Friday, 4 December 2015

The Royal Arcade

Norwich has a rich history and let's face it what is richer than the beautiful Royal Arcade, designed by local man George Skipper in 1899. Skipper also gave us; Jarrolds, Surrey House, Commercial Chambers on Red Lion street (which is now a Nationwide with flats above) the Daily Standard Offices on St.Giles (Fired Earth shop) and the Haymarket Chambers (Pret) all of these buildings are stunning and add to Norwich's charm. We have a lot to thank him for, he was a hard worker.
There are some great shops in the arcade, Norwich institutions like The Mustard Shop, which was listed one of the best food museums by CNN recently. The Stompers monkey is adored by children, they love to stop and watch him. Digby's is the first place I go for quality chocolates to make someone feel special. Marmalades is always busy and Jamie's Italian and Macarons and More have been welcome additions. Aluna J won best Norwich Fashion Week window with the help of City College student, and took part in the retailers show on Thursday night.
We recently went to visit Berry's and Grey, a beautiful double shop with spiral staircases, filled to the brim with original and quirky homewares. Shop owner Nicole Pugh has become the much-needed voice of the arcade, she has set up an Instagram @the_royal_arcade to highlight the beauty and the available shopping experiences. Nicole wants to see the arcade used more frequently, we'd hate to see it lost or forgotten as I'm sure you would too.
This should be a place tourists flock to, but it seems to have been overlooked by tourist information. It needs a revival, something to bring our hearts back to such a relevant landmark. Langely's is sadly up for sale, I can't imagine it not being there, it could easily be a mini Hamley's, an exciting tourist draw. The old T-Mobile shop has been empty for a long time, there is a rumour a tunnel leads from underneath to the Guildhall. What was Transformers hair is empty too, which if I remember correctly is huge upstairs. I'd love to see an old-fashioned cocktail bar, vintage shop or barbers on these sites, they're prime locations begging for some excitement. What do you think?


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