It's That Great Yarmouth Feeling!

Photo:My Grandparents on Gt Yarmouth Beach 1949

My Grandparents on Gt Yarmouth Beach 1949

Photo:My Nan and I on Gt Yarmouth beach - 1982

My Nan and I on Gt Yarmouth beach - 1982

My Childhood Memories of South Denes Caravan Park and Great Yarmouth

By Heidi.F.Frost

We always took our holidays at South Denes Caravan Park; there was never any question of it being anywhere else.  Our family had been visiting Great Yarmouth since the 1940's and we took our last holiday there in 1989 - when South Denes Camp was on the verge of closure.  The first holidays I remember consisted of two caravans with our family divided between them; My Nan, Grandad, Mum and Dad and I in one and my Mums sister and her family in the other.  In later years it would be just Nan, Grandad, Mum, Dad and I squashing into Grandads Morris Marina amongst bedding and boxes of food for our annual excursion to Yarmouth

By the time I came to Great Yarmouth for the first time (1973 at the age of 1) there were other sites (North Denes I believe) that had introduced electricity and running water on their sites - some even had toilets in the vans, but for us the fun of the holiday was fetching the water from a standpipe, emptying buckets from under the caravan and going over to the toilet blocks whenever nature called.  All power in the caravans (lighting and cooking) was provided by a bottle of Calor Gas outside the caravan!

Our holiday well and truly started as we approached Great Yarmouth on what my Grandad called "The Acle straight". The horizon always revealed outlines of familiar places long before we had arrived; the chimney from the power station on South Denes, Nelsons monument and as we drew closer even the top of the big dipper at the Pleasure Beach would become visible.  Driving along the sea front towards South Denes, my head would be hanging out of the window getting my first lungful of sea air. My Nan always said that Yarmouth sea air cured all ills, and I don't think she was wrong. Once we had arrived at the site and collected the keys for the caravan from the camp office, we would go straight to the caravan - which was always on the front row - we never hired a van that wasn't on the front - and we were usually near the two concrete stumps (an outfall diffuser?) that stood in the sea.  I think that they had something to do with the power station; my Grandad called them the Colin Jones Stump due to the fact that in the 1960's someone had allegedly gone out to the stump and spray painted "Colin Jones" all over the front of it! The first thing I would do is leap out of the car and count how many oil rigs I could see on the horizon before dashing onto the beach to feel the sand between my toes while my Mum and my Nan unpacked the car and organised the caravan for the week ahead.

The Harbour Mouth was also a favourite place of mine and my Grandads.  Every morning, before breakfast, my Grandad and I used to take a walk down to the Harbour Mouth while Mum and Nan cooked breakfast. My Dad would always go and get the morning papers from the tiny paper shop on the site that was run by an old lady who usually had her little Yorkshire terrier sitting on the counter. The other shops from what I remember, (we always stayed on B Block) were the small supermarket, the amusement arcade, the hire shop (where you could hire bicycles), the paper shop and how could anyone forget the fish and chip shop!  In the 80's an American style take away diner also appeared and of course the camp office.  The next job of the day, before we'd even had breakfast, would be to go and get the days supply of water from one of the standpipes located on the site. After breakfast it would be off to the toilet blocks with your toilet bag under your arm and a towel over your shoulder to get a wash and to clean your teeth. The washbasins had "push button" taps on them; you had to push them down really hard and as soon as you took you hand off it the tap would slow to a trickle and then stop! If you pushed down on them too hard the water would splash out at you and you would start the day getting drenched!

We always went out every day. Most of the time it would be a walk into town and a trip into the one of the museums; The Maritime Museum, Anna Sewells Cottage to name a couple of favourites of mine, the waxworks (which used to give me nightmares for weeks for some reason), or a trip down the river Yare or the broads on one of the three boats that were operating at the time; The Broadland Belle, The Golden Galleon or Queen of The Broads.

It would always be back to the Caravan for dinner - which would always be a cooked meal miraculously produced on the tiny cooker in the van. After a quick trip to the paper shop to get a comic or an ice cream for me, we would all have "forty winks" so that we would be ready to face the evening. We always walked a lot on holiday.  Once we had parked up and unpacked the car, sometimes the car would stay there all week without being used once. The evenings would see us walking along the prom towards the pleasure beach, which we would usually visit. The rides in those days were not as complicated as they are now! It's amazing how fairground rides have changed in the last 30 years! The big dipper was classed as the scariest ride there in my book, and I never even ventured onto it until I was 13! The Water Chute was enough for me, and if I wasn't riding on it then I was standing in front of the glass screen watching other people fly down it. After the fair we would usually head for "The Come and Look Inn" shop - which I adored! It had so many toys and souvenirs in it that I always came back from Yarmouth with far more toys than I went with!

There was also a pub that we would visit a lot (at my Grandads insistence God rest his soul); The Camden on Queens Road, before walking back to the camp and into the fish and chip shop for some supper before heading back to the caravan to watch the lights on the boats and oil rigs twinkling on the horizon. Falling asleep to the sound of the sea was nothing short of bliss.

Merrivale model village was a source of fascination to me, and no holiday was complete without a visit. Also Joyland, with its "snails" and "tubs" ride - both of which I would go on with my Nan . One year we visited the Roller Skating rink next to Wellington Pier; all went really well until I crashed into a barrier and winded myself - ouch! One evening of the holiday would see Mum and Nan taking me to a show or to the Hippodrome circus. I remember going to see Paul Daniels on Britannia Pier one year.

The last holiday I had in Great Yarmouth at South Denes was in 1989. I was 17 by this time but still got totally dizzy with excitement at the prospect of some "Yarmouth Sea Air". The site was in such a run down state that we were never to return.

I last visited Yarmouth in 1997 with my (now) husband. We stayed in a B&B for three nights, and I did venture up to South Denes Camp to see what was left. The sight that greeted me left me open mouthed with shock. My Nan and Grandad had passed away in 1994 and 97 so going back there was a bit of a pilgrimage for me anyway, but I am just glad they never saw it in the state it was in. We walked right up to the Harbour Mouth and back along to the Pleasure Beach and I couldn't believe how derelict it had become.

This year, we are returning again - for the first time in 10 years. We have three children, and I want them to experience the same rush from Yarmouth sea air that I got as a child. We are also staying in a caravan - although things have moved on somewhat since the South Denes era! I doubt that I will visit South Denes Camp....I feel that I paid my respects there 10 years ago, but believe me, even now as a 35 year old mother of three.....the prospect of that sea breeze and the smell of fish and chips has still got me running round with anticipation inside. If you see a car driving along the seafront this summer with a woman (with a manic grin on her face) hanging her head out the window taking in great gulps of sea could well be me!

This page was added by Heidi Frost on 01/06/2007.
Comments about this page

What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

By Paul Woolnough
On 28/06/2007

I loved Mrs Frost's story of Great Yarmouth, it brought back memories to me when my wife and me took our girls to the South Denes holiday camp and they loved every minute. You are right Heidi it as changed a lot, we were going every year just like you, not any more though it's gone down hill.

By Mr Gordon Bartlett
On 04/07/2007

Dear Heidi
I loved reading your story of staying on the South Denes, I also went there every year the same as you, for 2 weeks during the summer holiday with my mum, dad and brother. I have very fond memories of Great Yarmouth and next year I am going to take my two children, I hope they will enjoy it as much as I did. It brought tears to my eyes reading your story as my dad also passed away in 1997. I am now 26 and the thought of going back to Yarmouth gets me so excited, my husband cannot understand why I am getting so worked up.

By samantha price
On 26/07/2007

Hi its me again, I have just had a weeks holiday at Great Yarmouth and I was very pleased with what I saw on the sea front and promenade with phase two completed. How about brightening up the Windmill and the Oases tower with lights and put a shine to the front? It would bring a bit of the old Crater back.

