7 best things to do in Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth is a well-known seaside town on the East Norfolk Coast that has a rich maritime heritage stemming from its position at the centre of the herring industry. You’ll never be short of things to do in this special seaside town.
The famed ‘Golden Mile’ is a paradise for lovers of all things seaside entertainment with venues lining the promenade offering adventure golf, rides on giant snails and even rollercoasters. However, the attractions don’t stop there. You can also witness fascinating species at Sealife Great Yarmouth and learn about local history at the Time and Tide Museum. There are four Haven Parks to choose from near Great Yarmouth, each with their own unique attributes, so it's clear how highly we rate the town as a holiday destination. If you’re going to trust anyone’s opinion on this special Norfolk town, then let it be ours! Read on for more information on the best things to do in Great Yarmouth.
1. Hippodrome Circus
We had to give a special mention to the Hippodrome Circus, set within Britain’s only building dedicated to circuses. It’s just steps from Great Yarmouth’s seafront in the heart of the town. Built in 1903 by showman George Gilbert, world-class shows were born and have continued to entertain audiences ever since.
The arena is versatile, with a purpose-built floor switching around to tailor to each show. A hard floor sinks into a pool, bringing water performances truly to life. A show or two shows you why the Daily Telegraph named this venue as one of the seven wonders of the British seaside. Great for all-year round, head here and you’re guaranteed a thrilling time.
2. The Pleasure Beach’s amusements
Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach is an extensive amusement park with a mixture of modern and traditional attractions found at the top of Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile. The biggest and most popular ride at the park is the Roller Coaster that has been thrilling those who dare ride it for almost 90 years. There are also around thirty other newer rides at the park, including the thrilling Sky-Drop and Big Apple Coaster. All of these rides can be ridden on a reasonably priced ticket which allocates visitors with a three-hour time session.
In addition to the white-knuckle rides, there are children's entertainment, amusement arcades, catering facilities, sweet shops and ice cream parlours that makes the Pleasure Beach an ideal family day out. The Pleasure Beach operates between March and October and has plenty of car parking adjacent to the park.
3. Joyland Children's Fun Park
Opened in 1949, Joyland amusement park has been thrilling visitors to Great Yarmouth ever since on the site of the former Anchor Gardens next to Britannia Pier. This historic free entry attraction has an assortment of rides such as the world-famous snails and Tyrolean Tub Twist making it one of the most exciting things to do in Great Yarmouth. Kids will also love the huge toy town mountain that houses the spook express kiddie coaster, jet cars and Neptune’s Kingdom undersea fantasy ride.
There is also an excellent American diner and for every £15 spent in there, you get a free ride pass, making Joyland one of our best value-for-money things to do in Great Yarmouth. Joyland Great Yarmouth rides are run on a token system. All nine main rides in Joyland cost one token per person. Joyland’s opening dates and times are weather permitting and subject to change so check online before you pay it a visit.
4. The town’s beaches
The scenic beaches of Great Yarmouth stretch almost continuously for over 15 miles and have been awarded both the coveted Blue Flag and Marine Conservation Society awards.
The North Beach is a glorious sandy beach to the north of the seafront. Wide sand dunes make the beach perfect for dog walking at any time of year. Great Yarmouth's South Beach is another glorious sandy addition, located south of Wellington Pier. The wide beach and its secluded sand dunes mean that its ideal for families who want a quieter stretch of beach. Meanwhile, Caister on Sea's North Beach near Great Yarmouth has a long concrete esplanade that is ideal for relaxing and is found on the doorstep of a fabulous Haven park.
5. Sea Life
Located on Great Yarmouth’s famous seafront, Sea Life features family-friendly exhibits with an extensive array of sea creatures to be seen. Sea Life Great Yarmouth is home to blacktip reef sharks, African dwarf crocodiles, and the easily recognisable clownfish. Your kids can discover more of the world of jellyfish in the Jelly Invaders display, watch the aquarium’s regal Humboldt penguins go about their business and walk the ocean tunnel that winds through a huge tank holding a quarter of a million litres of seawater, where the inhabitants swim around the lost city of Atlantis.
Opening times vary throughout the year (though typically the aquarium is open seven days a week) and pre-booking tickets online is essential, so give the website a visit before your trip to Sea Life Great Yarmouth.
6. Time and Tide Museum
Housed in one of the UK's best preserved Victorian herring curing works, this unique museum tells the tale of Great Yarmouth’s storied history. The Time and Tide Museum follows the progression of Great Yarmouth, from its humble Ice Age beginnings to the present day, through artifacts and film. On the way you will learn about the floods of 1953, the bombing of Great Yarmouth during World War Two, and the rise of the local fishing industry.
There's also an exciting programme of events and an excellent gift shop available to visitors. This wonderful museum truly is one of the most engaging things to do in Great Yarmouth. The museum asks that all visitors book in advance, so make sure to do this online before you visit.
7. Merrivale Model Village
Found on Great Yarmouth’s South Beach Parade, Merrivale Model Village is an attraction for families with little children that will make you feel larger than life. This award-winning model village has miniatured versions of a theatre, castle, stadium, houses, cricket pitch, holiday, a church, and mansion, all populated with hundreds of miniature figures with a unique story told in each scene.
Some of the exhibitions such as the Merrivale Garden and Majestic Theatre, have interactive features, while other scenes are rendered in a rare level of detail which will leave you astounded. Locomotive enthusiasts can also marvel at the 350m miniature railway track with over 28 different types of locomotive. The model village is open daily from 10am to 5pm, so don’t leave it too late to visit this excellent Great Yarmouth attraction as you’ll need to enjoy a game of nine-hole crazy golf before you leave at no extra cost.