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Residents and visitors invited to explore the borough's history as Guided Heritage Walks restart

Residents and visitors to the borough are being invited to stretch their legs and delve into the rich past of Great Yarmouth to explore its history as a seaside resort, fishing port and market town.

Guided Heritage Walk which includes Fishermen's Hospital

Great Yarmouth's official heritage guides are offering nine walks to explore the borough's beautiful historic buildings, admire architecture and hear some colourful stories of local characters.

All walks are written and designed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council's heritage guides, who guide participants off the beaten track and out into the local area to discover more about what went before in Great Yarmouth. 

There are nine walks running regularly:

  • Picture of Yarmouth: In January 1820, John Preston published, "The Picture of Yarmouth", an illustrated account of the public establishments in the town. This walk looks at some of those buildings and marks the publication of a new book, published in 2021 with lottery funding, to commemorate the original's bi-centenary.
  • Medieval Town Wall: This walk provides an opportunity for people to explore the Scheduled Ancient Monument that surrounds Great Yarmouth, which dates from the 14th century and is the second best preserved medieval town wall in England, after York.
  • The Finest Quay in Europe: This tour takes its name from a description of South Quay by 18th century writer Daniel Defoe and explores the port of Great Yarmouth's fascinating history and fine Georgian architecture.
  • Waterways & Holidays:2019 saw the long-awaited re-opening of Great Yarmouth's Venetian Waterways following an extensive restoration project. Learn about North Drive and its Victorian beginnings when you join our fully trained guide on this relaxed and informative walk-through Great Yarmouth's famous Waterways. The Grade II listed gardens and canals provide a delightful backdrop for stories about this unique holiday attraction, their post-WW1 beginnings and how the sympathetic restoration has been done.
  • Quayside & Seaside at Gorleston-on-Sea: This walk explores the stories and local history of Gorleston's historic seafront, including the demise of the elegant, turreted Victorian hotel, how the pier came to be and where the lido was.
  • Sun, Sea, Stars & Circus:Roll up, roll up for this guided tour celebrating the 250th anniversary of the circus, focussing on the role the holiday and entertainment industry has played in how Great Yarmouth seafront looks today.
  • Rows, Fishwives & Red Herrings:This tour tells the tale of Great Yarmouth's historic alleyways, and the people who lived and worked in them, in addition to taking in historic South Quay, the rise and fall of the herring industry and its importance in the town's growth. 
  • Gravestones & Tombstones of Great Yarmouth Minster:Enjoy a chance to find out some fascinating stories about the characters laid to rest in the cemetery of this magnificent church, including sailors, merchants, and circus owners.
  • Gory Stories on a Wicked Walk:Prepare to be shocked and appalled at the murders that took place in the Rows and the press gangs that would tour the town's brothels, as well as stories of the stocks and pillory, whippings, and hangings.

In addition to the regular walks, there is also a Jubilee special of the Quayside & Seaside at Gorleston-on-Sea walk, five walks as part of the Great Yarmouth Arts Festival, a special walk available as part of the new Mediaeval Fayre and three free walks as part of this year's Heritage Open Day events.

There will also be an opportunity to experience a free trial of a new walk, Forgotten Inns and Taverns of Great Yarmouth, as part of Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society's History Fair at St George's Theatre on 9 July from 10am to 3pm.

Cllr Graham Plant, chairman of the economic development committee, said "We have a wide range of walks this year, including a special guided walk to honour Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, so there should be something for all interests and ages.

"It is fantastic that both residents and visitors can explore the history of Great Yarmouth and we hope this will help raise the profile of the borough and its history as a result."

Private walks for groups of a minimum of 8 people are also available to local groups, clubs, schools, and educational groups (teachers and accompanying adults go free). The guides can also offer bespoke walks to match customer requirements. Private walks are £3.50 per person.

Tickets are priced at £4.50 for adults, £2 for children (seven-17 years old) and free-of-charge for under sevens. Booking is essential at least 24 hours ahead of the walk.

More information can be found on the website.

Last modified on 21 June 2023

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