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Royal Victoria Pavilion opens in Ramsgate as Wetherspoon's largest UK pub

By Jodie Nesling

The UK's largest Wetherspoon pub has opened - and all you need to do is choose which of the 347 tables to sit at.

The Royal Victoria Pavilion on Harbour Parade was opened by Ramsgate mayor Cllr Trevor Shonk at 8am.

It employs 151 staff serving up to 1,400 customers at any time.

Crowds join Mayor of Ramsgate Cllr Trevor Shonk as he cuts the ribbon to open the new Pavilion. Picture: Paul Amos
Crowds join Mayor of Ramsgate Cllr Trevor Shonk as he cuts the ribbon to open the new Pavilion. Picture: Paul Amos

Pub owner Wetherspoon’s has transformed the Grade II listed building and has remained faithful to the original 1903 design, which has been derelict for 10 years.

The former casino closed in 2008 and the building then suffered fire damage in 2011.

The £4 million renovation, which started last October, features replica pillars and banisters with even the bars mimicking the former theatre serving areas.

Mayor Cllr Trevor Shonk pulls a pint watched by manager Chris Whitbourn
Mayor Cllr Trevor Shonk pulls a pint watched by manager Chris Whitbourn

Opened by Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise the Duchess of Argyll in 1904, the building fell into disrepair and has been vacant for eight years.

Now with a new lease of life, there are plans for beer festivals, quizzes and exhibitions throughout the year.

Sunday Times food critic's review has caused a storm on social media. Picture: Paul Amos
Sunday Times food critic's review has caused a storm on social media. Picture: Paul Amos

The colossal pub features artwork by local artists and original drafts of the earlier building.

The 16,500sq ft premises has other features, including a chaise longue and beauty table in the women’s toilets.

Managers Chris Whitbourn and Charlotte Mason Picture: Paul Amos
Managers Chris Whitbourn and Charlotte Mason Picture: Paul Amos

There are nods to the building’s historic past and namesake Queen Victoria, with portraits and original architect drawings displayed throughout.

Manager Chris Whitbourn said: “We knew how important the building was to the community, so have tried to keep it was original as possible. We plan to have local ales on tap and are very keen to host events.”

Mayor Cllr Trevor Shonk and Mayoress Mandy Shonk enjoy a drink in the new bar Picture: Paul Amos
Mayor Cllr Trevor Shonk and Mayoress Mandy Shonk enjoy a drink in the new bar Picture: Paul Amos

The pub has 347 tables, 18 ale hand-pulls and 54 lager and cider taps.

Food will remain similar to the national menu but pizza will also be on the menu with two specialist ovens built for the kitchen.

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