A lively seaside town in Norfolk, Great Yarmouth makes for an action-packed day out or holiday destination. With its famous Pleasure Beach, amusements and attractions, there’s lots to keep visitors (especially kids!) busy.
It’s easy to see why Great Yarmouth is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Norfolk. There’s loads to see and do in the town itself and the area surrounding the town is absolutely stunning, with long sandy beaches stretching along the coast and the tranquil Norfolk Broads inland.
Our planner, sharing all the best things to do in Great Yarmouth, will help you get started…
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Scroll down for the interactive map of things to do in Great Yarmouth (and nearby!).
Have Fun at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach
Sitting at the top of Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile and sprawling across a huge nine acre site is the Pleasure Beach, Great Yarmouth’s #1 attraction. This theme park is loud, colourful and in your face, making it the perfect place to take the kids for a day out!
With a mix of 28 adrenaline pumping rides, traditional attractions including a 1932 wooden roller coaster, gardens, amusement arcades and food outlets, you need to devote a whole day to the Pleasure Beach, even though you’ll be exhausted by the end of it!
Be Entranced at Sea Life
At the centre of the Golden Mile on Marine Parade is the SEA LIFE Centre, a brilliant family attraction, home to over 1,500 fascinating sea creatures, an underwater tunnel and rock pool encounter.
Kids can get up close to the marine animals and interact with Humboldt penguins, starfish and incredible rays for a really special experience. You’ll also be able to attend daily talks about different marine creatures and help with animal feeds.
In the vast aquariums, you can watch deadly sharks and crocodiles, beautiful turtles and seahorses and fascinating jellyfish. There’s even a shark nursery to visit. It’s the perfect way to combine education with family fun, and an especially good place to visit when it’s raining – which has been known to happen!
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Explore History at the Time & Tide Museum of Norfolk Life
In an unlikely but perfectly suited setting in one of the UK’s best preserved Victorian herring curing works and smokehouse, is the Time & Tide Museum. The museum tells the history of Great Yarmouth from its Ice Age beginnings through to the thriving port and seaside resort we know today.
With lots of fascinating interactive exhibits, its easy to get a feel for the rich maritime heritage of Great Yarmouth, and how the town has developed into a popular seaside resort. This is another great spot for a rainy day!
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Norfolk Broads National Park
Head inland from Great Yarmouth, and in just a few miles you’ll be in the heart of the peaceful Norfolk Broads. A great antidote to the noise and colour of the town, the Broads offer a relaxed pace and lots of water based activities.
The Norfolk Broads National Park is made up of over 60 open areas of water known as Broads, originally dug out in medieval times to provide peat for fuel. In the 14th century, these peat diggings flooded, creating the beautiful waterways we see today.
This is one of the most diverse national parks in the United Kingdom, with a vast range of flora and fauna to be explored, and my Norfolk Broads guide has all the info you need.
Start in Wroxham, the capital of the Norfolk Broads and hire a canoe, kayak or paddle board and set off on an adventure. Take a picnic and binoculars to spot the many different birds you’ll encounter, or book a guided trail where a local expert will take you to backwaters where motorised boats can’t go, for the best opportunities to see kingfishers, bitterns and even the elusive otter.
If you ‘re not confident on the water, but still want to explore this gorgeous part of Norfolk, hop on a Broads boat tour from Wroxham Bridge.
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Play Crazy Golf
OK, I have a confession to make. Along with 2p slots, I LOVE crazy golf. It may be naff and laughed at by every other country in the world, but there’s nothing like a game for a bit of family bonding!
Both courses get harder as you go along and it might take a while to get round, especially if you’re with little ones. The decor is befitting for the theme, but it’s more about the competition than anything else! Celebrate the winner with an ice-cream afterwards!
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Great Yarmouth Central Beach
Great Yarmouth’s central beach runs for nearly four miles along the whole of the town’s sea front, from the river Yare to Caister-on-Sea. Passing the Pleasure Beach and numerous other attractions, this is where holidaymakers come for a bit of respite from the lively attractions.
Busy in summer, and often deserted in winter, this long stretch of sandy beach is perfect for a lounge or a stroll all year round.
The stretch close to town has lots of facilities like deckchair and beach hut hire, access ramps for the disabled, play areas, shops, cafes, fast food outlets, ice cream sellers and public toilets.