By Mr Gordon Bartlett
On 07/09/2007

I really enjoyed your story about Yarmouth, I am 41 now but all the family used to go every year throughout the seventies. I think we stayed in a caravan called Sea Spray or Sea Breeze, I remember it looked out to sea. We used to go by coach and I recall my sister and I would save for what seemed like forever only to have about £1.00 just before going which was quite a lot then. Every year we met new friends, I wonder now what has happend to them all. I also remember the three person bikes that used to go up and down the prom, and on the sunny days while on the beach you could hear the screams from the roller coaster ride.
The toilet block always seemed cold, and I can still remember the smell of the gas lights in the caravan when they were lit at night by my dad and also the chip shop.
I went back a few years ago as a nostalgic trip, sadly all that remained was the toilet block.
Both my parents have passed away now, my dad in January this year, so I felt compelled to visit one last time and have just returned. The clock made of flowers is gone though the beer garden is still there and unfortunatly there are not many traces of the caravan park. I believe they are building the new harbour in that area according to the local libary. The only thing remaining was the road that went in between which I walked down and for a few minutes took myself back and shed a tear.
Other things I remember vividly are the giant in the fair with the witch who used to fly around him, and the noahs ark in joyland.
If anyone has old photos of the park caravans or beach and fair ect I would be greatful if they could forward to me at ,

Many Thanks

By sean
On 14/09/2007

I loved your story,it brought back so many happy memories. I remember the little old lady in the paper shop, I think she was called Mrs. Thompson.

I went this year to the Vauxhall site,and had a fab time, it lacks the spirit of the South Denes, but a fab time was had by all. If anyone has any photos of the site, you would make my day if you would be willing to share! Please email with any pics or just to share your memories and a chat!

By thomas tomlinson
On 21/11/2007

I was so pleased I found this site by chance. My grandparents used to take my cousin and I to Great Yarmouth on a day trip every summer in the early seventies.
I remember the big mechanical giant at the funfair he was always very scary, we loved the trampolines best.
By Karen High on 4/1/2008

By karen high
On 09/01/2008

Its nice to hear all the people that remember how South Denes used to be, I never missed a year from 1972 till the camp closed in 1998 when Lillie Holroyd died and her husband Doug (Litchfield caravans) pulled out also, sadly he died a year later. Keith Knights (Ki-Te_Ke caravans) who was the third partner in the company that took the lease from the council when they were going to close the camp tried to carry the camp on but he never found anyone to go in with him to keep the camp going so that was sadly the reason it finally closed.
I still send Xmas cards to some of the OLD people from South Denes such as Keith and can anyone remember the little old lady that ran the American Chef burger bar most of the time apart from a few years break? well she's still going strong although not flipping burgrs anymore, I still hear from her with Xmas cards etc.
Its a real shame the camp closed but the council had other plans for it for along time, that was one reason why the camp got so run down, Keith, Lillie and Doug weren't going to spend lots on the camp as the council would only give them a 3 year lease at a time so any expense wouldn't have been recouped. I still go and stand on South Denes at least once a year while we're up there and remember the old days, we've now got a caravan in Caister so still make the many trips each year.

By Zane Billington
On 26/03/2008

Thank you so much for your lovely comments everyone! It's so nice to see so many other memories of South Denes. I returned to Great Yarmouth last summer (and yes I did drive down the seafront with my head hanging out the car window!). Yarmouth has changed a lot, but they are good changes (even though i was shocked to see the demise of Wellington Pier). I did venture down the South Denes....but couldn't bring myself to get too all looks so different now.

It's very sad that the camp closed - but do you know what? I feel very very proud to have been a part of it all when it was up and running for all those years.....and to know that I am not the only one who thinks about the smell of the gaslamps, fetching the water, and wondering what became of the staff on the camp.

Long live memories eh....and long live Great Yarmouth!

By Heidi Frost (the author of this page!)
On 29/04/2008

That was a fantastic story Heidi. Our family went to South Denes from 1964 to 1982.  I personally thought GY was totally magical and the best place in the world.

We went the 1st 2 weeks of the 6 week holiday, and it always seemed to be hot. Some of my memories are of the Norfolk Line container boats leaving the harbour, the number 4 blue bus from town to the camp terminus on D block, the constant humming sound from the power station, trying to guess what colour train would be next on the roller coaster, and countless more that will eventually come to me!

I think these memories put GY in my blood as I went to live there in 1983 aged 19 although sadly I returned back to Hull in 1989. I never returned there until 1992, and now myself and my family visit for weekends 3 or 4 times a year.

