- Ride on traditional fairground attractions that have been around for over 100 years.
- Fly high in the air on the Sky Drop ride, with panoramic views over Great Yarmouth.
- Enjoy some classic fish and chips with a sea view on the promenade.
- Bring your waterproofs and slash down the Log Flume ride.
In its heyday in the 19th and 20th centuries, Great Yarmouth was one of the most popular seaside resorts around, with a booming tourist industry made even more accessible by the invention of the railway. With piers, a promenade, fish and chip shops and many more attractions, this seaside town was the place to go for a brilliant day out. Now, over 100 years later, Great Yarmouth is still considered a wonderful place to explore as a family with kids. With museums, a Victorian Winter Garden and of course the famous Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, there has never been so much to do and see.
Originally established in 1909 by C.B. Cochran, a famous impresario, Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach began its life as little more than a scenic railway, where passengers could enjoy the fresh sea air and impressive local views. Until the pleasure beach was forced to close in 1914 due to World War I, it attracted swarms of people, especially since the addition of the Joywheel ride in 1911. After the war, and various setbacks including a fire at the pleasure beach and various re-installations of different attractions, this seaside theme park opened its doors in a form similar to the one we see today, in 1931. The Scenic Railway was reinstalled, and now thousands of passengers can travel on it every day. As the second oldest of the two remaining scenic rollercoaster train rides in the UK, the Scenic Railway is a Grade II listed building in and of itself. It has been a staple of Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach for almost a century and remains one of the most popular attractions. And, fans of the band Madness can look out for the Scenic Railway's painted mountain scene in the video for 'House of Fun'. Now known as the Roller Coaster, you can still ride on this attraction to this day. The three-minute ride you can take on this roller coaster is certainly worth experiences, as you reach a height of 70ft and can look over the whole of Great Yarmouth. For those who like a touch of vintage in their fairground adventures, the roller coaster at the pleasure beach is the perfect place to start. The Gallopers, or carousel ride, is also a fantastic feature (and photo opportunity), and was initially built all the way back in 1915 and named the Colonial Galloping Horses. Nowadays, you can still ride on these 30 horses and step back in time to experience what a fairground would have felt like over a century ago.
Over the years, more rides were added to the pleasure beach's arsenal, and now there are over 20 to discover. With more white knuckle rides for thrill-seekers, such as Disko, where all the riders sit facing outwards in a circle on a huge disc and are then spun through the sky where they can get a unique view of the rest of Great Yarmouth. Freefall is another top attraction, where riders are slowly lifted up, and then released suddenly for a thrilling adrenaline rush. You can also take this to the next level with the huge Sky Drop ride, which was created in Italy and will launch you into the sky to take in the fantastic views before you fall back down again. Disney lovers will have a ball on the Flying Dumbo ride, where they can travel through the sky in their very own Dumbo-shaped car. The Pirate Ship and Reverse Time rides are also lots of fun for those who don't mind heights and being swung around a bit. However, if fast-paced rides aren't really your thing, there's no need to wait by the sidelines! There are plenty of rides and experiences that are great for adults and children who want to experience the pleasure beach from closer to the ground.
The Twister is a ground-level ride that spins and turns you around, while the Whirlwind does the same on a figure of eight roller coaster track. If you have younger children, there are also some great rides to check out, such as The Caterpillar, which is a gentle roller coaster ride that used to live at Alton Towers and is a great option for your child's first go on a rollercoaster. The classic 'teacup' ride is also on offer at Cups and Saucers, as well as the traditional favourite for adults and kids, Dodgems. Kids who love to race will also have a ball on the Formula One ride, where they can 'drive' their own mini-car around a small circuit, or on the magical Snails and Fairytales storybook-themed ride. If the weather isn't on your side when you visit the pleasure beach, there are also plenty of indoor attractions (unless you've brought your waterproofs for your Log Flume ride!). The brave amongst you can dare to enter the Haunted Hotel, or check out the brilliant 'ride' in the 4D Cinema area, with special effects, lighting and even sensory effects like bubbles and water spray!
If you fancy winding down a little from all the excitement, head to the Pleasure Beach Gardens, which is free to enter and has some great things to do, including Safari Adventure Golf, Junior Driving, an Upside Down house and shootout games. You can also enjoy a drink or snack from the refreshment kiosk.
If you get a little peckish on your adventure-packed day out at the pleasure beach, there are plenty of options for food and drink in Great Yarmouth, and at the pleasure beach itself. The amusement park has its own Food Court, where you can enjoy hot meals and more, and there is also a bar at the Pleasure Beach Inn where you can grab a fresh baguette sandwich. Those with a sweet tooth will be glad to learn that there is a Rock Shop on site for a traditional seaside sweet, as well as a candy floss spinning kiosk and an Ice Cream Parlour.
Like all good pleasure beaches, you can find lots of traditional seaside takeaway options nearby, with Sara's Tearooms being your closest food option outside the pleasure beach, located in the Pleasure Beach Gardens. Here you'll be able to enjoy a cup of tea or a hot meal in this dog-friendly, family-run café. However, if you wander along the South Beach Parade, you'll find lots more food options, ranging from restaurant to classic fish and chip takeaways. Since Great Yarmouth is a great place to get fresh fish due to its coastal location, fish and chips is definitely a great option. You can also find lots of great local restaurants such as The Shed, which is known for its brilliant seafood, as well as Gambas on Beach Road, which has lots of fresh local options. If you would prefer to bring your own food and set up a family picnic, you will also find lots of seating areas dotted along the promenade near the amusement park.
This seaside town is also a great place to take in some culture, so if you have a little extra time once you've explored the pleasure beach, Great Yarmouth is home to lots of fun and educational places to visit. From the Time and Tide Museum of Blackfriars Road, where you can learn all about Great Yarmouth through the years, and it's past as a fishing town, to the Norfolk Nelson Museum on South Quay, there are lots of top spots to learn a little about the local history here. SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth is also nearby, so if the kids are keen to learn more about the ocean, this is a great option.
If you and your family enjoyed your thrilling day at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, head just a few miles north to Horsey Beach for some seal watching and beautiful nature trails. Or, to continue the adventure make sure to check out the life-sized Dinosaur Adventure Park in Lenwade.
What to know before you go
- Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach opening times are from 12pm-4pm on weekends.
- Toilets, including accessible toilets and baby changing facilities, are available on site. A radar key is needed for the accessible toilets, which you can get from staff for a £5 deposit. You can find baby changing facilities at the Pleasure Beach Inn toilets.
- Different rides have different levels of accessibility, depending on each person's needs. A chart to explain in detail which rides are suitable for different mobility levels can be found on the Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach website.
- Dogs are welcome on site but must be kept on a lead.
- If you are travelling to the park by car, Great Yarmouth is accessible via the A47 and the A143 and is found on the South Beach Parade.
- Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach parking is located south of the pleasure beach and is pay and display.
- The nearest train station is Great Yarmouth Station, a 30-minute walk away. Alternatively, you can catch a taxi from the station to bring you to the park.
- If travelling by bus, Great Yarmouth Bus Station is a 20-minute walk away in the centre of the town.