Nelson’s Cheese & Ale House in Blandford Forum re-opens following a £160K refurbishment

Nelson’s Cheese & Ale House in Blandford Forum re-opens following a £160K refurbishment

The attractive pub on Salisbury Street has been smartened up thanks to a £160K refurbishment by Star Pubs & Bars, and the Martins. New comfortable armchairs and button-back booth seating, painted panelling, and a feature fire all add to the warm and welcoming ambience of the pub. Its traditional stone and wooden flooring, exposed brickwork and panelling have all been restored and giving a new lease of life. A new kitchen has also been installed, enabling the pub to offer proper pub food from January for the first time in years, and the pool-table area has been reconfigured to provide additional seating for diners. The outside of the pub has also been redecorated, including new external signage added and the beer garden enhanced with a larger decking area and rose garden.

Locals, Samantha-Jade and Janie took on the pub in February and have already turned around its fortunes, increasing business threefold and creating six jobs. They expect to take on further staff once the food is established. The Martins are experienced licensees having run pubs in the area for many years, including the Old Ox Inn in Shillingstone, which they ran for 17 years.

Samantha-Jade said: “The whole family is involved – my mother is the chef – and I’m running the pub front of house with help from my sisters and my father.  People love the fact that the family is hands-on and tell us it shows in the atmosphere and warm personal reception. I’ve always wanted to run my own business and can think of no-one I’d rather do it with than my mother. She is a fabulous cook. People have always loved her wholesome traditional British dishes. We’re thrilled by the transformation at the pub. I now hope that the introduction of food from January together with our new management will mean licensing restrictions will be lifted allowing us to cater for families with children under 14. Sadly, we have been prevented from doing so to-date. We want the pub to be for the whole community. Local support in Blandford Forum has been overwhelming and everyone is excited by the refurbishment.  I am looking forward to thanking everyone when they next visit the pub.” 

Lawson Mountstevens, Managing Director of Star Pubs & Bars said: “Samantha-Jade and Janie have done a great job since taking on the pub in February. Their experience and enthusiasm have transformed its fortunes. HEINEKEN is a passionate supporter of the great British pub and is investing in pubs like The Nelson’s Cheese & Ale House to ensure they deliver excellent quality, attract customers and thrive at the heart of their communities for years to come. The refurbishment enables the pub to offer food and has created a comfortable and inviting interior, which locals can enjoy and will help Samantha-Jade and Janie grow their business further.”

Nelson’s Cheese & Ale House will be holding a festive evening on 15th December featuring live music, mulled cider, and mince pies to celebrate the pub’s reopening and get everyone in a Christmas mood.  They’re also planning a New Year’s Eve party, a celebration of the year ahead and the pub’s new lease of life.