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East Anglia Future 50

Seaside village bucking closure trend could be Norfolk pub capital

PUBLISHED: 16:29 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 09 May 2019

The Gate pub is one of the many watering holes in Caister 
Picture: Nick Butcher

The Gate pub is one of the many watering holes in Caister Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

How many villages can boast enough hostelries to stage a traditional pub crawl?

The Ship at Caister held a Christmas event for dogs. The village boasts a wealth of pubs and only one closure in recent memory  Photo: Matt ChurchThe Ship at Caister held a Christmas event for dogs. The village boasts a wealth of pubs and only one closure in recent memory Photo: Matt Church

Across the country thousands of pubs have closed since the turn of the millennium, more than 25pc.

But in seaside Caister there are enough watering holes to amount to a proper thigh-straining hike with plenty of stop offs.

Not counting pubs and bars at holiday camps, there are eight, meaning it could take all day to complete.

In neighbouring Ormesby, some three pubs have closed in around 15 years leaving just two, The Jolly Farmers and The Grange.

The Kings Head is now an Indian restaurant - Planet Spice - The Royal Oak has been turned into homes and the First and Last is being marketed as ripe for conversion into a dwelling.

In Bradwell, another sizeable, growing village which has been similarly swamped by new homes over the years there is just one - The Sun in Beccles Road.

Probably the most visible pub in Caister is The Gate in the high street where a recent makeover has transformed the space and seen a name change, and close to that in Beach Road is the social club.

Closer to the beach there is The Ship, known at one time for its tumbling flower baskets it has seen Sue and Andrew Henney take up the reins in the last two years.

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Further along there is the Never Turn Back.

The Gange and its Smokehouse restaurant on the Ormesby/Caister border is within walking distance of the village's other pubs. Picture: supplied by Kaeti NewportThe Gange and its Smokehouse restaurant on the Ormesby/Caister border is within walking distance of the village's other pubs. Picture: supplied by Kaeti Newport

Loop back round and find yourself propping up the bar at Caister Old Hall.

Nearby there is the Castle with its restaurant and play area, perfect for families.

Along the main road drinkers can make another stop at the King's Arms, known for its music offer.

Going out of the village towards Ormesby there is the Centurion.

Mrs Henney at the Ship said one of the reasons the village was able to support so many pubs was because they all had a different offer.

She said: "We do not have Sky Sports or anything here. We are more of a quiet drink, and we do food and that is really taking off."

As well as local trade there were holiday makers and people from further afield who were drawn to the village for its unspoilt beaches, particularly dog walkers.

The only pub to have closed was The Nelson in Beach Road, some years ago.

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