The Inn Collection Group grows portfolio with the acquisition of first Lakes property

The Inn Collection Group is to open its ninth site after completing the acquisition of landmark Lake District property The Waterhead Hotel.

The Inn Collection Group has purchased the freehold 24-bedroom property on its four-acre Coniston Water site from the Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance. 

The purchase of The Waterhead Hotel by the north-east based operator comes as the group prepares to open a £4m new-build unit in Amble, Northumberland and follows the completion of a major investment and expansion programme across its sites. 

Managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are absolutely delighted to add The Waterhead Hotel to our portfolio as we continue our ‘buy and build’ strategic growth plans.

“The Lake District has been a prime focus destination for our company and the addition of this impressive property in such an idyllic location will further enhance our offering to leisure and business customers.

“We will continue to seek to grow our portfolio with selective acquisitions of units and new development opportunities that fit with The Inn Collection Group’s blueprint of providing quality accommodation, food and beverages in outstanding inn environments.”

Thomas Daffurn Director of the Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance said: “This has been a very special day. We wish The Inn Collection Group and The Waterhead Hotel every success in the future as the hotel begins a new chapter in its history.”

The addition of The Waterhead Hotel brings The Inn Collection Group’s portfolio to nine properties trading or under development in the Lake District, Northumberland, County Durham and North Yorkshire. 

Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway advised The Inn Collection Group on the transaction accompanied by Jones Lang Lasalle on pre-acquisition diligence.

Jobs boost as new Amble inn begins recruitment drive

The Inn Collection Group's landmark pub with rooms The Amble Inn will generate a jobs boost in the area as it begins a recruitment drive. 

Operators of The Amble Inn, The Inn Collection Group, have announced they are recruiting for the key roles of general manager, head chef, head housekeeper and assistant managers at the £4m Northumberland hotel, bar and restaurant. 

Further full and part time positions are set to follow, for front of house, bar, housekeeping, maintenance and kitchen staff at the inn which will create the equivalent of 35 full time jobs.

The Inn Collection Group operations manager Paul Brown said: “We are pleased to announce that we are beginning the recruitment process at The Amble Inn.  Generating jobs is a real high point as we progress towards our November opening. We are delighted  to be boosting Amble’s economy with the creation of 35 full-time employment positions in the area.

“This is an excellent opportunity for people to become part of The Inn Collection Group which is a dynamic, fast-growing business with a positive and motivational culture for those working with us. 

“The Amble Inn will provide a range of outstanding opportunities both for people who want to take their career in the hospitality sector to the next level as well as those new to the industry to join our team.”

In keeping with The Inn Collection Group model, The Amble Inn will be open 365 days a year providing value-for-money accommodation, quality drinks including local real ales and serve homemade pub food from breakfast until 9pm. 

The 30-bedroom purpose-built inn is located off the A1068 roundabout leading into Amble.  Once complete, the two-storey building will offer a mix of family, double, twin and accessible rooms. A 150-seat restaurant and bar area with further seating outside, on site car parking and cycle spaces will provide an attractive venue for daytime and evening trade.

The Amble Inn will operate on The Inn Collection Group model of providing value-for-money accommodation, quality beverages including local real ales, and homemade pub fare served all day, 365 days a year.

The Amble Inn, which is being built by Arch, The Northumberland Development Company, is the newest addition to The Inn Collection Group’s portfolio. providing accommodation, food and drink to leisure and business customers.

For more information about opportunities at The Amble Inn or to apply email your CV to




Topping Out of The Amble Inn celebrated

Topping Out at The Amble Inn celebrated

The completion of the structural building work at The Amble Inn which will be operated by The Inn Collection Group has been marked with a topping out at the development site in Coquet Enterprise Park, Amble.

The new 30 bedroomed Inn, developed by Arch and its successor company Advance Northumberland is located off the A1068 leading into Amble from the south, the two-storey building has been designed to provide an attractive venue for daytime and evening trade. 

The investment of £4m is expected to create the equivalent of 35 full time jobs in the town once the building work and fit out completes later this year.

