Preparing for Christmas at The Imperial Hotel, Great Yarmouth

Nick and Aileen Mobbs from The Imperial Hotel, Yarmouth get ready for Christmas (photo: Nick Butcher

Nick and Aileen Mobbs from The Imperial Hotel, Yarmouth get ready for Christmas (photo: Nick Butcher) - Credit: Nick Butcher

Nick and Aileen Mobbs’ dedication to the local hospitality industry saw them rewarded with the Outstanding Achievement award, sponsored by Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers

Christmas pudding made with a secret recipe (photo: Nick Butcher)

Christmas pudding made with a secret recipe (photo: Nick Butcher) - Credit: Nick Butcher

For three decades, Nick and Aileen Mobbs spent their Christmases ensuring their hotel guests were having a fabulous festive break.

“For 26 years we were always full with guests for Christmas day and Boxing Day, then about five years ago we decided to make a change and close for four days,” says Aileen. “It was always a big team effort with all the staff working alongside us and we always loved our Christmases here because giving pleasure to people is infectious.

“But the run up to Christmas Eve is a really exciting busy time with a great atmosphere; then we are back to business for our New Year breaks.”

While Nick and Aileen might not officially open the hotel – the work doesn’t stop with the couple hosting a large family contingent.

“We might not have paying guests, but we still seem to have around 20 family members staying and it is a lively affair. They love the novelty of having a whole hotel to themselves.

“We always have a Norfolk Bronze turkey and our traditional Christmas puddings – still made from Nick’s mum’s secret recipe written down on a grotty old scrap of paper. We make them for guests as well - one batch makes 600 puddings.”

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She says that whether you are catering for 40 or four people, organisation is key.

“If you prepare as much in advance as possible and don’t panic about small things it will make those precious days off more relaxing and fun. You forgetting the Devils on Horseback really doesn’t matter.

“After lunch here it is all about family traditions. We always play games with the girls – they are grown up now but things are still very competitive, especially with Yatzhee and Monopoly. We also always have the family jigsaw out, something I would recommend. We have it on a big board – for us in the bar – and everyone can dip in and out, have a chat while they do it. With a glass of wine and the Christmas music on, I can happily sit for a couple of hours. There aren’t many other days in the year you have time for such things, so make the most of it!”

13-15 North Dr, Great Yarmouth NR30 1EQ, 01493 842000;

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