Great Yarmouth Racecourse Hotels

Great Yarmouth Racecourse
Paul Shreeve / geograph.org.uk

It is fair to say that Great Yarmouth is one of the more unusually located racecourses the United Kingdom has to offer. Rather than being surrounded by countryside, which is so commonly the case, this particular racing venue finds itself right by the seaside, with the North Sea just yards away.

With the racecourse an extremely short walk from the golden sands of the Norfolk coastline, you will be hard-pressed to find another seaside town offering such a special attraction, nor, for that matter, a course that works so well alongside a visit to the coast.

Next Race Days

  • Tuesday 23rd April 2024
  • Tuesday 30th April 2024
  • Saturday 4th May 2024
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Hotels

There are lots of people that love horse racing but there are even more that love the seaside. For this reason, Great Yarmouth is bursting full of different places to stay, many of which sit alongside the coastline. Although the racecourse is not centrally located, several accommodation options are within walking distance. This means you can easily spend some time at the beach, drop off your things, then stroll down the track and enjoy the action.

Walking Distance

Although there are no hotels on the doorstop of the racecourse, there are several you can reach in around thirty minutes on foot. Alternatively, if you are wearing heels or perhaps can’t make the journey, you can easily hop in a cab for 5-minutes or less! Located on North Drive, which is the road running alongside the beach, the northern end of Great Yarmouth nearer the racecourse offers plenty of seafront accommodation options, offering the quintessential British seaside experience.

Furzedown Hotel Great Yarmouth
Furzedown Hotel
31 min walk

The Furzedown Hotel in Great Yarmouth is a 31-minute walk from the racecourse or a 4-minute drive. The hotel offers an a la carte restaurant, along with a bar and a garden and is across the beach with many rooms offering sea views.

Imperial Hotel Great Yarmouth
Imperial Hotel
32 min walk

The Imperial Hotel in Great Yarmouth is just a 32-minute walk from the racecourse or a 4-minute car journey. The hotel overlooks the beach and the sea and has two award-winning restaurants along with a bar for a post-race tipple.

The Old Hall Hotel Great Yarmouth
The Old Hall Hotel
34 min walk

The Old Hall Hotel in Caister-on-Sea is just a 34-minute walk or a 4-minute drive to Great Yarmouth Racecourse. The hotel has a fitness centre, as well as a spa and a 17-metre indoor swimming pool. There is also a restaurant and bar with a large outdoor seating area.

The Rest of Great Yarmouth

The true heart of Great Yarmouth is a little under two-miles south of the racecourse. It is here, close to the Britannia Pier, where you will find the greatest concentration of hotels. There are simply too many to name individually as the choice is fantastic. If you are wanting to stay overnight on more of a budget, avoid arriving during school holidays as prices can shoot up. That said, Great Yarmouth is fairly affordable compared to some other seaside towns. You can also still walk from many of the hotels to the racecourse in around 35-40 minutes or jump in a quick 5-minute cab!

The Rampart Great Yarmouth
The Rampart
5 min drive

The Rampart is near Great Yarmouth Pier Beach and is just a 5-minute car ride to the racecourse, or a 35-minute stroll. The Rampart is actually comprised of serviced apartments so perfect for someone coming to the races who also wants a bit of a beach holiday where you can prepare your own meals.

Hotel Ocean Great Yarmouth
Hotel Ocean
6 min drive

Hotel Ocean is located just a mere 100 metres from Great Yarmouth Pier Beach and is only a 6-minute drive (or 42 min walk) to Great Yarmouth Racecourse. There is a bistro that serves food throughout the day and breakfast is served each morning.

Prom Hotel Great Yarmouth
Prom Hotel
5 min drive

The Prom Hotel in Great Yarmouth is located near the famous Britannia Pier and is just a 2-minute walk to the beach and a 5-minute car journey to the racecourse. It is also possible to walk to the racecourse in around 38-minutes. There is a bar and restaurant with a large breakfast room.

Norwich for a City Stay

The seaside is not for everyone, particularly if the sun fails to shine, so we wanted to quickly mention an alternative to staying in Great Yarmouth. The nearby city of Norwich is easily accessible by car or public transport and can provide you with a completely different kind of stay.

