AD | Press trip
There are so many great places to spend a day in Norfolk. If you’re looking for a family day out then consider the seaside town of Great Yarmouth. With plenty of family attractions to choose from, there’s plenty to do for everyone. Discover how we recently spent a day in Great Yarmouth!
Discover under the sea at Sea Life Great Yarmouth
Our day started with a trip to the sea life centre, or better known as Sea Life Great Yarmouth. Located near Britannia Pier, this wonderful attraction is within walking distance of a large car park (charges apply). There is so much to do in this area of Great Yarmouth so it is the ideal place to begin.
We’ve actually been to Sea Life Great Yarmouth quite a few times, and each time is different. As Erin gets older she is interested more in different areas and asks different questions. Just because you’ve been once before doesn’t mean you should discount it for another day out.
It’s important to book your tickets online, or via the QR code outside the main entrance as right now (July 2023), they’re only accepting pre-booked tickets for entry. This is really quick and easy to do, which is great if you only decide last minute how you’re going to spend your fun day out. Once you’ve booked a ticket this becomes valid for the whole day so you can come and go as you please.
Life under the sea
Inside Sea Life Great Yarmouth there is something for the whole family. As you walk through the different areas, you’ll discover sea creatures such as fish (of course), penguins, rays and even leaf-cutter ants! On this visit we did something we’ve never done before here and fed the vegetarian piranhas. You can buy food at the entrance and it’s really something fun and different to do.
Don’t miss the Ocean Tunnel
One of the highlights of visiting Sea Life Great Yarmouth is the Ocean Tunnel. This area is often busy, especially if you visit during the school holidays, but visit early and there’s a chance you get it all to yourselves for a while. You get a great view of the sharks and huge turtle and there’s a cool Medusa head in there as well.
There are also a few different interactive displays where you have the opportunity to meet some really cool creatures. Meet the Ranger is quite a new area and one we hadn’t seen before. We were able to meet, and hold, a cool cockroach called Grumpy! You can also touch other marine animals such as a starfish in another area.
You can expect a visit to take between 1 and 2 hours. After the last area, there is a really well-stocked gift shop and cafe. As previously mentioned, you’re free to go around again if you want to, or go back later in the day if you have time.
Lunch at Sara’s Tearooms
For lunch we tried somewhere new and headed to Sara’s Tearooms. You can’t miss this beautiful building at the back of the Pleasure Beach Gardens (which is free entry). The walk is only a few minutes from Sea Life Great Yarmouth so ideal if you don’t want to walk too far with young children. Sara’s Tearooms is a family-run business, where you’ll find a wonderful menu full of homemade options. There’s plenty of seating both inside and out and it’s dog friendly (be sure to have a look at the doggy wall).
We were all starving after a busy morning and were really looking forward to a delicious lunch. The menu had plenty of options and there was something for all of us. I noticed a nice mix of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on the menu and everything was very clearly labelled.
When we visited it was chucking it down with rain so the tearooms were quite busy. We were told there was about a 30-minute wait for food when we ordered and I really appreciated this. I never mind waiting when it is busy and being told what to expect means we were able to prepare Erin for a little wait.
When our food arrived, we were all so happy with what we had ordered. John went for a classic fish and chips, Mum had an all-day breakfast, I had chicken goujons and Erin had a children’s cheeseburger meal. The meals were really nicely presented and looked amazing on the plates. It was lovely to see that certain things were definitely homemade, such as the chicken goujons. The food was fresh, hot where it should have been and it all tasted amazing. Erin actually ended up having a bit of all of our meals as well as her own as said it all looked so good.
Sara’s Tearooms also offers the most amazing homemade cakes. You can see them displayed all along the counter where you order. The slices are quite large so if you’re already fairly full after lunch, maybe consider sharing one of these.
Summer Circus & Water Spectacular at the Hippodrome
After lunch it was time for maybe the most exciting part of our family day out in Great Yarmouth, the Summer Circus & Water Spectacular at the Hippodrome Circus. We first discovered the Hippodrome a couple of years ago when we visited for the first time and have been looking to go back ever since.
The Hippodrome is only a short walk from Great Yarmouth seafront, famous for its miles of sandy beaches. If you’re planning a day trip with small children then choosing the best things to do usually means making sure they’re close together. The Hippodrome is within walking distance of many traditional attractions and there are amusement arcades just across the road.
Set in a beautiful theatre, The Hippodrome is one of the one remaining purpose built circus buildings in the world. Here you’ll find spacious and comfortable seats, no matter where you have booked to sit. This is fantastic for a fidgety child or a 6 ft+ husband who needs a bit of extra leg room.
What can you expect to see at the Hippodrome?
Led by Jack Jay and comedian Johnny Mac, the show is a mix of circus acts and comedy. Erin remembers the show from a few years ago and while some of the acts are the same, there were plenty of new ones too. Prepared to be entertained by dancers, aerialists, jugglers, acrobats and the most amazing stunt bikes. Everything is family-friendly and we laughed and clapped the whole way through the first half. Next to us were some quite small children, maybe around age 3 or 4 and they were having the time of their lives!
The second half of the show is a bit different, as the floor disappears and turns into a swimming pool! I’ve never seen this done anywhere other than at the Hippodrome. This part of the show is done by amazing synchronised swimmers and an aerial act. I love that you get something really different with this show and I’m sure you’ll be amazed by it too!
The Summer Circus & Water Spectacular is such a great place to go as a family if you’re looking for fun things to do in Great Yarmouth. It’s the perfect place to go on family holidays as well as if you only have time to see the show. What an amazing way to finish our family day out in Great Yarmouth!
Other great attractions to visit in Great Yarmouth
- Tide & Time Museum
- Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach
- Merrivale Model Village
- Pirates Cove Adventure Golf
- Elizabethan House Museum (National Trust)
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse
- Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens
Go to the Visit Great Yarmouth website for places to stay, where to eat and ideas for things to do!