Nature, heritage and walks in Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth is famous for traditional family holidays at the seaside but dig a little deeper and you’ll soon discover Great Yarmouth has a lot more to offer…
Discover…The Norfolk Broads.
Great Yarmouth is a gateway to one of the UK’s 15 National Parks. The Broads National Park is over 185 square miles with over 125 miles available for navigation. Travel by boat to uncover pretty villages, stunning scenery and fantastic wildlife.
The capital of the Broads, Wroxham has plenty on offer for visitors and is accessible by train from Norwich station. A short walk from the station, you will find Bure Valley Railway which is also a short distance from the village, plus a variety of shops, cafés and restaurants. Explore nature reserves by foot where 25% of the UK’s rarest wildlife including the elusive Swallowtail Butterfly, Otters, Chinese Water Deer and the iconic Bittern can be found. Plan a visit to Thurne Mill Drainage Dyke which is celebrating it’s 200th birthday this year. The view from the top of the mill is simply stunning with St Benet’s Abbey in the distance. The drainage mill featured on Countryfile last year when Matt Baker himself helped with painting the mill!
Steeped in heritage, Great Yarmouth has something to uncover around every corner. Seaside holidays are thought to have started around the mid eighteenth century when the first visitors to the Norfolk Coast were the aristocracy and gentry.
At this time, it was a common belief that sea water, like the spa waters of Bath and Buxton, had medicinal properties and could benefit those of a delicate constitution. Great Yarmouth attracted visitors for this reason, and the Bath House was opened in 1759 where guests could partake of seawater baths or take tea amongst fine company in the assembly room. A very brave few would also take a dip in the North Sea - but just for a few moments as swimming in the sea was not considered something one did for fun. The borough’s bathing waters now hold an excellent rating by the Environment Agency at Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Caister and Hemsby and welcomes swimmers, paddlers and splashers all year round. The railway arrived in 1844, transforming the resort. The railway opened the town up to mass tourism and saw visitors coming from factory towns in the Midlands and the North. Great Yarmouth seafront was transformed as hotels, piers and entertainment venues sprang up along the promenade. As you walk along the seafront today, look up to discover some amazing architecture. Find out about Great Yarmouth Town Wall – the second most complete medieval town wall in the country on a heritage guided walk. Walking away from Great Yarmouth train station, look North to see one of the wall’s remaining eleven towers from the thirteen original towers. Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust has undertaken work in recent years to repair parts of the wall and even runs accommodation to hire out in the South East Tower. Walk along the Great Yarmouth Rows, narrow alleys or lanes that lead from the river to the town centre. When walking along a row, take a moment to stand still, stretch out both arms and see if you can touch either side. Each row usually had more than one name which referred to activities, public houses or people who lived in the Row. Row names include numbers, Kitty Witches Row, Body Snatcher’s Row, Sarah Martin’s Row and more.
Once you’ve arrived in Great Yarmouth, it is a beautiful place to explore on foot. Norfolk is considered quite flat by many people, we prefer to describe it as rolling, as there are a few hills out there to challenge walkers. Several of the National Trails originate in the borough, and there are plenty of other walks for hikers to enjoy, of all distances and difficulties. The Norfolk Trails network brings together over 1,200 miles of walks, cycles and bridle routes throughout the beautiful county, many of which are in Great Yarmouth. Choose from a short circular walk, sample just a section of a trail or use a trail to explore the coast line, taking in nearby towns, villages and heritage sites. If you’re feeling fit, you could attempt the full 93 miles of the Angles Way running from Great Yarmouth to Thetford, the 37.5 mile Wherryman’s Way from Great Yarmouth to Norwich or the 61 mile Weaver’s Way from Great Yarmouth to Cromer!
With so much nature and heritage to take in, book your holiday or short break to Great Yarmouth and discover its hidden gems for yourself. #ShareTheGreatTimes in Great Yarmouth.