1. Walk on the front
Great Yarmouth has clearly been a seaside tourist town for a long time, and the front is a mix of brand new arcades and older buildings. The older buildings include crumbling concrete from the 1960s or ’70s and also some Edwardian or Victorian pleasure palaces.
It’s perhaps more striking in winter, when many of the shops and restaurants are shut and the place has a bleaker, emptier air but it’s probably more fun in the summer when all the attractions are open.
2. Go for a swim
If the sea looks a little brisk, there’s a good indoor pool on the beach with a slide and wave machine. And space for doing lengths, too, if that’s your preference.
3. Play mini-golf
We played a round on the 18-hole Pirates Cove Adventure Golf course, which was good fun. The holes are well designed and varied. One had a water feature which was a river of blood (well, red colouring) and another starts in a ‘cave’. There are pirates and pirate facts everywhere – the display is impressive.
The second mini-golf course on the front is at the Merrivale Model Village and one entry fee gives you access to both. Unfortunately, it’s shut in winter, so I can only say it looks intriguing from the outside.
4. Eat hot, fresh doughnuts
There’s a small shop on the front which cooks doughnuts fresh to order. Watching them get blobbed out in rings, then travel through the fryer is surprisingly entertaining and freshly cooked doughnuts have a fluffier, lighter texture than shop-bought ones. Delicious – although, again, perhaps better on a frosty winter’s day.
5. Visit the local yarn shops
We checked out two shops on our trip: the Knitters Knook in the Victoria Arcade and More to the Point at 120 King Street. Both shops stock a good selection of core yarns (plenty of DK and baby yarns, some aran, sock and novelty yarns) and More to the Point also has needlecraft and cross stitch kits.
I would love to have these shops as my local yarn shop, but as a visitor and a sock-knitting addict, I didn’t see much that I couldn’t get closer to home. I didn’t find any local wools or indie dyers, for example.
All in all, I really enjoyed my weekend in Great Yarmouth. The atmosphere might change a lot in the summer but I’d definitely go back. The town centre is a short, level walk from the beach, and both the promenade and the town centre are flat with good pavements so it’s easy to get around – and next time I’d like to go swimming in the sea!