A local’s guide to the thrills and spills of East Anglia’s most popular seaside resort
So, you’re bored with Great Yarmouth already, are you?
Then here’s what else the county of Norfolk has to offer, including the big city
streets of Norwich, smaller seaside resorts like Hemsby and Gorleston-on-sea, wildlife
parks like Thrigby Hall and the famously picturesque Norfolk Broads.
It might be home to the most embarrassingly awful and tragic football team in the
history of the game, but Norfolk’s county town of Norwich is still well worth a day
trip and is easily accessible from Yarmouth by both train and bus. It’s a great city
for shops, with two large malls full of all the major High Street stores, as well
as a lively market and several interesting side roads where you can browse through
the wares of local independent traders. Head to Magdalen Street for antiques and
second-hand curios, or Elm Hill (pictured) for picturesque shop fronts and cobbled
streets; and once back in the centre, be sure to visit Jarrold’s - Norwich’s largest
independent department store.
And when you’re done with shopping, there’s a cathedral and castle for the history
buffs, as well as over churches that would bore me stiff but might wow you. The riverside
area is very welcoming, too, with a good selection of restaurants and bars - and
the whole city is blessed with just a typical, laid-back Norfolk vibe. It’s clean,
relaxed, pleasant and a little inbred.
If you were to take the best bits of what Great Yarmouth has to offer as a traditional
seaside holiday resort and squeeze them into a much smaller town, then you’d probably
end up with Hemsby. Just five minutes up the coast by car, or a torturous round-the-houses
30-minute journey by bus, this place might have seen better days, for sure, but it
still has a certain charm about it. You can walk around everything in less than 10
minutes, but it’s well worth spending a whole afternoon there if you fancy some different
amusement arcades to play in, some different fish and chip shops to eat in and a
different sandy beach for a swim. There’s crazy golf, too, and a small but rather
fun funfair - and the added thrill of coastal erosion and the chance to see bits
of the village falling into the sea.
In fact, get there fast... 2017 saw several inches lost during winter storms and
who knows how much of Hemsby will be left next month if global warming has its way?
Treat the kids to a day at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Park, which is located in the village
of Filby just eight miles from Great Yarmouth, and see tigers, leopards, gorgeous
little red pandas, meerkats, gibbons, alligators and more. Open every day from 10
am, this family-friendly attraction is situated in beautifully maintained gardens
with a unique treetop walkway that allows amazing viewpoints of the animals below.
THE NORFOLK BROADS
Not a bunch of old girls from Norwich, the Norfolk Broads are in fact a group of
rivers that flow between picturesque villages such as Potter Heigham, Wroxham, Hickling
and Thurne. Hire a boat and spend a peaceful afternoon lazily drifting upstream and
back again, or take a night-time cruise on the famous Southern Comfort, a Mississippi
paddle steamer, based in Horning, that runs regular trips along the River Bure.
Great Yarmouth’s next-door-neighbour Gorleston-on-Sea has one of the most beautiful
beaches in Norfolk, so where better for a visit on a sunny afternoon? The High Street
is nothing to write home about, but the small seafront crams a lot into a relatively
small space. And the view out to sea is breathtaking and completely unspoiled. Just
head to the clifftops for the perfect view, then pop for an ice cream at the nearby