Meet our Champion for Cosmopolitan Norfolk
Who? Michelle Jarrold, Development Director of the award-winning Jarrold Department Store in Norwich
What? A family run department store since 1823, Jarrolds sits proudly in the heart of the city. Jarrolds reflects Norwich perfectly, combining a unique and contemporary shopping experience with a sense of heritage - a mix that helps make us East Anglia's favourite independent store. Discover inspirational womenswear, iconic beauty brands, furniture, homewares and much more besides, including an award winning book department, four restaurants and a wonderful toy department. Our recently remodelled ground floor is home to our flagship Beauty Hall, fabulous accessories and jewellery, watches, stationery, designer pens and exclusive menswear. We also completed a makeover of our fashion floor in 2015 which showcases, very effectiviely, our unique mix of womenswear labels. We are proud to offer many exclusive brands and product ranges - as you would expect from a truly independent store.
What gets you up in the morning?With two children, the commute to school and a busy job, I have to be super organised in the mornings, so no lazing in for me! It also helps that summer’s on the horizon and the mornings are getting lighter. I like to make the most of this special time of the day.
Describe a perfect weekend in Norfolk…My ideal weekend involves a refreshing long walk at Brancaster beach with my family and dogs. I love this area of north Norfolk – especially in winter with its big skies and empty beaches. A hearty lunch would have to follow. We are blessed with many excellent pubs and restaurants, but I would plump for The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe, which serves excellent local seafood and has uninterrupted views out to Scolt Head Island.
Imagine you are speaking to someone who has never been to Norfolk. How would you sum up Norfolk in one sentence?Norfolk is a hidden, unspoilt gem, offering a great variety of things to do, big skies, captivating scenery and wonderful people.
If you had to advise someone visiting Norfolk three things they must not miss, what would they be and why?Only three! My whittled down list is as follows:
- Norwich – people who have not visited the city simply don’t understand how wonderful it is. It’s a fantastic cosmopolitan city with historic medieval architecture, an impressive cathedral, Norman castle and (obviously) great shopping!
- Thetford is also an undiscovered marvel. The woodland is ideal for cycling – from family bike rides to more challenging terrain. It’s certainly proved a revelation with my children.
- I have to include The Norfolk Broads. If you really want to get away from it all, hire a boat from Wroxham and set out on the water. The scenery is beautiful – it’s a whole different world.
What’s your favourite event on the Norfolk calendar, and why?It has to be the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. So many people are still not aware of it, and yet it is one of the largest festivals of its kind in Europe. Each May gives way to a unique programme of events, bursting at its seams, with something for everyone. From fringe theatre to dance, opera to outdoor theatre, it’s a cultural riot! I actually sing in the Norwich Philharmonic Choir, and at this year’s festival we are performing Mahler Symphony of a Thousand on Saturday 21st May. It’s destined to be a very special evening indeed.
Norfolk is brimming with history and culture. What’s your favourite heritage building and what’s so special about it?The Jarrold Department Store of course! Overlooking Norwich Market and City Hall, it is a truly elegant and impressive building. Leading Norwich architect George Skipper, who had designed the London Street building in 1903, remodelled the frontage of the Exchange Street/London Street corner in 1923. He is behind other city landmarks too, including the Royal Arcade and Norwich Union Marble Hall. We have recently converted the ‘Skipper Room’ – a private meeting room within the store which features the original cabinetry, fireplace and ceiling design. Every morning as I walk to walk, I feel blessed to work in such a special building of such historical importance.
Last, but by no means least, what’s your best-kept Norfolk secret (supposing you’re happy to share it!)?Take a walk along the riverside from the Elm Hill carpark and back past Pull's Ferry into the Cathedral Close for a relaxing break from work - or shopping!