This weekend was a glorious 27°C, so we took advantage and headed straight to the beach. We decided that after covering both Sheringham and Cromer beaches, we would check out what Great Yarmouth has to offer!
SEASIDE ADVENTURES IN GREAT YARMOUTH!
We got the train from Norwich which cost us £5.50 (return) and took just over half an hour. Once you arrive at the train station, it’s around 15 mins walk through the town to reach the beach. We took a slightly longer route, initially by accident as we took a wrong turn! We then realised we could walk through the market and through St George’s Park, which provided a slightly more scenic option. The local market offered fresh fruit and veg, clothing, jewellery etc.. the usual! St George’s Park was pretty, although also a favourable spot for local alcoholics… It was still worth the detour for a bit of greenery on the way!
Once we arrived on the seafront, we were faced with a huuuge expanse of sandy beach. Unfortunately we had to walk along a bit before we could actually reach the sand as there were so many attractions/ bouncy castles/ crazy golf set-ups! Think classic tacky seaside and multiply that by about 100 and you have Great Yarmouth!
We walked along the seafront to the pier and then along to the end of the pier where there are a few more amusements/ rides for children. There’s also a couple of cafes if you fancy stopping for a drink overlooking the beach. We had a picnic with us, so backtracked to a grassy area with a couple of benches to enjoy our sandwiches in the sunshine!
Afterwards, we decided to walk along the beach in the opposite direction, aiming to eventually reach Gorleston, which we’d heard has a much quieter and much prettier (and less overwhelming!) beach. We seemed to walk for MILES (ok, 20 mins…) and it was just endless amusements! Hundreds of flashing lights, garish decorations and fluffy prizes; building up from smaller stalls and shops, culminating with ‘Pleasure Beach’ at the end which contains larger rides and roller-coasters. I’ve never seen so many amusements in one place! I can imagine Great Yarmouth is the perfect place for a beach experience with children – I know I would have absolutely LOVED it as a child 🙂
Once we’d reached the end, we decided to check to see which direction we’d need to walk in to reach Gorleston. Upon consulting Google Maps, we realised we’d made a bit of a boo-boo! Turns out you can’t reach Gorleston very easily from that end of the beach thanks to a large chunk of the River Yare making it impossible. So, as you can see from the map, our only option was to walk alllll the way back to near the train station (35 mins) before walking back on ourselves (again!) to reach Gorleston – around 45 mins! Nightmare. Luckily we don’t mind a good walk, especially when it’s beautiful and sunny. After walking for around half an hour through various housing estates and along the river at South Quay, we asked ourselves.. do we really want to go to Gorleston?? We made a last minute decision to change direction and carry on past the train station to reach a large patch of green we could see on the map! South Quay was actually quite pretty, with cute buildings dating back to the 18th century.
The ‘large patch of green’ turned out to be a vast patch of grass leading to a collection of sand dunes. The walk there was lovely – we walked on the path which runs adjacent to the beach, passing tiny cafes, rows of houses and at one point a charming little park! I can’t find the name of the park anywhere, but it contained a tiny river (complete with ducks) which was decorated with a couple of cute mini bridges. You could walk all the way around but some people opted to take small pedalo-style kayaks.
We had originally aimed to reach the Holiday Park (Haven Seashore) with the hope that they would have some kind of pub/ restaurant onsite where we could get a drink! BUT after another 20 mins walking, mostly on the bumpy, grassy dunes, we decided to head for the beach to relax. The beaches this end of Great Yarmouth are much quieter – there was no one around! Unlike the soft sands near the amusements, this was more stony, which I’m sure puts people off. However, we got ourselves comfortable and enjoyed a quick sunbathing session!
By 5pm, hungry, tired and a little sunburnt, we walked back to the train station the way we came, which took us about 40 mins. Despite all the walking, we had a lovely day – all beach days are great days! Great Yarmouth is definitely more for those with children or people who love a good old tacky day at the seaside! We love a bit of tacky, but unfortunately this was a little too much for us! We enjoyed the walk along the dunes, but probably wouldn’t return as we definitely preferred Cromer and Sheringham.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO IN GREAT YARMOUTH?
Aside from exploring the beach, the amusements, the pier and the less crowded sand dunes, there are other options for your visit to Great Yarmouth!
- Merrivale Model Village
- Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre
- Crazy golf!
- Hire a boat
- Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life
- Pamper yourself at Barn Works Spa
- Elizabethan House Museum
- Great Yarmouth Potteries and Smoke House
- Nelson Museum
- The Tolhouse, one of the oldest prisons in the country!
- Go to a show at Gorleston Pavillion, St George’s Theatre, or the Britannia Pier Theatre.