Work on Norwich’s backpackers’ hostel in King Street set to start this year

Building work should start on schedule before the end of the year on Norwich's first backpackers' hostel, bosses said today.

Plans to turn the former Ferry Boat pub into a backpackers' hostel were given the go-ahead by city councillors earlier in the year.

The former King Street pub, which is a grade II listed building, will be turned into a 200-bed hostel by Alister Borthwick and his son Jason, who created the award-winning Deepdale Farm campsite on the north Norfolk coast.

Jason Borthwick said: 'We are working our way through the pre-building conditions and hope to be building this side of Christmas.

'There is lots to do before we start in earnest, but the structural plans are coming on well and we're getting closer to choosing our preferred suppliers for each part of the build.'

The pub, near the Riverside complex, has been sitting empty for nearly five years, and the owners hope the hostel will be open by April next year in time to host the European Hostel Conference.

As reported, the Borthwicks plan to turn the building into an eco-friendly hostel with cycle and canoe hire and a cafe and tourist information centre.

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The main pub will not change much at all with the downstairs front bar set to become a real ale appreciation shop/bar, selling off-sales with a few beers on tap and the upstairs remaining a flat for tenants.

The boat house and music room on the site will be replaced with a boat shed that will house accommodation, the cycle hire and canoe hire barn, plus the caf� by the river.

A new warehouse style building, which will house most of the accommodation for the hostel, will be built over the car park, and the old beer store by the car park will be recycled to build the new reception/visitor information centre that links the old pub building with the new hostel.

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Are you about to transform a city building? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email