September 30 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
A Broads holiday park is toasting the reopening of its pub following a six-figure refurbishment.
Waveney River Centre director James Knight hailed the upmarket revamp of the Waveney Inn as “the final piece in the jigsaw” for the site at Burgh St Peter on the Southern Broads.
Mr Knight and his wife Ruth took over the centre 11 years ago and through the investment of co-directors Len and Hazel Funnell - Ruth’s parents - have transformed and developed every aspect of it, from the campsite and swimming pool to the marina.
Upmarket lodges have gradually replaced the old mobile homes and the park has progressively built up its green credentials achieving a David Bellamy gold award.
Mr Knight said: “We opted for a soft opening on Friday night for locals and mooring customers but it turned into a fantastic weekend.
“We served upwards of 150 meals over the weekend and feedback about the food was really, really exceptional.”
The old tired and dated pub restaurant has been given a modern, airy feel and customers are treated to spectacular views over the marshes.
Manager Neale Moss and Lynne Skillander have transformed the menu equally dramatically with an emphasis on fresh local produce.
Mr Knight said: “Our meat comes from the Waveney Valley and our bread is supplied by John Spillings at the Penny Bun Bakehouse in Lowestoft.
“John trained as a chef for over 12 years in some of the UK’s top Michelin star restaurants before he returned home to Suffolk to open a bakery.”
Mr Knight said they had pitched prices to draw in custom and appeal to families holidaying on the park and they had also decided to offer flexible portion sizes - small. regular and large - to accommodate children and the weight conscious.
The pub refurbishment has been carried out by local St Olaves builder David Harrison.
“We felt for the past two or three years that we needed to do something quite special with it,” he said.
Holiday bookings for this summer were “very positive” and ‘glamping’ interest in the park’s new camping pods - built on site by the centre’s boatbuilders - had been exceptional.
One of the park innovations of which Mr Knight is most proud is a new ferry across the River Waveney opening up miles of footpaths on the Suffolk bank and the possibility of visiting Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Carlton Marshes reserve.
The words ‘I’m out’ too often spell the end for an invention before it has even left the drawing board.