The Inn has been designed with 30 bedrooms including a mix of family and twin rooms, with a 150-seated restaurant and bar with further seating in an external terrace, car parking and cycle spaces.  The development is part of a wider plan to enhance Coquet Enterprise Park and the Inn will contribute to the town’s tourism offer by increasing the accommodation availability and helping to attract additional visitors.

The Inn will operate on the ICG model of providing value-for-money accommodation, quality beverages including local real ales, and homemade pub fare served all day, 365 days a year.The ICG has an expanding portfolio of Inns with rooms across the North East and North Yorkshire.

The Inn Collection Group's managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are excited to have reached this important milestone in the building of The Amble Inn and look forward to the completion of this landmark property.  

Our focus will now be placed on the building’s interior design and build. We will be creating something rather special which, once finished, will be a hugely popular dining and bar area supported with an excellent accommodation offering.

The Amble Inn will be a key driver in supporting Amble’s regional economy with strong job creation and inter trading opportunities as well as providing those who live, work and are visiting Amble with an outstanding new environment to eat, drink and sleep in.”

Richard Wearmouth Chair of Arch said: "This key development will bring quality, new accommodation which would undoubtedly mean more visitors and therefore more business for Amble. The Inn will not only enhance Coquet Enterprise Park as part of our long-term plans for the area but it will also bring much needed jobs to Amble. It’s developments like this which increase the potential for attracting inward investment to benefit Northumberland as a whole.”

Leanne shines as a Durham Tourism Superstar Finalist

Durham Tourism Superstar Finalist is The Kingslodge Inn General Manager Leanne Jeffrey

The Inn Collection Group's Leanne Jeffrey was a finalist in the hotly-contested Durham Tourism Superstar awards. 

Leanne, who is general manager of the Group's Durham city pub with rooms The Kingslodge Inn, was one of just five shining stars who reached the finals of the awards which recognise the dedication and passion of those working in Durham’s tourism industry who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors have a priceless experience in the county.

Leanne said: “I was incredibly proud to have been nominated for these awards and delighted to be a finalist in such a prestigious award for doing something that comes naturally to me and that I love to do. It is such an honour and a great privilege to be recognised in this way. 

“I take so much pleasure in sharing my passion for County Durham with our guests and passing on my knowledge to others, so they enjoy every moment of their time in our fantastic county. 

“I would like to thank everyone who voted for me and look forward to helping more people have a stay in Durham which totally exceeds their expectations.

“Congratulations to all the other finalists and of course to the Durham Tourism Superstar herself, Emily Hope of Beamish - The Living Museum of the North. She is absolutely shines in all she does and is so deserving of this title and I wish her the very best of luck when she flies the flag for Durham in the National Tourism Superstar Finals.”

Ivor Stolliday, chairman of Visit County Durham, said: “The competition is a wonderful way to recognise those individuals working tirelessly in the tourism industry. All of the finalists are incredible and each act as ambassadors for our county, we should all be extremely proud of them.”

Ten out of ten: Staff celebrate decade milestone with The Inn Collection Group

Longstanding employees at The Inn Collection Group celebrated their ten-year work anniversary with the company. 

Together David Barella, Charlotte Turner, Jan Moffett and Maria Badjorova have clocked up over 40 years working with The Inn Collection Group which owns and operates some of the North East’s most popular venues, including The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses, The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal and The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick. 

They were rewarded for their hard work and dedication to the company at a presentation with managing director, Sean Donkin. 

Sean said:  “Loyal and dedicated employees like David, Jan, Charlotte and Maria are the very backbone of our operations. They play a direct role in our continued success as a company, creating award-winning, enjoyable venues from which our customers can eat, drink, sleep and explore from. 

“As a company, we believe in investing in our team and supporting them to develop within the organisation from prime sites such as our flagship inn, The Bamburgh Castle which has been a prime site for incubating and nurturing talented individuals. On behalf of The Inn Collection Group I would like to thank them for their valued service and longstanding contribution to the company.” 

David Barella is head chef at The Bamburgh Castle Inn where he has led the kitchen brigade since the inn opened its doors in 2008. David is instrumental in staff training and takes pride in developing his kitchen team, leading staff to progress their own career journey within the company, from kitchen porter to head chef. 

