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Norwich Heart, Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust


Chance to explore some of Norwich's hidden history

Thursday, 14th July 2011

From next week, Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART), in conjunction with Norwich Tourist Information Centre (TIC) and the Blue Badge Guides, will again be running a series of four guided walking tours over the summer period, each taking in a selection of the iconic buildings that make up Norwich 12.

Norwich 12 tours are a chance to get a taste of the heritage Norwich has to offer and experience some of Norwich's 1,000 years of history in just a few hours. Led by an experienced Blue Badge Guide and knowledgeable staff from the individual buildings, each tour takes in three of the Norwich 12 buildings, visiting the interiors where possible. Many of the buildings are not normally open to the public so this is a unique opportunity to explore some of Norwich's hidden history.

Norwich 12 is the UK's finest collection of individually outstanding buildings from the Norman, medieval, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras, and comprises buildings as diverse as The Great Hospital, Norwich Castle and Surrey House. Started by Norwich HEART in 2006, it is a pioneering heritage initiative to develop the 12 buildings into an integrated family of heritage attractions.

Michael Loveday, Chief Executive of Norwich HEART said: 'Even if you've already visited some of the Norwich 12 buildings, the tours are still one of the 'must-do' attractions on offer in Norwich over the summer as the guides' extensive knowledge really brings the stories behind the buildings alive.'

The tours will run on Thursdays and Fridays from Thursday 21 July until Thursday 22 September and last around two-and-a-half hours each. The price of £10 per person includes an exclusive voucher sheet with money-off vouchers valid at several Norwich 12 buildings, as well as cafés offering refreshments at the end of the tour. Each tour is limited to a maximum number of 15 people so it is advisable to purchase tickets in advance, although there may be some availability on the day.

The Norwich 12 tours form part of HEART's SHAPING 24 project, a cultural heritage and tourism initiative which takes forward the Norwich 12 project with the Belgian city of Ghent. The tours link in with other areas of the project which aim to maximize the access and enjoyment of the 24 outstanding heritage sites. SHAPING 24 is funded by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (INTERREG IVA 2 Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013).

For more information about the Norwich 12 tours or to book, visit Norwich TIC in The Forum or call 01603 213999. Leaflets about the tours are available from each of the Norwich 12 buildings, Norwich HEART's office in The Guildhall, Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum in the Royal Arcade, and online at

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Notes to editors

For more information please contact Lindsey Roffe, Communications Manager at Norwich HEART on 01603 599570 or email or Sophie Harrison, Communications Officer at Norwich HEART on 01603 599578 or email

About Norwich 12 tours

Norwich 12 tours will run on Thursdays and Fridays in July, August and September. Each of the four different tours takes in three of the Norwich 12 buildings:

Tour 1 (Thursdays, 10am): The Halls - St Andrew's & Blackfriars', The Guildhall, City Hall

Tour 2 (Fridays, 10am): The Forum, Norwich Castle, Dragon Hall

Tour 3 (Thursdays, 10am): St James Mill, The Great Hospital, Norwich Cathedral

Tour 4 (Fridays, 10am): Surrey House, The Assembly House, The Cathedral of St John the Baptist

About Norwich 12

Norwich 12 is the UK's finest collection of individually outstanding heritage buildings spanning the Norman, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras, offering walks and tours; visitor attractions; exhibitions; music and performances; cafes and restaurants; and gift shops. It is a pioneering heritage concept that is developing 12 of the city's iconic buildings into an integrated family of heritage attractions which will act as an internationally important showcase of English urban and cultural development over the last 1,000 years.

Norwich 12 comprises: Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral, The Great Hospital, The Halls - St Andrew's and Blackfriars', The Guildhall, Dragon Hall, The Assembly House, St James Mill, The Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Surrey House, City Hall and The Forum.

Norwich 12 is an initiative by Norwich HEART, which secured £1 million from the Treasury's Invest to Save Budget for the project to initially run 2006-9. The ERDF funding allows this initiative to be developed until 2012.

About Norwich HEART

Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is a private, charitable trust set up to act as an umbrella organisation for all of the heritage on offer in Norwich. We strategically plan, regenerate, manage and promote Norwich's heritage and act as a best practice model internationally for developing heritage as a social and economic regeneration vehicle. Norwich 12 and SHAPING 24 are initiatives by HEART. HEART receives core funding from Norwich City Council and further project funding from a variety of sources which has to date included the European Union, HM Treasury, the East of England Development Agency and Norfolk County Council.

About SHAPING 24

SHAPING 24 - Strategies for Heritage Access Pathways in Norwich and Ghent - is a cultural tourism initiative that links together the 12 heritage sites in Norwich that make up Norwich 12, with 12 heritage sites in Ghent. The project seeks to promote and support the 24 sites, raise the profile of Norwich and Ghent as significant cultural heritage cities and increase awareness of the longstanding historical links between this part of England and the Low Countries. By working together, the two cities will benefit from the experiences and professional expertise in both cities, and will be able to apply innovative approaches to the challenges facing historic cities.

SHAPING 24 is being led by HEART with Ghent City Council as the partner organisation. The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund from the European Union's INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013. The total value of SHAPING 24 is €4.5m, of which Norwich's share is €2.3m, which includes match funding from a variety of organisations.

Why Ghent?

This project arose out of a mutual desire to exploit the existing connections between the two cities - Norwich and Ghent have previously worked together on the Liveable City project which aimed to improve the public space in historic city centres.

Norwich also shares many important aspects of economic, social and cultural history with Ghent going back centuries - for example the lives of the burghers, merchants and guildsmen in the two regions in the middle ages; the development of the wool trade in the sixteenth century; the establishment of trade routes; religious connections; and the importance of migration for the two cities - especially the settlement of Flemish workers in Norwich in the 16th century.

Today these two cities share a sense of cultural development, developing and promoting the distinctiveness of their city's heritage in a range of innovative ways.

About Ghent

Just as Norwich was England's second city from the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe from the year 1000 to around 1550, second only to Paris in size.

Today, it is the capital of the province of East Flanders with a population of 240,000.

As with Norwich, much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact. The city boasts three beguinages and a belfry which are recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, one medieval castle, a cathedral, several museums and two important abbeys. 

For more information go to

What is Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme?

Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme is an EU-funded programme which can part-finance joint co-operation projects between organisations in eligible areas in England and organisations in eligible areas in France, Belgium and/or the Netherlands under a variety of themes including Economic Development, Environment and Quality of Life.

The programme covers an area of cross-border cooperation located at the crossroads of the Channel and the North Sea and involves the coastal regions of four member states: France (Nord-Pas de Calais), England, Flanders and the Netherlands.

The overall aim of the INTERREG IVA Programme is to: 'Support strategic cross-border co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable region.'

For more information on the 2 Seas programme visit: