A 15th century village pub is reopening its doors today (Friday, May 13) after a massive refurbishment which has seen it transformed into a stylish boutique hotel, restaurant and bar.
Shepherd Neame’s The White Horse in Boughton-under-Blean near Faversham, will reopen after an eight-month project which has seen a sympathetic renovation of the historic building, turning it from a pub into a premium cocktail bar and restaurant, offering 13 guest rooms and a treatment room.
Transforming the beamed building, which first became a coaching inn in the 16th century, has been 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 White Horse – which was referred to in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales – has been completely renovated externally and internally, and now has a stylish reception area, welcoming guests who may be drinking, dining, or staying overnight.
Inside, there is a cocktail bar and separate restaurant; 13 beautifully-appointed en suite rooms, including the Nightingale Suite on the top floor, and a fully accessible room on the ground floor which is also available for visitors who want to bring their dogs.
All rooms come with bedding from The White Company; stylish accessories, and coffee supplied by locally-based Garage Coffee. There is also an ‘honesty pantry’ upstairs for overnight guests, who can 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.
Natalie, who was eight months pregnant with the couple’s second son when she decided to take on the project in October, 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!”
A trained chef and experienced businesswoman, Natalie has strong family ties to the village and building, as her great grandfather used to run two pubs in the village and her aunt once worked at The White Horse.
“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.”
In 2018 she and Andrew transformed The East Kent pub in Whitstable into a thriving gastropub, renowned for its top quality food and great service, now a sister site to The White Horse. Both sites were also opened on Friday the 13th, which Natalie believes is a lucky tradition for her.
The brand new kitchen at The White Horse, led by Head Chef Natalie, will serve an innovative menu inspired by her classic French training and extensive travels, along with delicious light bites and Kentish Cream Teas, while guests and visitors can also book a treatment, such as a soothing massage or facial in The Nest treatment room when it opens later this summer.
Shepherd Neame’s Director of Tenanted Pub Operations, Greg Wallis, 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.”
The White Horse can be found at The Street, Boughton-under-Blean, ME13 9AL. To book everything from a celebration dinner or Kentish cream tea to dinner with friends or a romantic getaway, visit thewhitehorseboughton.com.
About Shepherd Neame
Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for over 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British classic ales such as Spitfire Amber, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, and the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including Samuel Adams Boston Lager and premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline.
Press release from Shepherd Neame