Short Breaks - The Crown at High Newton, Newton-in-Cartmel,
PUBLISHED: 16:06 23 April 2012 | UPDATED: 21:18 20 February 2013
The demise of the country pub has been greatly exaggerated if The crown is anything to go by. Roger Borrell reports
When Broadway ruled the theatrical world, people who pumped hard cash into new shows were known in the business as Angels. Today, people who risk the contents of their piggy bank on a rural pub are generally known as Lunatics.
Happily for the people of a small south Lakes village called High Newton, near Cartmel, one such Lunatic happened through their community and spotted The Crown, unloved, unkempt and unopened for 12 months.
Inside, Graham Kennedy discovered a scene not unlike the Marie Celeste. It was as if the people who had run the 17th Century pub just popped out one day never to return. Once they got past the cobwebs and dust, the new owners found the previous occupants hadnt even emptied the deep fat fryer. It tells you all you need to know that the preferred method for dealing with a leaky radiator in the bar had been to put a towel under it.
Graham, a smart businessman with experience in property renovation, put in a cheeky offer and was taken aback when it was accepted. I had to ring the wife and say Weve done something mad weve bought a pub.
With rural inns closing at an alarming rate, she probably found it hard to disagree. However, like all businesses, if you provide a high quality product, you stand a fair chance of making a go of it. Thats what Graham and his team, manager Lesley Butler and head chef Crawford Campbell, have been doing.
They started off with the creation of an attractive traditional bar, all beams and dogs snoozing by the fire, and a relaxing dining room.
They then began on the upstairs where a major overhaul led to the opening of seven very smart bedrooms. Working within the confines of a 300-year-old building, they brought in stylish furnishings and modern facilities such as wall mounted TVs and rain showers.
In the dining room, Crawford Campbell, formerly of Gleneages and The Newport Rooms, Bermuda, has put together two menus, one of well-cooked pub standards and an a la carte providing some nice surprises and specialising in seasonal produce aimed at the fine dining end of the market. Breakfasts are the kind that would keep a fell-walker going without the need of a lunch break.
Surprisingly, this has been Graham Kennedys one and only foray into the pub trade. The locals have welcomed him with open arms but the planners less so. They have been reluctant to install all but the most basic signage to direct customers off the beaten track towards the Crown.
Dont be put off look out for the sparkling 1930s Austin Seven, immaculately liveried to provide a mobile advert for The Crown.
The Crown at High Newton, Newton-in-Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, LA11 6JH. 015395 30613
The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
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