An exciting programme of free tours and drop in events is on offer in the Borough of Great Yarmouth during Heritage Open Days weekend, Thursday 12 to Sunday 15 September.
Many of the buildings involved are not normally open to the public; explore the Masonic Royal Assembly Rooms, get behind the scenes on a Grandstand Tour at Wellesley Recreation Ground and visit the Fishermen’s Hospital.
Enjoy an on site talk about the restoration of Vauxhall Bridge, take the Trawler Trail guided walk in Gorleston and go on tours of Great Yarmouth Town Hall.
Visit St Mary’s Church, West Somerton, final resting place of Robert Hales ‘the Norfolk Giant’ and All Saints Church Horsey, which dates back to Saxon times.
Walk from Reedham to Polkey’s Mill and Reedham Marsh Steam House, or visit Morse’s Wind Engine Park at Repps with Bastwick, the only collection of historic wind pumps in the UK.
Go on tours of Great Yarmouth Minster, The Norfolk Pillar (Nelson’s Monument) and Georgian Great Yarmouth and visit the Elizabethan House Museum and Tolhouse Museum.
Cllr Bernard Williamson, Great Yarmouth’s Heritage Champion, said: “Heritage Open Days is an exciting way for us to showcase the fascinating heritage there is in Great Yarmouth, with amazing opportunities for people to get behind the scenes at many of the borough’s wonderful historical buildings.”
Pick up a Great Yarmouth Heritage Open Days leaflet at the Tourist Information Centre,
t. 01493 846346, or download a copy of the leaflet from
Borough of Great Yarmouth – Heritage Open Days events and tours – full list
Guided Walk – Trawler Trail, Gorleston, Thursday 12 September at 2pm
Meet at entrance to Morrison’s Supermarket, Dock Tavern Lane, Gorleston on Sea
Explore Gorleston on Sea from the eyes of Samuel Hewett, one time proprietor of the largest fishing fleet in the world, sailing from Gorleston under The Short Blue House Flag. His use of the foremost techniques in the industry involved ‘well ships’ and ice houses to keep his fish fresh longer and command higher prices for his quality produce. T 01493 846346 to book.
Great Yarmouth Town Hall, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 September, open 10am to 4.30pm, pre-booked guided tours at 11am and 2pm.
Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth NR30 2QF
Built in 1882 and recently refurbishment Great Yarmouth Town Hall will be open for HOD’s visitors to view the Civic Rooms including the Mayor’s Parlour and Council Chamber (formerly used as a Magistrates Court). The town’s regalia and some of the Borough’s art collection will also be available for viewing. T 01493 846125 to book.
Great Yarmouth Minster Thursday 12 and Saturday 14 September open 10am to 4pm, Friday 13 September open 10am to 1pm and Sunday 15 September open 11am to 4pm
Guided tour on Saturday at 2pm, t 01493 846346 to book.
Church Plain, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1NE
Great Yarmouth Minster was built in 1101 and is the largest parish church in the country. It was destroyed during WWII, with just the walls and towers left standing. Restored by Stephen Dykes Bower between 1957 and 1961. Photographic display of Herring Fishing Industry. Refreshments.
Guided Walk – Great Georgian Yarmouth, Friday 13 September at 2pm Meet at Fisherman’s Hospital Entrance, Market Place, Great Yarmouth NR30 1ND. See another side to Great Yarmouth on this walk looking at some of the stunning Georgian architecture interwoven into the fabric of the town. From Row 44 where Nelson stayed in the Angel Hotel through to the Victorian Arcade, along King Street and the quay, see the amazing range of beautiful facades. T. 01493 846346 to book.
Vauxhall Bridge Restoration, Saturday 14 September at 10am
North Quay, Great Yarmouth NR30 1JF
Built in 1852 the wrought iron Fairbairn-type box glider Vauxhall Bridge is believed to be the last one remaining in the country. Miriam Kikis chairperson of the Vauxhall links group will give a talk about the history of the bridge, its significance to Great Yarmouth and the restoration project. T 01493 846346 to book.
Open Day Events – no need to book
Grandstand at Wellesley Recreation Ground, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 September 9am to 4pm and Saturday 14 September 9am to 12noon. Tours daily at 11am.
Wellesley Road, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1EY
One of the earliest surviving football grandstands in England still in use today, dating back to 1890 and designed by J.W. Cockrill. Refreshments.
Old Meeting Unitarian Church, Thursday 12, Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September 10am to 2pm and Sunday 15 September 11am to 2pm
Greyfriars Way, Great Yarmouth NR30 0EG. With its roots in Transylvania from the time of the reformation, the Unitarian Church has had a congregation of Dissenters dating in the town from 1642. The current church built in 1954 replaced a WWII bomb damaged building based in Middlegate. A special display for visitors will show the history of the Unitarian church and some of its more famous members.
Tolhouse Museum, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 September 10am to 4pm, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September 12noon to 4pm
Tolhouse Street just off South Quay, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2SH
Take a journey through crime and punishment in Great Yarmouth in one of England’s oldest prisons. Learn of the fates of thieves, smugglers, witches, pirates and murderers. Hear both gaoler and prisoners tell their stories of transportation, incarceration and execution.
