Right on the gorgeous coastline of Norfolk, Great Yarmouth has been a popular seaside spot for donkey’s years. In fact, the popularity of Great Yarmouth goes back centuries, when Brits would escape to the coast for a little seaside getaway; and not much has changed! Jump to now, and there’s still a heap of the best things to do in Great Yarmouth that’s too good to miss.
The whole Norfolk coastline is totally beautiful to see, with Great Yarmouth a gem to visit for a trip to the seaside.
Now, over the years, some people have fallen out of love with the town and it’s sometimes overlooked in favour of more “on-trend” seaside spots. Though, don’t let that put you off or throw in the towel! Great Yarmouth is a great little place to visit if you really want to see a traditional seaside resort.
Plus, with places like the Norfolk Broads; historic Norwich and the wider Norfolk Coast nearby, it’s well worth a little gander as part of a wider trip around the region.
So, to whet-your-whilst for visiting, I wanted to share some dazzlers and spots to see whilst exploring Great Yarmouth.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Great Yarmouth. Don’t forget to bring me back a stick of rock!
1.) Time and Tide Museum
Great Yarmouth has a rich history of fishing and seafaring that goes back centuries. Considering the city’s great maritime heritage, it’s no wonder that the Time and Tide Museum, is as popular as it is and well worth a gander whilst strolling the town.
Once here, be sure to check out the preserved herring curing works, dating back to the Victorian Era that’s so fascinating to see. Afterwards, explore the fishing wharf, test out the waters on an old steam drifter and hear tales of life at sea.
It’s easily one of the best things to do in Great Yarmouth if you’re interested in local histories, including how the fish finger was invented in the town.
2.) Gorleston-on-Sea Beach
Talking about beaches, another gem to visit is Gorleston-on-Sea Beach. Not only is it a lovely sandy beach on the bay, but it’s also really easy to visit with the whole family.
Plus, it’s one of the more accessible beaches in the area for those with mobility issues. Getting peckish? Head over to Jay Jays Cafe which is something of an institution for snacks to take on the beach.
After a day on the shore, be sure to reserve a table at Pamela’s Restaurant. It’s one of the tastiest spots in Great Yarmouth and has everything from delicious cocktails to fine dining options that are lovely for an evening treat.
3.) Pleasure Beach
Located right on Yarmouth’s Golden Mile, the Pleasure Beach is a historic fairground, which first opened its doors to the public over 100 years ago!
With a proper fairground vibe, it’s a great place to go with the family and grab some candyfloss before heading on the rides themselves. Be sure to head on the dodgems, scream at the Haunted Hotel and ride the historic Roller Coaster that was built back in 1932
4.) Great Yarmouth Central Beach
Perched right between the historic piers, Great Yarmouth’s Central Beach is hard to miss!
With vast sandy area to chill and catch the surf, it’s the perfect place to enjoy one of Norfolk’s Beaches without leaving the town itself.
Now, in the summer months, it can get pretty busy. If that’s not your cuppa tea, then head to one of the quieter beaches just outside Great Yarmouth; like Caister-On-Sea. Plus, if you do go here, you’ll get to stop off at the Caister Roman Fort ruins, too.
5.) Hippodrome Circus
Built back in the early 1900s, Hippodrome Circus is one of the only permanent operating circuses in all of England.
Leaning into that retro seaside vibe, it’s totally unique for having a floor that sinks down into a pool. In fact, it’s been said that only three circuses in the entire world have this!
Depending on when you visit, you’ll get to seasonal shows that take place right inside – the Circus and Water Spectacular is so much fun.
6.) Elizabethan House Museum
Just off the River Yare, visiting the Elizabethan House Museum is one of the best things to do in Great Yarmouth that’s located on the city’s Quayside.
The museum is based out of an Elizabethan Era property and is decorated with historic period-furniture that’s too good to miss.
Once here, explore a costume room filled to the brim with centuries-old armour, clothes and accessories. Some date back to the 1500s!
Not only that, it’s alleged that the property was the very spot where, in 1648, Charles I fate was decided and proceeded with him losing his head. Yikes!
Afterwards, be sure to explore the wider area around the River Banks and stop by Quayside Plaza that serves up delicious seafood linguine.
7.) Merrivale Model Village and Marine Parade
Perched right on the beachfront, Merrivale Model Village is one of the best things to do in Great Yarmouth as you wander down the parade.
With its perfectly landscaped gardens and a vintage arcade, Merrivale Model Village makes for an entertaining afternoon in the town.
For me, the biggest attraction has to be the model village itself. Complete with waterfalls, streams, miniature attractions and even little roads, it’s totally cute to see.
As you wander the village, spot the little highstreets, waterways, the Merrivale Eye before making your way to the Tea Room for a quick cuppa! It’s a perfect stopping point to warm your cockles on a blustery day.
Afterwards, take a stroll up Marine Parade and visit the vintage video game arcades and penny drops! It’s pretty fun.
8.) Norfolk Broads
Exploring the Norfolk Broads is easily one of the best things do in Great Yarmouth if you fancy a few days from the seaside town itself.
The Broads National Park, are a network of pristine waterways that criss-cross this whole region and totally beautiful to explore.
Perfect for a quieter time in the countryside, you can hire yourself a longboat and traverse the waterways at your own pace. Oh, and don’t forget to spot the famous windmills that line the park’s waterways. They’re so gorgeous to see.
9.) Joyland and Britannia Pier
Joyland, which opened in 1949, is a popular little spot to visit when exploring Great Yarmouth with the kids!
Located right on the beachfront, next to Britannia Pier, it has heaps of little rides, amusements and games to enjoy. It’s been the same for generations and a nostalgic favourite for visitors that return to the town.
Afterwards, head down Britannia Pier and grab a few sticks of rock or grab a tipple at Long John’s Showbar.
10.) Hemsby beach
Around a 20-minute drive from Great Yarmouth, Hemsby Beach is perfect to visit if you want to explore another little seaside resort on the Norfolk Coast.
Here, you’ll get to chill out on the vast sandy beach, pop over to the retro Hemsby Fun Park and stroll through the dunes to Winterton Beach. It’s lovely.
Plus, on your way out (or back from Hemsby Beach) you can take a gander at the medieval North-West Tower that stands just off the River Bure.
You won’t stay long here at all, but it’s still worth seeing for a few minutes to get a grasp of the history of Great Yarmouth.
11.) St George’s Theatre
situated within the historic St Georges Chapel building, this is one of the best things to do in Great Yarmouth if you want to catch a show.
From pantomime, musicals and comedy, it’s well worth checking the listings before you visit. This way, you can book your tickets ahead of your trip and avoid any sold out sorrow!