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Shepherd Neame takes over The Coastguard in St Margaret's Bay, Dover

Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame has taken over historic seaside pub The Coastguard in St Margaret’s Bay.

Dating back more than 300 years, The Coastguard has panoramic sea views across the small bay, and is Britain’s nearest pub to France.

It was officially taken over by the brewery on Monday, January 11, and it will be closed for up to eight weeks for a £160,000 refurbishment to be carried out.

Tom and Karensa Miller in front of The Coastguard at St Margaret's Bay
Tom and Karensa Miller in front of The Coastguard at St Margaret's Bay

Work will include repainting the pub inside and out, refurbishing the toilets, installing a new fireplace, and new lighting and decorations. An outside bar and barbecue will also be installed, as well as kitchen improvements.

Licensees Tom and Karensa Miller, who have run the Zetland Arms in Kingsdown since 2013, will be expanding their business by taking on the pub.

Mrs Miller, 36, said: “Before we took on the Zetland Arms, Tom was working as a pipe fitter, so it was a complete change of lifestyle for us, but I had worked in pubs since I was 18 and Tom had grown up in them, so we decided to go for it.

"We never dreamed that we would have a second pub within three years, but when we saw The Coastguard was available, it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

"It is in a fantastic location, and we already have a great relationship with Shepherd Neame.

The Coastguard at St Margaret's Bay
The Coastguard at St Margaret's Bay
Tom and Karensa Miller at The Coastguard at St Margaret's Bay
Tom and Karensa Miller at The Coastguard at St Margaret's Bay

"We can see a lot of potential in the pub, particularly for events and functions as there is so much room.

“Everything has been going really well at the Zetland Arms and we love what we do, so we are really excited about expanding our business with The Coastguard.”

The pair received the New Licensee of the Year Award at the 2014 Shepherd Neame Pub awards, and Wine Pub of the Year at the 2015 awards.

Mr Miller, 39, said: “We thought the Zetland Arms would be predominantly a summer pub, but we built a reputation for great food so we are busy all year round, and we hope to do the same with The Coastguard. We can’t wait to get started.”

There will be freshly ground coffee, Shepherd Neame’s Kentish ales and wines, and a menu of light bites and main meals available.


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