Norwich and Framlingham
Waking up in the British countryside in the home of my friend Kieran who I’d met through our mutual love of Ed Sheeran felt surreal at first. I can’t stop thinking how lucky I am to have friends around the world who are willing to welcome me into their homes like this; the power of the internet connecting people across oceans truly amazes me at times like this.
We had a breakfast of eggs, fruit, and toast alongside tea (when in England…), and then headed out for our “Ed Sheeran pilgrimage” to see the town called Framingham in Suffolk where Ed grew up and where the famous castle on the hill memorialized in the song Castle on the Hill is located. After about an hour of driving, we reached Framingham and headed to the castle, which charged a small entrance fee but was really beautiful and historic. We wandered through the museum area that informed us about the progression of ownership as the castle had passed through the hands of many royal families and had been an infirmary and a prison, among other things, at various points in time. The view from the upper wall walkway was beautiful and I could see why Ed Sheeran captured this beautiful place in song.
On our way to a little pub called The Crown Hotel for lunch, we ironically passed a poster advertising Ed Sheeran’s upcoming concert at Wembley stadium and my friend and I remarked how wild it was that this humble little town was the place where one of the worlds biggest stars grew up. For lunch, I had a pretty typical British of sausage and mash with a half pint of cider.
After lunch we drove back to Norwich and Kieran showed me around the whole city, which was so quaint and cute and exactly what I would imagine a city in the countryside to look like. As we walked around the city, Kieran pointed out the landmarks to me and we stopped by the ice cream stand on London Street where he normally works. I tried a bit of gooseberry flavored ice cream – an odd flavor that I don’t think I would get it again. We passed Ed Sheeran’s favorite fish and chips shop called Grosvenor, and I would have tried it had it not been a bank holiday weekend meaning mostly everything was closed.
We then went to a trendy bar called The Birdcage where I tried an ice pop infused with watermelon flavor and vodka which was really good. We then headed to a pub and I tried another cider flavored with Strawberry and Lime. For dinner, we had some fantastic Indian food at an upscale place called The Merchants of Spice. After dinner, Kieran showed me his favorite bar called the Norwich Playhouse, which had quirky decorations and a great vibe. We headed over to another spot called Frank’s where I had a drink of Elderflower cordial mixed with soda water.
After a full day of exploring the Norfolk/Suffolk area, Kieran and I headed home and talked about music (as usual). It’s still pretty surreal to me that we wouldn’t have met if Ed Sheeran wasn’t an artist that we both liked, and I’m so glad I got the chance to visit Kieran’s hometown and experience an area of England that is quite different from the hustle and bustle of London.