Located in the hamlet of Seatown, near Chideock in Dorset, The Anchor Inn is a fantastic beachside public house offering great service, good food and delicious drinks.
Following a £1 million investment by leading South West brewery company, Palmers Brewery, The Anchor Inn has undergone a magnificent makeover and has re-opened its doors to punters.
The Anchor is one of Palmers Brewery’s flagship properties and the company made the substantial investment in order to give the building a new lease of life. The Anchor now provides customers with the best quality experience possible, whilst maintaining all the character traits that made the pub such a success in the first place.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality about The Anchor Inn’s recent rejuvenation, Jayson Perfect, Tenated Trade Director of Palmers Brewery, said:
“We wanted to maintain the heritage and atmosphere of The Anchor while giving our customers an even better service. The Anchor Inn has been an amazing, much loved and respected pub for hundreds of years and its location on the Jurassic Coast is unique. The idea was to work within the parameters of the current building layout to ensure we didn’t change the overall character of the pub, but to move the look, feel, service and offer along to suit the demands of our clientele. We were slightly restricted in terms of generating additional seating and worked hard on ensuring that each and every customer would feel comfortable in the atmosphere provided.
“The idea from the beginning was to provide a seamless experience with efficient food service and short bar waiting times. A lot of time was spent in the bar service area and dispense, as well as on the kitchen layout and functioning work space. We wanted to allow people to enjoy their surroundings and we stayed focused on delivering this by maintaining a lot of the history of the site within the new build.”
Work began on transforming The Anchor Inn in October 2013. CG Fry & Son was the main contractor on the project and JMDA was the architect.
The refurbishment took seven months to complete, but the project itself had a much longer gestation period, with plans in the pipeline as far back as two decades.
“Planning permission was first submitted 20 years ago. It was a long, steady struggle for the company, but one which Palmers Brewery is very proud of achieving after all this time.”
The original plan was to open The Anchor Inn in April 2014, however record breaking gales and rain in late 2013 and early 2014 caused an unavoidable delay.
“We experienced some of the worst storms for decades, which brought with it delays and a lot of debris to be cleared away. In one massive storm alone the sea surged so far inland that it took with it the bridge leading to the car park and hut. This put the project behind and meant we wouldn’t be open in time for Easter – a real shame, but one that we simply could not avoid.
“For us, it was a case of ‘get it right the first time’ and not rush the job to the finish line. We opened on Friday 16th May, which followed a private viewing for all the staff and their families on 12th May.”
New additions to The Anchor Inn include three boutique bedrooms, a fully decked-out kitchen which is capable of catering for the increased demand on food at the pub, and a learning room where children can explore fossils on site. Meanwhile, a new family changing room houses a large shower and baby changing facilities and was installed so that families coming into The Anchor Inn from the beach could freshen up before enjoying a meal and a drink.
Despite the new additions, retaining a sense of history was also very important for Palmers Brewery.
Jayson Perfect, said:
“It was very important to us to maintain as much of the old site as possible and therefore we retained all the old pictures of the locals that were dotted around the building, re-framed them and then we re-introduced them accordingly.”
As well as the internal changes, The Anchor Inn has experienced a few outdoor alterations too, in order to introduce a one-level dining area, altering the two-level dining facilities which were previously used at the pub. Jayson commented:
“People are resilient down in Dorset and even during gusty winds you will find the terrace packed.”
To complete The Anchor Inn’s new look, the pub presents a delicious menu which is inspired by local producers, truly capturing the flavour of Dorset living. Head Chef Samuel Hill has grown up in Dorset and is passionate about creating dishes which suit all tastes.
Dishes on offer at The Anchor Inn include Palmers’ ale battered catch of the day with chips, crushed peas and tartare sauce; smoked haddock & salmon gratin topped with chilli breadcrumbs & parmesan; and honey, mustard & balsamic glazed ham with free range eggs and chips. Two Ploughman’s lunches are also available, The Farmer’s Lunch and The Huntsman’s Lunch.