We also holiday at the beginning of the school holidays in summer just like my parents did. My wife had never been there before, but now she is always asking when we are going again!( Yarmouth bug strikes again ).

It takes about 4 hours in car (2 young children). We often go in the middle of winter a couple of times, getting up at 4am and coming home the same day ( crazy or sheer love of the place! )

Looking at South Denes now nearly brings me to tears, so many fond memories! I always envied the occupiers of the larger caravans at the beginning of the camp. I found out from my dad that these were owned by the stall and ride owners at Bottons Bros? anyway we are booked to go this year (July 25th) so if you see an excited child aged 44 with his wife and 2 kids it's me!

By Gary Davison
On 09/06/2008

I too enjoyed many years holiday at the South Denes. I am going to have a long think, and then post my memories here in due time.

By Gary Davison
On 09/06/2008

i have been reading all your stories about South Denes and its nearly bringing me to tears. I too have my most favourite points. The smell of the gas lamps,fetching the water,digging a big hole in the sand and sitting in it. Listening to the screams from the roller coaster. going up and down on the 2 people bikes.

I have lots of pictures of Great Yarmouth and will put them on when I get a scanner. It's only 4 weeks now till i go back to Yarmouth with my own children. I really loved hearing all the South Denes stories.

By samantha price
On 17/06/2008

My family used to go every year to Great Yarmouthand stay at South Denes. it was great. That was about 1967, we had some great times there. Sadly my parents have both passed away. We often visit for the day and it makes me sad to think of how it looks now, although at the moment , I believe they are building an outer harbour. I do wish someone had bought the site up and put caravans on, it would of made a great site and a lovely view.

By a cheeseman
On 15/07/2008

My childhood holidays from the age of 0 to 16, were also spent at South Denes. The whole family, parents, my 3 sisters and eventually their partners all holidayed there the last week of August religiously!

Those holidays will never be matched, the smell of the caravan, the little white van's car hooter in the mornings (when) selling his wares, the occasional Gypsy telling our fortunes, washing the sand from our feet before entering the caravan , the sound of the sea at night and sleeping on a small bunk bed with (the) very scratchy blankets the camp supplied! Fabulous times... my parents then started to take their holidays at Seashore North Denes, still good holidays but not a patch on South Denes.

I stopped going with them at 16 and stayed home to look after the family dog instead. My husband and I then started taking our annual hols in Great Yarmouth, rather than going abroad, staying regularly at Vauxhall Caravan Park, and we still do.

Our now teenage children have been with us there since they were small, (now 15 and 18), and they too adore it there and cant wait even now to hit the Acle straight knowing the holiday starts there!

Sadly my dad passed away in 2004, he and my mother hadnt been there for many years, so for the last 2 years we have taken my mother with us bless her, (now 83). We took her to South Denes to recapture some memories and were so sad to see what we saw, the occasional drain of a stand pipe and the odd tarmac mound that used to have the number of the caravan we would stay in was all that remains. The beach that used to be glorious is now grassy with traces of fires and burnt out motorbikes now reside there. We walked along the small road that runs along the middle of the camp for a while wondering how many times we had made that walk, with the sound of the pleasure beach gradually getting quieter as we would reach our caravan at night.

It's lovely that we now take mum to where she used to take us as kiddies. I remember the numbers of two of the caravans we stayed at, one being 56, and the other 82.

We arrived home last Saturday from our family holiday in Gt Yarmouth, another excellent holiday, and we have already booked up for next year! Shame it wont be at South Denes though, would have loved my children to have gone there and have the memories i have of our family holidays.

By sharon
On 13/09/2008

What a wonderful evocative trip down memory lane. South Denes really does stay in the blood! I went there with my parents every year from 1973 until 1984. I remember everything that you have described, from the smell of the gas lamps, to the sound of the waves breaking on the sand at night. We usually stayed at C Block. The beach was great, and the weather always seemed to be good. I visited Yarmouth for the first time in over 20 years this summer, together with my family. I couldn't resist visiting the derelict wasteland which used to be South Denes. I got out of the car and stood where the caravans used to stand, and the road that went through the middle (remember the car from the stock car racing advertising the "Death Destruction Derby"). I pointed out where everything used to be to my 6 yr old little girl, who looked a bit puzzled!! It may sound a bit odd, but I coud still feel the spirit of the old camp. It has never died because it lives in everyone who spent happy childhood summer holidays there, and having read everyone's comments, I realise that it must be true. One final memory I'd like to share is the D Block shop, next to the road. I remember the sand being blown inside, and buying Corona pop (unheard of up north!!), and Walls ice cream which was in a rectangular block, which fitted in a rectangular cone.

