Review: Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

(AD Gifted). Great Yarmouth is a fun beach resort on the Norfolk coast (east of Norwich). It’s a great place to visit with families and a few hours at the Pleasure Beach as part of a visit makes for a brilliant day. The Pleasure Beach has plenty of rides for toddlers upwards with a combination of real thrill rides, to those at a more gentle pace. On a visit you can enjoy all the classics like dodgems, a waltzer, a fun house, log flume and ghost train as well as a few surprises too.

A view over some of Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach and the sea taken from on the monorail ride
The Pleasure Beach is right next to Great Yarmouth Seafront

What Is There At Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach?

There is a wide variety of rides, an amusement arcade, a 4d cinema, food outlets and some fairground stall games. 

The rides include: 

Formula One - a slow ride where preschoolers can choose a vehicle of their choice and sit on it as it goes round in a circle and over a hump. Absolutely loved by my 2 year old and he didn’t want to come off. For children only.
Cup and Saucer - one of the smaller versions aimed at children.
Gallopers - The traditional carousel with horses (and a few other things) you can sit on and go up and down while the ride goes round in circles.
Haunted Hotel - Up to 2 people can sit on each car to go round this ghost train.
Roller Coaster - An old fashioned roller coaster built on a wooden frame which will be enjoyed by children and adults. It is one of the oldest roller coasters in Britain opening in 1932, but with significant maintenance over the years.
Snails and Fairy Tales - A children's ride where you sit in a snail and take a tour a long a track with nursery rhymes and character scenes.
Flying Dumbos - Happy elephants you sit in which are connected to the middle of the ride by long arms which move up and down as you go round.
Big Apple Coaster - a traditional style caterpillar rollercoaster which goes round a few times and finishes by going through a large apple. A small roller coaster, but good fun.
Free Fall - a tower ride where you go up and down a central pole as well as rotating round the pole.
Whirlwind - a rollercoaster ride where the cars spin round independently to each other as you go round a small figure of 8 track.
Bonanza Horses - a children's ride where horses which move along a steal track
Yo Yo - a roundabout with 2 person swing seats that swing out as you go round, but not very high so suitable for younger children.
Pirate Ship - a good size pirate ship which swings back and forth.
Log Flume - With several plunges and big splashes this is a great way to cool off on a hot day, on cooler days the queue will be much shorter though.
Raft Ride - A children's ride where they sit in a boat like raft and go round a central column. Riders can press a button to make their raft go up and down.
Fun Factory - A themed walk through fun house with moving floors. Worth noting that children can’t be carried so must be confident walkers and you can't wear open toed shoes.
Disko - a thrill ride where you face outwards in a circle and spun round while also moving side to side.
Sky Drop - Riders sit in a single line facing outwards and are lifted straight up into the air 22 metres before being bounced up and down including periods which feel like free falling.
Reverse Time - Riders face outwards sitting in a circle and are spun round in circles quickly, mid ride it changes direction.
Supreme Waltzer - a classic ride where cars of people spin round in circles undercover with lights and loud music.
Twister - another ride where you sit in a car and spin round until you are dizzy.
Dodgems - The classic ride where you drive around in bumper cars either crashing into everyone or trying to stay away from everyone depending on your style.
Monorail - 4 seater cars can be ridden round the monorail providing a great view of the Pleasure Beach and the actual beach beyond.
Family Star - a roller coaster where up to 4 people per car spin round as the go round the track.
Lightening 360 - riders sit in 2 seater planes around a central tower the planes go up the tower and around, but what makes this ride different is the rider can rotate their plane turning themselves completely upside down if they want to.

A family having fun on the gallopers carousel at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach Norfolk
There are lots of family rides suitable for toddlers to adults

Tickets for Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

While previously you could wander in and out of the Pleasure Beach COVID restrictions mean there are currently timed slots and limited numbers allowed per session. There are multiple entrances, but the main one is on the beach side and you have to walk round the log flume to get in. There is currently no token entry and everyone who goes in needs to have bought a wristband, under 3s are free. This gives you unlimited rides for free within your time slot. You can buy your wristband and book your timed entry online or alternatively there are booths on the main road where you can buy them at peak times. 

