Yarmouth Stadium Guide

Yarmouth Stadium opened in 1940 in the small village of West Caister, located in the Borough of Great Yarmouth. It all came about because two professional gamblers named Len Franklin & Ernie Wedon visited the newly built Clapton Stadium in 1928 and thought it would be a good thing to introduce to their local area. Franklin, in particular, got the racing bug, regularly heading to Harringay and White City Stadiums.

The venue has always hosted greyhound racing and has also been a speedway and stock car racing course over the years. It is designed to cope with the sort of crowds that enjoy going to racing, boasting a 240-seat restaurant, as well as numerous executive suites and fast food areas. There are also a number of bars throughout the stadium where you can get yourself a drink or two as the night goes on.

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Race Days & Times

You can go to watch racing at Yarmouth Stadium three times a week. There’s racing in the evening on a Monday, a Wednesday and a Saturday, with times differing depending on which day it is you decide to head there.

Doors open at 6pm on both Mondays and Wednesdays, with the first race getting off at 6.30pm. On Saturdays, everything shifts a little later, so the doors open at 6.30pm to give you time to have a drink and unwind before the first race at 7.30pm.

Visiting

  • Ticket Prices: How much you’ll pay depends on your age. If you’re an adult then it will cost you £8, whilst senior citizens will be set back £6.50. Anyone under the age of sixteen will be able to get in for free. Those prices include your Race Card, as well as parking.
  • Getting There: Yarmouth Stadium is to the North of the centre of Great Yarmouth itself. It’s about two miles from Great Yarmouth Train Station, so that’ll take you around ten minutes in a car or forty minutes on foot. If you fancy getting the bus then numbers 1, 1A, 4, 6, 7, 8, 271 and 730 all stop near the stadium.
  • Parking Parking at Yarmouth Stadium is included in the cost of your ticket price.

History

We mentioned Len Franklin & Ernie Wedon in the introduction and now we carry on their story. The pair initially used money from investments in stocks and shares to buy space on the side of Yarmouth Road where they installed a ‘flapping track’. They opened in on the 25th of March in 1932, leasing a field on the opposite side of the road at the same time where they applied for planning permission in order to build a new stadium. To begin with that application was refused, but the decision got overturned and building work began in 1939.

Great Yarmouth’s new stadium was ready to open for business on the 11th of May, 1940. Any history buffs amongst you will know that that was also the day that Nazi Germany invaded both the Netherlands and Belgium, resulting in the subsequent evacuation of the Yarmouth area. The meetings still went ahead in the afternoon but it didn’t get the fanfare that the owners might have hoped. The majority of the staff were soon called up to serve in the Second World War until the stadium was eventually closed and taken over by the country’s fire and rescue services.

In the wake of the war, the pair were joined by Clifford Yaxley and the trio formed the Norfolk Greyhound Racing Company. They re-opened the stadium on the 7th of December in 1946, with a boom in interest in racing from people who had survived a war and wanted to let their hair down helping them draw in decent crowds. Soon after it opened, Weldon sold his shares in the company in order to buy Ipswich Stadium instead.

Between 1939 and 1975, the stadium was independent. Races that took place there, such as the East Anglian Derby, were therefore classed as unlicensed events. That changed in 1975 when they became affiliated with the National Greyhound Racing Club. The move to become permitted by the NGRC didn’t affect business much with the stadium announcing in 1987 that they were the first track to make a totalisator turnover of more than £1 million. The greyhound racing wasn’t the stadium’s only income either. They held a market on a Sunday, stock car racing during the week and regularly held bingo nights.

Perhaps the biggest change in the makeup of the stadium came in 2006 when £2.5 million was spent on the building of a new grandstand named in honour of Len Franklin. It includes a 250-seat restaurant, as well as a trio of executive boxes. Six years later nearly £200,000 more was spent improving the track. The work paid off, too – Mark Wallis was named Champion Trainer in 2012, 2013 and 2014 as a handler at Yarmouth.

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