Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I might be a little biased with the information I present here today. Having lived in Norfolk for most of my life and without any real inclination to leave the place for bigger, busies parts of the UK, it’s possible I might just like my hometown more than most other people. But that’s the way it always is, isn’t it? Natives tend to like the place where they’ve come from more than other places, and it’s this great interest in their home which helps them (and me) to name great tourist spots, attractions, points of interest and other gems outsiders haven’t the foggiest about.
For starters, there are many tourist attractions in Norfolk. The Norfolk Botanical Garden is a great place to see a wide variety of different flora, both native to the UK and brought in from other parts of the world. In terms of things worth seeing, it is right up there with the Virginia Zoological Park, which is much the same except a collection of animals rather than plants. Just visiting these two sites is enough for an entire day’s worth of excursions, but I suppose if you’ve already seen plenty of gardens and zoos, these two might not be too appealing to you.
For fans of culture and history, Norfolk has several museums worth visiting as well. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum may be more about American naval ships than ours, but when you consider how long the U.S. Navy has been in the Hampton Roads area, they’re part of the history here now. Indeed, we’ve got a lot of naval museums, like the Nauticus. There you can see the USS Wisconsin, another big WWII era battleship from the United States. If you’re visiting here from stateside, these attractions ought to make you feel right at home.
Though we don’t exactly have a large population in this part of Virginia, we do have our own Arena. The Norfolk Scope Arena is the place to go if you’re looking for sports, entertainment, cultural events or conventions of all kinds. The place usually has something going on but you might want to check ahead of time to make sure it won’t be empty when you get here. Norfolk is a great place to visit even if you can’t catch a game, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of sitting in a sold out arena filled with thousands of cheering fans, eh?
There are other places for conventions and the like as well. It’s really nothing special if you ask me, but our Mariott is big enough to accommodate just about any business gathering. Even if you don’t visit the place or rent a room there while you’re in town, it’s still one of the major figureheads in downtown Norfolk, a kind of landmark if you will. Because it’s right in the heart of our town, it does naturally make a good place for visitors and tourists to set up, but there are plenty of other (and cheaper) places to stay in and around Norfolk too.
Naturally, anyone visiting us here in Norfolk will probably want to try some authentic English food and see what all the fuss is about. You can get tea practically anywhere, but good tea is a bit harder to find. We actually have a restaurant here at the Strattons Hotel which was nominated none too long ago for The Good Food Guide award. They grow some of their own food on site, or so I’ve heard. It really shows in the taste of the wide variety of dishes they serve, as well as the teas. I’d definitely check the place out if you’re feeling famished while enjoying the rest of Norfolk.
Getting back to museums, it’s not just flora and fauna that you can see in Norfolk. We’ve got our Chrysler Museum of Art as well, and that’s been a popular place to visit since it was first opened back in 1933. Now, I may not have been around back then, but the museum has a long history of catching some great exhibits from all around the world. That said, it’s more than just art that you’ll find there – it features a wide variety of different technological exhibits as well. Depending on what’s up for display when you arrive, you could spend a whole day or more just taking in all the sights.
So far, I’ve really only mentioned places with the brunt to see and hear being indoors. For those of you who’d prefer to spend your time outside, I must suggest Town Point Park. It’s not the biggest park you can find here in the UK, but at 7 acres, it’s large yet small enough for you to traverse on foot in a short time. Town Point is situated right next to Elizabeth River, with the water rolling right along one edge of the park. This place makes for some great fishing if that’s what you’re into, and the constantly moving water ensures stagnation is never an issue.
Up to here I’ve listed plenty of tourist attractions and interesting places to visit, but these are all only one of the best reasons to visit Norfolk. Having a lot to do is nice, but we’re also rather remote. This is not a big city and because of that, if you ask me, the air is cleaner, the people are nicer and the whole pace of the place just seems a little more laid back than what you’d get in a big city. Some people frown on the genial attitude here, thinking we’re behind the times or whatever else. That doesn’t bother me. This is where other locals come to relax when the city becomes too much for them, don’t you know?
That said, it’s a nice place for you to visit as well if you’re feeling stressed over city life, or if you just want to escape everything normal for a while. There are even martial arts classes available for sport enthusiasts if you’re looking for a bit of the rough and tumble.