Outside of the summer season the Pleasure Beach is only open weekends in September and October and day times in half term (last week of October). Most sessions outside of the peak seasons are  12 til 4. From November it is then closed until Spring 2022 when it can be expected to be open on weekends from mid April onwards, but check the website for details and booking.

Does it cost anything once you have bought your wrist band?

While all the rides are free you might choose to spend money in the Pleasure Beach in the amusement arcade, fairground games like hook a duck, food and drink and ride photos (available on limited rides only). Once you have your wristband you don't have to spend any more money though.

A toddler watching his family of the Waltzer ride
There are plenty of traditional and thrill rides at the Pleasure Beach like the Supreme Waltzer

Eating and drinking at the Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

Inside the Pleasure Beach you can get a wide range of food and drink and there are plenty of picnic tables to eat at. While there is timed sessions you might want to prioritise rides by eating before you go in and getting a snack on the way out. We got an ice cream just before leaving and lots of people had the same idea with the queue growing behind us. If people are hungry though you can choose from: sweets, ice cream, fish and chips, burgers and lots more.

Making The Most Of Your Session

While the Pleasure Beach are operating time slots I recommend being at the gates ready to go in as soon as they will let you so you make the most of it. They say that everyone should be out of the area by the end of the time slot so they close the ride queues in advance. There was a loud speaker announcement when we were there at about 20 minutes before closure which seemed to say the queues were closed, but it wasn’t that busy and the queues were short so we were allowed to go on some more. Don’t expect to be able to ride up to the end of your time slot though.

We went in the summer when they had several 3 hour sessions available to book into each day. They are currently running one 4 hour slot on the days they are open in Autumn. We managed to go on nearly every ride during our 3 hours so it is a good amount of time and the controlled numbers means it doesn't get too busy. I really like the restricted sessions and I found we made the most of it in a different way that we would have done if we had a wristband and could wander in and out all day.

Two children sitting on the flying dumbo ride at Great Yarmouth pleasure beach
There are plenty of rides for younger children to enjoy at the Pleasure Beach

Rides for Younger Children at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

Before you go in to the Pleasure Beach you can measure your children against a height chart and get a good idea of what they can go on. In practice though there is a lot of variation so it's worth checking the signs at the entrance of each ride. There are some rides (like Disko, Lightening 360 and Sky Drop) where you have to be a minimum height to ride, but many of the other rides with higher height limits allow those under that height to ride with an adult. 

I couldn't see any rides that babes in arms are allowed on so if you have a baby you might want to consider whether you are going to keep passing them between parents or if it’s worth an adult staying outside the Pleasure Beach. The baby will be free, but the adult looking after them would still have to pay for a wristband.  

a photo of the 2021 height restrictions at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach in Norfolk
There are lots of height restrictions for rides, but with an adult younger children can go on a lot of them

Toddlers and Preschoolers can go on quite a few different rides.

Formula 1 requires the children to be old enough that they will sit on it without an adult. This is the only unaccompanied ride for under 90cm. Those under 90cm can ride accompanied on: Cup & Saucer, Gallopers, Haunted Hotel and Snails and several other rides including the Roller Coaster that you will want to make a judgment about whether they are suitable for your child. 

The 4D cinema has regular shows which last about 20 minutes. Babies in arms are not allowed, but otherwise the only restriction is under 8s must be accompanied.

If your child is over 1 metre they can go a wide range of rides including: Big Apple Coaster, Bonanza Horses, Dodgems (as passenger), Flying Dumbos, Freefall, Fun Factory, Raft Ride, Supreme Waltzer, Whirlwind and Yo-Yo. Some of these they will need to be accompanied, but not all. Those under 1m can also go on some of these rides accompanied too

Holidays in Norfolk with kids: Visiting great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach
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