Hampshire’s oldest pub is undergoing a £240,000 revamp to give it a fresh new look

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A PUB that dates back to the 12th Century is looking to the future and has undergone a £240,000 refurbishment.   

The Red Lion, in Chalton, is the one of the oldest pubs in Hampshire and has kept its original style and personality, such as the cosy open fire for the winter.

Tracy Richards, landlady at the recently refurbished Red Lion public house at Chalton

Tracy Richards, landlady at the recently refurbished Red Lion public house at Chalton

Manager Tracey Richards, from Denmead, has worked for pub owners Fuller’s for five years.

The 48-year-old, who was previously the manager for the Old House at Home in Havant, said that the pub was looking great after its recent work.  

She said: ‘We’ve had the dining room opened out so we can have bigger parties.

‘We also had the back room done as a function room. Now we can do functions for about 50 people so we can hold birthday parties and things like that.

‘We’ve got an al fresco dining area outside which has bought a lot of revenue to the place. The view of the pub is absolutely fantastic. It’s just countryside, it’s absolutely beautiful.’

As well as party functions, the Red Lion also hosts public events. Shakespeare in the Garden was a hit earlier this month, bringing in more locals who will hopefully become regulars.

Tracey said that her favourite thing about being the manager of the pub is meeting new people and making sure that regulars love the pub and come back.

‘Regulars love the new refurbishment,’ she said. 

‘We have had some great feedback. Even the old regulars who have been coming for years love it.’

The refurbishment cost £240,000 and despite including a lot of work like extensions, only took tradesman three weeks to complete so that Tracey could open her pub as soon as possible.

The pub firm used the refurbishment as a chance to overhaul its food menu too, introducing new signature fish dishes.

Tracey said: ‘We want to be a bit different in the area and serve more than just traditional pub grub. We have about six or seven fish dishes every day and they’re going down really well. It’s sort of our chef’s signature.’

However, Tracey said the steak and mushroom ale pie, which is cooked in-house, is still the pub’s most popular dish. 

Thanks to the expansion of both function rooms and the menu, the refurbishment has also opened up more jobs. 

So far, six new waitresses have been hired and the pub is still looking for a chef.

For Tracey, the refurbishment has been perfect. 

She said: ‘It’s been really busy and I just love the pub, it’s absolutely stunning.’

To book a table or find out more about the Red Lion you can visit their website or contact Tracey on (023) 9259 2246.