Premier Hospitality

Shepherd Neame Kent

Shepherd Neame
Written by Roma Publications

Shepherd Neame

Kent-based brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame has completed major refurbishments at three of its sites in the county. The work has been overseen by Shepherd Neame’s in-house team, alongside local architectural practices Design ID and MKA Architects, and designers Sampson Associates.


The Boathouse

Popular riverside pub The Anchor has reopened as The Boathouse following a £1.2 million refurbishment. Situated on the River Medway, a few minutes from the village of Yalding near Maidstone, the pub has been renamed The Boathouse to reflect its riverside location.

The redevelopment of the pub has been designed to make the most of its unique setting. A new glass fronted restaurant has been created offering stunning views overlooking the river, leading on to a large decked area and garden allowing al fresco dining.

Speaking about the refurbishment, Shepherd Neame’s Head of Property Services Martin Godden said: “Before the project got underway, we prepared an outline brief accompanied by a set of visuals and ‘scribbles’ setting out what we were looking to achieve.

“The basic idea was very simple – a casual waterside pub/restaurant that sat in harmony with the riverside setting, built around an historic gem, which is the tiny thatched cottage. A key requirement was to maximise the river frontage and create a large tiered south-facing garden. The river is a hive of activity with river boats, fishing, canoes, paddleboards and wildlife galore, so for this reason we wanted the new building to resemble a classic utilitarian boathouse, with a touch of modernity, the type of thing you might find along many riverbanks up and down the country – a natural rambling addition to the buildings already on the site.

“MKA Architects were tasked with the building design and achieving a complicated planning approval. Our internal team led by Nick Farrant designed the retail spaces and interiors, working alongside Liberty CM to procure and deliver the project.”

An extensive internal and external refurbishment has been undertaken with new lighting, furniture and nautically-themed décor throughout. The kitchen has been completely refitted with the pub offering a delicious new menu of traditional pub classics with a contemporary twist, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. The new menu includes dishes from sandwiches to Sunday roasts to speciality hand-stretched pizzas, baked in the new stone-bake pizza oven. The Boathouse serves food from 12 noon to 9pm, Monday to Sunday and also offers brunch from 9am on Saturday and Sunday.

Martin added: “This has been one of the more difficult projects we have undertaken in recent years. Given the location, the project team have had to navigate numerous design challenges and consents typical for a building in this location, but we are delighted with the finished results.”

The extensive programme of work started at the beginning of January 2018 with the pub reopening on May 26, 2018.

Shepherd Neame

The Market House

Historic Maidstone pub Earls has also undergone a major transformation by Shepherd Neame. The project, which cost £900,000, included the restoration of its original Victorian name the Market House.

The pub is located in the heart of Kent’s County Town opposite the Hazlitt Theatre and next to Fremlin Walk shopping precinct. The site was closed from January to May 2018 while it was comprehensively re-modelled inside and out

Inside, the pub’s ground floor bar area has been opened up to create more space for customers, the stairs have been moved and a former storage area has been converted into a kitchen. Outside, a new covered al-fresco drinking and dining area has been installed to the front of the building, and a new first floor roof terrace created overlooking Fremlin Walk, with heated, covered seating areas.

Also on the first floor, a new function room has been created that can accommodate up to 30 people. It boasts its own bar and separate entrance to the pub’s new roof terrace.

In addition to the structural improvements, the pub has undergone a full internal and external redecoration, incorporating stylish new furniture and décor combining contemporary influences while also drawing upon the pub’s history.

Justin Prior, Managing Director at Design ID which was involved with the refurbishment, said: “Design ID is privileged to be involved with a variety of projects in the hospitality sector all over the country, but working with Shepherd Neame is always a particular pleasure. Our brief from Shepherd Neame was clear: to maximise the trading area available while creating a stylish flexible venue. We achieved this through a number of structural alterations including utilising a redundant garage outbuilding to create a new kitchen.”

A delicious new food menu has been introduced at the Market House, with ingredients sourced locally wherever possible, including fruit and vegetables from Maidstone’s RJ Kingsland & Son, seafood from Chapman’s of Sevenoaks and meat from Joseph & Henry in Ramsgate. All dishes are cooked from scratch with an emphasis on fresh, healthy choices including Spinach Tortilla Wraps and Superfood Salads, along with more traditional favourites such as the Smithfield Burger and open sandwiches. Customers can also choose from a selection of Small Plates, perfect for a light snack or to share over lunch. For early risers, breakfast is available every weekend from 9am to noon, offering on-trend dishes such as Avocado Toast and Baked Spicy Beans and Eggs, along with a range of delicious smoothies.

