Jo’s Monday walk : more Yarmouth!

Anyone remember these?

Anyone remember these?

If you saw my Six word Saturday this week you’ll know that I was recently in Great Yarmouth.  For me it was a trip way back down Memory Lane, to the days when I had very little money and holidays were spent in caravans.  This time I used Yarmouth as a base from which to visit family, but for old times sake I had to take a bit of a walk around. Perhaps you’d like to join me.

But first, did that photo trigger any memories?  It stopped me dead in my tracks!  It carried me right back to the amusement arcades of my youth.  The simple joy of pounding those firemen with water and trying to knock them all down!  I don’t think I ever fully succeeded, but how I enjoyed trying.  In this age of technology I could hardly believe my eyes.  If only the attendant had been there, I could have tried my luck again.

While I’m wallowing in nostalgia I might as well take you to the model village on the sea front. It’s as good a place as any to start but, as it’s closed, we’ll have to look in through the fence.

I might have spent a little while there but, deprived of the opportunity, I decided to check out the beach.  I’m probably a little spoilt when it comes to beaches.  This one did not score too highly.

I didn't mind the little bit of dunes

I didn’t mind the little bit of dune (and Winter Gardens in the background)

Click on any photo in the group to open the galleries

Wellington Pier's an interesting shape (note the benches)

Modern Wellington Pier has an exotic shape

For all of its seaside bluster, Great Yarmouth is a town with a rich history.  The Wikipedia entry, from which I am quoting, is surprisingly big.  It has been a seaside resort since 1760 and lies on a thin spit of land sandwiched between the North Sea and the River Yare.  The gateway to the Norfolk Broads, and just 20 miles from the city of Norwich, I was interested to note that Daniel Defoe compared the town favourably with that city in his travel journals :

‘Yarmouth is an antient town, much older than Norwich; and at present, tho’ not standing on so much ground, yet better built; much more compleat; for number of inhabitants, not much inferior; and for wealth, trade, and advantage of its situation, infinitely superior to Norwich.’

He goes on to say that its quay is the finest in England, and not even inferior to Marseilles!  Of course, I had to go and see the quay for myself.  But not before I took a look at the Winter Gardens and Britannia Pier, both of which are Grade II listed.

The beach huts on the front have seen a recent coat of paint

The beach huts on the front have seen a recent coat of paint

It’s a shame that, in its prime location alongside the Wellington Pier, the stately Winter Gardens have fallen into disrepair.  The cast iron framed glass structure was shipped by barge all the way from Torquay, on the south coast, in 1903.

Continuing along the front it’s almost impossible to avoid a pirate or two.  No need to worry. They’re mostly harmless and intent on spying on the mini golf.

Ahoy there!

Ahoy there!

Turning your back on the seafront, follow Regent Road through the town and out to South Quay, to step into a different world.  Victoria Arcade is a shopping mall in the old style, and it’s easy to spot the traditional Norfolk flint-faced buildings.

Remember Defoe and his liking for the quay?  He also refers to ‘merchants houses, which look like little palaces, rather than the dwelling-houses of private men’.  Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Hotel on Marine Drive while writing ‘David Copperfield’, and used Yarmouth as a key location for the book.  He was much taken with the place.

In the early 18th century, Yarmouth was a thriving herring port and this lasted for a couple of hundred years.  When the fishing industry declined in the second half of the 20th century, Yarmouth was saved by the discovery of oil in the North Sea.  Today it services offshore natural gas rigs, and the town has been keen to develop renewable energy in the form of a wind farm. 30 generators stand tall on Scroby Sands- a different kind of windmill for the Broads.

A canon from the Napoleonic Wars alongside an elderly fishing smack

A canon from the Napoleonic Wars alongside an elderly herring boat

The Lydia Eva is the last surviving steam drifter of the herring fleet and is being preserved as a floating museum.  But she is dwarfed by her new neighbours.

New kids on the block

New kids on the block

With a little more time I would like to have gone on board Lydia Eva, and to have visited the Elizabethan House and Great Yarmouth Row Houses.  Perhaps even the museum dedicated to Admiral Horatio Nelson. (‘I am a Norfolk man and I glory in being so’).  I did just manage to catch a glimpse of Nelson’s Monument, tucked away at the end of the promenade.