By Wayne
On 06/10/2008

After wiping my eyes reading these I had to join and comment. I was born in 1975 and we had our holidays here for about 8 years. I was in Great Yarmouth this weekend just gone from the 15/5/2009 to 17/5/2009.
We stayed at the Star Hotel (24 Hall Quay) 17th centery big old grand place and was great just for the 2 nights.

We headed to town to the big long street of gift shops that brings you out where you can see the Britannia Pier across the road.
The shops had the same stuff they always did with modern stuff to,the rock shop where they make chocolets etc was great(I am not sure if its the rock factory original shop? As it has been a long time since I was there) ,we stopped at the market to,where my partner had mushy peas and mint sauce for the first time in Great Yarmouth, I remember as a child going there watching my dad stuff his face:) it used to be on the other side of the market back then.
We drove down to the Pleasure Beach so I could revisit my childhood at the North Denes caravan site.
Our caravan was always about 200/300 yards from the Pleasure Beach right on the sea front and always seemed to be a yellow one.
What I was about to see was heart breaking and it was as I fort the tears back so hard. The place was a mess even the beach at the section we stayed was now sand dunes and not the clean flat yellow sand we played on,
The lovely red path along the beach was unrecognizable,where the caravans were was mounds of dirt and sand and seemed to be used for dirt bikes and quad bikes and dog walkers. I had visions of the little club house and the water taps where we would wash the sand of our feet etc but they was none,the path was just about visable and a few original lamp posts were there but smashed and battered. I felt sad in side, I know things change but to see it like this in a ghostly way was terrible,I'd rather it been a Aldi or somthing, not half smashed memories. The roller coaster was being held up by scaffolding on the side facing the sea and is looking weathered and needed painting,the original water shute is gone but the snails are still there,the big giant that stands near the roller coaster is a monsters inc looking thing but still holds a club,that giant used to scare me a bit! :) Most of the front seems the same with the arcades etc and has been facelifted in parts inc the road lay out and marble seating. Great Yarmouth is still Yarmouth but when you get to the roller coaster end it needs a big revamp! Even the far end entrance of the Pleasure Beach is blocked up but theres no use for the entrance as the days of familys walking home to there caravans at night is just memories for us that hold on to them. Most of the other comments I mirror, like the the chips on the way home the smell of matches and gas lamps, friendly holiday friends you meet there,but for me it was a place me and brother and sister went for a long time and sadly my sister died of a asthma attack when she was 16, so going back to the place that looked half like the pictures we have of us a kids was heart breaking but some what comforting as well. Kind wishes to everybody that holds these fond memories of what was the last of the English sea side holiday. I have pictures that have been scaned from the late 70s early 80s of us and the caravans etc and some I took when I was there a few days back, I will get them loaded up to a picture site in a few weeks and I'll post the link hear :) Gareth Allen.

By Allen Hughes
On 01/06/2009

To all you good people who put your comments to this site Iwas born in Great Yarmouth 1936 seen it thru its dark days ie ww2 lost friends with same seen its growth after ww2 ended like you all loved everything about it's quiet winters , fishing season the fair on the market
coming off the summer vistors shows on the piers indoor & outdoor roller skating playing on the beach walking the length & breath of my loved town (I do not live there now) but like you all find the changes very very sad I had to go to G.Y,this year it is hard to find a old area that I remember

By Colin browne
On 16/06/2009

The magic of Yarmouth is an amazing thing. The memories so many have is great to share. My Grandparents had a large house on the seafront in which my Granny still lives. We would visit every year at least once and would almost certainly spend Christmas there. My Grandparents used to own the model village on the seafront although I was too young to remember it. Summers were spent in Joyland - the snails were always the first on the agenda and then into the spaceship. My fondest memories are of walking out accross the grassy beach, bucket and spade in tow. It was usually very windy and the walk to the sea felt like forever. When we finally made it we would paddle and throw pebbles. Simple memories but held with much affection. Yes it has changed. But behind the boy racers and the run down old hotels there is still a faint glimmer of the old magic. It is great to read everybody's stories and it would be great if we could keep adding more and re-kindle that old Yarmouth magic!

