Seaside towns have a bad reputation: think Blackpool, Bridlington, Rhyl, Great Yarmouth, Hastings. Seasonal tourism, low paid jobs and a poor transport infrastructure, generally.
We moved to Gorleston, a major town, south of Great Yarmouth, 11 years ago and have since moved to Bradwell, a generally modern suburb, and I feel like it’s home now. People in Norwich get a bit sniffy about the place, but there is lots to recommend it, apart from just the climate, so here goes.
No word of a lie, but the beaches here are as good as any in Britain. Perhaps. Gorleston beach stretches for miles and the ground has few pebbles and the sea has a handy shelf you can happily wade into without being submerged. Admittedly 11 years ago, we swam in it, come rain or shine and now, never, but you get my point? It’s a town that is so on the way up that Danny Boyle, no less, filmed his Beatles movie here from the Pier Hotel.
No matter how often I walk along the beach or promenades, I never tire of it. Been wonderful for our physical health too after the dreadful air pollution of living near Scunthorpe.
Great Yarmouth beach is no slouch either and has its own dunes, piers and golden mile of amusements, with terrific historical resonance. The Barrack estate housed Napoleon’s troops. Queen Victoria was a regular visitor here and Dickens set parts of “David Copperfield” here. There’s blue plaques aplenty with a 13th century gaol, some superb museums and two theme parks, with listed attractions – the Snails at Joyland and the wooden rollercoaster on the Pleasure Beach.
Horsey Gap, Caister, Winterton and Hopton all have fine beaches too.
They’re one of the reasons why, when I get itchy feet, to move, I stop and think of what we’d leave behind.
Bearing in mind, I’ve lived in crime-ridden places like Oldham and Bolton, Norfolk is Edenic in comparison. Never been the victim of a crime in 11 years here – it feels and is safe. My home insurance and car insurance testify to that too, so it’s not apocryphal.
Winters tend to be mild and short in duration with sunshine and dryness stretching from March to early November. Rain is rare too. As is snow. When I look north for relocation, I do ponder rain and light levels, as I used to suffer from SAD in other areas, until we headed east.
The area is largely dominated by tourism and the off-shore industry. The cost of property in Great Yarmouth is relatively affordable compared with the south east but rises inexorably as you head to Norwich or north Norfolk, where average prices in places like Cley and Blakeney exceed £1 million. Wages are low here though (apart from offshore) and seasonal. The town and borough is definitely deprived, and could do with massive investment for local employment with higher wages. It’s perhaps why the term “web designers Great Yarmouth” or “freelance web designer Great Yarmouth” has such low search volumes, yet Norwich, just 35 minutes away, has huge search volumes for “web design Norwich” and competition.
I do like living here though. The beaches and climate are brilliant. The road network and infrastructure pretty poor, but I’m beginning, for the first time since moving, to see it as home.
Given my predilection for serial relocating, 11 years in Great Yarmouth is a Personal Best.
I am now happily anchored here.