A SPECIAL PLACE TO VISIT
Norfolk is the driest region in England, and at the furthest, most easterly point in the country. The Norfolk coastline stretches from Hunstanton in the west, right the way around to Great Yarmouth in the east. The eastern coastline continues south of Great Yarmouth to Hopton-on-Sea and then on around Suffolk.
Great Yarmouth is a fascinating destination. At the mouth of the River Yare, it's the gateway to the magical Broads waterways, with options for eveyone to explore our centuries-old man-made rivers and lakes. It's a unexpectedly historical location, once home to two Roman forts. The wide, east-facing sandy beaches hold everyone enthralled, whether you're a sun-bather, kite-flyer or sandcastle-builder. And local villages and towns found in gently-rolling Norfolk countryside are perfect for exploring, on foot, in your car, or on board your bicycle, boat or canoe.
Great Yarmouth's coastline is a dream for those who aren't keen on soaring cliffs and huge hikes up and down. With the exception of California, Scratby and Gorleston-on-Sea, where you will find a bit of a drop and stairs to the sand, the beach is often on a level with the town or village you're visiting.
Each beach has it's own personality. The silky sandy and sheer wilderness of Winterton-on-Sea is hard to beat, with it's wide dunes to the north forming a National Nature Reserve home to all sorts of creatures and a huge colony of grey seals in the winter months. Huge expanses of sand extend to the south, where Hemsby, California and Caister-on-Sea beaches can be found.
Beautiful beaches stretch all along the Great Yarmouth coastline, puntuated with dunes or marram grass, but with plenty of space for outdoor fun. Try dog walking, sun-bathing, paddling in the sea, walking, exploring or striding out along the Norfolk Coastal Path. This new path runs for 84 miles around Norfolk from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea.
Gorleston-on-Sea and Great Yarmouth's main Central Beach are home to traditional seaside fun with bouncy castles and donkey rides, and windbreaks and deck chairs for hire.
Norfolk has simply stunning countryside, punctuated with traditional windmills, miles of rolling green fields, quintessential villages in all shapes and sizes and lovely market towns.
The countryside local to Great Yarmouth is a delight to explore with unique waterways and land-locked Broads, as well as woods, decoys and carrs.
It's perfectly possible to walk from Great Yarmouth's seafront to the local RSPB Nature Reserve at Breydon Water. There's a stunning walk from English Heritage's Burgh Castle site alongside the River Waveney back to Breydon Water.
You might prefer to hire a bicycle and pedal along the winding country lanes to the north and south of Great Yarmouth. The quiet country lanes between villages are ideal for cycling on a sunny day. But we bet you won't think Norfolk's as flat as all that when you get back!
You can of course jump in the car and drive through the countryside to see what you can discover. The local Tourist Office can recommend walks from 3 miles to 9 if you want to set out on foot, either from Great Yarmouth or from one of the nearby country villages. There's lots of choice and plenty of beautiful views.
For some visitors to Norfolk, the Broads conjure up memories of The Big Six and Coot Club, classic children's novels written by Arthur Ransome when his characters ventured south from the Lakes to the Broads. Whether you read the books as a child or not, these days the Broads National Park is simply stunning, and you can get out on the water in a variety of methods near Great Yarmouth.
The very special, land-locked Trinity Broads between Filby, Rollesby and Ormesby don't get a mention in Arthur Ransom's books. But you can explore these unusual Broads and spot local wildlife aboard the Gentleman Jim, setting sail from Rollesby's popular café. They also have rowing boats if you're feeling fit. Norfolk Wildlife Trust also run a number of events throughout the year. Horsey Mere is another brilliant place to see wildlife, including Norfolk's unique Swallowtail butterflies if you time your visit right. The Lady Ann leaves the end of Horsey Staithe for an hour's wildlife tour five times a day in summer.
Stand Up Paddleboarding has become incredibly popular in recent years. If you've got your own gear, plenty of people paddle off from the gently sloping beach at Gorleston-on-Sea. But if you fancy calmer waters and need to hire your board, Martham Boats is the place to go. The gentle waters of the River Thurne are the perfect place to slip in to the water and taught SUP sessions are available. You can also hire a traditional day boat or a canoe at Martham. The perfect way to spend some time messing about on the river.
If you'd rather explore on foot, there are some fantastic walks in and around the Broads. And there always seems to be a riverside pub or tea room, perfectly placed for a snack or a bite to eat whilst you're out.
Towns & Villages
Great Yarmouth and Gorleston-on-Sea are fun towns to visit. And you'll be surprised to see examples of Edwardian and Victorian architecture where ever you go, if you just take a moment to look. Retail therapy always forms part of a break away, and we can recommmend a stop at the Docwra's Rock Shop on Regent Street. Docwra's is a Great Yarmouth institution, and perfect if a stick of traditional seaside rock is on your souvenir list. In addiiton to plenty of shops and a market in Great Yarmouth, both towns now boast their own cinemas as well.
The area surrounding Great Yarmouth is blessed with picture-perfect villages to explore, many next to the river or near a Broad. Much of the surrounding area is part of the Broads National Park. Norfolk has a fine tradition of flint-knapped Medieval churches, as well as windmills and windpumps. You'll find plenty of these dotted about, as well as thatched-roof cottages, village duck ponds, villages fêtes and summer festivals.
Thurne Windmill celebrates its 200th birthday in 2020.The mill is in full working order and is well worth a visit whilst you're out and about. There's a lovely riverside walk up to the most unusual Wind Energy Museum too. Several local villages take part in the national 'In Bloom' competition, so you're sure to be met with stunning floral displays on arrival. And in May there's often a scarecrow festival which is a lot of fun.
Visit Great Yarmouth captured it beautifully in this lovely little film
(best viewed full screen - just click the button, bottom right)