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Insight: Country pub market activity across the home counties in Q1

2022 has kicked off to a strong start for the country pub market across the Home Counties, with Christie & Co’s Hospitality team completing on six individual pub sales across the region during March alone.

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Tim Widdows

Tim Widdows

Associate Director - Pubs & Restaurants

The unprecedented cost and inflationary pressures currently facing the sector have not been enough to halt the market or curb buyer demand for pubs across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. We have seen a flurry of market activity in these areas since January, with retirement being a key driver for sales.

There is a good mix of buyers continuing to look for opportunities outside of city-centres – a trend which has resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift towards drinking and dining out and working closer to home. First-time buyers, young operators, small expanding operators and couple teams in particular have come to the fore, suggesting market sentiment is positive and country/rural pubs remain an attractive investment option.

Here's a recap of sales across the region since January…

Baron Cadogan

This large, leased pub in an affluent part of Reading was sold to Clays Kitchen, a well-known, award winning local restaurant who required bigger premises. The demand for their beautifully crafted food meant that a bigger site was their only option. A fantastic new edition to the emerging dining scene in Caversham, Reading.

Oxford Arms

This award-winning, 19th century country pub in Kirtlington, Oxfordshire was purchased by a local operator expanding his portfolio with a third site. The existing operators ran the business for 30 years and decided to relocate to Scotland, purchasing their new business through Christie & Co’s Scottish Hospitality team.

Kings Lodge

Located in Hunton Bridge, Hertfordshire this characterful 17th century property was sold due to retirement, to an experienced operator who is getting back into the pub industry after a long break.

The Lamb

Boasting a picturesque village location in Little Milton, South Oxfordshire, this traditional thatched pub came to market as the previous owners were looking to retire. The business was purchased by a young couple who left their city jobs to fulfil their long-standing dream of buying a pub.

Horse and Jockey

This hugely popular country pub located in the heart of Ravensden, Bedfordshire and featuring a large beer garden was sold to an existing operator/investor who is looking to expand his portfolio, indicating signs of renewed confidence in the market.

The Coach and Horses

A cosy family-run 16th century inn, The Coach and Horses was sold to Barkby Pub Co, an ambitious pub company expanding their presence in the hospitality sector across the south. The pub is set to reopen shortly following a substantial refurbishment.

We are seeing lots of encouraging signs in the market at the moment which indicate confidence is returning to the sector. There is a broad range of operators buying across the Home Counties, from first time buyers to expanding pub groups and investors. It’s particularly satisfying seeing the return of young, first time operators buying pubs to run, pursuing their dreams to create fantastic and memorable hospitality businesses.

The industry has shown tremendous resilience over the past two years and the British public has returned the favour by showing its support. We are very optimistic about the market in the year ahead.

Across the board, the pub market is buoyant and buyer appetite for country/rural pubs remains strong, making it a great time to consider selling.

Get in touch:

Tim Widdows

Business Agent - Licensed

M +44 (0) 7795 037 676

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