Heritage and culture on the East Norfolk Coast

East Norfolk may be more known for its family-friendly blue flag beaches and the razzmatazz of Great Yarmouth's promenade.  However, dig deeper (yes, in an archaeological sense too) and you'll discover deep history and some impressive culture and entertainment too boot...


The Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth has won many awards and you can see why.  With interactive displays and everything you can ever want to know about the area's fishing heritage, it's a day out in itself.  The seaside town is also home to The Tolhouse Gaol Museum, Elizabethan House Museum and Nelson Museum - the latter showcasing the interesting life of our seafaring hero.  You can while away a day pottering round Great Yarmouth's Row Houses, The Falcon Brewery Museum, viewing the Grade 1 listed Nelson Monument at 43m tall and Lydia Eva (the last steam drifter dating back to 1930).  There's also Great Yarmouth's Potteries and Smokehouse, where you can purchase a wide-range of pottery and settle down to a well-earned cuppa and cake.

Whilst out and about, don't miss the iconic red and white striped Happisbugh Lighthouse, or the Wind Energy Museum at repps with Bastwick.

Deep history

The area may not have a plethora of stately homes, but what it does have is 850,000-year-old archaeological discoveries.  Not bad, hey! At Happisburgh, a 500,000 hand axe was unearthed in 2000, and human footprints were uncovered during the last tidal surge in 2012.  At an estimated 850,000 years old, they offer the oldest evidence of human activity outside of Africa.  West Runton is home to the most complete find of a mammoth skeleton in the world (see a life-sized model walk the beach each summer), and also a great place to fossil hunt - what will you discover?  Who needs the Jurassic Coast, when you have all of this in Norfolk?


Nowhere else in the country will you find a permanent circus like The Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth.  The last surviving building of its kind in Britain, don't miss their eye-watering Summer and Christmas Spectacular shows.  The town's Britannia Pier theatre has a year-round programme too, welcoming headline acts from around the world.


This area really comes alive when you start on the subject of festivals and events.  The Out There Festival each September is one of the biggest international festivals of street arts & circus in Europe, and promises to amaze and entertain visitors.  The Maritime Festival is held the week after, also in September, and offers a fantastic opportunity to learn about the sailing heritage and even ride on a tall ship.  Year-round, there's pretty much a festival for everyone - ale, music, beach volleyball, chess, bowls, wheels, pumpkins and even scarecrows.  You name it, they've got it!