Jan Moffett is head housekeeper at The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal near Holy Island.  Jan oversaw the refurbishment and expansion of the inn’s bedrooms and has played a key role in developing its walker and cyclist facilities. Jan regularly takes up the mantle of duty manager and supports The Lindisfarne Inn team to be cross-skilled in all areas of the inn’s operations. 

Office manager and PA to Sean Donkin, Charlotte Turner epitomises The Inn Collection Group’s ethos of nurturing staff from within and supporting them to rise through the company’s ranks. Charlotte began her career with The Inn Collection Group as part of The Bamburgh Castle Inn’s front of house team, before progressing to become assistant manager at the group’s top performing inn, before playing a pivotal role in the launch of The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick. Charlotte is the first point of contact within The Inn Collection Group hub and manages its daily office operations. 

Maria Badjorova is assistant manager at The Bamburgh Castle Inn, hailed by the Group as its flagship site, where Maria has been an integral part of the team since its opening ten years ago. Beginning as bar supervisor, Maria has overseen the inn’s continued growth, including its 15-room expansion, the redevelopment of the inn’s premium sea view rooms and most recently the addition of a 13-bedroom annexe.  

  • If you are interested in joining The Inn Collection Group team, opportunities currently exist at The Bamburgh Castle Inn for front of house staff. For more information email 

The Inn Collection Group completes funding deal with OakNorth

The Inn Collection Group completes growth funding deal with OakNorth bank

OakNorth, the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, has provided The Inn Collection Group with finance to fund their expansion.

Established in 2006, The Inn Collection Group has become a market leader in developing contemporary inns providing accommodation, food and drink to leisure and business customers. It currently has 215 rooms across its seven sites, but plans to increase this to almost 300 by 2020 with the OakNorth lending. 

In addition to opening an eighth inn later this year – a 30-bedroom inn in Amble, Northumberland – The Inn Collection Group has added another 13 rooms to The Bamburgh Castle Inn, The Annex, and has refurbished the Seaton Lane Inn that has recently reopened. The Group's growth map also includes the addition of 29 new rooms at its popular Durham city centre operation, The Kingslodge Inn.

The Inn Collection Group’s Managing Director Sean Donkin, said: “Over the last half decade, we’ve embarked on a ‘buy and build’ growth strategy that has seen us become one of the largest private providers of accommodation in North East England. Over the next three years, we will continue to develop and seek out new premises, focusing on sites that fit with our philosophy and the continual evolution of our group, offering high-quality accommodation at value for money prices. Raising funds from OakNorth will pave the way for us to drive these growth plans and focus on the immediate expansion of our pubs with rooms model.”

Stuart Blair, Debt Finance Director at OakNorth, said: “The UK’s hotel industry has seen annual growth of three percent for the last five years, boosted by major events such as the London Olympics, the Royal Wedding, and the Rugby World Cup. The Great Exhibition of the North which is currently underway is expected to give the region’s tourism a further boost, attracting approx. three million people and one million from across the UK.

“The management team at The Inn Collection Group is in a prime position to take advantage of this – we were impressed by their business model, the operational experience of Sean, Keith Liddell and the wider team, as well as the quality of each site. The team have a plan to grow the group by expanding into new sites and locations, and we look forward to working with them to support this.”

Senior team appointments for expanding Inn Collection Group

Paul Brown and Gary Turner join The Inn Collection Group's Senior Management Team expands

Pub operator The Inn Collection Group is on the expansion trail with a duo of senior appointments. 

Expansion plans across the Group’s North East of England stronghold have led to the promotions of Paul Brown as operations manager and Gary Turner as commercial and compliance manager as the company develops its senior team.

Paul, an experienced operations manager who has worked in the sector for 25 years having held roles at Shearings Holidays and J D Wetherspoon plc, joined the Group in 2014 to head up its Cleveland unit, The King’s Head Inn at Newton under Roseberry.  He will spearhead operations and drive performance at the seven-unit site, which is set to open an eighth unit in Northumberland later this year.

Gary, who joined the Group to manage its 53-bedroom operation, The Hog’s Head Inn in Alnwick, Northumberland five years ago, has been promoted to take up a new company role of commercial and compliance manager. He brings with him 17 years leisure and travel tourism industry experience, working in the sector with Bourne Leisure and Haven.

