England's largest and most elaborate provincial medieval city hall, Norwich Guildhall was the centre of city government from the early 15th century until its replacement by City Hall in 1938.
The exterior provides an excellent example of the flint work that the city is so famous for. The east end of the building was reconstructed in the 16th century and is crafted from alternate squares of faced flint and ashlar stone, giving the building its chequered effect.
As well as various courts, a prison and a chapel the building contained facilities for accounting and tax collection, accommodation for civic officials (it remains the home of the Sheriff's parlour today) and storage space for records, money and civic regalia.
The Assembly Chamber (or Sheriff's Court) was designed for meetings of the full medieval Council. It now contains a virtually intact late Victorian courtroom. Also known as the ‘Sword Room', the roof space was once the storage place of weapons.
The Council Chamber (or Mayor's Court) is more elaborate. Oak panelling, a sixteen-bay roof with tie-beams, renaissance decorative woodwork and stunning stained glass were from the start designed to impress.
The undercroft, beneath the east end pre-dates the building, and is thought to be an original feature of the earlier toll-house on this site. It was used to accommodate more dangerous criminals.
Access to the foyer and Caley's Cocoa Cafe:
Mon- Fri 10 - 4.30
Sat 10.30 - 5
Sun 11 - 3
Tours of the historic Guildhall - every Friday (exc. Bank Holidays) 10 and 2
Discover the unique history of The Guildhall, England's largest and most elaborate provincial medieval city hall, in this hour-long tour from the Guildhall Guides, which opens up the building's hidden heritage.
See the elaborate Mayor's Council Chamber with its decorative woodwork and stunning stained glass; the virtually intact late Victorian courtroom with its oak panelling, and the atmospheric undercroft which pre-dates The Guildhall and was used to accommodate dangerous criminals.
Areas of this building currently function as offices, therefore some areas are inaccessible at all times.
Tours - £5 per person
Guildhall education pack
This free education pack focused on Norwich's historic Guildhall provides educational resources and support materials to be used as part of the National Curriculum Key Stages 2 and 3 on Law and Order/Government for Citizenship and History.
The pack can be downloaded and printed out for ease of use.
- Compiled by Steve Lepper, HEART's Education Consultant, as part of a pilot scheme funded by the East of England Development Agency.
How to obtain
The file is available as a free download via the link above. (It is quite large so may take some time). If you are not able to download it, please call HEART on 01603 305575 and we will send you a CD with the pack on it.