I’ve an affection for Great Yarmouth that I don’t have for many other East Anglian resorts. I have particularly fond memories of an early career training event in the Imperial Hotel that culminated in a session on snakebite*. If anyone around then is still alive, I can only apologise. And for the string vest incident in Ritzy’s.
Yarmouth and Gorleston were two of my regular trips over 30 years in the NHS, and I didn’t see a lot of change in either. That’s not a problem when a town is as attractive as Yarmouth, but within Norfolk it had a fairly down-beat reputation compared to the North Norfolk coast or the Broads. Typical snobbery.
A town of contradictions, it has some areas of extreme deprivation, unprepossessing housing estates rubbing shoulders with Dickensian beauty. You occasionally feel you’re in a cheap Blackpool, then walk past an expensive Greek lobster restaurant next to a Pound shop.
I walked from the campsite near Northgate Hospital into town and back along the coast, dotting in and out of lanes to gawp at one of the best pub stocks in the country. Really. No, I didn’t go in them all. But I know someone who might have.
The visual feast doesn’t start auspiciously at the Cask & Craft . If the beer range is as good as WhatPub suggests I’ll no doubt be back and venturing into what looks a fairly unpromising place from the outside.
I shall also need to return to the Coach & Horses, whose What Pub entry I only now read extends to Draught Bass. They could have put a clue on the wall or something…
It was at this point I was getting a few stares from the locals for taking photos of dumpy old boozers (their view, not mine) and zigzagging across the road. To put them off the trail I took a photo of a house.
Most of the great pubs are near the South Quay, which remains a bustling place. It’s good to see that Barclays are investing the savings from branch closures in floating pubs.
Tucked away just to the north is the new Beer Guide entry, the first for a while. It’s hard to sum up Yarmouth’s pub scene, let alone it’s Beer Guide entries, a real mix of Dickensian locals, fun pubs and chain eateries. I like that mix.
The Tombstone Saloon is typical of this variety.
Western theme bar, brewery tap, micropub full of retirees. It could be terrible, but it was great, and the Texas Jack (from a terrifyingly large range of ales and ciders) was immaculately served, though clearly homebrew (NBSS 3).
For worse or worserer, I’m clearly turning into BRAPA (hopefully without the red trousers). I’ve never taken as many photos or wrote as many notes as I did here. Simon will feel he’s in eavesdropping heaven. I’ll save the juicy bits for my book, but this will be going in my next Toilet Art post.
Some great varied seating, which I had to test out. You attract a few stares if you change tables for no reason in a pub. I just pretended I did it for a better view of John Wayne on the TV, rather than this classic view of locals at the bar.
Simon would also have been impressed with the musical offer;
Despite numerous requests, Songs of Anarchy wasn’t put back on the jukebox, and we were treated to “Daydream Believer” and “House of the Rising Sun“.
“And God, I know I’m one”
That was the only line the lady sang along to. It was quite enough. And I’m up to 600 words. That’s quite enough for one night, too.
*Snakebite is a treble IPA produced with Maris Piper hops in Gorleston
12 thoughts on “YARMOUTH – IT’S GREAT”
I only ever went to yarmouth once. Few years ago, with the family. We thought it was a right nice, proper seaside place. But, then again I was brought up on Mabelthorpe, Scarboro’ and Blackpool. I remember the kids thought it was pretty cool, something to do after the emptiness of the Broads. The highlight of which was watching a Tawny Owl hunting alongside one of the dikes at dusk. We never saw any American birds though.
Yes, Yarmouth compares with Scarborough. There’s a few more ancient streets in GY and it’s a bit flatter. A lot for children to do.
Don’t you go saying the Broads are boring 😱
Think I got the wrong end of the stick, what with all those Yankee air bases down there???
I’ve only ever been to Yarmouth a couple of times, both which were unseasonably cold days in Spring. It’s a rather odd mixture of rundown seaside resort, working port, historic town and sub-regional shopping centre.
Something that maybe isn’t widely appreciated is that it was heavily bombed during WW2, which led to a lot of rather low-standard, piecemeal 1950s redevelopment, giving it a somewhat “bitty” feel.
It’s a world away from Norwich.
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Couldn’t put it better myself. In part 2 you’ll see those exact features. Good point about WW2 and
1950s development; surprising amount of Dickens era survives though.
The Portsmouth of the east (or west to me)
Much the same applies to Portsmouth, although in some parts the planners finished off what the Luftwaffe started 😦
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Strange place, used to go there regularly for work around 1990. Was described to me as Blackpool for Eastenders. Was strange to see the difference from the end of summer heading into winter as about 80% of the town seemed to shut down. I do have a vague memory of getting dragged into some “interesting” nightclub featuring a visit from the Daily Star Roadshow.
Being sent to the same hotel every visit and being able to put the bar tab onto the meal bill gave me a lifelong affectation/affliction for Abbot, back in the days when people weren’t expected to hate Gk on sight.
Typical Scot, go for the most expensive beer once it’s on the free tab (joking, Scotland).It was IPA for me in late 80s, back in day as you say when it was well received.
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So long ago they didn’t have IPA!!! Abott was the only option.
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I first went to Great Yarmouth back in 1979 with a gang of mates,we were all too young to drink but and a mate and me did do a few pubs,we went back there for the next four years and we started to pick off all pubs in the town and i consider Great Yarmouth to be one of the pubbiest towns i have visited,i ended up doing 97 pubs in the town and another 14 in Gorleston,plus a few in Caister.
Another story coming up.
On our last visit to Great Yarmouth in June 1983 we took one of my work mates with us and not used to drinking the vast quantities of beer that we were doing,we did all pubs in Yarmouth and got *issed every day and carried on in the hotel after closing time,we were a scruffy lot and the girls seemed to like this so when we went out with them to posey pubs the posers could not get their head round to why we had four girls with us and they had none.
As the week went on my work mate started flagging and begged not to have any more beer,we had now covered most of Yarmouth and one of my mates was also not up to doing a load more pubs in Norwich as we had done all pubs in Yarmouth,we staggered down the platform at Norwich and that was before we started drinking,just the two of us and we only did 11 pubs in Norwich some on pints.
A great week pub crawling and picking up girls.
When we got back to Nottingham my best mate started to turn yellow and went to the doctors who said it was some kind of Liver problem,he got over it.
That was my last holiday with mates as i met my wife to be in November 1983.
Those were the days.
Thanks Alan, made me laugh