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The oldest hotel in the UK looking for new owner

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co has brought to the market The Lowther Hotel and The Drake Inn, both located in the heart of the historic town of Goole, in East Yorkshire.

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The Grade II* listed Lowther Hotel was built in 1824, operating as a hotel since its inception. It was officially named the oldest in the UK in 2016, after the Royal Clarence Hotel burnt down, receiving a Blue Plaque to commemorate this in 2017. Comprising three storeys, the main building features 12 en suite guest bedrooms, private functions rooms known as the ‘Mural Rooms’, The Aire and Calder Function Suite, and two licensed venues, Eddie’s Bar & Bistro and the Voodoo Chilli Nightclub. 

The cobbled courtyard to the rear of the hotel, which has been used for open air events, leads to the Coach House, a bar and events space which is often utilised for private parties, the Coco Havana Bar, and the JD Grill diner and takeaway. The additional venues are also accessible via a separate street entrance, allowing patrons from outside the hotel to visit too. 

Situated on the same street, The Drake operates as a pub and sports bar which offers guest accommodation in the form of 10 guest letting rooms. The fully restored inn features a main trading area with a bar and restaurant seating, currently only serving breakfast for guests, plus a decked terrace outside with TVs, ideal for screening sporting events. 

Both sites have a rich history and provide an integral insight into the heritage of the town of Goole, which the current owners have dedicated significant investment and effort into restoring and maintaining. With its location adjacent to the docks, overlooking the River Ouse, the Lowther Hotel has a strong maritime background, having been previously owned by the Aire and Calder Navigation Company, who built the docks and canal. The Drake was originally built as a bank in the 1880s, described as ‘the most prestigious banking hall in all of England’, and was owned by Barclays, before falling into disrepair in recent years. 

The Lowther Hotel and The Drake were purchased in 2008 and 2014, respectively, by the current owners, Julie and Howard Duckworth, who run the award winning Julie Howard Partnership, restoring and developing properties. Both sites underwent massive renovation and investment projects aimed at recovering their original features and enhancing the buildings to retain their integrity. Julie and Howard, who were awarded the Heritage Angels Award for ‘Best Rescue of a Heritage Site' by Historic England for their work on the two sites, have now decided to sell due to the ill health of one of the partners and their desire to spend more time with their family members. 

Mr & Mrs Duckworth comment, “After much soul searching, the family have decided that with Howard’s illness and with Julie being past retirement age, it has become evident over the last year or so that The Lowther and The Drake deserve someone else with the passion and drive to take them forward to the next level. 

“Goole represents an exciting opportunity with a host of major firms looking to boost the local economy with significant investment.  These include Siemens who are investing £160 million to build a train factory, Croda’s recent announcement of a £7 million distribution hub and an investment of £10 million by Y Pellets for a biomass factory. All this will be on the new industrial park, off the M62 at junction 36 Goole, which is within a mile of the hotel.

“This is an amazing opportunity in an up and coming location.” 

Mark Worley, Director at Christie & Co who is handling the sale, comments, “We are very pleased to be able to market two buildings of such historic significance, however from a business perspective, there is also much to be excited about. The Lowther includes several other related income streams which all complement each other, whilst The Drake, although adjacent and opposite, provides further cross selling business opportunities.”

Christie & Co is seeking offers for the freehold interest of The Lowther Hotel and The Drake off an asking price of £1,400,000, also with the option to purchase just The Lowther Hotel complex, without The Drake.


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