Local Events Calendar
Great Yarmouth is a busy seaside resort, and hosts all sorts of events all year round, from January through to December. You don't have to time your break away to co-incide with one of these annual events, but they might just add a little extra something to your trip. It's always handy to have a heads up as regards what's going on, over and above the normal attractions, theatres, cinemas and sporting activity.
Imperial Hotel is a short walk or drive away from most of these events or shows. And as we're open all year, we're the perfect base for getting out and about in Norfolk on your short break or holiday.
Please note: the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a number of these annual local events to be cancelled. Please check that they are still going ahead before making plans to attend.
What's On in Greater Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth's local Tourist Office keeps a huge diary of almost every event happening in the local area. They also have hundreds of leaflets and posters, walk routes and boat and train timetables and all sorts of other useful information about what's on. When you arrive in Great Yarmouth, you'll find the Tourist Office on Marine Parade, just past Silver Slipper Amusement Arcade.
To find out what's on in Greater Yarmouth and further afield over the coming few days and weeks, in addition to the main diary dates we've highlighted, please click the link below:
January to March
Winter is a quieter time in Great Yarmouth, but there's still a fair bit of action to keep you entertained over and above the attactions that remain open and the many walks you could do. Our guide to things to do in winter is a handy place to start.
Did you know that the International World Indoor Bowls Championships takes place at nearby Potter's Holiday Village in Hopton-on-Sea every January? You could stay at home and watch this on the television, or you could use it as a great opportunity to take advantage of our annual winter break offer, get tickets and watch the action live. Hopton-on-Sea is about 8 miles away from Imperial Hotel. The bowls is a hotly contested tournament with some serious skill attached, well worth watching from the grandstands.
Our local theatres always put on a pantomine in early January - it's usually an adults-only version at the Gorleston Pavillion, definitely not one for the kids. The Hippodrome Christmas Spectacular also rolls round into early January, and is a superb show if you have the chance to catch it.
Valentine's Day in February usually results in some romantic events. In March, the Circus of Horrors also often comes to visit the Hippodrome, keep an eye on their website for details and tickets.
Yarmouth Stadium is open all year round, with greyhound racing events on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and occasionally stock car racing on a Sunday.
Easter to June
Once the Easter holidays are upon us, Great Yarmouth's event diary really starts to hot up. Great Yarmouth Racecouse usually hosts it's first meeting in the run up to Easter when the flat season starts. The racecourse hosts 22 thrilling race meetings a year from now until October.
At the Hippodrome Circus, Pirates Live! is not to be missed. This spectacular show which runs annually over the Easter holidays turns the circus ring into a pirate ship, and a brilliant performance for everyone to enjoy, however old or young you may be. Matinée and evening performances take place all week long. The Terrace is a great place for pre-theatre drinks or a meal.
Norfolk is known for it's windmills and windpumps dotted about the landscape. The National Mills Weekend held in early May celebrates this tradition, with lots of mills open for you to visit. It's a rare opportunity to go inside these lovely buildings, most of which aren't usually open to the public. There are always several open in Norfolk and Suffolk and a great excuse for a weekend away.
Held every other year, the Outdoor Festival of the Broads lasts for 2 to 3 weeks from April to May. Norfolk and Suffolk are intrinsically linked by magical Broads waterways and this fun festival has all sorts of opportunities to explore and ways to get involved, on and off the water. Great Yarmouth is the lynchpin between the Norfolk and Suffolk waterways - you can hire your own boat in nearby Martham. If you like SUP, the Norfolk Broads Ultra is part of the UK Paddle Endurance Series. It takes place in Martham, just a short distance from Great Yarmouth. You could camp, or you could treat yourself to a bit of 4 star Imperial Hotel comfort.
Great Yarmouth's Beer & Cider Festival takes place in May, held at The Drill House with a fine selection of locally produced beverages to wet your whistle. There's often live music too, for a bit of a jig. And watch out for a one-off fireworks display on the first Sunday of the Whitsun half term holiday in Hemsby. It's a fun way to get a half term holiday underway.
The summer season of plays and shows tend to get underway in June at St. George's Theatre near the park in Great Yarmouth, at Gorleston Pavillion just off the beach in neighbouring Gorleston-on-Sea and at the end of the pier in Britannia Pier Theatre on Great Yarmouth seafront.
