7 things to do in Great Yarmouth over the bank holiday half term

Wallace and Gromit was the judges' winning entry at Coltishall and Horstead Scarecrow Festival.

Hemsby is staging a scarecrow festival and garage sale over the weekend featuring a range of figures. This Wallace and Gromit entry came out top at another village competition. - Credit: Jessica Coppin

From scarecrow festivals to outdoor theatre there is plenty to entertain in Great Yarmouth during the half term holiday.

And with forecasters finally saying we can cast off our hats, coats, and brollies and venture out here's our pick of things to do as lockdown loosens and guarded gathering is allowed once more.

The cast of Ghosted, which has its premiere in Great Yarmouth on June 1.

The cast of Ghosted, which has its premiere in Great Yarmouth on June 1. - Credit: Mark Benfield

1. What: Ghosted

Where: Great Yarmouth and Sheringham seafronts

When: June 1-2, and 4-5, 6pm

Cost: £6 via the website


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Seaside drama will unfold on two Norfolk seafronts next week as a new play has its premiere on a promenade.

Ghosted follows a group of teenagers when they delve into the disappearance of their friend.

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The new work by Norfolk playwright James McDermott, who writes for EastEnders, is being staged outdoors – to conquer Covid restrictions and reflect the setting of the youngster’s coastal home town.

Its first ever performances are on June 1 and 2 at Great Yarmouth, hosted by St George’s Theatre, followed by Sheringham Little Theatre on June 4 and 5, all at 6pm.

Audience members asked to gather at the theatres to collect headsets which will help them follow the action as it moves around the streets – and to get extra information that helps the plot.

The Great Yarmouth audience will walk between scene locations stretching from near the Pirates Cove Adventure Golf to the Venetian Waterways each side of the Britannia Pier.

At Sheringham the locations range between the clifftop Esplanade Gardens near the boating lake and the beach huts on the East promenade.

Pirates Live Great Yarmouth Hippodrome

Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus opens its doors on May 28 for the first time since Christmas Eve for its Pirates Live show which normally takes place at Easter. - Credit: Hippodrome Circus

2. What: Pirates Live

Where: Hippodrome Circus

When: May 28 to June 13

Cost: £14-£25, book via box office on 01493 738877

The Hippodrome is opening its doors for the first time since Christmas Eve with a special run of its popular Pirates Live.

The show will be performed to a socially distanced audience, with the set - including 40 foot pirate galleon - taking up half the space.

Join Captain Jack Hawkseye and Pirate Johnny played by Jack Jay and Johnny Mac as they attempt to defend the port of Great Yarmouth and its treasure against a band of invading buccaneers led by Captain Blackeye (James Franklin).

Seating is limited to around 150 capacity.

Big wheel Great Yarmouth

A 50m big wheel is heading to Great Yarmouth this summer. It is being billed as Covid-safe and an extra reason for people to visit the resort. - Credit: GYBC

3. What: Giant Ferris wheel

Where: Yarmouth Seafront, Sealife Gardens

When: 11-6pm most days

Cost: From £6, online discounts available.

Yarmouth's giant wheel is billed as the star turn on Great Yarmouth's seafront this summer.

Riders can expect a minimum experience of eight minutes - comprising four revolutions at off-peak times and two during peak periods.

It will be in place for the entire summer and one of the pods has wheelchair access with room for two carers.

Audio description is available on request.

A statement on its website says socially distanced queuing systems will be in place and the use of hand sanitiser before and after entering the pods is compulsory for each passenger. The pods will be regularly cleaned to ensure the safety of all users.

An open top bus service was launched in Great Yarmouth on Saturday (May 15).

An open top bus service was launched in Great Yarmouth on Saturday (May 15). - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

4. What: Open top bus ride

Where: Hemsby to the Pleasure Beach 

When: Daily until September 25

Cost: From £2 ride all day, search Clipper Cabriolet 1C online

What better way to cruise the coast than on an open top bus?

Passengers can enjoy unobstructed views and a taste of fresh air this summer with the launch of an open top service on the east coast.

Three 'open toppers' are operating the new Clipper Cabriolet line between Hemsby and Great Yarmouth.

The service, running daily up to every 20 minutes, will take passengers from Hemsby to Scratby and California, then Caister and Seashore Holiday Park, before arriving in Great Yarmouth and terminating at the Pleasure Beach.

Wallace and Gromit was the judges' winning entry at Coltishall and Horstead Scarecrow Festival.

Hemsby is staging a scarecrow festival and garage sale over the weekend featuring a range of figures. This Wallace and Gromit entry came out top at another village competition. - Credit: Jessica Coppin

5. What: Hemsby garage sale and scarecrow festival

Where: Hemsby village

When: Saturday, May 29, to Monday, May 31 (garage sale is Sunday)

Cost: Maps are £1

This year some 89 homes have signed up for the Hemsby garage sale after households responded to a mass call to declutter.

Organiser Tina Nudd said it was the biggest response so far, but that it was as much about having a stroll and a chat as bagging a bargain.

The garage sale runs from 10-2pm on Sunday (May 30) with maps available from local shops in advance and from the Co-op on the day for £1.

All proceeds to village groups.

Meanwhile the village will be bird-free zone with Hemsby Scarecrow Festival spanning the three day weekend.

Almost 40 figures are popping up around the village, and again people can purchase a map to follow the trail and make sure they see each one.

A costumed Dorothy and the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz will be joining spotters and judging the entries.

There is no theme and households simply enter for the fun of it.

Mrs Nudd said a Frankie Dettori figure atop a toy horse was among those jockeying for a prize.

"It's just a really good buzz and it gives people a chance to walk round the village and meet each other," she said.

Land Speeder model. PHOTO: Time and Tide Museum

Land Speeder model. PHOTO: Time and Tide Museum - Credit: Archant

6. What: May the Toys be With You

Where: Time and Tide Museum 

When: Until June 27

Cost: From £6.20, concessions and family tickets available online only.

They may come from a galaxy far, far away, but for a short time only they'll be at the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth.

May the Toys be With You - an exhibition featuring mint-condition Star Wars memorabilia - runs until June 27, and showcases one of the finest Star Wars figurine collections in the UK.

Owned by Star Wars devotee Matt Fox who bought his first toy aged five, the exhibition includes 300 toys, original cinema posters and classic Star Wars artwork.

X-Wing Fighters, lightsabers and mini-Jedis are among items on display, drawing together over 40 years of iconic Star Wars merchandising which eventually ended up earning more than the films themselves.

Entry must be pre-booked online at least a day in advance. 

Universal Circus at Great Yarmouth Racecourse

Universal Circus is ready to entertain a trimmed crowd at Great Yarmouth Racecourse. - Credit: Luke Martin

7. What: Universal  Circus

Where: Great Yarmouth Racecourse, Jellicoe Road

When: Until Sunday, June 6

Cost: From £6.99 via website

Roll up, Roll up for all the fun of the candy-striped big top.

Billed as one of Europe's finest circuses Universal Circus is visiting Great Yarmouth promising amazing acrobats, crazy clowns and breath-taking feats.

The traditional touring circus invites its audience to "sit back and be amazed, leave all your troubles behind as you escape into our magical circus world."

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