Living in Suffolk means Norfolk days out and holidays are not that new to us. Since I was a child, I have spent countless long days enjoying the beautiful Norfolk coastline. There’s no denying how stunning the landscape is, mile after mile of glorious golden sands surrounded by unspoilt flat countryside to explore.
Therefore for me, going to Norfolk Broads generally means a day enjoying the beach, so when I was invited to spend it exploring some of the other family attraction with my two children, I was excited to see what was on offer…
What’s Hirsty’s Family Fun Park Like?
After an early start on the train we arrived at Hirsty’s fun park in Hemsby just after it opened at 10am. Its a 20 minute drive out of Great Yarmouth and there is plenty of parking. From the moment we walked in, my children loved it. The only thing I had to navigate was the negotiations between my son and daughter about what to try first. They settled on the ride along tractors and although they did take a little while to get the knack of the larger ones, having two tracks to peddle around kept them happy for ages.
Next up we tried our hand at ‘Welly Golf’. Now I have to confess, I wasn’t overly convinced it would work all that well when I first saw it, but it was really good fun and worked perfectly. Essentially its the same as crazy golf, but instead you hit a tennis ball with wellies attached to a broom. We did the full 10 holes pretty quickly and it was very funny watching the ball go flying through all the different themed layouts.
There are lots of other activities to try including the maze, football (both with mini goals in a marquee and a shark wall with holes to hit the football through) climbing frames, trampolines, and haystacks with tunnels to explore. But by far my children’s highlight was the tractor ride through the fields. This like all the other activities are included in the price and they loved this one so much, as soon as they finished their first ride, they queued up to go on again. Something that also brought the whole thing together really well, was the activity park you are given when you arrive. There are lots of different things to do including a trail that my daughter really enjoyed -finding ice cream posters that matched a question and corresponding stickers to put into the book.
Where to Eat Out in Hemsby
After we’d had an enjoyable morning at Hirsty’s we were kindly invited to have lunch at the Lacon Arms. Although I’ve visited Great Yarmouth many times, this was our first trip to Hemsby, so we enjoyed having a stroll through the town first – its a real tourist haven and we saw lots of different holiday parks and rental accommodation.
There’s a couple of streets just off the seafront full of arcades, that if we’d had more time, my children would have been keen to try out. As you can imagine, it being the height of summer holidays along with the noise and lights of the arcades, it was a bit of a senses overload walking down the sea road. Until that is, you turn the corner at the end and are greeted with the vast expanse of the Lacon Arms. After the hustle and bustle of the town, it was lovely to step inside the cool and calm pub, and feel so well looked after for the next couple of hours. I don’t know about you, but since lockdown’s lifted, although my nervousness of going out is slowly but surely dispersing, it can sometimes now be replaced with a different layer of stress when visiting somewhere new – Knowing where you are supposed to stand, or how their service and processes have changed.
This really isn’t the case with the Lacon Arms. we stepped inside and immediately were greeted by their lovely owner Lorna who showed us to our table in their pretty conservatory. It’s table service and we were really well looked after throughout, despite it being pretty busy. Our food came quickly and our waitress checked we had every thing we needed on her way past a couple of times.
The menu choice and food was great – classic pub food done well. Both my children enjoyed their meals off the reasonably priced kids menu and even though it was massive, the buttermilk chicken burger disappeared off my plate very quickly with a bit of help from Albert. The chicken was crispy on the outside, while tender in the middle, surrounded by a basket of chips and plenty of salad.
Going out as a family for me though, is so much more than the food, so the fact that the pub has a large play area in the garden really upgraded our lunch experience. We went just the three of us, but I could see this being the perfect spot for a long afternoon getting together with a group of families. With this vast area outside, the kids could play while you get the chance to enjoy a drink in peace and catch up.
After we’d finished, with my children off exploring the pirate play equipment, this gave me the chance to have a chat with the pub owner Lorna. As we walked through the pub and restaurant its clear to see why she spoke so proudly of the pubs restoration under her ownership. You can see there has been a lot of hard work going into creating a friendly and inviting environment that caters for both locals and holiday makers. I also loved how they had retained the original traditional pub feel alongside two modern areas either side. As well as a pub and restaurant you can also hire out their spacious function room for parties and weddings. I can imagine its magical when its lit up with all the twinkling ceiling lights full of people enjoying themselves.
You can find out all about the pub, their menus and how to book over on the Lacon Arms website
What is the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus Like?
We finished our day with a trip to the theatre in Great Yarmouth. Built by the showman George Gilbert in 1903, it remains one of only two circus built buildings in the country. As soon as we stepped out of the taxi it felt like a grand occasion walking into this beautifully restored building, steeped in history. We went to a matinee performance and after getting some snacks (and light up wands for the kids) we headed to our seats to wait for the circus to begin. What a show – from the moment it started both of my children were on the edge of their seats. The acts are so impressive, Albert just couldn’t get over the motorcycle stunts, while my daughter was in awe of the amazing Spanish acrobat flying through the air. The show has two half’s both about an hour long with a twenty minute interval.
From the start we were all intrigued how they were going to incorporate water into the performance, so seeing the stage transformed in the second half into the giant pool with synchronised swimmers and fantastic acrobatics, was another highlight. Weaving the whole thing together was a ringmaster and comedian double act that the children also really enjoyed. Its as you’d expect quite traditional slapstick humour, but there were also a few modern twists that really kept the kids attention, such as jokes about Tik Tok or Just Eat that went down very well with my two. The show is running all summer and you can buy tickets from The Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Website.
Disclosure: this is sponsored content and I was given complimentary tickets and a meal for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own.
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