Travels With Ted

Things to do in Great Yarmouth with Kids

Great Yarmouth is a popular holiday destination on the Norfolk coast. It is one of our favourite seaside towns to visit. We even spontaneously booked a room there in January once, just to refresh. There are lots of things to do with kids in Great Yarmouth, here are a few of the best things to keep the family entertained.

Looking for campsites near Great Yarmouth? Check this post out.

Things to do in Great Yarmouth – Quick Answers

What is there to do in Great Yarmouth with kids for free?

1. Beach – Great Yarmouth has a large, sandy beach.
2. Sand dunes – To the north of the central beach there is a vast area of sand dunes and shingle beach.

What attractions are there in Great Yarmouth with kids?

1. Jurassic Journey – indoor dinosaur experience.
2. SEA LIFE – Aquarium with some gorgeous penguins.
2. Amusements – Endless options for ride and entertainment.

What zoos are near Great Yarmouth?

1. Thrigby Hall Wildlife Park – Small zoo where you can get up close to the animals.
2. Africa Alive! – Large zoo with lots of open space, dedicated to African species.

What should I eat in Great Yarmouth?

Chips and gravy!

What is There to do in Great Yarmouth with Kids?

1. The Beach

Great Yarmouth – Beach Selfie

Cost: The beach is free, the amusements are not.

Great Yarmouth has a beautiful sandy beach. This isn’t the case everywhere in East Anglia which has many shingle beaches so enjoy this one. This seaside is definitely one to bring the bucket and spade. The beachfront amusements come right down to the sand here, and there are enough rides and 2p machines to keep everyone entertained.

2. North Drive Sand Dunes

North Drive Beach

Cost: Free

If you prefer a quieter, more natural beach experience, then the good news is that Great Yarmouth has you covered. Five minutes walk to the north of the central beach is the North Drive sand dunes area. The extensive dunes area is fun to explore. Crossing it will bring you back to the sea. The beach here is Suffolk shingle. Not so good for sandcastles but great for skimming stones.

3. Jurassic Journey

Great Yarmouth Jurassic Journey Dinosaur Park
When Ted met a baby dinosaur at Jurassic Journey Dinosaur Park

Cost: £32 for a family of four (under 3s go free) (click here for up to date prices)

We’re big fans of a dinosaur experience, so we had to check out Jurassic Journey, an indoor dinosaur park. This attraction has all the usual dinosaur park stuff, including an excellent fossil dig area where they allow you to take home what you find. Entry tickets also include the soft play area at the exit.

Read more about Jurassic Journey here.

4. SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth

Sea Life Great Yarmouth

Cost: £71.80 for a family of four (under 3s go free) (click here for up to date prices)

The SEA LIFE Centre in Great Yarmouth is unique, mostly due to this penguin. Her name is Blossom, and she was the star of the show. She loved interacting with the people watching her through the underwater window.

Aside from Blossom and her penguin friends, SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth has lots of other fascinating animals to see. We liked the jellyfish display and the immense spider crab. There is also a significant, pirate-themed soft play and cafe at the exit. 

5. Eat chips and gravy

Chips and Gravy at Great Yarmouth

When we went to Great Yarmouth when I was a child, we always had a portion of chips and gravy. I have no idea why we only did that at Great Yarmouth, as far as I am aware it is not a traditional Great Yarmouth dish. I love chips and gravy though, so I’m happy to uphold the custom. Even if chips and gravy don’t sound pleasant to you, you should still go to the chip shop for some fish and chips. Since you are at the seaside.

6. Joyland

On a Ride in Joyland
On a Ride in Joyland

Cost: Tokens are £1.50 each and each ride is 1 token per person (click here for up to date prices).

David walked away from Joyland with the words “well, that was an experience”. Joyland is an entire family pleasure beach packed into a tiny, rickety space. It works on an old school token system, and smaller kids need to be accompanied by an adult on all the rides, so you do run through them quickly. Ted loved being flung around in teacups and fast-moving snails. Predictably, May did not.

7. Merrivale Model Village

Merrivale Model Village
Merrivale Model Village

Cost: £32 for a family of four (under 3s go free) (click here for up to date prices)

We were a bit dubious about Merrivale as we find we are disappointed by model villages. Merrivale Model Village has good reviews, so we put prejudice aside and decided to check it out. It was excellent. The models were well maintained and humorous. The kids loved looking at them all, chasing the trains and feeding the fish. I would recommend it.

8. Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake

Venetian Waterways Park – Great Yarmouth

The recently restored Waterways park, nestled between the beach and the North Drive in Great Yarmouth, was a pleasant surprise on our most recent trip. The 1920s Venetian Park had seen a steady decline over the decades. However, a Lottery Grant and a vision have turned them into a stunning and largely free visitor attraction. I say largely free because we couldn’t resist hiring a rowboat and taking a couple of laps around the island cafe. The children loved the experience, especially when we kept crashing into the side when the wind was blowing us in the opposite direction to the one we were attempting to travel.

9. Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

The Pleasure Beach has lots of new and traditional seaside rides. These include a log flume, and Jurassic Park themed amusements. It is a much less claustrophobic space than Joyland at the other end of the beach. Although the rides themselves are as good, it didn’t build quite the same levels of excitement in the children. 

10. Elizabeth House

Elizabeth House Museum
Elizabeth House Museum

For a contrast to the traditional tacky seaside fun available on the seafront head to the quayside where you will find the Elizabeth House Museum. This museum is for kids to get hands-on with displays on how people lived in the house through the ages. The toy room was the biggest hit with my two.

Where to Stay in Great Yarmouth

Zoos Near Great Yarmouth

If you like animals as much as we do, you will be interested to know that there are two excellent zoos near Great Yarmouth. Both belong to the East Anglian annual pass discount scheme which is worth checking out if you live in the area. 

1. Africa Alive!

Africa Alive!

Cost: £61.50 for a family of four (click here for up to date prices)

Africa Alive! Is just over the county border in Suffolk. The zoo focusses on species from Africa. It is a stunning zoo to stroll around with some impressive animals including rhinos, giraffes and our favourites, the fossa.

Read more about Africa Alive! here.

2. Thrigby Hall Wildlife Park

Thrigby Hall Gardens Tiger
Thrigby Hall Gardens Tiger

Cost: £50 for a family of four (click here for up to date prices)

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Park is a very different zoo to Africa Alive!, but the species are no less impressive. It’s a much more compact zoo with a big focus on getting up very close and personal with the animals.

Read more about Thrigby Hall here.

Wildlife Near Great Yarmouth

Norfolk is a great county for wildlife watching and there are lots of opportunities within 30 minutes drive of Great Yarmouth. Here are a couple of easy to reach suggestions.

1. Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads – On a Boat

Cost: Various

You don’t have to travel far outside of Great Yarmouth to find yourself in some typically Norfolk countryside. The Norfolk Broads are a stone’s throw away. This often-overlooked National Park is a perfect place for wildlife spotting. The network of waterways that make up the Broads is best explored by boat.

2. Horsey Gap Seals

Horsey Beach Seal

Cost: Parking is £1-£3

Another nearby spot for getting close to nature is Horsey Gap. On this sandy beach, seals can be seen throughout the year but in winter they gather in large numbers to give birth. The best time to see seal pups is from the end of November to mid-January. Read more in this post on the Horsey Beach seals.

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5 thoughts on “Things to do in Great Yarmouth with Kids

  1. oooo chips and gravy! One of my favourite foods! Great Yarmouth looks like fantastic fun.

  2. I love your things to do guides – so helpful! Great Yarmouth looks so much fun, another place now on my to go list!!

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