Norwich Book Benches

Norwich Book Bench Walking Trail

The summer of 2023, a new exciting chapter began on the streets of Norwich encouraging people to meet, dwell and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Within the eight districts of Norwich these beautifully designed benches can be found, made of stone, wood and metal.

The benches can be found in: Gentleman’s Walk, Rampant Horse Street, All Saints Green, Rouen Road, Riverside, St-Martin-of-Palace-Plain, St George’s Street and Upper St Giles.

Download the Walking Trail Map here
View the Book Bench Walking Trail video here

Enjoy a stroll around Norwich with this series of book benches celebrating Norwich’s UNESCO City of Literature status.

All of the benches are inspired by books. Some are open as if marking the place you want to pick up next; some are piles of books with engravings depicting famous authors from our county; others are books waiting to be chosen from a shelf; one is resting on its spine, with open pages to sit on.

It is not a surprise that the theme of books was chosen as Norwich is a UNESCO city of literature and this #CityofStories has been a literary city for over 900 years. It has a thriving community of authors, poets, historians, novelists and story tellers as well as the National Centre for Writing, at Dragon Hall, King Street, Norwich, where people can share, learn and collaborate.

Many of the book benches have been inscribed with authors or stories that have a connection to the city including:

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell born in Great Yarmouth and in time moved to Old Catton where her health was suffering and she wrote Black Beauty, which was published by Jarrold.

  • Ritual Murder by S T Haymon who was born in Norwich not far from the bench she is featured on in Upper St Giles Street, and she wrote mystery fiction and detective stories.
  • Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich, the first surviving book written by a female author.
  • Other authors include Mouse and Mole by Joyce Dunbar, Melmoth by Sarah Perry, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry.

Why not find some time to wander through the streets of Norwich (and if you want to do the whole trail, it is 5.75 kilometres and takes approximately one hour), whilst passing some of the many great eateries, cafés, and restaurants in Norwich?

We are grateful to all the partners who have helped make Norwich Book Benches happen as part of the EXPERIENCE project, including Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council, National Centre for Writing and Norwich Business Improvement District (BID).

EXPERIENCE is a €24.5 million project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (€16.9 million) through the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme and designed to develop the experiential off-season economy in the future in a safe and sustainable way. The project is a 4-year scheme that runs from 1st September 2019 to 30th June 2023. Managed by Norfolk County Council EXPERIENCE aims to capitalise on the emerging global trend for local tourism and engagement with the great outdoors, heritage, and culture. The project also supports off season tourism which is more sustainable for the environment, local businesses, and residents.

Find out more about the EXPERIENCE project here.

This improvement scheme was delivered with co-funding from the EXPERIENCE project – a €24.5m project led by Norfolk County Council to promote experiential tourism and sustainable economic growth. EXPERIENCE is co-fi­nanced by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme under the Natural & Cultural Assets funding category (€16.9m).