The Inn Collection Group’s managing director Sean Donkin said: “Both Paul and Gary have been tremendous assets to the company since joining and have been involved in operations that have had significant impacts on our performance.

“Their appointments come at a pivotal time for the Group as we begin to roll out strategic ‘buy and build’ growth plans as part of the company’s continued evolution journey. Both Paul and Gary will play an integral role in our expansion while maximizing trading operations at our existing sites.”




We've Father's Day covered

Fathers Day with The Inn Collection Group

Father’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday June 17. Buying the main man in your life the perfect Father’s Day gift is no easy task.

The Inn Collection Group has just the answer with a winning combo of great food, stellar beer in the perfect pub - and a leisurely stay away.

Managing director Sean Donkin and a father-of-three himself said: "Speaking as a father myself, there's nothing better than spending time with your family, whether it's some well earned time away or a meal out that everyone can enjoy together.

"We've inns in fantastic locations to appeal to dads everywhere, whether they love a game of golf, a spot of fishing or just relaxing with a pint and the papers, a stay or meal with The Inn Collection Group would be a very well received gift to give this Father's Day."

Here are Sean's pick of Father's Day favourites: 

For golf-loving dads our inns will suit him to a tee. Surrounded by some of the best golf courses in the country, here’s our pick of where to putt. 

The Lindisfarne Inn – near Goswick, Berwick, Bamburgh and Seahouses golf courses. 
The Hog’s Head Inn – close to Alnwick and Alnmouth golf courses. 

Which dad doesn’t love a pint of real ale in a proper pub with the newspapers? With a fine selection of local ales and the pre requisite comfy corner for dad escapism, our inns certainly hit the spot.

The King’s Head Inn, Newton under Roseberry, North Yorkshire – quintessential country pub with changing guest local guest ales and sun trap beer garden. 

The Kingslodge Inn, Durham City – country pub in the heart of the city with ales from Durham Brewery.

For fishing-dads 

If your dad’s angling for a great gift, look no further than a stay at one of our seaside inns for a stay that will make his day hook, line and sinker.

The Seaton Lane Inn, County Durham – for sea fishing off Durham’s Heritage Coast 

The Bamburgh Castle Inn, Seahouses, Northumberland – find the one that got away off the stunning Northumberland coast

The Commissioners Quay Inn, Blyth, Northumberland – for great rainbow, brown and blue trout river fishing as well as sea angling trips.

Father's Day gift vouchers are available from the inn of your choice of by calling our booking hotline on 0191 580 3610 (during office hours) or for accommodation, book online anytime. 

Annexe is an excellent addition to The Bamburgh Castle Inn

The Bamburgh Castle Inn annexe is now open for bed and breakfast accommodation in Seahouses Northumberland

It's proving an excellent new addition for guests staying at our Seahouses pub with rooms  - The Bamburgh Castle Inn Annexe is now open. 

Newly opened this month, The Bamburgh Castle Inn Annexe includes 13 new en suite rooms in carefully converted former fishermen's cottages adjacent to The Bamburgh Castle Inn building, just a few yards from Seahouses harbour with its beach and colourful boats leaving daily for the Farne Islands. 

The Bamburgh Castle Inn general manager Nicola Austin said: "We delighted with the new Bamburgh Castle Inn annexe. The rooms are beautiful and extremely comfortable. They've been converted to the same AA three star gold standard as our main inn and are a welcome addition to our award-winning inn. 

"We're enjoying excellent feedback from guests and look forward to welcoming visitors coming to stay with us."

The Bamburgh Castle Inn Annexe offers en suite double, twin, single and family room options.  Room rates include a full Northumberland breakfast. 


Rooms fit for a king

Newly refurbished bedrooms at The Kings Head Inn Newton under Roseberry North Yorkshire best room rates

Overnight guests at The King’s Head Inn in North Yorkshire will be bedding down in the inn’s all new bedrooms following a complete refurbishment of the Newton under Roseberry pub's rooms. 

The inn's en suite bedrooms have been updated with a natural palette reflecting the inn’s peaceful, countryside location in Newton under Roseberry.

