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Posted: 25th August 2023

Independent family brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame has reopened historic pub The Duke of Cumberland in the heart of Whitstable after a stunning £1.8 million transformation.

Dating back to 1867, the building has been completely refurbished inside and out, with care taken to retain and refurbish its original features – including a Grade II Listed bar – while invigorating it with a contemporary and stylish feel.

The 14-week renovation project to the pub, located in the centre of the bustling coastal town, has been completed to the highest standard, with a classic feel of wood and leather complemented by a softer beach-inspired colour scheme as a nod to its seaside location. 

In addition to a complete refurbishment of the bar and dining room, the pub’s courtyard garden has also undergone a stylish transformation, with a spacious new decking area and an outside kitchen. A new external function room, named The Boatyard, has also been created in the courtyard, which has its own bar and is available to book for private events.

Guests can relax in style in one of the pub’s eight boutique bedrooms, each boasting its own distinctive style and character. Whitstable has long been famous for its oysters, and each of the rooms is named after an historic oyster fishing vessel, known as a ‘yawl’ or ‘smack’, built in the town. A comfortable stay is guaranteed with a luxury pocket-sprung mattress, Drench shower and Nespresso coffee machine in every room, along with a flat screen Smart TV and complimentary high speed WiFi. 

The pub also boasts a delicious new menu, with freshly prepared food served every day, using the finest seasonal local produce. As you might expect from the pub’s coastal location, freshly caught seafood is a speciality, with dishes including whole grilled lemon sole served with seaweed butter, samphire and buttered Nichola potatoes, along with the classic Whitstable Bay beer battered haddock and chips served with pea purée – which is also available to takeaway.

The menu also offers a range of tasty new sharing platters, including the Hop Picker’s Board, drawing upon the pub’s Garden of England location, which features mushroom and walnut pate with sage butter, capers, houmous with harissa beans, charred cauliflower, toasted almonds with romesco sauce, halloumi fries, Kentish tomato relish, sourdough and butter.

And there are a tempting range of puddings on offer including Clock House Farm strawberry and cherry Eton Mess using fresh Kentish fruit.

The Duke of Cumberland also has an extensive range of drinks on offer, from Shepherd Neame’s award-winning range of craft ales and lagers to a selection of acclaimed English wines, along with premium Kentish spirits and cocktails.

New General Manager, Tina Kennedy, brings a wealth of experience to the role as she moves from nearby Shepherd Neame pub The Royal at Tankerton, which she has run for the past six years. 

She said: “It is a real honour to be asked to take on the Duke of Cumberland following this major transformation. It is a fantastic to see Shepherd Neame making such a major investment in the town, and I’m excited about welcoming locals and visitors to see just what we have to offer here.”

The pub was previously renowned for its live music events, and Tina, who frequented the pub as a teenager growing up in the area, plans to retain that tradition with regular jazz and swing nights at the pub, along with sunset acoustic evenings.

Managing Director, Pubs, Jonathon Swaine, said: “We are incredibly proud to reopen The Duke of Cumberland after this extensive refurbishment project.

“The renovation has been completed to a very high standard, and we hope that both locals and visitors to the town will enjoy seeing the amazing work which has been carried out to ensure such a much-loved pub continues to be a lively local for many years to come.

“It has also been a number of years since the pub’s rooms have been available for guests to stay in, and it has been a labour of love for Shepherd Neame to bring them back into use. We look forward to welcoming guests to enjoy a relaxing stay with us.”

The Duke of Cumberland reopened to the public on Thursday, August 24. Customers can enjoy an acoustic set from Whitstable-based musician Dave Shepherd from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, August 25.

You can find the Duke of Cumberland at High Street, Whitstable, CT5 1AP, call 01227 280617 or to book a table or a room visit