Save the Date! - Heritage Open Days returns 6-15 September 2024

Great Yarmouth Highlights

Discover Great Yarmouth in a new way this HODs Festival.

It’s not surprising that Great Yarmouth, the East Coast’s premier seaside resort and once the largest herring port in the world, is offering a feast of events for Heritage Open Days, centring around it’s maritime and fishing history. 

Browse the Great Yarmouth HODs brochure

We'll kick off with a brand-new event for this year... Perfect for history, horse and literature lovers, explore the birthplace of Anna Sewell, author of the famous book Black Beauty, and discover more about the story.

You’ll have the opportunity to look through vintage copies, view some original hand-painted illustration slides produced for the first edition and hear from Redwings Horse Sanctuary, who have taken over guardianship of the special building just last year. They will share information about the book’s influence on horse welfare and how it translates to their practices today. Booking required, taking place on Friday 8, Wednesday 13 & Friday 15 September 10am-2pm.

Hear about buildings mentioned in John Preston’s book,The Picture of Yarmouth” – an illustrated account of public establishments in the town. This talk looks at some of those buildings and marks the publication of a new book, published in 2021 with lottery funding, to commemorate the original's bi-centenary. Booking required, Tuesday 12 September, 2pm.

The Royal Naval Hospital at Great Yarmouth is a Grade II* listed building of historical and architectural importance. Completed in 1811, it was commissioned by the Admiralty to care for the sick and wounded of the Royal Navy's North Sea Fleet in its battles with the Napoleonic French Navy.
It has also been used by the Army as a barracks and hospital and has taken in casualties from the Battle of Waterloo and the Indian Mutiny. From 1863, the Hospital treated Royal Navy servicemen suffering from mental illness. In 1958, it became an NHS psychiatric hospital (St Nicholas Hospital) before its closure in 1993. It was purchased by local developer Kit Martin for private development as 59 houses, apartments and cottages were completed in 1997. Drop-in.

The Lydia Eva YH89 is Great Yarmouth’s last steam drifter. Built in 1930 she acts as a floating museum for the town’s herring fishing industry. Come aboard and discover how the fishermen worked and lived.

Moored on Great Yarmouth’s Heritage South Quay, the Lydia Eva is the town’s last working steam drifter. Still capable of going to sea, she offers visitors the chance to see how fishermen worked and lived in the 1930s. Explore the wheelhouse, fish hold, crew quarters, galley and engine room with its triple-expansion steam engine. On Sunday 10th September local shanty group, the Rogue Shanty Buoys will be on board from 1100 to 1400 singing traditional shanties. Friday 8 - Sunday 17 September. Drop-in.

Elizabethan House is an amazing 'hands on' museum to enthral all ages, and they're offering free entry for Heritage Open Days! This 16th-century quayside building reflects the life and times of the families who lived here from Tudor to Victorian times. Decide for yourself if the death of Charles I was plotted in the Conspiracy Room. This charming merchant’s house, on the quayside in Great Yarmouth, was built around 1596 by Benjamin Cowper. Home to merchants and prominent locals, explore how the building has changed shape over the years. Wood panelled rooms, richly decorated ceilings and the imposing stairway all help to tell the story of the Elizabethan House. There are lots of fun things for families to enjoy, including dressing up in Victorian costumes! 14-17 September, drop-in.

So grab an ice cream and stroll around the town, discover the medieval town walls and historic venetian gardens, and maybe even finish off your day with a paddle in the sea, reflecting on all the fascinating facts you've experienced. 

Browse the Great Yarmouth HODs brochure