The train journey between Norwich and Great Yarmouth takes 33-minutes with the Great Yarmouth train station approximately 6-minutes driving from the racecourse or a 35-minute walk. Alternatively, driving between Great Yarmouth Racecourse and the centre of Norwich takes around 45-minutes, depending on where you choose to stay in Norwich exactly.

Travelodge Norwich Centre
Travelodge Norwich Central
36 min drive

The Travelodge Norwich Central is just a 36-minute drive to Great Yarmouth Racecourse and is located in the centre of Norwich for those hoping to do some sight-seeing. It also just a 20-minute walk from Norwich's train station. The accommodation is basic, however, clean and comfortable and breakfast can be added for an additional fee.

Holiday Inn Norwich City
Holiday Inn Norwich City
39 min drive

The Holiday Inn Norwich City is just an 11-minute walk from the town's train station and a 39-minute drive to Great Yarmouth Racecourse. It is located in the heart of Norwich near the castle and the cathedral and has a mini gym, a restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner, as well as a lounge bar for drinks and snacks.

Station Hotel Norwich
The Station Hotel
41 min drive

The aptly named Station Hotel is located near the Norwich Railway Station, making getting to Great Yarmouth Racecourse even easier. Rooms are relatively basic but comfortable and private parking comes at an additional fee.

About the Racecourse

Great Yarmouth Lord Nelson Centre
JThomas / geograph.org.uk

Great Yarmouth has an incredibly busy schedule of summer racing so you will find plenty of convenient opportunities to visit should you wish. Speaking of convenient, the racecourse is not particularly difficult to reach no matter if you are arriving by car or public transport. For the former, most visitors will head east across the A47, which loops around Norwich, before taking you almost to very centre of Great Yarmouth. You avoid facing the town-centre traffic though as after exiting the dual carriageway, you will head north for a mile and half to reach the racecourse.

Despite there being plenty of residential homes surrounding the racecourse, there is no shortage of parking just north of the stands. There is no cost for this either with parking free of charge at all meetings. If you arrive into Great Yarmouth by train, the trip is walkable but at 30 minutes long, you might decide it is a little too far. This is no problem though as there are extremely frequent bus journeys that will collect nearby and drop you off just five minutes from the racecourse gates. To get to the rail station in the first place, you just need to get yourself to Norwich. This is the only significant stop that serves Great Yarmouth directly and there are usually two trains every hour.

The Course

The course at Great Yarmouth is extremely long but very narrow. There is a one-mile straight track, which, around two furlongs in, connects to a squashed oval featuring two very tight bends on either side. It is worth mentioning that the course’s straight track used to have some ups and downs but it was resurfaced in 2015 and made almost perfectly flat.

This extensive work has really improved the reputation of Great Yarmouth as it is now a brilliant galloping track that allows horses to pick up some real speed. Any horses here will spend most, if not all their time running in a straight line and conditions underfoot are often optimal for races run at a really good pace. Due to the quality of the track, you do find that some very promising runners feature here early on their career before going on to bigger things.

Dress Code

Given that the seaside is a casual and relaxed place to be, the same sentiment applies at much of Great Yarmouth racecourse. For most areas of the venue, you can wear whatever is comfortable, and this might simply be shorts and a t-shirt for a particularly warm meeting. No matter how warm things get though, shirts must stay on at all times.

Some rules are enforced for anyone in the Premier Enclosure and hospitality areas, however. The requirements are by no means strict but smart casual is expected at a minimum. Smart jeans and tailored shorts are perfectly acceptable but beachwear, sportswear, ripped denim or casual shorts are not. No special requirements apply on Ladies Day and even though many will attend donning an extravagant hat, headwear is by no means compulsory.

The Stands

There are three large grandstands at Great Yarmouth racecourse, which can help provide some shade from the sunshine. The two located further down the home straight, lacking any sort of special title, are the ones you will access with a Grandstand & Paddock ticket. If purchasing in advance, entry here costs £18 per adult. Sitting in front of the two grandstands is a huge patch of grass and many people choose to set up for a picnic in this space. Spectators are welcome to bring in their own food and drink but beverages must be non-alcoholic. A Grandstand & Paddock ticket also gives access to the parade ring and winner’s enclosure.

