My taste of East Anglia – Beverley Callard

Actress Beverley Callard and her husband, Jon McEwan, moved to south Norfolk last year and have wholeheartedly embraced everything that so many of love about this region. Samantha Mattocks went along to meet Beverley, famous for Coronation Street, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, and I’m A Celebrity, at one of her favourite places in Beccles, the Waveney House Hotel. 

where I live
Jon and I live near Loddon, and it’s a complete accident that we ended up here! We realised we had been living in one corner of the UK and, with much of our family down south, we decided to move. Jon is a builder, and we love doing up houses; I am very hands on, and I love chipping tiles off and getting very involved in the work. We originally found a derelict farmhouse near the Fens, but it didn’t work out. 

We had sold our house, and we went to look at a rental property in Suffolk, but it wasn’t right for us. We visited one of Jon’s friends in Rollesby and thought the whole area was quite gorgeous. We then found the place in Loddon and, with nine days left before our house in Lancashire completed, we moved to Norfolk at the start of April 2022. 

love for Norfolk
We love Norfolk so much. We lived in Spain for many years, and when we moved back to the UK, I’d wake every morning and miss Spain. Since moving to Norfolk, I don’t miss Spain anymore! It always rains in Manchester, and Norfolk has its own separate climate. 

It is such a beautiful county, as is Suffolk, and I find the big skies mind-blowing. Everyone talked about the big skies when we moved here, but you really have to see them to appreciate them. And the sunrises and sunsets… My phone is full of photos of them! 

Our two Black Russian Terriers, Arthur and Elsie, love living here. They love the beaches and the wildlife – although they are not prey animals. Then tend to sit next to the ducks and rabbits rather than chasing them! 

We have also fallen in love with the Norfolk Broads. I find the stillness and tranquillity amazing. We hired a boat last summer – and ended up hiring one again and again. More on that later! 

favourite haunts
We are still discovering the area, but I love where we are sitting now – the Waveney House Hotel. The view is stunning, the food is great – they do the best gambas pil pil outside of Spain – and the staff are so friendly. Oh, and their Sunday lunch is amazing, too! 

I am plant based, most of the time at least, and we have enjoyed great meals at Graze and Easy Tiger here in Beccles, plus the Wine Vaults. We also love The White Lion at Wheatacre, and The Queen’s Head at Thurlton. We recently went further north and discovered The Wiveton Bell and had a lovely lunch there. 

Norwich is amazing. We love the market, so vibrant, and also the Theatre Royal. 

Jon and I also love Walberswick and Southwold, although we can imagine that it must get very busy in the summer. We went crabbing in Walberswick with the grandkids – they enjoyed it, but we last about five minutes, it was so cold! 

I am not very good at unwinding. However, I teach fitness, and have done so for over 40 years now, all around the world. When we moved to Norfolk, I knew I wanted to set up a fitness class, and I looked at a few places. The Waveney House Hotel just clicked, and I hold two classes a week for 25 women each time. We easily could have filled these classes 15 times over, such was the demand. I wanted a group of women who would push themselves to be the best they can, without being competitive. They pay £5 per session, and all the money goes to the East Anglian Air Ambulance. I love these classes, and that is my time to relax. When I am teaching, I am not a wife, mum, or actress; I am just me. 

I also love listening to music. My mum was a concert pianist, and I love to listen to Chopin especially. I find it very moving. 

Jon does most of the cooking in our house, although he’s not so good at the plant-based meals! He does a great gambas pil pil, having lived in Spain for 20 years, and amazing steak. His chicken and chorizo dish is always very popular. We get much of our produce from Orchard Farm Shop at Yelverton. Their lamb nests, stuffed with olives and feta, have become a family favourite, and we have to buy extra for my daughter to take home! 

We also have our own bar at home, and Jon has a cocktail menu for our friends to choose from. It is all very relaxed and welcoming. 

looking ahead
I am currently filming two projects, which will be out in 2024; it’s a case of watch this space, I’m afraid! 

It may not come as a surprise that we fell in love with life on the Broads so much that we bought our own boat. The boat hasn’t been done up since it was built in the late 1970s, but we have completely restored it. From this summer, we will be offering the boat for hire, complete with a skipper and barman, for up to 12 people so that people can enjoy the many benefits being out on the water can bring. There will also be picnics available, all with locally sourced food and drink, as we really want to celebrate the area that has made us so welcome. 

We hope to launch the boat in June – check back with nourish for details! 

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