Weekend of two halves - city pubs packed on Sunday after Saturday washout

Whalebone in Norwich saw rain and sunshine

How the Whalebone in Norwich looked in the space of 24 hours as the region experienced a mixed weekend of weather. - Credit: Danielle Booden and Ella Wilkinson

Umbrellas were swapped for ice cream cones across Norwich as traders endured a weekend of two halves paving wave for a sunny Sunday afternoon. 

The sunshine saw many enjoying an ice cream in Norwich City Centre.

The sunshine saw many enjoying an ice cream in Norwich City Centre. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

At The Whalebone, in Magdalen Road, Norwich, "resilient customers" braved heavy downpours on Saturday to sit under the pub's covered area.

Earlier this week pubs and restaurants shared how they had changed opening hours and shut earlier amid downpours and windy weather. 

Despite the rain, people enjoy the pub garden at the Whalebone on Magdalen Road in Norwich.

Despite the rain, people enjoy the pub garden at the Whalebone on Magdalen Road in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

But as the sunshine arrived on Sunday, the pub found itself filling out with the expectation to bring out more chairs as the evening went on. 

General manager Stephen Fiske said one of the best investments had been the pub's covered area which he installed for £50,000 three years ago. 

Mr Fiske said: "Two weeks ago we had a lovely Saturday, we put all the furniture out and had about 150 people. From 2pm we had a wait right through to 9pm.

"Customers have been so resilient coming in, they have been bringing their blankets.

"Staff have had to be flexible, like today [Saturday] we only have three tables outside we've asked people to swap to Sunday.

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"We could have up to 150 people and running round frantically."

Steve Fiske, general manager of the Whalebone pub on on Magdalen Road in Norwich. Picture: Danielle

Steve Fiske, general manager of the Whalebone pub on on Magdalen Road in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Among the patrons on Saturday were friends Millie Ding, Molly Neal, Caitlin Aldred and Kiran Betts.

Millie Ding, Molly Neal, Caitlin Aldred and Kiran Betts enjoying the pub garden at the Whalebone on

Millie Ding, Molly Neal, Caitlin Aldred and Kiran Betts enjoying the pub garden at the Whalebone on Magdalen Road in Norwich despite the rain. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

With some working on Sunday when temperatures were expected to be higher, it meant having to wrap up warm to enjoy their Saturday plans.

Miss Ding said: "We wanted to go somewhere that has covers and has heaters."

The group has all turned 18 during the lockdown period. 

Miss Aldred said: "We haven't been bothered [about clubbing] The pub is the way to go." 

The covers were down at The Whalebone on Sunday, the brighter of the two days.

The covers were down at The Whalebone on Sunday, the brighter of the two days. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Fast forward 24 hours, and the pub was preparing for a busy afternoon and evening of pubgoers, with expectations to be filled up from 4.30pm onwards.

Mr Fiske said he could not wait for May 17, with more of the city's pubs able to open due to the resumption of indoor hospitality.

He said: "January was the longest month I have ever endured. We couldn't wait to open again. April has been so cold, and we can't wait to get inside."

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