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30th March 2023

Historic Shepherd Neame pub with rooms reopens as boutique hotel with a refreshed new look and menu

An historic pub with rooms at the heart of a Kent village has reopened with a new menu and fresh new feel, thanks to a new licensee at its helm.

The Kings Head in Wye, near Ashford, a former coaching inn dating back to the late 1700s, opened its doors as a boutique hotel serving locally sourced gastropub food last week.

And the vision for the transformation has come from licensee Nick Maclennan, who, after a soft launch last week for locals, has now started welcoming customers in again.

Nick, who has extensive business experience, lives locally and jumped at the chance to take on the Shepherd Neame-owned pub, as he already knew it well.

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to run The Kings Head,” he said. “I have always thought that it is a fantastic site with such potential, but it is not only about having the vision but being able to deliver that vision.

“It is now a boutique hotel, with really good, locally-sourced gastropub food. The village wants it to succeed, I feel the community is behind me. I know how to run a business and have had a lot of support from friends in the industry so I am confident that I will be able to make my plans for The Kings Head a success.”

The building has been redecorated throughout with a new, chic black and white colour scheme.

Previously, Nick ran his own private catering company, The Doughlicious Pizza Company.

The kitchen team now in place at the Kings Head includes MasterChef The Professionals 2021 quarter finalist, Head Chef Sam McClurkin.

Nick plans to extend opening hours, opening seven days a week, including for breakfast, offering a new menu of delicious dishes including avocado and poached eggs on freshly baked sourdough bread, baked on the premises.

“Opening seven days a week is essential for a hotel, and as we need to be able to offer breakfast for our guests, it makes sense to make those available to all our customers. There is certainly an appetite for it in Wye.”

Dishes on the new menu – all freshly made to order – range from starters such as smoky homemade red pepper hummus with crisp paprika crackers and crispy deep-fried halloumi fries with truffle alioli and mains from slow roasted pork belly with crispy crackling, parmentier potatoes, chantenay carrots and braised shallot with a cider and apple reduction, and mushroom gateaux, a signature dish, of layered mushroom duxelle and crepe gateaux with seasoned vegetables and mustard sauce.

And he will also be bringing with him a member of the family who is sure to be popular with customers in the bar area – five-month-old bundle of fluff, Coco, a Pomeranian Husky cross. Dogs are welcomed in the bar area, but not the dining area.

Upstairs in the large building on Church Street – the main street in Wye – there are seven bedrooms, all en-suite.

Opening hours are 8am to 10pm Monday to Thursday; 8am to 11pm Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 6pm on Sundays. To see the new menus, book a room, or find out more go to: or call 01233 812418. You can also follow its journey on instagram @thekingsheadwye


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.

Shepherd Neame is not responsible for the content on third party websites.

For further information please contact Communications Executive Angela Cole on 01795 542142 or email or visit