With its new look and fantastic food offering The Anchor Inn continues to wow customers and it is something of which Palmers Brewery are understandably very proud.
“It’s a community pub and although we cater for hundreds and thousands of tourists over the sunny season, locals get to enjoy the joys of this pub 365 days a year. Paul Wiscombe, the licensee, has run The Anchor Inn for over ten years now – he’s a local boy through and through and that means a lot to us. Not only does he run a fantastic pub but throughout the year he will hold several events for all our local customers to enjoy.”
“The Anchor Inn will always be part and parcel of the community and for the community. As a brewery this project has been a fantastic achievement for us all. When we say it means a lot to us, we mean it – it’s our flagship site and we are very proud of it.”
For more information about The Anchor Inn, please visit: www.theanchorinnseatown.co.uk.
Founded in 1794 by the Gundry family, Palmers Brewery was bought by two brothers – John Cleeves and Robert Henry – in the 19th Century and given the name JC & RH Palmer. The operation continued to grow and at present, Palmers’ pubs are some of the best known public houses in the South West.
Today, John Cleeves and Robert Henry’s great grandsons, John and Cleeves Palmer, work in the company, helping to drive it forward. Over the last two years Palmers have invested more than £4 million in upgrading their pub estate and this spend is now set to continue with plans for a landmark restaurant with rooms in Lyme Regis.
Although Palmers Brewery continues to move forward with its expansion plans, the original Old Brewery – famous as the only working thatched brewery in Britain – is where the beer is still brewed to traditional methods. The Old Brewery utilises the finest ingredients available and at the same time maintains the company’s unique history.
For more information about Palmers Brewery or to book tickets to take a tour of Palmers’ historic brewery buildings, please visit: www.palmersbrewery.com.
CG Fry & Son Ltd
CG Fry & Son Ltd is a family-run business working primarily within three sectors: development housing, partnership housing and contracting. Working as a main contractor, CG Fry & Son Ltd work on everything from small works through to multi-million pound commercial and industrial projects.
CG Fry & Son Ltd has been in operation since 1920 and within this time has worked on numerous high profile projects including a number of sites for Palmers Brewery, including the Market House in Bridport and Master Thatcher in Taunton, a new build public house.
Most recently CG Fry & Son Ltd was the main contractor on The Anchor Inn in Seatown, which saw the company completely refurbish and extend the existing pub to provide a number of new facilities. Work involved the installation of a new kitchen, new flooring and a new bar, whilst externally CG Fry & Son Ltd landscaped the pub’s outdoor area.
CG Fry & Son Ltd Contracting Director, Mike Pinney, said:
“It is incredibly important for us to continue our working relationship with Palmers Brewery. We’re both local businesses and we both feel it is important to work with other local companies. Palmers has a great reputation for delivering high quality, which is exactly what we have, so we are a great match.”
“At CG Fry & Son Ltd we pride ourselves in the quality of our work and our customer service.”
Woodberry of Leamington Spa
Family-run business Woodberry of Leamington Spa specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of outdoor furniture and accessories for the catering and hospitality sector. The company is run by the Barr family, who have been trading in Leamington Spa since 1876, and over the past few years the company has worked on many high profile projects, including many well-known hotel, restaurant and pub chains.
Working on The Anchor Inn, Woodberry of Leamington Spa designed, manufactured, supplied and installed a mixture of bespoke and standard outdoor furniture. The collection of furniture included oak seating which was designed specifically for the pub.
Manager of the Design & Bespoke Department at Woodberry of Leamington Spa, Chris Barr, said:
“Working with Palmers Brewery is very important to us. The Anchor Inn is an excellent location, and we are grateful to Palmers for selecting us for this, and are happy to now be discussing further requirements.”
“Although we do have a standard range, we are in no way limited to this range. We are frequently adapting design to meet the specific requirements of our clients or manufacturing completely bespoke items to fulfil particular needs.
“At Woodberry we are respected for our high levels of quality and service, which we are committed to maintain.”