A historic north Northumberland pub has been transformed following a £1.3million redevelopment.
The Plough on the Hill, in Allerdean, near Ford and Etal Estates, is getting ready for its grand opening on September 8.
The transformation has been overseen by Robert and Sarah Kinsley who are eagerly anticipating the big day – just a fortnight after their wedding.
Robert, sales manager at the nearby Haggerston Castle Holiday Park, said: “We used to come up here for lunch from time to time when it was the ‘old’ Plough. One day we heard it was up for sale and we started thinking about it.”
Sarah added: “There was a point when we thought there was maybe too much to do but then we thought; why not?”
The pair decided that they would throw everything at it to make it a success.
“It’s been a massive project,” said Robert. “At times we’ve had up to 40 builders and contractors working on it.”
Work started in January and, while the original shell of the building has been retained, it is virtually unrecognisable from what stood there before.
The interior is bedecked with African artefacts – a nod to the pair’s love of the continent – and magnificent French oak tables made from 140-year-old former railway sleepers.
Robert is an enthusiastic cook himself so he has a keen interest in the kitchen.
He was delighted to bring Gary McLean, winner of 2016 MasterChef: The Professionals, on board as executive chef.
“It’s quite a coup,” he admitted. “Gary has been offered jobs in some of the top restaurants in the world but has chosen to come and head up our kitchen at the Plough on the Hill (Kingsleys). He won’t just be a figurehead.”
The team is complemented by Tom Shutt and Trevor McArdle, while Robert’s brother, Mark, will be in charge of front-of-house operations.
The menu features the best seasonal produce from Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. There is also a gin bar, fine wines and a range of cask ales and craft lagers.
Robert said: “We’re not a fine-dining restaurant but we will offer top-quality produce in a gastropub-style way. We really want families to come and spend time here, so we’re pricing it accordingly.”
There are also plans for regular live music and a minibus service so guests can enjoy a drink without driving.