Not perfect, but better than Blackpool - What holidaymakers really think of Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Great Yarmouth really comes to life in summer. In the third of a series looking at what makes the town tick during its busiest period, Liz Coates spoke to holidaymakers to find out what they really think about the town.
It's a sunny day in August and Great Yarmouth is heaving.
A tide of trippers full of pink shoulders and sun hats flows along the town's main tourism thoroughfare of Regent Road, ice-creams in hand, dogs on leads, children in tow.
For many it is two weeks of joy.
And whereas locals can be uneasy about the town's changing face, for the vast majority of visitors the resort still has a broad welcoming smile and plenty to offer.
Areas residents may talk about in scathing terms are dismissed by visitors as being "the same everywhere" - what is bright and cheerful eclipsing some of the more down-at-heel aspects and "no-go areas."
Overall everyone we spoke to loved Yarmouth, many coming back year-after-year with their children and now great grandchildren.
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Being flat, dog friendly, and with lots of places to sit were reasons to visit for some, while others valued the wide, sandy beach and traditional seaside feel.
On the down side untidy back streets and litter were noted in the urban areas although most people remarked on the cleanliness of the seafront and tourism areas.
Here's what they said:
Joyce and George Prior are on a coach holiday from Derbyshire staying at the Swanvale Lodge.
They were watching the world go by from a bench in St George's Park.
Mrs Prior, 66, said they had last visited "years and years ago" but had been lured back by a glossy brochure.
"We like Yarmouth because it is flat," she said. "That is why a lot of elderly people come. We do not want to go anywhere that has hills and we are fed up with Blackpool.
"The seafront is nice but some of the back streets are not desirable to look at, places have shut and there was litter all blown about.
"But apart from that it has been okay. We have only just found the park and it is lovely."
Joining them in the park were Pam and Brian Harrison from Barnsley who are on the same trip.
Mr Harrison, 76, has been coming since he was 11-years-old and his wife since she was 13.
"We always come to Yarmouth at least once a year," Mrs Harrison said. "It is an ideal place for a family holiday, we have good memories here."
Mr Harrison said he was particularly interested in the town's history, the riverside, and its wartime role.
"It has had its heyday, it did get run down at one point but it is improving, and it is nice to see they have done something with the bowling alley that burned down. We always go to the circus and we used to go to the cinema but they are doing that up," he said.
Meanwhile Kelly Cann and her family were enjoying the delights of Regent Road.
The family from Peterborough were staying at Haven Seashore and had popped out to take a look around.
Mrs Cann said she had not been for eight years and although things had changed everything looked very nice. The family were looking forward to some days on the beach.
Christine Ramage, also in Regent Road, hailed the town for being dog friendly.
The 77-year-old from Nottingham was staying at California Cliffs with her family, having visited when she was 17.
"I love Yarmouth and I love the market," she said. "I had to persuade the family to come and now they are glad I did."
Outside Britannia Pier Siobhan and Mark Rowland and their three young children - twins Corey and Ruby, aged two, and four-year-old Lyla - were happy with their holiday and said the town and seafront were cleaner than they expected.
The family were staying in Hopton and had visited every year for the last few years.
"We have not got any complaints at all," Mrs Rowland said.
On the beach were three generations of the Phillips family from Barnsley.
For Mick Phillips the town was full of memories brimming from a lifetime of visits. He recalled the holiday heyday when multiple theatres boasted big name performers and being hauled on stage with Freddie Starr.
He and his wife Jean were staying at the Trollcart, with the rest of the family at Haven Seashore.
He said they rarely went out at home, but always made the most of their time on holiday. "There's always things to do and plenty of pubs if it rains," he added.