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Boating Lake and island cafe set for Grand Re-opening

The Boating Lake

Families will have the first chance in years to row out across the Boating Lake and visit the Island Café, as part of the Grand Reopening of Great Yarmouth’s historic Venetian Waterways, on Tuesday 20 August, from 2pm to 6pm.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council, in partnership with Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, has led an ongoing £2.7m restoration of the Grade II-listed seafront park and tourist attraction, supported by The National Lottery.

Following the successful reopening of the Waterways site at Easter and the Boating Lake gardens last month, the restored Boating Lake itself and the Café Island will reopen to the public from 2pm as part of the special Grand Reopening Gala.

For the first time in around a decade, people will have the chance to hire a rowing boat or pedalo and take to the water, with the site managed by Access Community Trust, a social enterprise and charity.

The Grand Reopening Gala will also include other family fun for residents and visitors alike, including Punch and Judy shows, heritage and botanical talks, arts and crafts, music and entertainment, displays, stalls and charity fundraising.

In the meantime, the borough council is seeking three lucky families from the borough to be the first back on the Boating Lake – and has launched a competition on its Facebook page.

Councillor Graham Plant, chairman of the economic development committee, said: “The Waterways have been transformed since ground was broken in June 2018, even winning a Green Flag Award, and that’s credit to everyone involved, especially our fabulous funders and dedicated staff and volunteers.

“The restoration of the Boating Lake and Island Café was one of the biggest and most ambitious parts of this project, and I’m sure many people watched the works progress with keen interest. We intend the Boating Lake to again become a destination in itself, complementing the Waterways in driving footfall to this area.

“I am looking forward with excitement to the Grand Reopening Gala and I hope that lots of people will visit with their friends and relatives to celebrate the restoration, enjoy the family fun, take to the water of the Boating Lake and visit the Island Café.”

The Waterways restoration has been funded by a £1.7m National Lottery grant awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, plus further support from the borough council, New Anglia LEP and the Government.

The project aims to involve the community in enhancing and interpreting a unique community facility, tourist attraction and heritage asset, supporting the local economy, boosting civic pride and providing people with meaningful opportunities to improve skills and access further training or employment.