By Chris Peak
On 12/08/2009

Heidi, as these comments are now 2 or 3 years old, I wonder if you still visit this website regularly? (I haven't viewed every page yet). I'd love to share more memories with you as we are of similar age, and clearly went to South Denes many times, possibly even at the same time?! May I ask where you are from? My name gives my own location away LOL. I look forward to hearing from you. Mark Payne (Coventry Mark).

By Coventry Mark
On 14/06/2010

I too am around the same age and holidayed at the camp from 72 when I was born until it closed, at least 3 times each year. Our paths must have crossed. I often think back to those happy times and the smell and pop of the gas lamps, walking to and from the toilet blocks and collecting water. I also remember complaining when I was young about having to walk back to the camp from the town as it used to seem like miles to me then. I miss it so much. A very special place. If anyone does want to get in touch please e mail me at


By Philip
On 03/09/2010

Hi Coventry Mark and Hi to Philip! Yes I still visit this page - I am very proud that I had the opportunity to share memories of Great Yarmouth that are so special to me. I have loved reading everyones comments, and am pleased that South Denes worked it's magic on many people. I would love to hear from anyone who would like to share more memories. Email me:

By Heidi (the author of this page)
On 29/09/2010

Im glad im not the only one with such fond memories of Great Yarmouth. Me and my sister used to go every year with my Nan and Grandad when when were little. A perfect day for me was a swim in the sea and playing on Caister beach and then a stroll down the seafront to visit Joyland - the snails were a must - although the first time I went on them I was a little scared because the 'drops' on the track seemed so steep!! But after the intial ride - I couldnt get enough of them - I can remember they all had names of the stars of the day - like Cilla, Dusty, Ringo etc. I also loved Noahs Ark - when u first went in there was a cage with two monkeys in - and one of them swiped the glasses off of my grandads head - which we thought was hilarious. When u came out u got a little plastic toy from a lucky dip. Also I remember a place on the seafront called The Castle Grotto - they had this poor monkey in the entrance crammed into a small cage (at the time it didnt even cross our minds that it was cruel) and there was all this water and a waterfall - which I nearly fell into - luckily only my foot got wet. Just before the exit there was a huge mandrill - which was also in a tiny cage for its size. The evening was usually topped off with either a show on Britannia Pier - I can remember going to see The Seekers playing there (the old seekers - not the new ones) or a visit to The Pleasure Beach or to the Hippodrome circus. I've been back since when my children were small - back in the early 90's - it hadn't changed much really - although the grotto had gone (probably shut down by the RSPCA or something) and Noah's Ark had been replaced by a rocket. But thankfully the snails were (and still are) going strong - I'd heard that they were considered as a 'listed building' and were never to be destroyed - good news! Lovely to hear everyones memories - oh how I long for those days again!

By Alison McVeigh
On 25/06/2012

Hi guys. I have set up a group all about South Denes on Facebook. Have added some great photos and some videos. Anything you can add to the site would be much appreciated. Come and join.

By Darren Hibbert
On 31/07/2012

Heidi this is fantastic made me cry though, I was sea breeze caravan in the front row, I remember so much of what you said! My family started coming in the 40's and I guessing but I'm sure it was the 60's and 70's my granny used to work/run the Carlton hotel would pack her bags and be there for the season, also in the 70's my mum moved there to run a B&B on Nelson road South right in the heart of the town. So every holiday was visiting them, as you said the hippodrome, wax works, pottery barn, model village, pleasure beach, Anne hathaways cottage and the really old church near it. You said Wellington pier has gone? Iv not been since Liberty was little and saw the shell of what was south denes, we used to spend our evenings watching there fireworks on the beach as we were always august bank holiday week people and in I think it was called the beer garden the big conservatory looking building on the sea front. The of the last proper holidays I had was when I too was 17 and found the house I wanted to buy and there was also a job at the local nursery that I could of moved my apprenticeship too a few years ago I might of said I chickened out but I didn't it obviously wasn't where God wanted me xxx