The drinks offer has also been refreshed with an extensive range of beer and cider on draught and in bottle, along with a choice selection of premium wines and spirits and cocktails. A new coffee shop has also been installed serving freshly ground Fairtrade organic Grumpy Mule coffee.

Lou Davies has been appointed as the pub’s new General Manager and has overseen the recruitment of 17 new full and part-time staff. Lou, who has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years said: “We have been overwhelmed by the fantastic feedback we have received since opening the doors to the new Market House. The pub looks absolutely fantastic and we have a great team in place, working hard to ensure that the Market House fulfils its incredible potential.”

Shepherd Neame’s Director of Retail and Tenanted Operations Nigel Bunting said: “We are delighted with the results of this major investment. Our objective was to retain the pub’s historic character and atmosphere, while creating an exciting environment in which to drink and dine. We are confident that with its expanded facilities and stylish new look, The Market House will prove a popular destination in Kent’s County Town.”

Shepherd Neame

The Spitfire

The Spitfire in Kings Hill, West Malling, also reopened in May 2018 following a £1 million programme of refurbishment.

During the two month project the pub’s ground floor has been divided into three separate areas arranged around a new central bar, including new restaurant, with stylish new décor introduced throughout.

The first floor has been turned into a private function room with its own bar, which can accommodate up to 100 people, along with the current smaller function/meeting rooms on the first floor and second floor, which can both accommodate up to 20 people.

The kitchen has also been completely refitted and a brand new menu introduced, which is available every day. Breakfast is served from 10am to noon and the main menu is available from noon to 9.30pm, offering an extensive selection of dishes to suit all tastes. Chargrill is a speciality, with prime cuts cooked to order and delicious gourmet burgers also available. Diners can also choose from a wide range of pub classics including Spitfire Ale Sausage and Mash. The family-friendly pub also offers a Young Diners menu and will continue to serve its popular traditional Roast Dinner on Sundays, with advance booking advised.

Outside, a new awning has been installed at the front of the pub covering an al-fresco dining area seating 16 people, while a new covered dining terrace has also been built in the garden, seating up to 40.

The pub was built in 1999 on a former Battle of Britain RAF base, which inspired its name, shared by Shepherd Neame’s signature range of Spitfire Kentish Ale, Spitfire Gold and Spitfire Larger. It has also influenced the pub’s new signage, which features a painted portrait of a Spitfire on the exterior of the building and a hand-painted swing sign featuring the classic aircraft.

Nigel Bunting, Director of Retail and Tenanted Operations, said: “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the RAF so we seem to have chosen a fitting time to reinvigorate The Spitfire. We are very proud of the pub’s distinctive, modern new look. The Spitfire has always been one of our most popular drinking and dining destinations and we are confident that following our investment in the site, it will go from strength to strength.”

For more information on Shepherd Neame’s pubs visit:

Shepherd Neame

FDM Artwork

FDM Artwork specialises in framed pictures, artists, mirrors, canvases, bespoke wallpaper and all manner of printed and decorative artefacts.  The company has operated for over 25 years and has had the pleasure to work with Shepherd Neame throughout this time from traditional public houses to contemporary bars and hotels.

The team at FDM Artwork has worked with Design ID on the Market House – Maidstone and enjoyed all the challenges Ruth threw their way. Recently, FDM Artwork was also delighted to work alongside Nick Farrant (Shepherd Neame) on the Boat House, Yalding.


G.M. Drylining

G.M. Drylining specialise in refurbishment and new build projects within the commercial and residential sectors. The company has been in operation for more than 20 years and within this time has built up a wide range of clients with contracts including university student accommodation, medical centres, industrial units, care homes, residential projects, hotel and restaurant establishments and work for the National Trust.

Most recently, G.M. Drylining has been carrying out work for Shepherd Neame at the Boathouse, Yalding site which was closed from January to May 2018. This work involved insulation and a tape & joint finish ready for decoration works to be carried out by others.

Matthew Milgate, G.M. Drylining, said:

“We are proud to have carried out the high quality of work for Shepherd Neame with the added benefit that our offices are based in Faversham, Kent where Shepherd Neame is heavily associated.”

