Great Yarmouth Boating Lake Restoration

The Norfolk seaside town’s Venice-inspired boating lake has recently re-opened to the public and returned to use for the first time in a decade following a £2.7m restoration. The restoration of the Grade II-listed Venetian Waterways began in June 2018 and was funded by a £1.7m grant awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund with further support from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, New Anglia LEP and the Government. The lake and island cafe have been refurbished, with work to re-instate bridges, shelters and gardens.

“An iconic part of Great Yarmouth’s seafront has regained its magical sparkle.”

Graham Plant, Great Yarmouth Borough Councillor

The restoration work by Allen Scott Landscape Architecture, The Morton Partnership and Foster Wilson Size has restored the boating lake site and created a new community café within the structure of the original boating lake shelter. Landscape work was undertaken by Blakedown Landscapes Contractors with a team of local volunteers, who working alongside to reinstate the original planting scheme. Over 19,500 perennials, shrubs and trees have been replanted in their original design, which has won praise from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The Venetian Waterways, designed to resemble its named counterpart, were opened in 1928, having been commissioned by the borough council as a way to create work after World War One, but they declined towards the end of the 20th Century. Seven bridges had to be repaired, four buildings were re-thatched and more than 500 tonnes of rock and stone repositioned. The boating lake, which was drained in 2014, was refilled with 3,600 cubic metres of water from its own borehole.

“At 91 years old, it remains one of our most beloved and unique community facilities, tourist attractions and heritage assets.”

Graham Plant, Great Yarmouth Borough Councillor

“Having been taken to the Great Yarmouth boating lake by my grandparents, as a child, it has been a privilege to be part of the team bringing the Waterways back to life for the next generation."

Ed Wilson, Foster Wilson Size

  • ClientGreat Yarmouth Borough Council

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