The Masonic Royal Assembly Rooms, Thursday 12, Friday 13 & Saturday 14 September, Tours at 10am, 12noon & 2pm
Albert Square, Great Yarmouth, NR30 3JH
Originally designed to be Assembly and Reading Rooms in 1863, the building was bought from the Norfolk Militia by the Masons in 1919 and has had significant refurbishment.
The Fishermen’s Hospital, Thursday 12, Friday 13, Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 September, talk at 11am daily
Market Place, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1ND
The Fishermen’s Hospital was built in 1762 by the corporation of Great Yarmouth for old or ‘decayed’ fishermen. It could house up to 40 residents, but now only nine cottages remain with nine residents. Tours will include cottage no 8, which will be opened especially for HOD’s visitors. A talk will be given each day at 11am and complimentary tea & coffee will be available.
St Mary’s Church, West Somerton, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 September 9am to 6pm,
Saturday 14 September 9am to 1pm & 4pm to 6pm, Sunday 15 September 12noon to 6pm, Church Lane, West Somerton NR29 4DR. A 13th century thatched roof church with round tower, famous for its 14th century medieval wall paintings and for the tombstone of Robert Hales, the ‘Norfolk Giant’. Special exhibition of drawings by local artist John Finnie.
Elizabethan House Museum, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 September 10am to 4pm
Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 September 12noon to 4pm
South Quay, Great Yarmouth NR30 2QH
The Elizabethan House is probably one of the Yarmouth quayside houses Daniel Defoe described as looking like ‘little palaces’. Explore the lives of the families who lived there from Tudor through to Victorian times.
Wind Energy Museum – The Morse Collection, Repps, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 September 10am to 2pm, t. 07796 407864 to arrange guided tour
Marsh Road, Off Staithe Road, Repps, NR29 5JU
The only collection of historical wind-pumps in Great Britain. They demonstrate the drainage systems of Norfolk, whilst showing examples of different types & mechanisms including a full size working scoop wheel.
The stories behind the stones at Great Yarmouth Minster, Friday 13 September, Tour at 11am, Church Plain, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1NE
Guided tour with local historian Paul Davies looking at some of the discoveries and telling the stories behind the gravestones in the cemeteries at Great Yarmouth Minster.
Great Yarmouth Potteries, Friday 13 September, 9.30am to 3pm, 18 Trinity Place, Great Yarmouth NR30 3HA. This unique museum in the 700 year-old medieval town wall is crammed full of memorabilia of the days when Great Yarmouth had a huge fishing fleet and dates back 300 years. The museum contains many unusual items from the old drifters and an array of items reclaimed from the sea. Refreshments
Conservation of Cemetery Monuments Friday 13 September at 3pm
Great Yarmouth Minster, Church Plain, Great Yarmouth NR30 1NE
A guided walk with Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Principal Conservation Officer. Explore monuments and statues looking at conservation issues and methods.
All Saints Church Horsey, Friday 13 September 12noon to 5pm, Saturday 14 September 10am to 5pm and Sunday 15 September 12noon to 5pm – organ recital 12noon. The Street, Horsey NR29 4EF
A beautiful Saxon church with round tower and thatched roof. Photographic displays will show the village and church through the ages along with the Horsey flood and information and photographs on the church’s restoration project. The surrounding churchyard is a place of particular peace and beauty.
Holy Trinity Church, Caister on Sea, Saturday 14 September 9am to 4pm
Norwich Road, Caister on Sea, NR30 5JN
Originally a 14th century church, re-built in the 18th century and beyond with an impressive ornate 15th century font which was brought in from Suffolk. The strong links with Caister Lifeboat throughout its history can be seen by memorials inside and outside the church including a stunning stained glass window of Christ and the Fisherman, by Paul Woodruffe, which commemorates the 1901 lifeboat disaster. Refreshments
Quaker Meeting House, Saturday 14 September 10am – 4pm
Howard Street South, Great YarmouthNR30 1LN
Quakers have worshiped in Great Yarmouth since 1649. Beneath the present building there are the remains of a 14th century cell occupied by Augustinian Friars until the dissolution of the monasteries, c.1536.
The Norfolk Naval Pillar (Nelson’s Monument), Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September 10am to 3pm, booking not essential but advised, t 01493 850698.
Monument Road, South Denes, Great Yarmouth NR30 3PX
Guided tours; climb the 217 steps for breathtaking views of the town and surrounding countryside. Discover the history of this Grade I listed monument and its links to Lord Nelson.
Polkey’s Mill & Reedham Marsh Steam Engine House, Saturday 14 September 12noon to 4pm, Wherryman’s Way (footpath), Reedham NR13 3UB. The site includes a working drainage mill, which will be operating weather permitting. Beside the mill is an old steam engine house built in 1880 (no steam engine). Visitors will be allowed access to the buildings. Tours of Polkey’s Mill in small groups will be available.