Matthew added:

“At G.M. Drylining we provide a high quality service and expert workmanship. All our projects are completed on time and within budget.”


Tribune Shopfitters Ltd

Tribune Shopfitters Ltd specialises in both major and minor refurbishment and shop-fitting projects, as well as manufacturing bespoke furniture for an enviable list of high profile commercial clients from the leisure and retail industry. Operating since 1980, Tribune has dealt with clients including the likes of Fenwick, Karen Miller, All Saints, JD Wetherspoon and Hoxton Hotels, having carried contracts throughout the UK and much of Europe.

Premier Hospitality spoke to Gary Duchesne of Tribune Shopfitters Ltd, regarding Tribune’s relationship with Shepherd Neame.

Gary commented: “Tribune Shopfitters have had a long standing association with Shepherd Neame. This working partnership has enabled plans, ideas and skills to come together to bring exciting new developments to completion.”

Gary added:

“We pride ourselves on being able to assist our clients with the development of new concepts and prototypes. We work with the designer, realise a practical and economic manufacturing solution and at the same time maintain design integrity.”

Shepherd Neame


Sturts is an interior furnisher, specialising in all aspects of interior furnishing works, ranging from upholstery and re-upholstery to new/reclaimed furniture and window furnishings, including curtains, roman blinds, venetian blinds and roller blinds. The family-run company has been in operation for 32 years and along with manufacture, supply and installation can offer customers a polishing and painting service.

Recently, Sturts was responsible for the new and reclaimed furniture and bespoke bench seating that was installed at both The Boathouse at Yalding and The Market House in Maidstone. In addition, Sturts manufactured and installed bespoke curtains and poles at The Market House for Shepherd Neame.

Mike Welch, Sturts, said:

“We have been involved with Shepherd Neame for more than 20 years, delivering various small and major large-scale projects. We hope to be able to continue working with Shepherd Neame following completion of The Boathouse and Market House.”

Mike added:

“We are lucky to have very skilled staff who have worked with us for many years. I believe this adds to our efficiency and professionalism when working on projects and we pride ourselves on helping our clients obtain the results they desire.”


R J Moss Ltd

Founded 30 years ago, R J Moss Ltd specialise in the painting and decorating of commercial and domestic projects. R J Moss Ltd has worked across a range of sectors and completed numerous projects for schools, village halls, pubs, hotels, offices, flats, new build, shops, and small and large private houses.

In addition to working on The Boathouse for Shepherd Neame, the company has worked on Westlands Secondary, Westlands Primary, Regis Manor Primary, Radnor House Sevenoaks Private School, Shepherd Neame offices at Faversham, Bell Hotel, Lukehurst Shop Rainham and Newington Parish Village Hall.

R J Moss Ltd’s work on these projects ranged from complete redecorations both internally and externally to individual blocks and rooms. In 2015, the company received industry recognition when it was the recipient of a Pride in the Job Award.

Richard Moss, Director at R J Moss Ltd, said:

“We take pride in keeping our standards to a high level and a healthy relationship with our clients. We were honoured when asked to take part in the Boathouse project as we have worked on many Shepherd Neame projects and feel we could contribute our knowledge and skills well alongside other skilled tradesmen.”

Shepherd Neame

Elite Heating Services (UK) Ltd

Elite Heating Services (UK) Ltd specialise in gas and oil heating and plumbing in all aspects of construction work, from single boiler installations to multi-boilers and larger hot water systems.  The company has been in operation since 2005 and over the past 13 years Elite Heating has built up an enviable portfolio working with various leading and independent breweries and hoteliers.

One of Elite Heating’s most prestigious clients is Shepherd Neame, having carried out the installation of all sanitary appliances, heating, hot services and controls on The Market House, The Boat House and The Coastguard. In addition, Elite Heating provided the hot water systems at The Spitfire in Kingshill and most recently the company installed a new multi-boiler heating and hot water system at The Aviator, Sheerness.

Andy Kitt, Elite Heating Services (UK) Ltd, said:

“We take a great sense of pride to be involved with projects such as these. The Market House was a particularly successful one for us.”

Andy added:

“At Elite Heating we pride ourselves on our flexible approach, understanding that our clients’ needs are particular to them.

“We are also an award-winning company – in 2012 we won a national Worcester Bosch Award for the Black Horse pub in Pluckly Kent – and we currently fit up to 200 boilers per year.”

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