Norfolk (England) : South Norfolk : Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth is an English seaside town situated at the mouth of the River Yare, about 120 miles to the North East of London. Around 5 million people visit Great Yarmouth every year, making it Britain's third most popular seaside resort. It is about 20 miles from Norwich, the nearest city, and close to the Norfolk Broads - a popular network of inland lakes and rivers.
Formerly the home of one of the most lucrative fishing industry and famous for herrings, Great Yarmouth is a bustling and very popular seaside resort. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular attractions is Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, a free-entry theme park, which boasts 28 rides (including the 'Scenic Railway roller coaster', built in 1932) and draws annually 1.5 million visitors. The two piers, Brittania pier and Wellington Pier, both contain family-orientated entertainment including a Bowling alley (Wellington) and a theatre (Brittania). As well as the usual thrills and spills one would expect on a classic British seafront, Great Yarmouth also has a quieter side, with a fascinating heritage quarter to explore. Not many people know that Great Yarmouth has the most complete city walls after York, with heritage walks to help you discover this medieval attraction along with several museums and houses dating back many centuries. If ghost walks are more your cup of tea, Eerie Tales and Yarmouth Yarns is the tour for you, (+44 1493 846346).
Great Yarmouth is also a centre for the North Sea oil and gas industry and increasingly for offshore wind power. The new outer harbour is a huge development currently taking place which will see cruise liners and larger ships coming to the town. The Maritime Festival in September each year celebrates Great Yarmouth's maritime heritage.
Over the past few years, Yarmouth has seen significant regeneration spending to improve and modernise the popular seafront area and to ensure it is linked to the town centre. Regent Road has a stunning ceiling of light which is illuminated in the evenings and is now a lovely pedestrianed link street leading from town centre to the seafront area.
Illuminations along Marine Parade are also worth an evening stroll, some have been designed by children from local primary schools. Fireworks celebrations run for 6 weeks every Wednesday evening for the six weeks of the school summer holidays when a carnival atmosphere can been enjoyed.
The A47 is a direct route from Norwich or King's Lynn and the A12 provides a direct link to Lowestoft, Ipswich and Colcehster.
Great Yarmouth station has a regular service to Norwich via Acle, Blofield and Brundall on The Wherry Line. At Norwich you'll find local interconnecting services from Lowestoft, Sheringham and Cromer via Wroxham and intercity services to London Liverpool Street. There are also services from the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland, via Peterborough, Cambridge and Ely. A cross country service from Liverpool, through Manchester, Nottingham and Peterborough also arrives in Norwich where connecting trains to Great Yarmouth are available.
Norwich International airport, with connecting flights from Amsterdam, is about 45 minutes' drive away.
Great Yarmouth has lots of car parking, all clearly signed. It is a common misconception that parking is difficult to find, but this is not actually the case, with many car parks to be found up and down Marine Parade on the sea front and in the town cetnre, catering for nearly 2000 cars. Prices start from £1.00 per hour in summer. If you do try to park on a side street to avoid paying, make sure you watch out for residents parking areas where a pass is required.
A newly refurbished and improved Marine Parade includes extra wide pavements and a special slow lane for bicycles and the landau. A widened road with clearly marked crossing areas for pedestrians and several new roundabouts mean that it is now much easier to cruise up and down when finding somewhere to park.
Regular bus and train services are also available.
Yarmouth offers the traditional seaside attractions - crazy golf, amusement arcades, funfairs, etc. There is also a racecourse, greyhound and stock car racing. The beach itself is clean and good for families.
A few miles North of the town are quieter seaside villages like Winterton, Sea Palling and Waxham. Twenty miles or so to the South is Southwold, an upmarket resort.
The Greater Yarmouth area has a variety of interesting and entertaining attractions to enjoy, whether you're on holiday, day-tripping or live in or around Norfolk. Both indoor and outdoor activities are available - so, even if it's raining (though East Anglia does enjoy the least rainfall of anywhere in the UK) there's still plenty to keep the visitor occupied.
The borough of Greater Yarmouth has up to 17 miles of sandy beach to enjoy. Deck chairs and wind breaks can be hired on the beach in summer. Dog walkers are welcome at North Beach.
Marine Parade hosts a large range of activities, from Joyland to the more sedate Model Village, from the aforementioned Pleasure Beach to Yesterday's World, with something for all age groups.
Yarmouth Hollywood Cinema is well worth a visit. It's the cheapest cinema around and although it only has 5 screens (3 of which are smallish) and isn't exactly the most modern experience; it has character that is often lacking from 'multiplex' cinema chains.
The Sea Life Centre is fun for all ages. Although not cheap, you have all day to explore the large assortment of aquariums including a shark tank with a tunnel passing underneath it.
Places of genuine interest on Regent Road include Docwras Rock Shop which is the largest rock (the sugary type you can eat) factory in the world. They also make and sell many other types of confectionery, including many types of fudge, chocolate coated strawberries and even diabetic products.
Great Yarmouth puts the fun back into shopping, whether in the high street chain stores, some of the quirky local shops or the more traditional seaside shops. Market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays all year and on Fridays as well during the summer months.
The Imperial Hotel has a good French-influenced restaurant. Anna Sewell House has recently (October 2007) been taken over and clearly has ambitions.
The Troll Cart (a JD Weatherspoons pub situated at the west end of Regent Road near Market Gates) is one of the best places to eat in Yarmouth. When they bother to stock the ingredients on the menu (around 50% of the time) it is the best and cheapest place to get a good meal. The Troll Cart stocks a good range of spirits, ales and beer from around the world. Meat free and wheat free options are stated on their menu.
Fatso's Speakeasy is also a good place to go for various American themed meals such as steak or burger and chips. It can be accessed on foot by starting at the market place and walking down king street.
Yarmouth has a long history of chip stalls on the market place near town centre and Market Gates. Several have been there for many many decades offering a delicacy not available anywhere else.
For general shopping, Yarmouth is served by Asda next to the train station; Tesco between town centre and the industrial estate and Sainsbury's near Market Gates.
When the sun goes down, Great Yarmouth becomes a wonderland of colour as you find your way to a night out on the town to enjoy our theatres, nightclubs, cinemas and casinos.
The Britannia Pier theatre has a varied programme of performance to enjoy.
For fine dining try the Anna Sewell restuaurant or Café Cru at The Imperial Hotel. Alternatively, Pub on the Prom is a great place to start with a wide menu and a great atmosphere.
Popular clubs in Yarmouth include Caesars, Roseys, Kings Wine Bar, Arena, Fantasia, Peggotys, The Gari/Tabu/Gaping-Hole-In-The-Ground (after several incarnations this one has actually turned in to a fun place to be on a Saturday night), The Long Bar, Angels Strip Club and the Ocean Rooms.
There's such a range of holiday accommodation in Great Yarmouth you'll be spoilt for choice....
Visitors to Great Yarmouth should be aware of scams. In 2008, several people have fallen victim to a scam where a gypsy from the Yarmouth 'traveller' camp stops in a car to talk to a pedestrian. Once gaining the attention of the victim, she points out her distrought state and tells the victim that a relative has died and that she needs money for fuel to get to some far off location. The con artist also often has a small baby with them at the time. This scam has been noted around the industrial estate where the 'traveller's' site is situated and the town centre.