Our First Night Away Sans Baby: 24 Hours In Norwich

30 Dec 2023

 

Norwich


It feels like a bit of a milestone to go away overnight without your baby for the first time after becoming parents. Whilst we have both individually left Alfie overnight, we hadn’t both left him at the same time and for practical reasons it has taken us nearly two years to get the opportunity. But finally, the other week, we left out boy with his Granny & Grandad (he started playing tractors with his Grandad and barely gave us a backwards glance) and drove off to Norwich. 

We first went to Norwich last year as our first trip together as a family of three and immediately loved it. Ever since, Gary has pushed to go back just the two of us, partly because he was haunted by a particularly good looking pub we couldn’t go to due to the presence of a three month old. I was initially hesitant about going back somewhere we had already been (there was quite the temptation to do something lavish and far away), but I was persuaded on the point that the purpose of the trip was to spend quality time together. It being just an hour away meant we didn’t have to waste much of our twenty-four hours travelling and we could get back quickly should a night at Granny & Grandad’s go dramatically south (spoiler: it didn’t). 

Norwich is such a lovely city and by the end of our second visit, we were convinced that it is going to be a regular haunt for us. It is particularly lovely at Christmas time with an abundance of lights and independent shops. It was one of those trips where everything was just right, and it felt like Norwich was determined to show us its adult self (not that its child-friendly self wasn’t great). We headed to the lanes as soon as we arrived and ended up in Biddy’s Tearoom which we went to last time but sat outside due to the presence of the buggy. Turns out the inside is super cosy with clothed-ceilings, squashy sofas and soft lighting. Their sandwiches were great, the cakes absurdly extravagant and the vibes very much come and sit awhile. So we did. 

We’ve had time away from Alfie before, obviously. But there was something about knowing we had the whole night. It was the lack of deadline, I think. It wasn’t a snatched handful of hours; we didn’t have to be anywhere until the following day. And this is where not going too far, going somewhere we’d already explored, really came into its own. The combination of the two meant there was absolutely no pressure. We did a little shop browsing (and picked up an adorable Christmas jumper for Alfs) but then the weather turned, and so we simply drifted back to our gorgeous hotel room for a couple of hours. 

We stayed at 33 St Giles and treated ourselves to one of their suites. It had a huge bed with the softest mattress and luxurious White Company bedding, alongside a bathroom that was so big it had a huge sheepskin rug adorning the floor, squashy armchair, separate shower and toilet area and a deep standalone bath. What a treat. We lazed, I had a hot bath, we got ready for an actual evening out in a very slow fashion. 

Norwich

Norwich

Norwich

Norwich

Norwich

Norwich

Norwich


To say we were excited for an evening out was an understatement. It had been so long. We went to St Andrew’s brewhouse which was all cosy and festive, and managed not to talk about Alfie most of the time (although did watch the videos my parents sent of him eating corn on the cob more than once… partly because he was eating an actual vegetable which was somewhat of a Christmas miracle). We then headed to The Farmyard, a restaurant we’d booked because we wanted somewhere a bit special, and it had rave reviews. It absolutely did not disappoint. I’d go back for their goat’s cheese and olive bon bons alone. They were so good that I immediately ordered another bowl as soon as we’d finished the first. We then both had the Binham blue souffle to start, lamb with butternut and baba ganoush for mains and shared the dessert that everyone in the restaurant seemed to be having – The Farmyard ‘chocolate bar’ with peanuts, miso caramel and milk sorbet. I cannot tell you how delicious it all was. The kind of meal where you don’t mind the pricey tab because it absolutely felt worth the money.
 
Norwich was aglow with old streetlamps and Christmas lights as we wandered across the cobbles back to our cloud bed where we were guaranteed a good night’s sleep and a lie in free from little toddler elbows digging into our kidneys. 

Before we set off the next morning, we stopped at CafĂ© 33 for breakfast. It usually has long queues but as we are now used to being up early, we were there five minutes after opening time and got a table no problem. I would recommend for a hearty brunch. We were full but we couldn’t leave Norwich without stopping at Bread Source, the bakery we fell in love with on our last visit. Their raspberry and pistachio pastries are not to missed. 

And then it was time to go home to our boy, who showed no indication whatsoever that he’d even noticed we’d been gone!

Norwich

Norwich


Comments