If you are looking for a fun and entertaining day or night out for the kids and adults too, look no further that the Hippodrome circus In Great Yarmouth! Since Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and the cast of The Greatest Showman melted the hearts of film lovers across the globe, circus is more popular than ever! In 2018 we saw the 250th anniversary of circus and we are incredibly lucky to have one of the ‘last surviving, purpose built, total circus buildings’ in the UK right on our doorstep in East Anglia! The Hippodrome Great Yarmouth was built back in 1903 and has been kept in the the most impeccable condition with its original features preserving the traditional circus charm. The Hippodrome’s shows combine acts across stage, air and water and it has 1 of the only 3 rings in Europe, with the feature of the floor lowering to fill with water and transform into a pool, where audiences can enjoy this range of talents, show after show!
The Hippodrome has been delightfully handed down through the Jay family and with the well-known local hero Peter Jay sharing his 40 years of the hippodrome experience last year and handing the torch over to his son Jack, who is our fantastic ring leader and leading man in the circus come-show ‘Pirates’; the family message is very much alive and present here.
From the second I walked through the doors of the beautiful building I was hit with a wall of nostalgia that I am always subconsciously craving. I am obsessed with times gone by and being able to step inside a piece of history evokes every sense I have. This is such an incredibly loved building, inside and out and you are literally walking in time in a place of entertainment history. The retro and charming interior has been cared with love and does nothing but compliment the experience. The walls are covered in posters and memorabilia from the shows hosted over the years and gives you a glimpse into how circus was in the days of animals and odd balls, as opposed to the unique and raw talent from over the world which we see today.
Jack and his team spend each season between shows not only script writing but also attending and researching shows to source the most exciting, original and ground breaking acts. This keeps the Hippodrome fresh and exciting each show for all the new guests but for the die-hard loyal fans that attend every show year after year. With the exception of Christmas day this is a 24/7 job and which the love, passion and dedication of the team we continue to see it thrive and succeed as much as ever!
The Hippodrome hosts 4 house shows per year which fall in line with the school holidays to give as many opportunities as possible for families to attend, they do 2-3 shows per day from afternoon to evening. Kicking off the year with the Pirates Live over Easter, then the longest running summer show ‘Circus and Water Spectacular’, October half term gets creepy with the Halloween Spooktacular and then seeing out the festive period with Christmas Spectacular!
You will get to know and love the dynamic comedy stylings of Jack Jay and Johnny Mack who’s on stage chemistry is perfect and their humour infectious. Great laughs for the kids between acts and fantastic nods to the adult audience with some cryptic ‘in’ jokes. The shows without Johnny feature other well-known names from the UK entertainment scene so the hosts are always a delight.
The global acts the guys source are phenomenal, I have been attending most shows for the past couple of years and without fail every single time I see something and I can’t quite believe my eyes! I’m squirming and squealing with adrenaline and I am literally on the edge of my seat! They vary from weird, to unbelievable and super extreme but every single act I cannot fault and excites me enormously.
I don’t think I can gush mush more about the circus do you? Seriously, book some tickets, take a mate, when you arrive grab some popcorn and a drink from the licensed bar and sit back and enjoy the show!
After the show keep half an hour spare to visit the on site museum behind the ring where you can look into the rich history of this circus with a huge amount of old outfits, props and memorabilia it is a fascinating insight to the years of rich on site circus history and so much more!
Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.