Just a hint of Nelson's Monument, behind the dunes

A hint of Nelson’s Monument, behind the sand dunes and Arek

National Trust have designed a Yarmouth Heritage Trail  complete with map- a good idea if you’re in the area.  I think next week I should take you to Norwich to make a comparison.

walking logo

So there’s another week gone by!  Hope you enjoyed the walk, and many thanks to all my contributors.  If you’d like to join in my Jo’s Monday walk, click on the logo above for details.  I’d be delighted to have you along.  Let’s put the kettle on now and settle in for a good read.


We’re starting in Berlin this week, with Debbie :

Walking the East Side Gallery

Pretty, winding streets always make me smile.  Thanks, Drake!

Just around the corner

Don’t you love this wonderful world of friends we’ve created?

Wild orchids for Meg, meeting Marathon Man, then Elderflower sorbet to finish

Violet Sky has the perfect bench shot!  Have you seen it, Jude?


I rather fancy a walk beside Lake Ontario.  You too?

Monday Walks

At the Grand Canyon, Amy suggests we can see

Mules, Bikers, Hikers, Elk…

Geoff sounds suicidal, but I know he doesn’t mean it!

Ending it all: the Thames Path and reaching the source

Jude is always good company.  She would soon cheer him up!

Boscastle Harbour Walk

I have two authors keeping me company this week.  What a privileged lady I am!  Please welcome Dianne Gray.  I hope many of you know her :

Back in action

Rare birds or pirates?  I’m going for pirates, of course!  Please welcome newcomer Denzil to my walks :

Meldert: A mystery bird and a family of pirates

And I’m ending with a wonderful Summery Swedish walk with Viveka.  Don’t miss it!

Detour to the post office

Fantastic contributions again this week.  Aren’t you spoilt?  I also want to give a ‘shout out’ to another Monday feature, Monday Escapes  .  I never seem to have the time to join in but there’s some great stuff in there.

Have a wonderful week ahead and I hope to see you next Monday (when you might get to meet the Norfolk family).



  1. This post was “chock full” of cool sights, Jo. I liked the brightly trimmed beach huts newly repainted, the beautiful Victoria Arcade, the glass-windowed Winter’s Garden house, Merchants house and the Star Hotel.

  2. Thank you for bringing Yarmouth to me as I have not been there for some years. It looks in great shape. Lovely to see an old British holiday resort looking so shiny. I can imagine Yarmouth as a herring port in the 18th century but had not realised that until you explained it. The games on the pier look so much fun. Glad the sun was shining for your walk. I had a great time joining in.

    1. I just jumped into the Reader and spotted you there, Richard and I was coming over to read it next. I’ve got tomorrow’s walk about 2/3rds written. Weekends lately have been dire. Yes- a long trip (via National coaches). Yarmouth’s a bit tacky but the Broads were beautiful. Thanks, Richard.

      1. Nor me! It looks huge in photos. Belfast is just another city on the list. No real excuse- it’s not exactly the other end of the world 🙂 🙂

  3. Your Yarmouth was my Ocean City, in Maryland. Similar vacation spots in lots of beachside activity, not so similar in literary history and overall beauty. Your post made me very nostalgic for the place! Wonderful photographs, as always!

    1. Thanks, Elisa. The best part of the weekend was the day boating with the Polish family. Come to think of it- the day in Norwich was good too. I’m a lucky duck, really! 🙂

  4. What a fascinating place, Jo. I think I must have read about Yarmouth at some point, because I feel like it’s a familiar place, yet I’ve certainly never visited. Your photos share a wonderful view of a very special little town. Whenever I can walk some dunes I’m a happy camper! Very nice. 🙂

    1. Hi Debbie 🙂 Maybe you’re thinking of the Yarmouth in the US? I always feel it’s nice that there’s a connection with the names. Thanks, hon. All set for a happy weekend?

  5. Enjoyed the grand tour Jo, although I couldn’t quite catch the resemblance to Marseilles 🙂 The lovely Victorian arcade reminds me of the covered shopping galeries in Paris.

