Family days out: Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth is a family favourite for days out and holidays.

It’s the perfect destination for sand, sea and family fun.

Up until I was aged about 14, Great Yarmouth was the yearly destination for the family holiday – and it’s remained a popular choice ever since.

Now my husband and I visit here every year with our three children for day trips or short stays.

On a recent trip we headed off on our journey in the early hours, to make sure that we got there early enough to make the most of the day.

The journey is about three hours which includes a half hour stop – essential with three hungry children in the back of the car!

We’d packed plenty of toys and games to keep the kids all entertained throughout the journey.

Once we were getting near to arriving, we had fun trying to be the first one to spot the sea and say, “I saw the sea”!

It was a lovely, sunny day, so once we’d parked up, we took the short walk along the beach front towards the attractions.

It wasn’t long before we reached the Britannia Pier South and here we found the donkeys.

Kai and Ella were keen to go on a donkey ride (although Ruby was adamant that she was staying put!).

And at just £2.50 each for a five-minute walk along the beach, it was certainly worth the money.

As it was so sunny and we were already on the beach, we based ourselves here for the next couple of hours.

We had lots of fun digging holes, building sandcastles and walking to the sea to fetch buckets of water (picking up lots of pebbles and stones on the way).

Before we knew it, it was time for some lunch! As you would expect, there’s a plethora of places to eat in Great Yarmouth – from cafes to restaurants to individual stalls selling seafood.

I’d already packed some fruit and snacks for the day in a small cooler bag, so I saved these for later and we went with our tradition of having some chips followed by an ice-cream.

Children being children, they loved the little wooden forks they got with their chips – I guess it’s the novelty of it as obviously they use proper cutlery at home!

After lunch we headed to Joyland which is situated at Britannia South Pier (the larger Pleasure Beach fair is at the opposite end of town and has more rides and attractions suitable for older children).

Here there is a good selection of rides suitable for younger children including a rollercoaster, mini-umbrella ride, ‘big’ wheel, jet cars, mini-pirate ship and of course the Snails ride!

If you ever came to Great Yarmouth as a child yourself, you’ll remember the Snails as a must-go-on ride (well, it certainly was in my case!).

Basically you hop into a big snail and ride around a track which goes up and down and round and round. Just be warned if you’re taking small ones on with you though.

It can be a bit bumpy so make sure you have your arm around them to support their heads.

Ruby may be almost three but she is dinky for her age, so needed the extra support – but she loved the ride!

After the fun of the fair we headed towards Wellington Pier. There are two-penny slot machines here to help keep kids entertained using very little money.

My three were determined to make the ‘free’ toys in the machines drop down, making them a winner (and they did a pretty good job of winning too, I must say!).

As well as plenty of amusements (for young and old alike), you can also enjoy ten pin bowling here.

Now, it may not be the same as the likes of New York Thunderbowl with heavy, different sized balls and large pins (the pins are on strings and the balls all small sized) but for £2 a game, it’s great fun for all the family.

There is so much to do here at Great Yarmouth – for all the family – that I know we’ll be back year after year.

Luckily for our three, the magic didn’t have to end on our day here, as we’d booked to stay a few nights at Haven Caister – just a few miles outside Great Yarmouth. So the fun continued for all!

What can you do here?

There’s bags of stuff you can do with the family here.

Whether it be having fun in the numerous amusements, thrill seeking at the fairs, visiting the circus, playing crazy golf or making a visit to the Merrivale Model Village (town and country in miniature in an acre of landscaped gardens with a railway running through) – there’s plenty to keep you busy.

Or if it’s a little dreary weather-wise when you visit, pop to the Sealife Centre, the Amazonia Reptilarium or play ten pin bowling at the Wellington Pier.

Or go for a swim with fun inflatables at the Marina Centre.

Great Yarmouth’s ‘Golden Mile’ is home to plenty of amusement arcades from old fashioned penny slot machines, to the most up-to-date arcade and video games too. You certainly won’t be short on ideas.


There is plenty of parking in Great Yarmouth itself although you’ll find it’s cheaper to park in the car parks slightly further away from the main attractions.

As well as saving you pennies, it’s actually lovely to walk along the beach front towards the attractions – soaking up the beautiful view along the way!

Top tip!

Kids not keen on walking or just want some extra fun? Then make sure they take their scooters (if they have them).

My eldest two love going on their scooters and it saved their legs getting tired walking from pier to pier.

Great Yarmouth app

You can now download the Great Yarmouth iPhone and android app which gives you all the information you need to know about Great Yarmouth at the touch of a button.

Find it at