Hippodrome Circus

Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth: The Ultimate Guide

July 30, 2023

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The Hippodrome Circus has been wowing visitors since 1903 in the last remaining Total Circus building, with the Jay family purchasing the building in 1979, they restored the unique sinking ring water featured back in 1981.

The Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth has been dubbed one of the seven wonders of the British seaside by the Daily Mail. The Historic Hippodrome is Britain’s only surviving total circus building, built in 1903 by the legendary circus showman George Gilbert. If you are looking to visit the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome, take a look at what to expect during your visit.

Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus 

The Hippodrome Circus and Water Spectacles is Great Britain’s longest-running summer circus and features the world’s greatest circus acts, and comedy duo Jack Jay and Johnny Mac. It offers an incredible variety of entertainment, as well as the world-famous water spectacular where the circus floor sinks to reveal a gigantic swimming pool – an original feature since 1903, restored by Peter Jay in 1981 it is a feature that cannot be seen anywhere else.

Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth

Location & Booking Information

ADDRESS: St Georges Road, Great Yarmouth NR30 2EU
TEL NO.: 01493 844172

Tickets need to be booked in advance either by calling the box office on the number above or book online for the Hippodrome Circus.

Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth
Hippodrome Circus

Available shows at Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth

  • Pirates Live – The Hippodrome Circus Easter Show. Join Jack Jay and Johnny Mac in a brand new swashbuckling pirate water show featuring an amazing cast of actors, acrobats and aerialists. Set on a huge galleon in the Hippodrome Circus arena. 
  • Circus & Water Summer Spectacular – The amazing Summer Show is available throughout the summer until mid-September. Hosted by long-term favourite Jack Jay he guides the audience through the circus and water spectacular. Partnered with Scottish comedian Johnny Mac who has the audience laughing as soon as he enters the ring. A firm family favourite who engages everyone to get involved and laugh at the antics and jokes.
  • Halloween Spooktacular – Every October half-term. Get set to watch Jack and Johnny in an unforgettable spooky atmosphere! The show itself will see Jack Jay and his comedy partner Johnny Mac alongside a cast of world-class circus acts on a perilous journey into a brand new adventure. A truly amazing and hilarious ​show full of all manner of Ghosts, Ghouls and crazy goings on! The Halloween Spooktacular is perfect for all the family and undoubtedly the best way to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year.
  • Christmas Spectacular Circus & Water Show – The Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Christmas Show. The Spirit of Christmas meets the magic of circus in one of Europe’s biggest Christmas Spectaculars. A truly unforgettable treat for the whole family. Plus a special New Year’s Eve Gala show at 8pm with party bags and early New Year celebrations for all the family.

Other Attractions Available at the Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth

  • The Circus Museum: After the show visit the Circus Museum backstage, the entrance is under the ring opposite the drum stage. You will be able to see over 100 years of circus memories, the old stables from when an equestrian act was part of the shows and the 1930s generator, plus much, much, more.
  • Cafe 1903: Open every day visit the new Cafe 1903 for fantastic homemade snacks and drinks including a fully licensed bar all set in the amazing atmosphere of the CIRCUS CAFE – located to the left of the Hippodrome building next to Entrance 2.
  • More than just a circus: In recent years the Hippodrome has played host to The Berlin Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber and The Russian Philharmonic, Moscow State Circus, Chinese State Circus, Circus of Horrors, BBC Question Time, the film setting for the feature film Malice in Wonderland, The Kooks and the legendary Duane Eddy, Billy Bragg and even Shakespeare!

The team behind Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth

Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth - Jack Jay & Johnny Mac

Jay Family

The Great Yarmouth Hippodrome is truly a family affair, with the Jay family working hard to continue the success of the spectacular show and entertainment that the Hippodrome Circus offers in one of only a few permanent circuses left in the UK. From legend Peter Jay who purchased the building back in 1978 and has a wealth of experience in running popular attractions both within Great Yarmouth and further afield.

Peter’s wife, Christine Jay has the amazing task of finding a securing the fantastic talent that keeps everyone on the edge of their seats and lots of happy faces in the audience. Always on the lookout for that stand-out act that will add something extra to an already brilliant show. She has a longstanding link to the entertainment heritage of Great Yarmouth and is the daughter of Showman Gordon Edwards.

Peter Jay’s sons are also very much part of the entire show, with Ben ensuring that the purpose-built circus buildings are running smoothly, the fab show is promoted throughout the year and is a key figure for the performing artists. Ben’s fiancee Estelle Clifton heads up the Dance Estelle dance academy within the Hippodrome Circus. 

Jack Jay is the co-producer and director of the show alongside Johnny Mac. He grew up in the circus alongside his brother and first appeared as the host of the show (Great Yarmouth’s very own Greatest Showman) over 11 years ago and is still going strong and keeping us on the edge of our seats.

Dance Estelle

Formed back in 2003, Dance Estelle gives youngsters a chance to get involved with the dynamic world of showbiz in an exciting, safe and educational way by working with professional teachers. Combing dance, synchronised swimming and much more for children aged 3 and above through to professional level. Many of the dances who train under Estelle Clifton go on to perform in the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome.

World-class Performers

Christine Jay does an outstanding job of finding world-class performers who bring their talents and skills to the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. From the Palma Diaz Troupe who have come from Ecuador to wow us with their acrobatic feats to the Argentinan stars of America’s Got Talent, Revolution Gauchos and many many more acts. You’ll be looking forward to the interval to recharge your batteries for the second half of the show as the acts just get better and better, drawing you into performance whilst you are mesmerised by their talents.

Hippodrome Circus Great Yarmouth

Our Thoughts

As a family, we love to laugh (I mean who doesn’t), Tigger is especially fond of slapstick comedy which makes a trip to the circus one of the perfect attractions for him. One of the fantastic things about the Hippodrome Circus shows is that they contain a wide range of acts and performers for all the family. There are the jokes that go over the children’s heads and have the adults sniggering, whilst the children are laughing at the obvious comical jokes and antics from the comedy duo. With daredevil stunts and outstanding acts, we sat wowed by the skills of the performers.

Having lived in Great Yarmouth for many years before we moved to Norwich, we were guilty of taking the local attractions we had on our doorstep for granted. Instead of celebrating them and making the most of what draws in visitors from all over the country. The Hippodrome Circus is one of those attractions that I wish we’d visited more.

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