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The Railway Inn, Aldeburgh

By Sarah Groves, also posted in News on

Shirley & Karl Barber, The Railway InnA community pub

Situated at the top of the town in Aldeburgh, the Railway Inn is a true 'community' pub, away from the tourist hotspots of the beach and High Street. You get the impression that the pub is a big family home that just happens to have a bar, and everyone's warmly invited. With its front door wide open, customers are greeted by an array of photographs of the owners, their family, and their extended family - the pub's many regular customers.

Living their dream

Flowers in the garden at The Railway InnTenants Karl & Shirley Barber have been at The Railway since 2008 - Karl was born in the town and Shirley's been here for 30 years. The Railway Inn was Karl & Shirley's local for many years, and when given the chance to run it, Shirley explains "our dream came true. This is exactly what I've always wanted to do. We love being at the heart of our community (we won the Adnams Community Pub Award in 2009), and we actively support local charities such as the RNLI, fire service and cancer care. Karl is second coxwain and engineer for the lifeboat, so it's a big focus for us here." One of the main community events the family get involved in is the Aldeburgh Carnival. "It's massive for us", beams Shirley. "Every year we have a float - the whole family are involved. Karl films the whole thing, and then we play it back to our customers in the evening - it always gets loads of laughs. Last year we won 'Best Overall Float' which we were delighted with." This year, they came third with their "Great British Street Party" float featuring Shirley dressed as the Queen! "Happy Days". Photographs of customers at The Railway Inn, AldeburghThe pub has three en suite rooms for guests and is a 'drinking' pub - it does not serve lunch or dinner, although Karl has been known to cook up pasties and cheese straws on special occasions. Because of this, they are free to concentrate on hosting community events, such as coffee mornings for elderly residents, and keeping the locals entertained. Every weekend they have live music, and a groaning trophy shelf indicates the success of both the ladies and men's darts teams. "We take our customers out sometimes, too. We have a yearly pub outing to Newmarket Races, which is always great fun. Everyone comes back here for takeaway fish and chips afterwards. We love it here. It's a proper drinking pub, with a proper pub atmosphere. We wouldn't want to be anywhere else."  


Sarah Groves