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Couple want to sell popular hotel in Norfolk town so they can retire

PUBLISHED: 12:48 18 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:53 18 July 2019

Howard and Helen Fradley, who have run the Castle Hotel in Downham Market for 28 years. Picture: Chris Bishop

Howard and Helen Fradley, who have run the Castle Hotel in Downham Market for 28 years. Picture: Chris Bishop

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The owners of a popular west Norfolk hotel have told how they want to sell up and enjoy a well earned retirement.

Howard and Helen Fradley, who have run the Castle Hotel in Downham Market for 28 years. Picture: Chris BishopHoward and Helen Fradley, who have run the Castle Hotel in Downham Market for 28 years. Picture: Chris Bishop

Howard and Helen Fradley bought the Castle Hotel in Downham Market in 1991 after moving from Hull.

The 17th century grade II listed building, sat in the heart of the town's High Street, has also been a family home for the Fradley's.

Mr Fradley, who has a background in hospitality, said: "We bought the hotel because we wanted to work for ourselves rather than for someone else.

"We never planned to stay here so long, we thought we'd come to Downham Market, stay a few years and move on but we're still here 28 years later.

The Castle Hotel, in Downham market. Picture: Chris BishopThe Castle Hotel, in Downham market. Picture: Chris Bishop

"We just loved the customers and got settled. When you have something good going on why take the risk and move somewhere else.

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"We put everything we had into it and the first five years were difficult because we had no money to refurbish and sort out any problems that came about but it's been so rewarding."

The couple, who have raised their four children in the hotel, are looking to find a buyer and retire.

A photograph on display in the bar, showing the Castle Hotel, a former coaching inn in the early days of the A photograph on display in the bar, showing the Castle Hotel, a former coaching inn in the early days of the "Horseless carriage". Picture: John Hocknell

Mrs Fradley said: "We've had offers but nothing that was worth going through with, we're not sure why it hasn't sold yet the market just seems flat.

"At the moment business is doing really well so we're in no real rush to give it away but we're just waiting for the right person to come along who knows what they're doing and will nurture the hotel.

"It's full all week, clubs locally meet here and it's a popular place for parties that come for weddings and christenings. We also get regular customers who stay here when they visit their relatives so we're always busy. The hotel has 70pc occupacy all year round."

The 12 bedroom 3AA star hotel has been on the market since March 2016 and is currently listed with KSA commercial at £495,000.

Mr Fradley said: "It's doing well now and we're very proud of our hotel but once it's gone I won't look back, we're just looking forward to getting out whilst we're still fit and well so we can enjoy life and go travelling."

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