CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

All change at the historic Royal Kings Arms in Lancaster

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 November 2018

The Ballroom

The Ballroom

Archant

A massive investment programme means the good times are back at a hotel which has a remarkable history

Bob Warrior (General Manager), Tze Devine (Head Chef), Tony Flanagan (MD), Danielle Johnstone (Brasserie Restaurant Manager) and Dina Baird (Front of House)Bob Warrior (General Manager), Tze Devine (Head Chef), Tony Flanagan (MD), Danielle Johnstone (Brasserie Restaurant Manager) and Dina Baird (Front of House)

It may be called the Royal Kings Arms but you would hardly expect to find Edward VII in the gents’ lavatory. But then, this is a hotel full of fascinating quirks befitting one of Lancashire’s most historic inns.

The hotel, in Lancaster’s Market Street, has been a focal point for generations of locals. Many of them were married there. But it is fair to say this landmark fell on hard times in recent years. General manager Bob Warrior sums it up: ‘It was run down and neglected – it wasn’t really the place to be seen.’

He and his team, backed by new business owners from the area, are well on the way to changing all that with what appears to be an eye-watering level of investment. ‘We are transforming it into Lancaster’s luxury boutique hotel,’ adds Bob proudly. Many will think it long overdue.

The original hotel was built in the 1620s. Louis XIV was obviously impressed by the place because he bought it in 1666 although no one seems sure why. He even imported large tapestries with borders designed by Rubens to adorn some of the public rooms.

Royal Kings ArmsRoyal Kings Arms

Charles Dickens stayed there twice and the place was immortalised in his short story, The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices. His second visit was with fellow novelist Wilkie Collins, regarded as the father of the British detective story.

Its Royal appendage was adopted when Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV, set up home there during an extended visit north.

The Prince of Wales, later to become Edward VII, was also a guest and that accounts for his rather splendid full-size portrait in what could be described as a modern day throne room.

It wasn’t all good news. A devastating fire resulted in it being rebuilt in 1879 and that is pretty much the building you see today. While it’s a striking edifice, it wasn’t a particularly well-built one. Structural engineers informed the new owners that it was leaning forward into the street at an alarming angle. Twenty tonnes of concrete have stabilised it, paving the way for a top-to-tail restoration project which is aimed at maintaining the history while providing contemporary high-end facilities. This has been the task of local designer Kyra McDaid, who has used exclusive Zoffany wallpapers to great effect.

Goosnargh Duck Breast- cooked pink with fondont potato, savoy cabbage and fresh cherriesGoosnargh Duck Breast- cooked pink with fondont potato, savoy cabbage and fresh cherries

The aim is to make it a luxury destination for visitors coming to Lancaster to see the sights and for couples getting married.

The first completed stage was The Brasserie located on the ground floor. Here, head chef Tze Devine and her team provide an extensive à la carte menu specialising in regional produce, with signature dishes such as locally sourced fresh grilled lobster. They also serve morning coffee and afternoon teas.

Further work has been carried to create a new first-floor residents’ lounge and bar, the front of the building has been painted, there’s a new reception, a private dining room and a Japanese-style garden is being built at the back.

Future renovations will include an update to the hotel’s grand ballroom, with its stunning chandelier already restored, and the hotel’s 55 letting rooms.

The BrasserieThe Brasserie

One of the more adventurous developments has been the Crypt, which is designed to give Lancaster’s nightlife a boost with a sophisticated basement cocktail and champagne bar.

‘The hotel hasn’t served the people of Lancaster well in recent times and we want to address that,’ adds Bob. It looks like a happy ending for this Grade II listed building – which is more than you can say for one of its guests from much earlier times, a young bride poisoned by her husband after just two days of marriage. While the groom was hanged, the incident didn’t seem to affect trade. In fact, the then owner began a tradition of giving his guests a small slice of wedding cake after their dinner – something Bob plans to revive...but maybe not for wedding parties.

More from Out & About

00:00

With the West Pennine Moors and the summits of Rivington Pike and Winter Hill right on its doorstp, Bolton has plenty of options for walkers.

Read more
Bolton

Lytham Hall was the spectacular setting for a glittering weekend of steam engines, tractors, cars and family fun.

Read more

Barrowford is one of Lancashire’s most stylish towns but it also has some quirky tales to tell

Read more

The busy West Lancashire village of Parbold scores highly for natural beauty and community spirit

Read more

The two-and-a-half year initiative to preserve the remains of the copper mines.

Read more
Coniston
Thursday, November 8, 2018

Books by Lancashire writer Paula Daly are being filmed in the Lakes by the Broadchurch team for a six-part TV drama starring Rochdale’s Anna Friel

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fact and fiction merge to create a tale of murder and kidnap in a novel based on Rufford Old Hall by National Trust volunteer Margaret Lambert

Read more

Liverpool has always buzzed, even in its darker days, but today it’s booming, and underpinning the resurgence are institutions with roots deep in the Merseyside soil

Read more
Liverpool
Friday, November 2, 2018

With carpets of damp fallen leaves and rotting deadwood covering woodlands, autumn is the time when fungi of all shapes and sizes thrive. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Molly Toal explores the mushroom kingdom.

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

An ancient system for training troops in the use of the longbow has been revived in Lancashire

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

John Lenehan grabs his broomstick and takes us on a journey through some of Lancashire’s loveliest countryside.

Read more
Ribble Valley Walks Pendle Hill
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Canicross is one of the fastest growing sports and it has arrived in the Lake District. Irene Rothery reports

Read more
Dogs Lake District Walks

Having 10,000 students on the doorstep is helping this West Lancashire town centre to thrive

Read more

In 1972, a hoard of ancient silver coins was discovered in Prestwich. These days, they’re hoping to strike gold with an unbeatable mix of community, creativity and independent shops but for one craftsperson, silver is still the way to go.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search