod to the Norfolk Broads. On the right-hand side, you can see many of Norwich’s major landmarks, springing to life from the pages of an open book. When looking at Alum’s bold and colourful style, it is easy to see that she has been inspired by Art Deco travel posters, something she also creates in her other work.
Location: Pottergate, Norwich, NR2 1DS
Artists: Ian Westbrook and Matthew Owen
Riverside’s Frankie & Benny’s is home to Norwich’s largest mural which was unveiled in 2019. The artwork spans a whopping 33 m (108 ft) and is titled ‘City Living’. This mural is designed to reflect the dynamic vibe of Norwich and showcases the stories of the area.
The largest part of this colourful display is dedicated to the train station but there are also references to Norwich City Football Club, the Riverside Entertainment Complex and the waterways which run through this part of the city.
Location: Frankie & Benny’s, Unit 2, Wherry Rd, Norwich NR1 1WZ
Norwich Street Sculptures
As already briefly mentioned, Norwich isn’t just home to street art but street sculptures as well. The charity Break and Wild in Art teamed up some years ago to bring GoGoDiscover to the streets of the city. This project features themed sculptures, individually designed, which are displayed across the city.
The sculptures are usually on display for around three months and form a trail that you can follow. This is a great activity for kids. After the allotted display time, the sculptures are taken to auction and the money raised is donated to Break.
Previously, there have been Gorillas, Dragons and Hares, with plans to introduce dinosaurs across the city later in 2021. After the sculptures have been auctioned, it is sometimes still possible to spot them in some locations across the city.
Do you know of any great examples of street art in Norwich that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!