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Howard and Helen Fradley selling the Castle Hotel in Downham Market after 27 years behind the bar

PUBLISHED: 16:31 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 25 May 2018

Howard and Helen Fradley, who have run the Castle Hotel in Downham Market for 27 years. Picture: Chris Bishop

Howard and Helen Fradley, who have run the Castle Hotel in Downham Market for 27 years. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A couple who have run a popular hotel in the heart of a Norfolk town for more than 25 years are selling up.

The Castle Hotel, which is up for sale. Picture: Chris BishopThe Castle Hotel, which is up for sale. Picture: Chris Bishop

Howard and Helen Fradley have been mine hosts at the Castle Hotel, in Downham Market, since 1991.

The couple moved to Norfolk from Cumbria, where Mr Fradley was the operations director at a time share resort before being made redundant when new owners took over.

They fell in love with the 17th Century Grade II Listed Castle, which stands on the High Street. Its imposing white facade complete with battlements is one of the town’s most familiar landmarks.

“The reason we liked it was it was a big fish in a little sea,” said Mr Fradley.

A photograph on display in the bar, showing the Castle Hotel, a former coaching inn in the early days of the car Picture: Archant LibraryA photograph on display in the bar, showing the Castle Hotel, a former coaching inn in the early days of the car Picture: Archant Library

“We have had an amazing 27 years here and have watched the business grow from strength to strength, but it is now time for us to move our lives in a different direction.

“I’m at the tender age of 62, my wife’s a few years behind me and we’ve decided it’s time to go and have some fun.

“We’re not desperate to sell it, we just want to spend some quality time with the kids.

“We’ll miss all the customers. We intend to stay in Downham Market because we’ve made a lot of friends here.

Downham town centre and the Castle in the 1960s Picture: Archant libraryDownham town centre and the Castle in the 1960s Picture: Archant library

“We’ve had a built-in social life - people come round and have drinks with us every night.”

Mr Fradley said they had invested more than £100,000 on refurbishing the 12-bed 3AA star hotel over the last two years.

It is now on the market via agents Christie and Co for £495,000.

As well as letting rooms, it also has owner’s three-bed accommodation along with a bar, restaurant and a patrons’ car park.

Tim Gooding, director at Christie and Co said: “The Castle Hotel has been transformed in recent times with a full refurbishment programme so that the letting rooms in particular have become sought after by both commercial and leisure customers seeking exceptional quality and service standards.

“The hotel’s food and bar attract a good deal of local custom and overall the business has become highly profitable and would be an ideal purchase for a buying couple who would benefit from the growth and profitability created by the sellers.”


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