We took two day trips to this seaside city in order to sample the variety of its attractions. To be in Norfolk is to be concerned with water -- how to travel through and over it, how to manage its tides, how to use it to provide resources. Traveling beteween Norwich and Great Yarmouth we saw An old beach attraction marshy meadows with cows and sheep, a multiplicity of canals usually with narrowboats and the occasional sailboats and windmills. The train is called the Wherry Line, named for the 19th-century wooden fishing boat popular here.
The Norfolk Broads are well-known throughout England as a recreation area for birders, boaters and walkers. Originally they were thought to be a naturally-occurring feature, but now it is known that they originated with peat-diggers extending back into Roman times. Peat was a commonly-used fuel -- the Norwich cathedral alone used over 300,000 tons of peat a year -- but the peat-digging eventually allowed flooding. This led to the construction of dykes and windmills with the expert help of Dutch engineers from just over the North Sea, but even today the equilibrium is carefully maintained.
Arriving at Great Yarmouth for our first day, we wandered through their central market and eventually found ourselves on the South Quay which is busy with commercial ocean-going traffic. This is a very 19th-century-looking city, with buildings of heavy red brick and stone, and row upon row of A bit chilly for a buggy ride houses.
The Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life is an excellent local museum housed in a former herring processing plant. This was a primary industry of the area for many years. We watched some videos of the "herring girls" in action -- the best could gut over 60 fish a minute (the girls would come from Scotland for the herring season, and while they were not working they would knit). The gutted fish would be strung on a wooden or metal skewer and hung in the rafters to dry.
After thoroughly enjoying ourselves (once the school field trips had gone off to lunch) we found our way to the restaurant recommended by the museum staff, an eccentric but pleasant place housed an an 'ethnic' shop and run by a Portuguese couple. After lunch we headed for the resort area with its seaside promenade.
We were beginning a week of rain and drizzle, but that did not slow down the teams competing for the championship of the regional lawn bowling League. We watched a match or two of the "Over 60s" who played at a deliberate pace. Bob overheard some conversations with local residents but found Serious competition their accents impenetrable.
While Bob watched the lawn bowls, Elsa went to the visitor center for the Scroby Sands Wind Farm, one of many being developed along this windswept coastline.
Our second visit was made on Sunday, despite the weather forecasts of rain, and found a lovely dry day to enjoy. We arrived before any of the museums were open, so we headed directly for the seaside again, stopping briefly at the ruins of an ancient cloister near the ruins of the town wall. At the beach, we walked along the smooth brown sand; we saw a little bit of kelp but no shells of any description.
It was truly the end of the summer tourist season now. The open-top buses have stopped running and the little train has a less frequent schedule, but the amusement buildings are still open and operating for a few customers. We walked through the Wellington Pier, which is mostly a bowling alley. A stretch of casinos bears the names and logos of their bigger Las Vegas brothers. After fish and chips we headed back to see the rest of the museums.
Great Yarmouth was badly damaged during both World Wars. During World War II it was the place where German bombers discharged their remaining Jacobean ceiling bombs before returning home. The most heavily damaged part of the city was the ara of "The Rows", strings of attached houses which were built for the wealthy, then occupied by multiple families during the Industrial Revolution. English Heritage has restored two of the houses, and we clambered about. In the Merchant's House nearby, we found a magnificant Jacobean ceiling.
Admiral Lord Nelson, who defeated the Spanish Armada and had a scandalous affair with Emma Hamilton, was born in Great Yarmouth. The Nelson Museum pays homage to his leadership and glory and, along the way, teaches some history of the Royal Navy.
Our last adventure took place on our trip home, when we spotted three exceptionally gorgeous young ladies, dressed for an evening out. They left the Norwich railroad station just ahead of us but by the time we had crossed the street and walked into the hotel, we spotted them at the hotel bar, already making new friends.