The peak summer months of July and August are a great time to visit Great Yarmouth and the surrounding area. As well as all the usual attractions which are open, there are a number of special events and performances to entertain you as well.
The Hippodrome's famous Summer Circus & Water Show Spectacular has delighted crowds for centuries and is well worth a visit. The international troupe of acrobats, synchronised swimmers and comediens entertains audiences of all ages. There are summer season shows at St. George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth, and also at Gorleston Pavillion Theatre. And Britannia Pier Theatre attracts some big name comics over the summer months, so keep an eye on their website. It's best to book early if you want to see Jimmy Carr and Sarah Millican. Did you know? The late, great magician Paul Daniels met his lovely assistant and wife, Debbie McGee, backstage at Britannia Pier Theatre. They always used to stay at Imperial Hotel if they were in a show at the Britannia.
The horse racing season has a packed calendar of fixtures in June and July, including Ladies' Night one evening in July. The racecourse hosts fun evening meetings in summer with live music once the racing is concluded. Greyhound racing continues at Yarmouth Stadium all year round.
Our two independent lifeboat charities have celebratory days near their launch sites in August, with freshly cooked herring a specialilty at Hemsby. For the six weeks of the school summer holidays, there are fireworks displays in Hemsby on Tuesday evenings and in Great Yarmouth on Wednesdays. The displays usually get underway at about 10pm and make for a lovely evening out with a firework finale.
August concludes withe the start of the biggest outdoor bowls festival in the UK on Bank Holiday Sunday. The festival lasts for 3 weeks, well into September. Our top tips for summer guide gives you some more ideas for things to see and do.
September is festival month in Great Yarmouth. At Great Yarmouth racecourse the three-day Eastern Festival of Racing, usually held in the third week of the month, culminates in Ladies' Day on the Thursday. Some of the outfits are nothing short of spectacular, and it's definitely an opportunity to get out your hat or fascinator. The gents tend to dress for the occasion as well, and the horse racing is pretty impressive too. We'd recommend a Race Day Relay to make sure you don't go hungry.
Great Yarmouth hosts the largest outdoor bowls tournament in the country on the Britannia Bowling Greens for three weeks in September. The Festival of Bowls usually starts over the last weekend in August, and play continues through the entire gambit of competition titles. Specatators can watch from benches in the sun all around the edges of the greens.
Great Yarmoth often participates in national Heritage Open Days, with the chance to highlight some of our architectural and historical gems. This is a super opportunity to venture into buildings which aren't usually open to the public. And Great Yarmouth tends to do it all a bit differently. There's sometimes the chance for a ride on the oldest wooden rollercoaster in the country, or to have a go in an unusual Old Penny Arcade, where the slot machines are like something out of a history book, yet all fully functioning. Architectural gems often include the chance for a peek inside the Royal Naval Hospital, said to be the most exquisite example of Georgian symmetry outside of London, or a look into an medieval undercroft not usually open to the public.
The Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival takes over South Quay for a weekend in September, and welcomes boats and ships of all sorts and sizes to the river port. There's often the chance to go on board a tall ship, and sometimes the opportunity to take a look around a working supply vessel. Martime music, crafts and shanty singing can all be enjoyed on the quayside.
And finally, the Out There Festival takes to the streets toward the end of September. This two-day even features wild and wacky acrobats, actors and comedians, and many international performers, often seen executing a roly-poly in their knickers. Yes really. It all takes place in St. George's Park in the middle of town and is quite simply one of the best festivals of its type in the country.
October to December
As we move into the autumn towards Christmas, the Great Yarmouth events season starts to wind down just a little.
The final few race meetings at Great Yarmouth Racecourse take place in October. But greyhound racing continues every week of the year at Yarmouth Stadium. There's a spectacular stock car racing session at the Stadium on Boxing Day, often with a fabulous firework display.
October half term sees all sorts of spooky events on the seafront, with the Halloween Spooktacular show at the Hippodrome Circus a particular highlight for those with an affection for ghouls and ghosts.
Guy Fawkes is celebrated with fireworks in a number of locations. And as Christmas draws closer, panto season gets underway with shows at St. George's Theatre and Gorleston Pavillion.