Local friends join forces to acquire Sutton pub with rooms and bring business back to life

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A pub with rooms in Sutton has reopened after a complete refurbishment by its new owners who wanted to bring the business back to its heyday.

The White Horse Inn is a Grade-II listed 18th century building with eight bedrooms owned by locals Odile Griffith, John Connolly, who joined together with Chris and Ali Booth to acquire the inn in 2017 from previous pub company owners.

The aim was to transform the pub so it can play a ‘pivotal role’ in local life for years to come, with the renovation carried out across both the bedrooms and public areas.

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Each of the eight bedrooms – five set in the main house and three in the rear garden (one in a refurbished cottage and two in a newly constructed luxury lodge) – bears the name of a fêted race horse, inspired by the owners’ passion for horseracing and the pub’s proximity to Goodwood Racecourse.

The kitchen will be led by head chef Jonny Trent, who previous experience includes roles at Michelin-starred Number 6 in Padstow and at Goodwood Hotel.

He has created new menus to be served in the ground-floor pub space.

Husband-and-wife team, general manager Billy Lewis-Bowker (formerly of Crab & Lobster, Sidlesham) and guest relations manager, Emma Lewis-Bowker have been part of the team since the new owners purchased The White Horse Inn.

Principal shareholder, Odile Griffith, said: “We are passionate about the future of The White Horse and we have had excellent support locally for the extensive work necessary to establish a contemporary and stylish inn in our beautiful historic building. There has been an inn on this site since 1748 and the White Horse Inn now has a new lease of life. It remains an integral part of village life as we welcome new guests to this extraordinarily beautiful part of the English countryside.”

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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