  6. What a very interesting town this is Jo with a fascinating history, yet it seemed rather people-less (if you know what I mean, Google doesn’t!!!), was it really this deserted or are you just very clever, or patient, to wait for every one to move on before you took the photos?

    1. It was actually very quiet for June, Pauline (so much so that it was the subject of my Off Season/6WS post this week). We arrived about 4pm, I got Dad settled in at the hotel with his newspaper and half of lager, and I went for my stroll about 5. I guess everyone was thinking of food 🙂 The second half of the walk (along the quay and through the town) was the following morning about 9 so maybe they were still having breakfast? 🙂 🙂

      1. My Mam was not a gardener but kept the garden going after Dad died as a sort of memorial to him, but she downsized a lot, no vegies and got rid of the glass house, put it all into lawn.

  7. Another great walk, Jo. I enjoy strolling along with you. 🙂
    I have a number of walk photos from my recent holiday in the US and Canada. I can’t wait to share them, but I’ve got to edit them first. 😦

  8. We yanks tend to think of England as a small country full of oak forests, rolling green hills, a quay or two and London. The reality is you have quite a lot of variety and your country values it’s history and does a lovely job preserving the same. These towns you take us to on your visits were around for hundreds of years when we were just sitting down to a tea party. I truly appreciate the time you take in showing us non-natives the finer points of your beautiful nation. Reading your posts often sends me to Wikipedia then Google Earth. Arm chair travel at it’s finest. THANK YOU! 🙂

    1. Thank you very much. I enjoy doing so a great deal, and especially so when I find someone who appreciates both the history and the effort 🙂 I always include a Wikipedia link to the town for more information but it’s probably not obvious. 🙂

  9. Another place I’ve never been to, and I didn’t know there was so much to it. I’ve not seen a Fireman shooting gallery like that. In fact, as a child I don’t remember seen anthing similar at an amusement arcade. I mainly remember the Penny Falls or the games where you placed bets on horse races.

    1. It’s actually a boy with rather long hair, Ad. 🙂 My nephew Arek, and he won’t be offended. It used to be even longer 🙂 Are you headed back to UK soon?

    1. Many thanks for your lovely company, Tina. It all started when I saw the model village was still there and texted Lisa to ask if she remembered it (she was about 5 at the time). She did, and texted back to ask if the ‘snail ride’ was still there too. 🙂 Happy days!

  10. Wonderful walk Jo! You’ve made me fall in love with this seaside town. You know I am a nautical nut and love the history as well. And who can resist that mini golfcourse 🙂 Thanks

    1. It had very much more to it than I remembered, Lisa. When the youngsters were small it was just a bucket and spade holiday. I enjoyed my revisit and sharing so thanks for spending your time with me. 🙂

  11. I absolutely love that Pier Fire Dept. I’m sending a link of this post to my son who is a fireman, he’ll think this is great 😀

    Thanks so much for the pingback. Another fabulous walk with you, Jo!

    1. That’s fantastic, Dianne! My eyes must have been on stalks when I saw the fire fighting game! We had one in the depths of our arcade at home and when I was small it was my biggest seaside treat. 🙂 The water was flowing from the hoses when I spotted it (in the first photo on 6WS) but it stopped as I approached. I waited and waited for it to start up again but… no luck 😦 Loved having your company.

    1. Ah, great! I don’t know Suffolk at all, Geoff! 🙂 Missed you last night because I retreated to the bath with a great book and that was the end of that evening! 🙂

  12. It’s a bit like Dawlish or Teignmouth in Devon, slightly left behind and worn but with the odd little gem and lots of nostalgia. I like the old buildings 🙂

    1. Me too, Gilly. 🙂 Beyond that blue bridge on the quayside looked to have a nice riverside walk but I just didn’t have time. And the museums would be great for a rainy day. 🙂

  13. I enjoyed reading your perspective on this sea side resort. Also, the commercial history of fishing to oil industry to windmills. Still in Key West and there is some tacky here,too.😎

  14. Hmm, you’ve managed to make what I have always imagined to be a tacky seaside resort almost charming! Like Jude, I have never seen a Fireman shoot up either!