Original features such as exposed beams, brickwork and a vintage stove have been retained, duck egg tongue and groove paneling line the inn’s fresh-hued en suites, while crisp, white cottons and sage coloured fabrics contribute to a fresh country style. 

Tartan carpets for guests to pad upon and soft furnishings bring a touch of warmth to the rooms in covered 17th century cottages adjacent to the inn, which sits beneath iconic Roseberry Topping.

Chris Moor is general manager of the 12-bedroom Inn Collection Group owned King's Head Inn. He said: “We are absolutely delighted with the makeover to our bedrooms and en suite bathrooms. 

“We have invested significantly in refreshing, enhancing and upgrading our facilities so our guests enjoy staying in a lovely environment with a fresh, new look.  

“We have taken our time over the refurbishment to avoid disruption to our guests, and the end result is certainly worth waiting for. We’re looking forward to welcoming guests to come and enjoy the new King’s Head Inn with us.”

Landmark County Durham pub The Seaton Lane Inn reopens after refurb

It's been closed for a major top to toe refurbishment. And now The Inn Collection Group's The Seaton Lane Inn is open once again with a remarkable new look...

The overhaul includes a total redesign of this landmark County Durham inn’s dining and bar area which has an outdoors-indoors theme, complete with vivid prints; pops of bright, earthy colours and accessories and a blend of contemporary and retro signature furniture and lighting. 

The addition of a bold, botanical-themed orangery complete with water feature and plant walls forms a central showstopper for customers to relax in. 

Each of the inn’s 18 en-suite bedrooms have been refurbished, with signature wallpaper, natural-coloured paneling and metallic detailing. 

In a nod to tradition, the inn’s exterior retains its white upper section, while an olive green ground floor continues the natural theme. 

Seaton resident John Wight was the first customer through the doors. He said: “It’s fantastic. I never envisaged it would look like this – it’s amazing. It’s great to be back. There’s nothing like being at your local, the staff are excellent, you can’t fault them. They are like a family. 

“It’s brilliant to have The Seaton Lane Inn back and looking so beautiful.” 

General manager Paul Brown said: “What a transformation. It is absolutely stunning. The best thing has been seeing people’s reactions when they step inside. We went to great lengths to keep the new interior a secret and the end result is spectacular with real wow-factor. 

“The investment has transformed The Seaton Lane Inn into a sophisticated, yet relaxed place you just won’t want to leave and a tremendous asset for business and consumer guests in County Durham, serving quality homemade food and drink all day, every day as well as providing high-quality, AA four-star accommodation.”

Thirst class effort: Charity ale raises funds for Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team at The King’s Head Inn

A charity ale launched by The King’s Head Inn to support Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team has raised much-needed funds during one of the charity’s busiest ever times.

Customers at The King’s Head Inn have supped their way through a whopping 5,000 pints of the inn’s ‘Thirst Aid’ ale since it was launched  – with 5p from every pint sold going to Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team.

Ken Dunbar of Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team said:  “The money raised by The King’s Head Inn is very timely and very thankfully received and could not have come at a more critical time for us.

“Not only have we just made our biggest-ever investment to rebuild our out-dated base and turn it into a proper, modern environment to store our vehicles and equipment, but because of the Beast from the East visitation, we have had a really busy start to the year.

“Our team was actively involved in supporting local district nurses to help them provide urgent medical assistance to people in the surrounding communities who were snowbound.

“The King’s Head Inn funds are extremely important to us, as a charity with volunteers we are absolutely reliant on the generosity of people who support us with fundraising efforts like the inn and their customers.

Mr Dunbar added: “This has certainly been one of the most enthusiastically embraced fundraising events our team members have enjoyed. Being encouraged to go to the local pub and drink beer with a clear conscience knowing it was all been done in a good cause was brilliant!”

The inn’s ‘Thirst Aid’ ale was launched in 2016 following a competition to name the beer, which takes pride of place on the pub’s bar.

The winning name was suggested by Malcolm Rymer, from Nunthorpe, after The King’s Head Inn teamed up with its local Mountain Rescue Team to help raise funds for the organisation and honour the work they do right on the popular inn’s doorstep.

