Historic Kent pub restored for village

A historic public house in Elham, Kent has reopened following a major refurbishment, with its new owners Contemporary Pubs fulfilling their promise to restore the much-loved pub for the village.

The Grade-II listed 15th-century pub, The Kings Arms, is operated by Contemporary Pubs, the team behind the award-winning success of The Marquis of Granby, Alkham and The Tiger Inn, Stowting.

Having purchased the property from Stonegate Group last October, the group has taken on the operations of the beautifully restored The Kings Arms with the aim to provide a centrepiece for the community with the support of local property developer Darrell Healey.

The internal and external refurbishment included the extension of the pub and a state-of-the-art kitchen, as well as back-of-house facilities essential to ensure its 25-strong team can deliver the highest quality food, drink and service.

The pub pre-dates the reign of Kings Charles II by more than two centuries and its restoration by Contemporary Pubs marks this year’s coronation of King Charles III.

The tile-hung pub has stood in the heart of Elham, the village in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, between Folkestone, Dover, Ashford and Canterbury, since 1450.

Elham resident Pam Ferris, star of Darling Buds of May and film Matilda, and a regular at The Tiger Inn, officially reopened the Kings Arms on 8 September.

The new owners are confident it will perform as well as the rest of the group, attracting customers from across Kent and beyond.

Managing director Will Sheldon, who was born and bred in Elham, and his wife Nadine have built an award-winning business based on creating welcoming gastropubs for people with a love of locally sourced food, beer and wine.

Will said: “We’ve created a successful model to ensure the future of the village pub. We take unloved pubs and sensitively refurbish them, hiring a team focused on the customer and providing great service, with a strong connection with the local community.

“I’ve known The Kings Arms all my life, even before Contemporary Pubs existed. Nadine and I were once in the pub’s beer garden after a walk with the dogs, and joked to each other, ‘If we could run a pub, this would be the one’.

“Today our dream is a reality. We’ve built a great team, with the company growing from within, starting, staying, stretching themselves, each with the drive to be the best and looking for a long-term career in what is still a great industry.”

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