    1. The front is a bit tacky, Sue, but the quayside is an interesting area and those museums look great.
      Oh, Sue- you disappoint me! Those fire engine games were great! 🙂

  15. A great deal more to Great Yarmouth than ‘Peggotty and Barkis is willing’ Jo 🙂
    Shame about the Winter Gardens one day maybe …
    OH …. those ‘forlorn pier stumps ‘ ….. LOVE THEM !!

  16. After an unexpected 2 week gap, I’m finishing off my Lake District posts – here’s a walk in Elterwater.

    My only visit to Great Yarmouth was a holiday with a friend in the summer between school and uni. I think the model village (or a version of it) was there, but I don’t recognise anything else. I suppose it was rather a long time ago…..

    1. I only remembered the prom and the velo bikes that used to pedal up and down, Anabel. It’s quite a long way and they have horse and carriages and miniature trains now. 🙂
      Many thanks for the walk 🙂

  17. Well that was an eye opener – all those lovely buildings and the Lydia Eva – what an elegant craft. I love to picture you peeking through the fence for glimpses of the model village.

    1. Go on then! You can join me for next week 🙂 I have done several in the Algarve. If you hit Jo’s Monday walk in my Categories in the sidebar it will take you back forever and a day.

  18. I’m surprised to see so few people here Jo – it does look a nice day in the photos too! I don’t recall ever visiting Yarmouth. We used to stay on the Suffolk coast at Thorpeness each year with my grandparents when I was very small. I can remember how “shingly” the beach was there too! Hope you have a great week 🙂

    1. Hi Rosemay 🙂 I stayed in a caravan all those years ago and don’t remember much more than the seafront and some 4 wheeler bikes with canopies on the top that used to pedal up and down the long promenade. These days it’s horse and carriage or miniature train.

  19. I don’t like gritty beaches either. Looking forward to Norwich. 🙂 Wonder if you will find any porridge. 😉
    “There once was an old man of Norwich,
    Who could eat twenty bowls of hot porridge;
    But he once met a “mon”,
    Who could eat twenty-one,
    So he gave him his daughter in “morriage”.”

  20. Well I can’t say I have a fondness for tacky sea-side resorts and of which I believe Great Yarmouth is one, but your photos make it look like an entirely reasonable place to visit and I would love to see the arcade (I have a fondness for Victorian arcades) – such a shame about the Winter Gardens. They have obviously spent a lot of money on the Wellington Pier, maybe the Winter Gardens will be improved. I am assuming it contains tropical and temperate plants or am I wrong about that? I notice you didn’t find a floral clock on the promenade 😦

    Off to another Cornish gem this week:
    but I do have another lighthouse for you coming soon… 🙂

      1. We had one in the arcades here at Seaton when I was small and I loved it! My eyes lit up when I saw this. It was actually squirting (if you notice in the first shot on my 6WS) when I first got there. It stopped just as I arrived and I waited with baited breath for it to start again but… nothing! 😦

    1. If you stay away from the sea front it has a lot going for it, Jude. The museums I mention really do look good and it has a Minster too. If I hadn’t been spending the time with family I could quite easily have spent a day there, and maybe sauntered a bit further up the river too.

      The Winter Gardens were turned into some kind of night club by Jim Davidson and haven’t been used since. Criminal really but the Grade II status and renovation costs appear to be prohibitive. 😦 I did find you a couple of wavy benches that I might play with but no floral clock- sorry! 🙂

      Thanks for the walk. I’m settled in watching Leyton Hewitt battle it out at Queens right now. Feet are tired from a longish walk this morning. Rafa and Murray both playing tomorrow and Rafa at Stuttgart had got his bounce back again. Good to see 🙂

  21. Thanks so much Jo for the lovely mention 🙂 I haven’t been to Great Yarmouth since I was a very small child. I do remember some of it through your photos though! I love that, when you revisit a place and so many happy memories come flooding back

  22. Very interesting Jo. I enjoyed your literary references. The beach huts are cute and there are some great buildings.
    I must get back for a wander some time. As a big fan of Marseille though, I may have to disagree with Defoe!

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