The Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth: a review

by Jan

If you’re visiting Norfolk, allow time for a show at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth.  It’s a must-see attraction in Norfolk, that all the family will enjoy.

On our recent trip to Norfolk our friends suggested a visit to the Summer Spectacular and Water Show at the Hippodrome.  We are rather partial to a circus, so were happy to agree.

The Hippodrome is a rather special circus, as it has a unique circus floor that transforms into a pool.  It is one of only three in the world with this feature.  It is also one of only two purpose-built circus buildings remaining in England.

Built in 1903 by George Gilbert, this lovely Edwardian venue has two towers at the front and an art nouveau design.  The Jay family restored the water show after pop star Peter Jay bought the building in 1981.  Since then, the family have been putting on spectacular, jaw-dropping shows every year.

The Summer Spectacular & Water Show

Wheel of death, Hippodrome, Gt Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK

The show started with a magnificent grand opening to the soundtrack from the Greatest Showman and was mesmerizing until the very end.

It had everything you would expect from a circus and more – bright lights, music, and stunning world-class acts.  In the first half we saw a juggler, a trapeze artist, an acrobat, an illusionist and more.

Ringmaster Jack Jay and his co-host Johnny Mac compèred the show and filled the time between acts with slapstick humour and inoffensive jokes.  As you can imagine the kids thought they were hilarious.

Pool at the Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK

The show also had some extreme acrobatic performances such as the “Wheel of death”, probably my favourite act.

Another daredevil act was the Motorbike Globe Riders, a big favourite with the kids.  The four riders rode with impeccable timing and perfect synchronism inside a small, globe.  It was death defying precision riding and almost difficult to watch.  You have to see it to believe it.

After a 20-minute interval, the floor sank to create an aquatic performance area.  The second half of the performance, the Water Show, was equally entertaining.  The pool appeared from nowhere and welcomed the wonderful, synchronised swimmers.

Other shows at the Hippodrome Circus

Big Wheel Gt Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK

The Hippodrome’s summer spectacular and water show offers great family entertainment, whatever your age.  It is a slick show, with some unique acts, that all the family can enjoy.

If you are too late for the summer spectacular this year, the Hippodrome presents a series of shows throughout the year.  Our friends recommend both the Halloween Spooktacular and the Christmas Spectacular.

Practical Information

The performances at the Hippodrome start at 2.30 or 7.30pm.  The show lasts exactly 2 hours, with a 20-minute interval.  There is a bar for refreshments and an ice-cream vendor.

Having bought our tickets last-minute, we didn’t expect to have great tickets.  However, we were on the top row of this small circular venue and had great views looking down on the performers.

You can book tickets for the show directly on the Hippodrome website.

It was quite warm inside the circus, so wear layers you can remove.

Where is the Hippodrome Circus?

Great Yarmouth Beach, Norfolk, UK

The Hippodrome Circus is in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.  The address is St Georges Road, NR30 2EU.

It is a short stroll from the beach, behind the Circus Circus arcade.

We parked in a small pay and display car park on the beach front, which was extremely expensive.

Have you been to the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth?  We’d love to hear your comments below.

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