Do you know your Old Stoatwobbler from your Dark Horse Stout? Have you tried Norwich Terrier, Red Knocker or Nelson’s Blood? Or do you prefer Granny Wouldn’t Like It! over Norfolk Nog?

Now in its third year and growing annually, Norwich City of Ale festival celebrates local unique real ale, pubs, brewing and the rich brewing heritage in Norwich which dates back to the 11thcentury when Benedictine monks brewed in Cathedral Close and were some of the earliest producers of ale in Norwich.

Over eleven packed days visitors and residents will experience a festival featuring unprecedented collaboration between local publicans and brewers that has in the past two years attracted much attention in the real-ale and brewing community as well as satisfying thirsty beer-lovers. Events include a large and varied programme celebrating Norwich’s heritage around ale and its tradition of hospitality including; a Wildlife Beer Festival at the Wig & Pen, The Fat Cat Fun Bus, City of Ale bus – Mystery Tour, tastings, music, photography, theatre, ghost walks, BBQs, quizzes and so much more.

A “beer festival with a difference”, City of Ale takes place in a whole range of welcoming pubs and other venues throughout the city. It’s going green in 2013 with an appropriately bottle green logo and a focus on local, green, sustainable produce crafted by local brewers from largely local ingredients (Norfolk malting barley is world-renowned) served in local, friendly city pubs.

During City of Ale every single real ale available in Norfolk will have a showing in the city. Last year visitors experienced 240 beers, in 45 pubs, with participation from 35 breweries.

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director, Norwich BID said; “Norwich City of Ale, now in its 3rd year, helps to promote the celebration of city pubs, local breweries and real ale throughout Norwich city centre which slots very well into the major festivals in the City.  This festival helps the leisure sector increase customer and visitor numbers whilst growing the overall vibrancy of the city as a destination and keeping Norwich as the nationally recognised city of ale.”

Dawn Leeder, Co-Chair of City of Ale said; “This year, thanks to funding from Norwich BID, we have been able to spread the word about City of Ale to a much wider audience. We look forward to welcoming real-ale lovers to our fine city with its fine ales whether they come from near or far.”

Nick Bond, Head of VisitNorwich said; “The Festival grows each year and with it so does the understanding of our great brewing heritage and superb real ale producers. The City of Ale Festival is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy new ales and old whilst at the same time promoting the strength of our local city pubs and their hospitality.”   

About Norwich

From the medieval period until the start of the Industrial Revolution Norwich was England’s second city, enormously prosperous and culturally active. This has created a very rich legacy of heritage, with the city proudly boasting the largest intact medieval street pattern in Europe. In medieval times Norwich was one of the greatest cities in England, and today, as East Anglia’s capital city, it still is – offering a rare blend of historic interest and modern sophistication.

1.       In 2012 Norwich became England’s first UNESCO City of Literature and the sixth in the world joining other great cities; Edinburgh, Dublin, Melbourne, Iowa City and Reykjavik. This accolade is a permanent status.

2.       Norwich was placed in the top 10 of UK places to shop (Venuescore 2011-12, The Javelin Group), having also been previously ranked 9th in the Experian Goad retail index and 8th on the CACI index.  The outstanding quality and diversity of the city’s retail offer presents a major draw for visitors to the Norwich area.

3.       Norwich was placed 6th in volume of tourism day visits in England in 2011 (after London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool) and ahead of popular destinations like York, Brighton, Bristol, Sheffield and Chester.  17 million day visitors spent over £1/2 billion in 2011. Data from the 2011 Great Britain Day Visits Survey (GBDVS 2011).

4.       Norwich was a finalist in the Group Leisure Awards 2012, in the Best UK City category.

5.       Norwich was short-listed as one of the UK’s best destinations for shopping in the 2010 Group Travel Awards.

6.       In 2010, Norwich achieved finalist status for the UK City of Culture bid 2013.

7.       VisitNorwich Ltd is a company limited by guarantee, a private/public sector partnership and a membership organisation representing the interests of a broad range of businesses across the visitor economy.  Its principal public sector stakeholders are Norwich City Council and South Norfolk Council.

8.       VisitNorwich has been operational from 1st April 2005

  1. VisitNorwich is the destination management organisation for the Norwich area. It is a private/public sector partnership and a not for profit organisation whose sole focus is to promote and develop the destination and support its members through collaborative marketing, research, information and business advice.
  2. For the benefit of the area as a whole, VisitNorwich strives to achieve: better profile and reputation locally, nationally and internationally; increased visitor spend; more investment; more jobs and better quality experiences for both visitors and residents.

11.   Tourism is worth around £700 million per year to the Norwich area, supports over 9,000 jobs (Tourism South East, 2010).

12.   For further information on Norwich and its surrounding area visit


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