Norwich family win title of best kept beach hut

They are instantly recognisable as icons of the British coastline.

A staple feature on many seaside postcards there is something quintessentially English about the beach hut – and now a Norwich family have been rewarded for the care and attention they have given to their own slice of English heritage.

In May, beach hut users were asked to put forward their huts in a competition, sponsored by beach hut insurers TL Risk Solutions, which saw coastal regions go head to head. Entries were submitted for regional and national heats.

In the eastern region, the winner of the best kept hut was Neil Coston for his beach hut, 'Kittiwake', situated on Cromer prom.

Mr Coston, 32, who is from Great Yarmouth originally, but now lives in the Golden Triangle area in Norwich with wife Lisa, 33, and 15-month-old daughter Poppy, decided with his wife a couple of years ago, to put their name down on the long waiting list for a hut, and were finally rewarded for their patience last summer when they were given a plot.

The couple, who both work as teachers, had the shell of the hut built for them, then set about decorating and kitting out the inside themselves, scouring antique and bric-a-brac shops for pieces.

And they have made it a home from home, complete with china cups for tea and a little camping stove as well as hand-made cabinets and seats.

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Mr Coston said: 'It is nice to come down here, even in winter, because you can just close the doors if the weather is really bad and it is really cosy in here.

'Some people take their beach huts down when it comes to winter time, but we did not want to do that, we wanted this hut as something we could use all year round.'

The couple, along with Poppy, visit the beach hut at least once every other week. Mr Coston, who admits the sea is in his blood after growing up on the coast, says the hut is ideal for him when he goes kayaking or fishing.

He said: 'I have always liked the quirkiness of beach huts, it is the Britishness of them really, which we have tried to include in our hut with some of the posters and bunting.

'One of the main reasons for having the hut though was for Poppy, I spend a lot of time in the sea and wanted her to grow up next to the sea and be able to come here.'

As well as inviting friends for barbecues, since they have had the hut, the family have also used it to celebrate many special occasions, including a Ruby wedding anniversary for Lisa's parents, and Poppy's first birthday.

Mr Coston said: 'We were really surprised to win in the competition, especially being up against some of the huts in Southwold, but really happy, we just wanted somewhere we could use all year and to make the hut a nice place to be.'

The Coston's were not the only ones celebrating as the best name for a hut in the eastern region went to Vincent Austin, 81, for his hut, 'L'Austin Southwold', situated on Southwold seafront.