Heritage and arts
Since medieval times, Great Yarmouth has been surrounded by one of the most complete town walls in England. Eleven of the original towers - built between 1261 and 1400 - have survived. Our quaysides along the river Yare showcase fantastic examples of historic merchant houses, while the seafront offers one of the best collections of Edwardian entertainment architecture in the country.
To help us maintain and deliver heritage, arts and tourism schemes, the Council issues the following grants to local organisations:
- St Georges Trust: £25,000 in 2020-21 to provide artistic performances, including community engagement through the Community Cafe, on the stage at the theatre and where possible with partners.
- SeaChange Arts: £58,500 in 2020-21 to provide artistic performances, delivering against their Service Level Agreement objectives, delivering the Out There Festival and reprogramming to alternative events/activities where possible should the festival not be possible.
Great Yarmouth's outstanding culture and heritage mean that it is a future ambition for the town to become a key cultural destination. Visit the heritage pages of the Visit Great Yarmouth tourism website for more information or, to find out about some of the work that is carried out on our historic environment, visit the website of the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust.
What theatres, museums and galleries are there in Great Yarmouth?
Great Yarmouth has a variety of arts and heritage attractions to discover and explore:
- Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life
- Elizabethan House Museum
- St George's Theatre
- Gorleston Pavilion Theatre
- Britannia Pier Theatre
- Tolhouse Gaol Museum
- The Hippodrome
- Skippings Art Gallery
- Yare Gallery
See Visit Great Yarmouth's tourism website for information on museums, and for a list of what's on.
What local events or festivals can I attend?
Great Yarmouth hosts a number of exciting annual festivals and events:
- The Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival is a celebration of things with wheels and takes place on the seafront.
- The Out There Festival is organised by Out There Arts and celebrates international performance arts and circus.
- The Great Yarmouth Arts Festival showcases cultural activities, performances and collaborations.
More information on festivals and outdoor events can be found on the following websites:
How can I enjoy the local heritage sites?
You can go on guided walks from Easter to October, or attend a heritage open day event in September to see buildings that are not usually open to the public. Great Yarmouth has several museums and heritage sites you can visit.
See our Conservation areas information for details of where our protected areas of natural beauty are located - this includes an interactive map and individual maps of all 19 conservation areas.
Visit the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust website for news and opportunities related to local heritage sites.
Do you run any guided heritage walks?
How is the Council working to preserve and protect our heritage?
Great Yarmouth features a number of remarkable heritage sites, some of which are at risk and in need of repair and restoration.
Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake
In partnership with the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, Great Yarmouth Borough Council was awarded £1.7m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for the restoration and enhancement of the unique Grade II listed park dating back to 1926-28. The scheme reinstated the beautiful and vibrant planting that originally existed, reopened the Boating Lake and provides a variety of training opportunities and activities linked to horticulture and traditional building skills.
Work on the site took place between the summers of 2018 and 2019, with the site reopening on 20 August 2019. The Island Cafe, currently run by the Access Community Trust, includes the hire of pedalos and rowing boats on the lake. You can get involved in helping to look after this community park by visiting The Waterways website.
The Winter Gardens
Great Yarmouth Borough Council is working with a team of consultants to prepare a Stage 1 application to the NLHF in order to repair and conserve the remarkable glass and iron structure dating back to 1883. The Winter Gardens were originally erected in Torquay, but moved to Great Yarmouth in 1903. The Winter Gardens are currently listed on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register. An outdoor exhibition around the Winter Gardens is available to view and showcases some of the town's historic tourism posters and photographs accompanied by a timeline of events.
If you have any queries, or would like further details, please contact our Conservation team.
What is the Council doing to promote arts and culture?
Culture, Heritage and Tourism Strategy: Our Place is Your Stage
Great Yarmouth's was collectively devised by the Great Yarmouth Culture and Tourism Board, and launched in August 2020. The Board is now working to develop and deliver ambitious projects and initiatives that expand and enrich the town's cultural and heritage offering for residents and visitors alike. As stated in the document: 'By 2030, we want the Borough of Great Yarmouth to be a place where culture and creativity are valued, where it enables wellbeing and economic prosperity, where visitors come all year round to enjoy our natural and built environment and engage with our rich and diverse culture'.
Great Places: Making Waves Together (2017-2020)
Making Waves Together, led by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Waveney District Council (now part of East Suffolk Council), saw communities and groups in both areas work together to build cultural partnerships, engage new audiences and put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of the local vision.
This project formed part of the Great Place Scheme, delivered by Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. Making Waves Together received additional funding from the following:
- Norfolk County Council
- Suffolk County Council
- Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership
- Lowestoft Vision
- Broads Authority National Park
For more information, please contact Darren Barker, Culture, Design and Heritage Manager.