You can also board a boat at Britannia Pier to venture out to Scroby Sands to spot seals and visit the off-shore wind farm.
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Elizabethan House Museum
Located at the heart of the Heritage Quarter, and hiding behind a Georgian facade, this fascinating merchant’s house on South Quay dates from Tudor times, and has been converted into the Elizabethan House Museum by the National Trust.
The house is famous for its connections with Oliver Cromwell who is said to have frequently visited his friend, who was a prominent local merchant in Great Yarmouth, at the house.
The premises became a regular meeting place for Parliamentarians during the Civil War and it is here, allegedly, in November 1648 that it was decided that Charles I would be executed, and the course of history was changed.
The Elizabethan House Museum holds an extensive collection and each room of the house has something different to see, including costumes, fine art, furniture and even toys from the Tudor period.
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Heady for Hemsby Beach
Hemsby Beach is a lively village resort with shops, amusements, attractions and cafes, a bit like a mini Great Yarmouth!
The spectacular wide and natural sandy beach with its grassy dunes makes this a popular choice with visitors all year round. From here you can walk north to Winterton beach, one of the highlights of the North Norfolk coast and a great place for seal watching.
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Merrivale Model Village
On South Beach Parade, Merrivale Model Village is exactly what it says on the tin! A model village covering over an acre, representing the typical English countryside that surrounds Great Yarmouth, including a busy town centre, a perfectly kept village inn, farm, travelling fair, sports stadium, zoo, holiday park, country club, castle and cottages.
Model railway enthusiasts will be delighted by the 350m of 45mm G gauge track running through the gardens. There are 28 different types and styles of locomotive, tram, novelty vehicle and associated rolling stock with carriages, all of which run on different days. You may need to visit more than once to catch them all!
There’s also a crazy golf course, penny arcade and tea rooms serving home-made cake and cream teas, perfect for that afternoon treat!
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Visit Great Yarmouth Minster
OK, so maybe it’s not the most exciting of of the Great Yarmouth attractions, but the Mister Church of St Nicholas is well worth a visit.
Founded in 1101 by the Bishop of Norwich, it is the largest parish church in England and probably the oldest building in Great Yarmouth.
During the Medieval period, when Great Yarmouth was in its heyday and the fourth wealthiest town in England, the church was at its most magnificent with stained glass, tapestries, painted and gilded walls and various relics of the saints held within. Sadly, the interior was destroyed during the Reformation and the Priory dissolved.
Now beautifully restored, the church is open daily and has become a hub of the community where lots of events are held.
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Always a holiday highlight when my kids were small, an outing to the Hippodrome Circus summer show was something we all looked forward to.
Built in 1903, the legendary Hippodrome is Britain’s only surviving total circus building – and what a building it is! Hidden behind a fairly average facade is a full-sized circus, including a drop ring which becomes a pool!
There are lots of different shows throughout the year, with the summer circus and water spectacular being our firm favourite – probably because it feels like two shows for the price of one! There are also Halloween and Christmas shows every year if you’re visiting out of season.
Chill at Gorleston-on-Sea Beach
Just across the river Yare from Great Yarmouth is the much less visited Gorleston-on-Sea. Take the buckets and spades or kites to gorgeous Gorleston Beach for a relaxed day out on the biggest and sandiest beach for miles around.
Have a go on the fiendishly difficult yachting pond, dip your toes in the paddling pool and explore the wide esplanade below the grassy cliffs before settling in for fish and chips and an ice-cream for tea!
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Walk the Angles Way National Trail
On a clear day, you can see for miles with panoramic views across the rivers Yare and Waveney to the marshes and Berney Arms windmill in the distance, perfect for capturing that iconic Norfolk image.
From the ruins, head to the river and join the Angles Way National Trail to Great Yarmouth. At the river, turn right and you’ll find the path that runs alongside the river, before arriving at Breydon Water where the sea meets the Broads.
From here, the path takes you to the Breydon Bridge, where you can cross the river back into Great Yarmouth. This walk one-way is 4 miles, which will take around an hour and a half at a relaxed pace.
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The Norfolk Nelson Museum
Admiral Lord Nelson was born in Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk and the county has rich ties to his legacy. It is with sadness that we are letting you know that the Norfolk Nelson Museum was permanently closed in January 2020.
Map of Great Yarmouth Attractions
How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.
Have I missed any Great Yarmouth highlights? Scroll down to leave a comment…