Lifestyle, Travel

Study spaces and wellbeing in Norwich 

It’s the time of year that all students dread. The final stretch before a summer of freedom, the spring exam season is rearing its head. And while I, like many students, prefer to push this information to the back of mind until the inevitable wave of stress eats me up on the inside and becomes all-consuming, one way we might try to tackle our anxiety towards the upcoming assessment period is by broadening our horizons in seek of new and exciting study spaces. Because sometimes, as UEA students, it can be difficult to remember that there’s a whole world beyond the concrete towers that sit at the heart of campus like the UEA Library. So, to mix things up and unwind during this stressful season, we must spread our wings to the quaint cafes and pleasant gardens hidden in plain sight in the beautiful city of Norwich. 

Below you can find my top five recommendations, nearly all of which are study spaces where you can comfortably whip out your laptop with access to plug sockets, free Wi-Fi, and plenty of caffeine. 

1. The Merchant’s House

Offering excellent coffee, a selection of toasties and counter treats, and a secret terrace garden open all year round, what more could you possibly ask for from this popular café bar on Bridge Street? A warm and welcoming cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, The Merchant’s House even has some larger tables so you can invite all your study buddies. Situated by the river and neighbouring Anteros Arts Foundation, it’s located in a beautiful spot within the city. Plus, being a dog friendly café, when taking a study break you can admire all the pooches. 

2. Mitre

Follow the 26 bus route from UEA and you’ll find one of the Golden Triangle’s finest coffee shops on Earlham Road. Bright and spacious with lots of seating to choose from, the best perk about this public house turned café is that alongside being dog friendly and serving a selection of sweet and savoury treats, the walls are covered with artwork created by local Norfolk artists as Mitre works to highlight the creative talent in the community.

3. Artel

A quirky city centre coffee shop opposite Gonzo’s, with outside benches for sunny days and further upstairs seating where upside-down hanging plant pots are a feature piece, there’s plenty of room for a study session in Artel. Serving speciality coffee, local craft beer, house made sandwiches, and other light bites, it’s the perfect place to snack and study. Valuing creativity within the Norwich community, Artel also run their own arts and craft workshops in the evenings – a welcome distraction after a busy day of studying.

4. Bread Source 

A welcoming and friendly café, be prepared to be drawn directly to the counter in this artisan bakery as you come in to seek a table, for you are certain to dip into your wallet to try one of their delicious pastries. With different branches of Bread Source spread out across Norwich, you can find the original Bread Source on Upper St Giles Street and (what I like to call) Bread Source 2.0 down in the lanes. 

5. Eaton Park

Taking you outside for a breath of fresh air, you’ll struggle to find a place better than Eaton Park to study and people-watch. Bring a blanket, pack some snacks, and you’ve got the perfect set up to finish off some assigned reading. And when you decide to take a break, why not stroll around the beautiful green and explore the grounds?

Other Norwich study spots include Café Bar Marzano in The Forum, which when busy, is in the perfect location for you to shift on over to Norwich Millenium Library. Down in the lanes on St Gregorys Alley you can find Alchemista Coffee Potions (which makes the best Iced Mocha in Norwich), where you can sit in the sun in the triangular green. Further along is Frank’s Bar, a classic cosy cafe. Round the corner you can find the popular brunch-spot Café No.33. Tucked away behind Red Lion Street is The Yard Coffee. And of course, who can forget the stunning UEA Lake?

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Lily Boag

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May 2022
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