Our top tips for summer fun in Great Yarmouth
From Easter to the end of October half term, there's lots of fun to be had just a stone's throw from the front door of Imperial Hotel. Our location lends itself perfectly to holidays, weekends away or short breaks. Or if you're a business guest and fancy some fun in your free time, we've got plenty of suggestions. In the summer months, several local attractions stay open into the evening, making a stroll along the seafront even more fun.
And if you've got the car and would like to venture further afield, there are lots more opportunities to make memories on a fun day out. Here are just a few of our top tips.
Outdoor Summer Fun
Marine Parade, also known as the Golden Mile, really comes alive from Easter to October, and especially in the summer months, when many attractions stay open late well into the evening. It's an easy stroll from Imperial Hotel.
Topped and tailed by theme parks, you'll find Joyland at the northern end, nearest Imperial Hotel and just past Britannia Pier and Great Yarmouth's Pleasure Beach at the furthest end overlooking South Beach. Joyland is a theme park especially suited to younger children, featuring the famous Great Yarmouth Snails and the spooky mountain rollercoaster. The Pleasure Beach is for a taller audience with a vast range of rides, including a traditional carousel ride and the oldest wooden rollercoaster in the country.
Trips to see the seals on Scroby Sands depart from Central Beach frequently, and the horse-drawn landaus nearby transport visitors up and down the Golden Mile. Marine Parade is home to no less than three beautifully landscaped themed adventure golf courses, Pirates Cove, Castaway Island and a safari themed course in the Pleasure Beach Gardens. With 18 holes each, they're all great fun whatever your age. The landscaped gardens of Merrivale Model Village are also a model railway enthusiast's delight with a N gauge railway running busily round the floral borders. There's also a wonderful Old Penny Arcade just inside the gift shop.
The town centre is just a short walk along pedestrianised Regent Road, ideal for a spot of holiday retail therapy.
Great Yarmouth Racecourse hosts at least 22 race meetings a year, mostly in the afternoon, but some evening race meetings as well. It's hosts a special family fun race day over the August Bank Holiday weekend, with special activities for the kids.
Indoor Summer Fun
Imperial Hotel is blessed to be in Norfolk, the driest region in the country, but sometimes it just gets too hot and occasionally, there's the odd drop of rain. Great Yarmouth doesn't disappoint, with plenty of options for a retreat indoors when it all gets too much outside.
If you've got the children with you and they're into dinosaurs, become palaeontologists at Jurassic Journey on Marine Parade. You'll go on a fossil dig and get to see dinosaur poo. It's great fun, and a little bit educational all at the same time. And if they still need to let off some steam, a session on the trampolines at the Jump Warehouse will wear everyone out. There is a viewing area for parents if you don't fancy a bounce yourself.
Once you get past all the amusement arcade games on Wellington Pier, there's a fabulous ten pin bowling alley with amazing views over Central Beach right at the end. It's probably the lightest, brightest bowling alley we've ever seen! The new Arc cinema on Marine Parade has a great programme of films each week and once the school summer holidays get underway, the Hippodrome Summer Spectacular is a fantastic show.
Great Yarmouth has a number of brilliant museums, Time & Tide is a must-see. It's set in a former herring smoke house and tells the story of Great Yarmouth, with interative displays and an audio guide. The National Trust's Elizabethan House museum is on South Quay with The Row Houses, two English Heritage properties nearby. The Elizabethan House often has special demonstrations and dressing up opportunities. The Tolhouse, the country's oldest gaol is just round the corner and there's a floating boat museum, The Lydia Eva moored at the top of the quay. Opening hours can vary, so do check before you set out.
Great Yarmouth's Sealife Centre is a treat for both children and adults. Their huge aquariums are home to all sorts of fish and other mammals, including penguins, crocodiles, seahorses and a huge turtle.
Fun Further Afield
It's incredibly easy to explore Norfolk and Suffolk when you're based at Imperial Hotel.
Asian animal specialist zoo, Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens is just a short scenic car journey from Great Yarmouth. It's a wonderful wildlife park with superb opportunities to see tigers, leopards, birds and monkeys up close.
Fairhaven Water Gardens is a little bit further away, set next to a private broad near South Walsham, It's a calm, woodland setting, with brilliant bird watching and the chance to go for a short boat trip on the Broads. It also has free all-terrain mobility scooter hire (best booked in advance).
For an absolutely stunning garden, a visit to East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens is a must. These coastal gardens are a wonderful mixture of traditional border and exotic planting, with beautifully framed views of local landmarks such as red-and-white striped Happisburgh Lighthouse.
Just into Suffolk you'll find Africa Alive, another amazing zoo, this time with the focus on African animals including a pride of lions, as well as lemurs, giraffes and rhino.
For thrill seekers, Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park is also nearby with a wide range of rollercoasters and rides for all ages.