Cat cafe bringing 'home from home' to former Greek restaurant on seafront

Darling Darlings cafe Great Yarmouth

Maverick the Sphinx is among four cats who make up the animal "staff" at Great Yarmouth's Darling Darlings cat cafe. - Credit: Caroline Graham

A cat cafe looks set to become  a long-term success with a move to new, bigger premises in a prime seafront location.

Even during the pandemic Darling Darlings cat cafe in  Howard Street South in Great Yarmouth has had to turn people away, restricted by its compact premises.

Now the enterprise is preparing to  host more visitors for tea and cats on the Golden Mile as it transforms a former restaurant into a hub for its feline friends.

Darling Darlings cat cafe

The owners of the Darling Darlings cat cafe in Howard Street South, Great Yarmouth, were able to open for limited customers after July 4 2020 when the first lockdown was lifted. - Credit: Caroline Graham

Under the changes owner Caroline Graham said she would be able to do much more in the new building directly opposite the landau station.

As well as a place for regular tea and cats the cafe has a therapy ethos at its heart helping to connect people with a range of conditions from autism to dementia who would benefit from being close to animals.

"It is right on the seafront so you cannot get better than that," Ms Graham said.

Darling Darlings cat cafe

The white building on Great Yarmouth's seafront, a former Greek restaurant, is the new home for the Darling Darlings cat cafe which aims to reopen in March, the pandemic permitting. - Credit: Google Maps

She said she was offered it by a family who had visited the cafe quite a few times.

"Sadly we have to be closed but we are in the middle of the transition. Lockdown is hard and has put us back a bit but the plan would be to reopen for March."

The new site, a former Greek restaurant, is three to four times bigger than what they started off with in 2019 and means they can create four themed areas tracing the 50s and 60s,  with a 70s lounge and a 90s graffiti retro area.

Knapple graffiti art

The graffiti wall at the Darling Darlings cat cafe on Great Yarmouth's Marine Parade has been created by Norwich artist Knapple. - Credit: Caroline Graham

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"It was quite difficult in the old cafe. We had sectioned it into four areas but people and cats want to move around.

"Now having a bigger space people can be safely in a certain area.

"Before, we would get people calling all the time and were having to turn them away."

She said there would also be a relaunched menu with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients.

Darling Darlings cats

The four cats at Darling Darlings cat cafe who are trained to offer a unique cafe experience for customers as well as a more honed therapy service for people with additional needs. - Credit: Caroline Graham

Chiming with the vintage ethos she was also keen to promote Great Yarmouth's heritage with pictures and memorabilia from yesteryear.

However under Tier Four with charity shops and car boot sales all off limits she is struggling to find suitable furniture and retro ornaments to go on display.

Anyone who thinks they have suitable items that could enjoy a second life at the cafe can call 01493 857450 to arrange collection.