By Charlie Simcoe
On 01/04/2014

I have just returned to the South Denes site for the first time since 1966, we used to go every year from when I was 10 to 16 - I am now 65!! It was a very moving experience and I could still picture it like it was yesterday, we had wonderful holidays there despite having no mod cons in the caravan. It was the beginning of my love of caravan holidays and we now have a touring van. The thing I noticed that had changed was the beach, I remember golden sands lots of it now there are sand dunes, I was suprised that the site  was not built on and just left desolate, we used to travel there by coach and could see the power station for miles and we knew we had nearly arrived, oh the excitement, these holidays were the highlight of our year .

By claire tween
On 23/06/2015

Hello Heidi (& everyone who has made some great comments)

I went on great holidays (like you all) to Yarmouth staying at South Denes from around age 6 to 17 with my parents & siblings. I returned for the first time since today (on my 50th birthday) after 33 years with my other half & was a tad upset at how derelict it looked & felt sad trying to explain how wonderful it was back then.

However after finding this site she now understands how lovely it actually was ...... so thanks to all for such great input.



By Richard Mackinnon
On 22/01/2017

I am so delighted that so many people share the same wonderful memories,we were on South Denes in a blue caravan,block D very near to the harbour lights club,my best memory is of the pleasure beach,we had arrived very very late to the camp at midnight,we were given keys by an old lady!

The morning came and the first thing Isaw was the roller coaster! I was beside myself with excitement waking my older sisters to come and look,then screaming with delight as we ran to the beach!

Yes those plastic water containers at the pumps,concrete troughs and the weight when they were full!

The showers in the wash block,brrrrrr! The sound of screaming from the fair rides,the snails at Joyland and the Tyrolean Tubs!

There were so many fabulous times,I had my first drink of pernod and blackcurrant at the Harbour Lights,(my mum didnt know!) We thought we were so grown up ! I was 15!


I lived in the wonderful Great Yarmouth for many years ,I have extraordinary and brilliant memories of so many places,but none so great as South Denes,I no longer live there but my mum still does,I still treasure it in my heart and know that it will always be the happy ,colourful and marvellous place that is held by so many,it may be currently taking many knocks,but I honestly believe it will return to its former glory!

To all of you South Deners,thank you for your stories,I loved reading them all,with a few tears ,especially at the sad demise of the current site,Yes I have walked through there many times over the years and can still hear the laughter ,smell the chips and feel the essence of 1982,it will never leave me.






By canada red
On 10/02/2017

Does anyone remember the year which would have been around 1961 to 1966 when we had the plague of greenfly!! They settled on everything on the camp every surface, even our ice creams as we were eating them!! Oh the strange memories we have of our holidays at South Denes!!

By claire tween
On 01/05/2017

I remember going to South Denes Caravan Park.  We always had a van of Mrs Smith. I remember the Birds Eye factory over the road, also the walk up to the fair.  Went to see Joe Brown on the pier one year.  Last time I went to South Denes I was working at Potters holiday camp at Hopton-on-Sea but that was in 1971.  I will always have good memories of South Downs 

By Dot. Hughes
On 10/06/2019

Having read story's to what people had put in reminiscing on their family holidays in Great Yarmouth it so took me back....I'm now 63 and as far back as I can remember my parents took myself brother and sister to Great Yarmouth. But when my parents for many years went to the North Dean's holiday camp I'm trying to remember the name of the person to whom my parents rented from it began with an S....We was always taken the last week in August first week in September, being in the second week my Mom and Dad was able to go the the Great Yarmouth races which happened to be just out side the caravan park over the hills just after the Iron Duke pub which our parents took us to many time's...Talking about the hill/ bridge I always knew we was there when we got to the hill on the left hand side race course got to the top and then you could see the sea Iron Duke at the bottom....ohhhh so many happy memories. Unfortunately both my parents have passed over many years age.....Joyland Fair ,Circus, watching them make rock, shows on the pier. I remember watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang there, walks to the harbour, model village, so so many happy fond memories...

By Sharon Parkes
On 31/03/2023

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