The most easterly of the 20 greyhound tracks on the British mainland lies in the prime holiday area of Great Yarmouth. Situated in the town of Caister-on-Sea, this Norfolk venue first opened for business back in 1940 and has become a hugely successful venture, benefitting from an excellent racing programme, the enthusiasm of the locals, and a thriving tourist industry.
The subject of significant recent investment, the stadium provides all the facilities you would expect of a modern greyhound track, including a cracking restaurant, executive boxes, a fast-food outlet and four bars.
What’s On at Yarmouth?
Yarmouth currently plays host to three meetings per week, taking place on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evenings.
- Monday – 12 races, Doors Open: 5:30pm, First Race: 6:19pm, Last Race: 9:16pm
- Wednesday – 12 races, Doors Open: 5:30pm, First Race: 6:26pm, Last Race: 9:26pm
- Saturday – 12 races, Doors Open: 5:30pm, First Race: 6:26pm, Last Race: 9:26pm
The season’s major event is the East Anglian Greyhound Derby, which is the headline act of September’s “Festival of Racing”.
- Circuit Length – 382m
- Sprint Distance – 277m
- Middle Distances – 462m (standard)
- Stayers Distance – 659m
- Marathon Distance – 843m – 1041m
In addition to the greyhound action, Yarmouth also plays host to regular stock car racing and stunt fixtures throughout the year. Tickets are priced at £18 for adults, £16 for OAPs and £6 for children, with all under 4s going free. The track restaurant is closed for motor events, but all other food and drink facilities are open for business.
What Can You Expect?
General greyhound admission is priced at £10 for adults, £8 for OAPs, and £3 for children. This pay-on-the-door entry option grants access to the trackside viewing area and betting ring, Raceview Diner, snack bar and Raceview bars.
“Five Good Things” Deal
A better value option for groups of five or more is the “Five Good Things” deal, which includes entry, a race card, hot dog or vegetarian alternative, pint/glass of wine, and a free £1 tote bet. One of the most popular ticketing options at the track, this deal must be pre-booked and paid for in advance.
Or how about a table in the Raceview Restaurant? Prices vary between £18.99 and £28.99 depending upon the meeting and include entry, race card, two-course meal, and a reserved table for the evening. Child restaurant packages are also available for a set price of £12.50.
The track’s three executive lounges can cater to parties of between 20 and 30 individually, or up to 90 when combined as one. Priced at between £21.99 and £33 per head – again depending upon the meeting – the lounges represent the most luxurious way to spend an evening at the dogs. All prices include entry, racecards and a mouth-watering hot and cold buffet.
How to Get There
The stadium address is: Yarmouth Stadium, Yarmouth Road, Caister-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 5TE. For those driving to the track, the A47 and A143 are the main approach roads towards Yarmouth. The stadium then sits on Yarmouth Road, about two miles to the north of the town centre. Racegoers will find ample parking available just outside the venue.
Yarmouth Train Station is around two miles from the stadium, representing a 10-minute taxi ride, or around a 45-minute walk. Alternatively, the number 1, 8 and X6 local bus services all stop just outside the stadium.
How to Get in Touch
- Tel: – 01493 720343
- Email: – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: – @yarmouthstadium
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Destined to become one of the gambling hubs of the east coast, it was two professional gamblers who were behind the original building of the stadium. Inspired by Clapton Stadium in London, Len Franklin and Ernie Wedon began to dream of launching a similar facility nearer to their hometown.
Using funds gained from successful stock investments, the duo purchased a patch of land containing a small “flapping” circuit. A moderately popular venue, the track had staged its first meeting on the 25th of March in 1932, but contained no permanent facilities of any description.
1939: New Stadium Built
However, Franklin and Wedon had far grander plans. The duo wasted little time in requesting planning permission to build an entirely new stadium in a field adjacent to the existing track. Initially rejected by the local council, permission was eventually granted, and building work began at the new site in 1939.
Ready to open barely a year later, a grand inaugural fixture was scheduled for 11th May, 1940 – a date which would, unfortunately, coincide with German troops marching into the Netherlands.
Fearing that the east coast of England would prove particularly vulnerable should the Nazis continue their offensive, the town of Yarmouth was swiftly evacuated. A little surprisingly, that first meeting did still go ahead, albeit with significantly lower attendance than anticipated. However, the war wasn’t long in calling time on the greyhound action, with the stadium being requisitioned by the Fire Service to aid the national effort.
1946: New Management
The stadium re-opened on the 7th of December, 1946 under the control of the Norfolk Greyhound Racing Company – a consortium consisting of Len Franklin, Ernie Wedon and Clifford Yaxley. Continuing to operate as an independent venue, the track experienced real growth in the post-war boom period, with the addition of stock car and speedway racing helping to further boost the profile of the stadium.
Following the death of Clifford Laxley and the departure of Ernie Wedon to focus on Ipswich Stadium, the Franklin family took over the running of the track. In 1969, the family opened the Raceview Restaurant, quickly followed by the inaugural running of the East Anglian Greyhound Derby – the race which remains the track’s signature event to this day.
1975: National Greyhound Racing Club
1975 then represented a real landmark moment in the history of the site, as Yarmouth was granted a National Greyhound Racing Club license for the first time. That move into the ranks of officially recognised tracks proved to be a roaring success, and by 1987, business had grown to such an extent that Yarmouth became the first UK track to record over £1 million in tote betting turnover.
2006: £2.5m Grandstand Built
Moving closer to the present day, 2006 witnessed the building of the impressive £2.5m Len Franklin grandstand, complete with a sleek restaurant, executive suites, and an amusement arcade.
Improved facilities, led to a higher class of action on the track, with Yarmouth being selected to host the TV Trophy in 2007 and 2013, and the 2013 Trainers Championship. £190,000 in improvements to the racing circuit in 2012 preceded Yarmouth trainer Mark Wallis winning the 2012 Greyhound Derby with Blonde Snapper and being crowned Champion Trainer in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
2018: Arena Racing Company
Further cementing its position on the British greyhound scene when signing a 2018 agreement with the Arena Racing Company, the future of this excellent track looks brighter than ever.