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Discover more of Great Yarmouth during Heritage Open Days

Royal Naval Hospital

Visitors and residents have the chance to discover and explore more of Great Yarmouth’s rich cultural heritage – thanks to a varied programme of Heritage Open Days from Thursday, September 7 to Sunday, September 10.

Co-ordinated by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the free events are organised in partnership with a range of local organisations, and include the opportunity to visit buildings that are rarely open to the general public.

Heritage Open Days (HODs) is England's biggest heritage festival celebrating our history, architecture and culture, with 270 hidden places waiting to be discovered in Norfolk alone. The festival offers a combination of drop-in events and pre-book guided walks.

The full programme of HODs events across the borough, and further information about each event, can be found here or by calling the Tourist Information Centre on 01493 846346. Leaflets can also be picked up at libraries and tourism information centres.

In Great Yarmouth, the drop-in events are:
• Great Yarmouth’s medieval town wall
• Maritime Memories at Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival (see below)
• The Royal Naval Hospital
• Tide & Tide Museum
• Caister Beach and Lifeboat Station
• Hopton Ruined Church
• The Royal Assembly Rooms, Great Yarmouth
• St John’s Church, Great Yarmouth
• Elizabethan House Museum
• Wind Energy Museum – Vintage Fete and Family Fun Day
• The Quaker Meeting House
• The Fishermen’s Hospital
• Thurne Windpump
• Tolhouse Gaol

The pre-booked guided walks are:
Circus, Clowns and Catastrophe. This special guided walk, on Thursday, September 7, at 2pm, tells the tragic tale of the 1845 suspension bridge disaster, in which spectators jostling for a better view of a clown’s stunt led to a struggle for survival. Pre-booking required by calling the Tourist Information Centre on 01493 846346.

• Great Yarmouth Ice House. This tour, on Saturday, September 9, at 11am, is a chance to explore this grade II-listed building, originally used to store ice for preserving herring. Pre-booking required by emailing or calling the Tourist Information Centre on 01493 846346.

• Great Yarmouth Drill House. Two special tours, on Saturday, September 9, at noon and 3pm, will mark the 150th anniversary of the Drill House. Workshops and refreshments also available. Pre-booking required by emailing or calling the Tourist Information Centre on 01493 846346.

Glorious Memories of the Golden Mile. This guided walk, on Sunday, September 10, at 2pm, takes place between the town’s two famous piers, and recounts the fascinating story of life in the resort over the past 250 years. Pre-booking required by calling the Tourist Information Centre on 01493 846346.

Maritime Memories at the Maritime Festival:
At this year’s Maritime Festival, on September 9 and 10, the Great Yarmouth’s Heritage Guides will be setting up a special Heritage Hub and inviting people to come along to recount their families’ maritime tales, whether as a sailor, fisherman or perhaps housing some of the Scottish “fisher girls”.

They would also love to hear people’s tales of Old Yarmouth and see any memorabilia people may have, as they are looking for stories and ideas for use in new walks. The hub will also have exhibitors from the Time & Tide Museum and the Norfolk Records Office, along with a demonstration of gansey knitting.

There will be displays of images showing Great Yarmouth through the years and a selection of activities for grown-ups and children alike. There will also be two free guided walks leaving from the festival each day, at 11.30am and 2.30pm.

Cllr Barry Coleman, chairman of the economic development committee, said: “Our borough has a fabulously rich cultural history, which is reflected in our fascinating built environment, and these Heritage Open Days are a chance for residents and visitors to find out more.

“The free events offer an opportunity to explore some well-known heritage attractions, find out more about the great conservation work that happens here, and share your own stories, in addition to exploring some special places that are normally off-limits to the general public.”