The oldest wooden rollercoaster in Britain? It’s in Great Yarmouth
reat Yarmouth has an amazing past and a lot to recommend it still, despite its faded qualities from its heyday in the 50s. Getting there from Fairway Lakes is a doddle – a 15 minute drive if timed right around the bottlenecks of Gapton Hall and Harfrey’s.
Its golden mile is bookmarked either end by natural and man made features.
At its southern extreme, a Pleasure Beach and new Premier Inn mark regeneration. The Pleasure Beach has the oldest surviving wooden rollercoaster in the UK and the view from the top is incredible. It’s listed too and worth a visit just to sample it.
At its northern end, commercialism gives way to residential and quieter attractions – like the dunes, home to Mediterranean gulls, and the newly renovated Venetian waterways, where Benny Hill and Tommy Cooper can be seen on YouTube videos on gondolas there.
The middle section has Britain’s only surviving indoor permanent circus; though circus is a misnomer as its shows feature comedy and acrobatics and not animals. Wonderful too.
There’s amusement arcades, crazy golf, Joyland with its iconic listed Snails ride, as well as piers, a leisure centre and a wide sandy beach.
Regent Road is thronged in summer and it leads to the market place, famous for its chips, dating back to King John, believe it or not.
There’s some stunning architecture to be seen too: from the Gothic town hall, down South Quay where museums and amazing merchants’ house line the river, as well as a 12th century gaol and a Royal Naval Hospital from the Napoleonic Wars.
Yarmouth is well worth leaving Fairway Lakes for.