Why is Norwich the new destination for Welsh flights?

Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle is popular with tourists visiting the city

It may not be not the dream destination for many people in Wales, but Norwich is the latest place chosen for daily flights from Cardiff. So why have these two unlikely regions been paired up?

Think of Norwich and images of Alan Partridge and Delia Smith might flash into your mind.

The surrounding area was also home to late Turkey tycoon Bernard Matthews and Colman’s Mustard, and has the largest protected wetland in Britain – the Norfolk Broads.

But unlike Paris or New York, it is not the kind of place which might immediately come to mind when planning a weekend away.

Flight operator LinksAir believes it will be a popular route, both for people travelling on business, and for tourists.

The airline, which runs the daily Welsh Government subsidised flights from Anglesey to Cardiff, was looking for another destination to fly onto after Cardiff, because the plane was effectively sitting dormant for much of the day between flights to and from Anglesey.

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The Lanes in Norwich

Norwich facts

  • Voted 10th best city in the UK in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2014
  • The Norwich Lanes won GB High Street of the Year Award 2014 in the City Category
  • Norwich is ranked the 9th best shopping destination in the UK (Experian)
  • It is the most complete medieval city in the UK
  • It is a UNESCO City of Literature – the first in England
  • Holkham Beach in Norfolk was voted the best beach in Britain

Source: Visit Norwich

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LinksAir looked for a route which was not already offered by Bristol airport. It hit upon Norwich.

From April the 19-seater plane which flies from Anglesey to Cardiff will stop briefly in the Welsh capital to pick up and drop off passengers, before going onto Norwich.

Later in the afternoon it will take the same route back to Anglesey.

The main clientele LinksAir hopes to tap into, are business people connected with the energy industry.

Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads are reachable from Norwich by boat

The airline’s commercial manager Roger Hage said: “We needed to do a route that was niche. This route is aimed at business as there are a number of employees who work in gas offshore in East Anglia and the Norfolk coast. Energy is very important to Norfolk, and Anglesey has set out its plans as the energy island.”

It is hoped the flights will be popular with these workers as, after Aberdeen Airport, Norfolk has the biggest heliport in the UK serving the offshore industry in oil, gas and windfarms.

Nova Fairbank, from the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “The East Anglian region has a lot of energy knowledge. It is a base for skills which would be useful to Anglesey if they want to capitalise on moving into energy.

“So there is method in the madness of starting the route.”

It is also hoped the flights will be popular with tourists and people visiting friends or family.

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Delia Smith

Famour people from Norwich

  • Delia Smith
  • Edith Cavell
  • David Perry – street entertainer known as the Norwich Puppet Man
  • Tim Westwood
  • Singer-song writer Cathy Dennis
  • Ed Balls
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Andrew Bell, chief executive of Norwich International Airport – where the new flights will land – said: “If you look at a map of the UK, transit from east to west is not the easiest thing to do. There are no direct services from Norwich to anywhere in the west of the UK. Anything that can swap a five-hour train journey for a short flight has got to be a good idea.”

But just what is there in Norwich which would justify the £59 one-way ticket?

Norwich's very own Alan Partridge

BBC comedy I’m Alan Partridge featured a fictional Norwich DJ

Beyond jetting over to see Cardiff City play Norwich City, the city’s tourism chiefs say it has plenty more to offer.

John Holland, marketing manager of Visit Norwich, points to the city’s historic buildings, and the medieval Lanes, which was named High Street of the Year.

He said: “Norwich is the gateway to Norfolk. Within 30 minutes you can be in the countryside or at the beach, and it is one of the driest and sunniest counties in the summer.

“The city has a really relaxed feel and is very easy to walk around with lots of different areas.”

Whether the city sights are a draw or not, a promise has been made that the flights will stay. At least for now.

Sourced by BBC News

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