Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake

The Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust is working in partnership with Great Yarmouth Borough Council to carefully restore the Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake (Grade II listed on the Historic Parks and Gardens Register). Situated at the northern end of Marine Parade the Boating Lake was first opened in 1926 followed by the Venetian Waterways in 1928. The site saw hundreds of holidaymakers enjoying boat rides along the serpentine “canal” and walks in the surrounding parkland, which at the time boasted a radical, nationally-acclaimed planting scheme.

At the beginning of 2017 it was announced that our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery, in partnership with Great Yarmouth Borough Council, was successful and would release £1.7 million of funding for the Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake Project.

The four-year project will involve much-needed repairs to the structures of the bridges, the Waterways and Boating Lake, as well as a comprehensive schedule of activities for residents and visitors. The café on the Boating Lake Island will also be renovated and re-opened to help fund the ongoing maintenance of the park.


The Boating Lake was first opened in 1926 followed by the Waterways in 1928 which formed a council initiative to provide relief work for the unemployed during the winter of 1927-1928. The final design for the Venetian Waterways was put together by the Borough Engineer, Mr S P Thompson, whose scheme contained winding rivers with gondolas, paths through rock gardens leading to bridges over the water as well as thatched shelters.  Over the following years the Waterways developed to include illuminations, the replacement of salt water with fresh water to facilitate skating in the winter, as well as amplified music and the reconstruction of a model of HMS Nelson in the central pool. 

We are asking for people to share their memories and / or photographs of the Waterways and Boating Lake with us to help support the project and to revive a much-loved asset on Great Yarmouth's seafront. 

Please send contributions to

To read more about the history of the park please click here