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16th November 2023

Shepherd Neame expands estate with acquisition of historic seafront pub

Independent family brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame has expanded its estate with the acquisition of historic seafront pub The Ship Inn in Herne Bay.

The addition of the freehold property, which was part of the Stonegate Group portfolio, takes Shepherd Neame’s total of pubs and hotels to 296, across Kent, London and the South East.

The Ship Inn will continue to be run by current licensees Alan and Michele Clarke, who already have another Shepherd Neame pub, the Chestfield Barn.

The husband and wife team took on The Ship Inn in April this year, and welcomed the change in ownership.

Alan said: “We have been running the Chestfield Barn for the past six years, and have always enjoyed a great relationship with Shepherd Neame during that time, so we were really happy to learn that they would be taking on this site as well.

“We know Shepherd Neame’s team well, and are confident that we can work together to fulfil our ambitions for the pub.”

The Ship Inn is thought to be the oldest building in Herne Bay, with parts dating back to 1385, and was once a renowned smugglers’ haunt. Located on Central Parade, it boasts extensive sea views, particularly from its large terrace area, which is a popular spot for al fresco drinking and dining.

Alan said: “Things have been going really well at the Chestfield Barn, so Michele and I had begun looking for another opportunity to expand into a second site, and when The Ship Inn came up earlier this year, we decided to go for it. It is in a fantastic location and there was a huge amount of potential as it had been closed for a while and needed some refurbishment.

“We have introduced the elements of our offer which have proved popular at the Chestfield Barn, including creating a delicious new menu of traditional pub classics and light bites. We have received a fantastic welcome from locals and are really pleased with how things are going so far.”

Jonathon Swaine, Shepherd Neame’s Managing Director, Pubs, said: “We are delighted to expand our tenanted estate with the acquisition of this characterful pub. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Alan and Michele and supporting them in their efforts to ensure the pub goes from strength to strength.”

The Ship Inn is open every day from 12pm, with food served from 12pm to 8.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 12pm to 5.30pm on Sunday.

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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 Ale, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Spitfire Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale, the Whitstable Bay Collection, Hurlimann and Noughty Bear 0.5% IPA. It has also brewed premium Thai lager Singha under license for the UK market since 2022. 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 Corporate Communications Manager Kathryn Tye on 01795 542259 or email or visit

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