The other stand at Great Yarmouth is the much more modern Lord Nelson Grandstand, reserved for those who have a Premier Enclosure ticket. Inside the Premier Enclosure, you will find various restaurants, bars and hospitality suites. As standard, a ticket purchased in advance here will cost £25. If you do want a three-course meal in the Trafalgar Restaurant though, along with your admission, you will be looking at £80 a head for most meetings. If you would prefer to sit outside though, Premier ticket holders also have access to a spacious lawn equipped with garden furniture.

Upcoming Fixtures at Great Yarmouth

Date Time Type Surface
Tuesday 23rd April 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Tuesday 30th April 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Saturday 4th May 2024 Evening Flat Turf
Wednesday 22nd May 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Monday 27th May 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Wednesday 12th June 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Thursday 13th June 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Friday 28th June 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Thursday 4th July 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Wednesday 10th July 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Wednesday 17th July 2024 Evening Flat Turf
Thursday 25th July 2024 Evening Flat Turf
Tuesday 30th July 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Wednesday 7th August 2024 Evening Flat Turf
Thursday 8th August 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Monday 19th August 2024 Evening Flat Turf
Sunday 25th August 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Tuesday 17th September 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Wednesday 18th September 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Thursday 19th September 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Monday 7th October 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Tuesday 15th October 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf
Tuesday 22nd October 2024 Afternoon Flat Turf

Major Meetings

Great Yarmouth track
Ravel59 / Wikipedia.org

With 23 fixtures taking place between April and October, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some live horse racing under the sunlight at Great Yarmouth. Attendances are generally healthy, especially in the height of summer, but there are a couple of particular highlights worth singling out. First of all, Ladies Night in July is always a big occasion as so many in attendance come wearing their finest attire. This includes a wide array of hats and there is no such thing as too extravagant on this particular evening.

The biggest meeting at Great Yarmouth Racecourse is, however, the three days of the Eastern Festival, which is held midweek in September. A lengthy celebration of racing, this meeting is home to Yarmouth’s highest class race, the John Musker Fillies’ Stakes, on day two. It was an event that produced a real shock in 2012 as a 125/1 outsider finished five lengths ahead of the rest. The festival ends with a bang as there is yet another day dedicated for the Ladies, only this time in the afternoon rather than the evening. As with Ladies Night, it is the perfect excuse to get dressed up in a stylish but relaxed environment.

History

Great Yarmouth from a distance
Bob Crook / geograph.org.uk

Evidence of horse racing taking place at Great Yarmouth dates back all the way to 1715. This was made possible as the Great Yarmouth Corporation leased a group of innkeepers some land, which could be used for racing purposes. This original course was located close to where the Nelson’s Monument now lives in South Denes. Its coastal spot helped maximise interest, as did the fact early meetings coincided with the annual September Fair.

Started Off with Pig & Donkey Races

To begin with, Great Yarmouth was not an incredibly serious racing venue, as they had events such as pursuit of the pig (featuring a soaped tail) and donkey races. By the early 19th century though, things had become more formal and there were now three days of live thoroughbred racing, one in August and a two-day meeting the following month. Just the three days of racing remined in place for some time as it was not until 1866 that additional fixtures started to be added.

The Move from South Denes to North Denes

Racing continued as normal in South Denes until 1906 but, at this point, the course was hit with a double blow. Not only did the lease for the land expire but the grandstand was destroyed during a fire. Given that local fisherman were also looking to acquire more space in the South Denes area, it seemed a very good time to relocate. A suitable site was found around three miles up the coast, in North Denes – the place the course current lives.

Recent Improvements

A pair of recently constructed steel framed grandstands were transported across the city and relocated at the new site, which officially opened over 100 years ago, back in September 1920. At this time, the course was under the control of the local authority but it eventually became part of Northern Racing and then the Arena Racing Company (ARC). By being in private hands, the course could afford upgrades the council would not have been able to provide, such as the Lord Nelson Grandstand in 2004. Additional improvements have followed and this continued progress has enabled Great Yarmouth to increase the amount of racedays it offers.