Norfolk bed and breakfast celebrates 25 years in business

Published:
6:30 AM April 6, 2022



One was an electrician, the other working in a daycare center – but both Michael and Erika Alcock fancied a change of career.

“We could open a shop, but I don’t fancy working in a pub,” said Mr Alcock to his wife back in 1997, while the couple were staying at a bed and breakfast in Oban, Scotland.

“We could do this,” responded Mrs Alcock, and the rest – as they say – is history.


Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika's Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.

Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika’s Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

A quarter of a century later, the couple are celebrating 25 years of running Erika’s B&B in Fakenham.

The business was given Mrs Alcock’s name due to the spelling, which came from the roots of her father – a German who was a prisoner of war in nearby Hempton Green.

“When the war was finishing and they let people out on licence, they were allowed to go to Dereham on Saturday afternoon,” she explained.

“My dad and his friend met my mum and her sister and, over time, they got married.


Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika's Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.

Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika’s Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

“Someone then took him on as a refrigerator engineer, and we built our lives here.”

After finding the right property and carrying out renovations for two years, Erika’s B&B opened in May 1997.

Mr and Mrs Alcock put an advertising board at the end of Gladstone Road and got to work.

Immediately, they were greeted by a fleet of white vans full of guests who wanted to stay the night, and the pair never looked back.


Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika's Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.

Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika’s Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

“We had no idea what it would be like, and did a lot of learning on the job,” added Mrs Alcock.

“Over the years, people with all sorts of jobs have come here, and we have met people from all over the world which has been so interesting.”

Like most in the hospitality industry, Erika’s B&B was impacted significantly by the pandemic – especially as the couple were forced to shield due to Mr Alcock having a serious health condition.


Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika's Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.

Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika’s Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Gradually opening up again saw them leave items out for guests to avoid mixing, as well as serving breakfast in shifts.

But as they look ahead to a brighter future, Mr and Mrs Alcock – both in their 70s – have no plans to give up their pride and joy.

“I’ve got no plans to retire. Maybe my husband has, but I haven’t,” said Mrs Alcock.

“As long as we are fit and healthy, Erika’s will continue to run.”


Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika's Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.

Mike and Erika Alcock celebrate 25 years of running Erika’s Bed and Breakfast in Fakenham.
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

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