Property

Shepherd Neame site reopens as boutique hotel and bar

The historic pub now has 13 en-suite rooms, which includes the Nightingale Suite on the top floor, and a fully-accessible room on the ground floor for visitors who want to bring dogs

Shepherd Neame’s The White Horse, in Boughton-Under-Blean near Faversham, has reopened after an eight-month project that turned the property into a premium cocktail bar and restaurant, featuring 13 guest rooms and a treatment room. 

The transformation of The White Horse was said to be “a labour of love” for licensee, Natalie Hennessy, and her husband, Andrew, who already run The East Kent in Whitstable, also owned by Shepherd Neame. 

The historic 15th Century village pub, which is referred to in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, has undergone a “massive” refurbishment both externally and internally. The property now has a “stylish” reception area to “welcome guests who may be drinking, dining, or staying overnight”, as well as a separate cocktail bar and separate restaurant. 

The property also has 13 en-suite rooms, which includes the Nightingale Suite on the top floor, and a fully-accessible room on the ground floor for visitors who want to bring dogs. It is reported that all of the rooms come with bedding from The White Company, while all the accessories and coffee are supplied by locally-based company, Garden Coffee. There is also an ‘honesty pantry’ upstairs for overnight guests to “enjoy snacks and drinks at any time”. 

Externally, the site has been fully landscaped and redecorated, with new furniture in the garden and a pergola where dogs are welcome. There is also an ample car park with 40 spaces.

The brand new kitchen at The White Horse is led by Natalie Hennessy as head chef and serves a contemporary fine-dining menu, along with “delicious light bites” and Kentish cream teas.

Natalie Hennessy said: “When I visited the pub as it was before, I could see it in my mind just as it is now. But being eight months pregnant at the time, I couldn’t get on with it as quickly as I wanted to!

“When I was a teenager I said to my mum and dad “I will have a pub”,” she said. “I achieved that with The East Kent, but I always wanted something with rooms. I wanted to provide the best possible guest experience. There was also such a connection to this place, this was always meant to be. Reopening the White Horse as it is now is actually achieving a long-time goal.”

Nigel Bunting, Shepherd Neame’s director of pub operations, said: “We are delighted with the finished results of this major project to transform The White Horse and take it in an exciting new direction. Natalie and Andrew have done an amazing job at The East Kent and we are confident that they will go from strength to strength with this new venture.”

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