With its sandy beaches and two historic piers, Great Yarmouth is Norfolk’s flagship beach town and is ever popular with families during the summertime. The town is also home to two excellent theme parks in the Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach and Joyland where you will find no shortage of restaurants, amusement rides, and arcades.
However, it’s not just the rollercoasters. A variety of other top-notch attractions mean that a visit to Great Yarmouth will keep even the liveliest of kids entertained. There are the ever-entertaining penguins and scary sharks at the SEA LIFE aquarium, whilst the Merrivale Model Village features bewildering miniature landscapes and buildings. For older visitors with a keen interest in history, the Time and Tide Museum traces the local story of Great Yarmouth while the Nelson Museum focuses on the life of the country’s great admiral.
Although technically in Suffolk, Pleasurewood Hills in Lowestoft is a stone’s throw from the Norfolk border and provides a great day out for the whole family. With over 35 rides, shows and attractions, it is one of the most varied theme parks in Norfolk. The younger family members will have a fantastic time exploring the brand-new Indoor Play and Sensory Play Fun or the Kiddie Zone with its rides which are suitable for children around one metre tall. The family-friendly rides are the perfect introduction to the theme park world for newcomers.
If you prefer a more extreme day out, there’s an excellent choice of rides including Wipeout – the region’s most extreme roller coaster. However, if the thought of rides turns your stomach, there’s also a chairlift for a bird’s eye view of the park, the Rootin’ Tootin’ Target Trail to practice your marksmanship and the spectacular sealion and parrot shows to enjoy, as well as a brand new and exciting outdoor show, plus a new non-rider ticket you can enjoy them all for the great price of just £10.
This year, the park has also introduced an undated ticket which offers flexibility and means you don’t have to pick the day of your visit in advance if you’re booking online. Visitors to the region may also want to take advantage of the seven-day pass. Valid for seven consecutive days, the pass offers great value for anyone planning to make several trips to the park. Make sure to check the website for opening times before your trip as these vary seasonally.
Suitable for: Ages 0-12
While an honourable mention goes to Joyland Children's Fun Park, we’ve gone for Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach from the famous Norfolk resort town’s two offerings. This is because the Pleasure Beach is a mainstay in top 10 lists for the best free entry amusement parks in the country. The largest and most popular ride at the park is the Roller Coaster, built in 1932, but there are also around thirty other newer rides at the park, including the thrilling Sky-Drop and Big Apple Coaster. All of this can all be experienced for just £13.50 per person for a 3-hour time session (children under 3 are free).
In addition to the white-knuckle rides, there are children's entertainment shows, amusement arcades, catering facilities, sweet shops and ice cream parlours that make the Pleasure Beach an ideal family day out. The park operates between March and October and has ample car parking adjacent to the park. Height restrictions are in force on some rides.
Suitable for: Ages 4+
Tucked into the Norfolk Broads near Reedham, Pettitts Animal Adventure Park is a family friendly wildlife park home to domestic and exotic animals, kids' rides, live entertainment and a cafe. The park is an animal-lovers heaven with opportunities to see a number of different species of snakes, ferrets, reptiles and birds of prey, and meet animals from around the world such as wallabies, raccoons, macaws, lemurs and alpacas. Older kids can enjoy the park’s super fun Adventure Rides including the Crazy Caterpillar Rollercoaster and Bouncing Kangaroo Ride, Alice in Wonderland train, Safari Adventure, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, and a pirate ship, while tots can venture in to three of the large play areas.
The park is open from late March until late October and there is free parking for your convenience. It’s worth checking online before you go as prices are always cheaper if purchased in advance with discounts also available at certain times.
Suitable for: Ages 0-12
BeWILDerwood is a huge, award-winning forest-based theme park filled with family fun and outdoor adventure located on the edge of Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve. Based on the magical children's books written by local author Tom Blofeld, the park is a wonderland of treehouses, enchanted boat rides and intriguing characters, bringing a magical atmosphere to the Norfolk Broads.The park is friendly to both little and big people with adults being encouraged to join the kids on the treehouses, zip wires and jungle bridges. This means that everyone who comes to play, including the grown-ups, needs a ticket, though admission is free for those under 92cm. There is value for money at BeWILDerwood however, as parking, entry to the park, boat rides, storytelling, crafts and den building is all included in the ticket price. The park is only open on selected dates from February to October and there can be queues for some attractions such as the boats, so it's worth planning ahead and arriving early to make the most of this wild and imaginative day out!
Suitable for: All ages
The park is friendly to both little and big people with adults being encouraged to join the kids on the treehouses, zip wires and jungle bridges. This means that everyone who comes to play, including the grown-ups, needs a ticket, though admission is free for those under 92cm. There is value for money at BeWILDerwood however, as parking, entry to the park, boat rides, storytelling, crafts and den building is all included in the ticket price. The park is only open on selected dates from February to October and there can be queues for some attractions such as the boats, so it's worth planning ahead and arriving early to make the most of this wild and imaginative day out!
Suitable for: All ages