Published date: April 2020
Dragon Hall is a Grade 1 listed medieval trading hall that was built around 1430. It is a unique legacy of medieval life and is one of the most important historic buildings in Norwich and Norfolk. The magnificent first floor Great Hall has an outstanding crown post roof with a beautifully carved dragon, which gives the building its name.
Dragon Hall is one of the ‘Norwich Twelve’, one of 12 iconic buildings in Norwich, spanning the Norman, medieval, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras. It shares this title with other historic and iconic buildings in the city including Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral, The Guildhall, The Assembly House, St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, City Hall and The Forum.
An important example of a building built by a 15th century entrepreneur, Robert Toppes, Dragon Hall was a business complex to display, store and sell Norfolk goods and imports from Europe and beyond. It is considered to be one of Norwich’s medieval architectural gems and an iconic building in the city. It was never Toppes’s home, it was solely used for trading goods, located on the River Wensum which flows via the River Yare, to Great Yarmouth and providing access to the North Sea and then to the likes of Bruges, Antwerp and beyond.
Today Dragon Hall is home of the National Centre for Writing and is not accessible to the public on a daily basis. However, Dragon Hall Heritage Volunteers run regular guided tours of the building – please check dates and times by going to the National Centre for Writing’s website. Entry is free but they do ask for a donation to go towards the maintenance costs of this ancient building. Dragon Hall Heritage Volunteers act as tour guides and also offer a range of talks, run a local history group for discussion of topics related to Dragon Hall and the surrounding area. If you are interested in history and old buildings, they are always keen to recruit new members.
Dragon Hall is accessible by lift except for the cellars and undercroft and please note that the tours are only of the medieval parts and do not include areas occupied by the National Centre for Writing. No car parking is available at Dragon Hall, but there is a public pay and display carpark on Rouen Road, just a short walk away.
Available for private hire, Dragon Hall can be booked for drinks and buffet receptions, dinners, conferences, performances and social occasions, including weddings. To find out more about Dragon Hall tours, venue hire or becoming a volunteer, please go to the following websites:
Dragon Hall, 115-123 King Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 1QE