Family opens historic pub after makeover

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

The Railway Hotel, Faversham, Kent opens after makeover

Related tags Kent Shepherd neame Property

A husband-and-wife team have just reopened historic inn the Railway Hotel in Kent after an extensive transformation.

Donna and David Davis took on the Shepherd Neame pub, a Grade II listed building dating back to the 1850s, at the end of July.

It is located in Faversham opposite the town’s train station.

The couple have three sons, and the whole family have chipped in to get the business up and running.

Ollie, 18, is working as a team member at the bar, while 21-year-old Ben’s fiancée Sarah Beeney has taken on the role of bar manager.

The couple also enlisted help from other family members and friends to undertake extensive refurbishment of the pub’s spacious bar area and seven en-suite bedrooms during the past few weeks before it reopened to the public on 18 August.

David, 44, has previously worked in pubs in Surrey at the end of the 1990s, while Donna has worked on the bar at the old Wembley Stadium.

However, this is their first time running a pub.

Family history

David owns a garage in Margate and Dona’s been running a nursery in Westgate-in-Sea for the past seven years.

But around three years ago, they began thinking of ways they could build a family business, and a pub seemed ideal.

David, who lives with Donna and their sons in Westgate-on-Sea, said: “The Railway Hotel is such a beautiful building in the heart of Faversham, and we could see it had a huge amount of potential. We contacted Shepherd Neame with our ideas for the business, and we were delighted when they gave us the go-ahead to take it on.”

The pub’s Carriage Restaurant is currently closed while the team continues to work on a refurbishment of the kitchen, but they plan to begin offering food again next month, introducing a new menu of traditional pub classics and light bites.

Exciting plans ahead

David said: “We have a long road ahead, but we are pleased at what we have achieved so far.

“We are really looking forward to the Hop Festival this weekend, as it is the perfect opportunity for us to introduce ourselves and welcome customers old and new.

A full line-up of music is planned, with 13 bands over the three days, and more than a dozen family members and friends will help out during what David hopes will be a very busy weekend for the pub.

He added: “It’s definitely the hardest thing that we have ever done, but we are really enjoying the challenge, and are incredibly excited about creating a family business together in such a unique, characterful pub.”

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