New licensee at the helm of riverside pub in Kent

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

In full flow: new licensee Rachel Webb has already begun implementing new ideas at the Boathouse
In full flow: new licensee Rachel Webb has already begun implementing new ideas at the Boathouse

Related tags Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators Property

Shepherd Neame has put a new GM in place at the Boathouse pub where three rivers meet in Yalding, Kent.

Rachel Webb, 40, who has worked in the hospitality industry since her teens, has swapped life at a large pub and restaurant in busy Bexleyheath for the more tranquil setting of the riverside pub near Maidstone.

But she knows her time there won’t be quiet because the venue is always fully booked and buzzing from spring through to autumn, where customers enjoy alfresco drinks and dining with views of the River Medway, River Beult and River Teise.

She also plans to start a table service to the boats that moor alongside the site.

Previous experience

Originally from Crawley, West Sussex, Webb spent her career working for a number of pub chains including Mitchells & Butlers, Marston’s and Stonegate, where she ran the Grade II-listed Danson Stables in Bexleyheath.

Webb said: “I initially went into hospitality because I love people and thought I could pull a pint. I progressed quickly in the industry and am used to managing massive teams and juggling everything that goes with that.

“But the higher I went with some of my previous employers, which were large chains, the more I realised I wanted to get back to a more personal approach – I wanted to get back to what I loved when I started and get my passion back for the industry.

“Here at the Boathouse, I think I have found that. We are already incredibly busy in the summer months so my focus is looking at what else we can offer our locals that will keep them coming back to us throughout the year.”

dan chef and boathouse
Chef Dan Archer and the inside of the Boathouse

Live music plans

She plans to start opening for breakfast and will be staging more live music and some small events and promotions during the week to encourage families, parents at home with young children and retired customers to visit. A new menu has also been introduced.

Parts of the pub date back to the 16th century and one area she is hoping to revive is the Edith Nesbit room, transforming it into a private function room. The pub, formerly the Anchor, includes a display dedicated to the author, best known for The Railway Children​, and even featured in her romantic novel, Salome and the Head​.

Webb’s partner, Dan Archer, has also joined the Boathouse kitchen team and is working alongside head chef, Zine Abdi, as sous chef.

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