General manager Chris Moor said: “We’re located in an area that is absolutely central to walkers and is a fantastic playground for outdoors enthusiasts. We wanted to do our bit to support a local charity that provides a real lifeline in the local community.

“The King’s Head Inn enjoys a long-standing connection with Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team, which is now in its 53rd year. As their base is just along the road from us, we’ve enjoyed welcoming many generations of CMRT volunteers in to enjoy our facilities over the years.

“We hope people will continue to raise a glass of Thirst Aid - and funds - for such a worthwhile cause.”

The King’s Head Inn is owned by independent hospitality operators The Inn Collection Group, which is backed by Kings Park Capital. 

Cheers for beers: Blyth inn is cock-a-hop at pulling top ale award

The Commissioners Quay Inn is raising a toast to celebrate pulling a top beer award.

The Blyth inn on Quay Road has been awarded its very first Cask Marque award in recognition of its expertise and commitment to giving customers the perfect glass of beer.

General manager of The Commissioners Quay Inn Daniel Evans said: “As beer aficionados ourselves, we’re a little obsessed about seeking out and serving the very best quality glass of beer to our customers.

“From staff training, robust cellar management and beer care to exemplary glass and bar hygiene, we take absolutely no short cuts in getting it right and take pride in serving and watching our customers enjoy a glass of proper real ale.

“It’s fantastic to get this recognition from Cask Marque which assures us – and our customers – that they are guaranteed a great pint when they step through our doors.”

Cask Marque accreditation is only awarded to licensees whose ale passes a series of rigorous independent beer quality audits.

The Commissioners Quay Inn, which is part of award-winning north east leisure operators The Inn Collection Group, serves a wide range of hand pull ales from breweries including Black Sheep Brewery, Anarchy Brew Company, Hadrian & Border Brewery and Cullercoats Brewery Limited.

The Seaton Lane Inn to reopen on Friday April 6th

Following a tip to toe refurbishment The Seaton Lane Inn will reopen at 12 noon on Friday April 6th. 

A major overhaul of The Inn Collection Group owned, landmark Seaton inn is nearing completion, with customers shortly to experience the inn’s all new redesigned dining area, complete with signature furniture, contemporary lighting and fresh colour schemes.

An expansive orangery promising laid back dining and drinking will adjoin a new bar, offering a wider range of local, national and craft ales, speciality spirits, soft drinks and wines from across the globe.

Each of the inn’s en suite bedrooms has been renovated, too.

General manager Paul Brown said: "The inn is looking absolutely brilliant and we can't wait to unveil the all new Seaton Lane Inn to our customers. It will be a very exciting moment in the inn's history and we're looking forward to celebrating it with the community here in Seaton and beyond. 

Sean Donkin, managing director of The Inn Collection Group, said: “This is an exciting chapter for The Seaton Lane Inn and will mark a milestone in its history. 

“Customer experience is critical for us and our redesign of The Seaton Lane Inn is fundamentally about investing in our customers and providing them with an enhanced venue that embraces our eat, drink, sleep and explore model. 

“Our investment plans to update, improve and modernise The Seaton Lane Inn, while preserving the inn’s character, will ensure the pub continues to be a beacon for hospitality and a great place to dine and stay for locals, tourists and business customers in County Durham. We are looking forward to opening our doors for business once again and to show off the stunning new Seaton Lane Inn.”

Lindisfarne Inn staff rally to help stricken motorists

With accommodation already fully occupied, staff turned the restaurant of The Inn Collection Group's Lindisfarne Inn into a refuge for 50 stricken travellers marooned by the severe weather. 

Duvets and free hot drinks were handed out to travellers who had abandoned their vehicles on the A1 at Beal, Northumberland, due to the severe weather conditions. 

Chris Taylor is general manager of The Lindisfarne Inn, which is owned by The Inn Collection Group. Mr Taylor said: “We worked into the night to give shelter and warmth to stranded travellers. We extended food service, turned up the heating and handed out duvets and free hot drinks to travellers. We weren’t going to turn away into the freezing temperatures. 

“We all pulled together to help as many people as we could who were seeking refuge in atrocious conditions, as well as looking after people staying with us who have found themselves stranded by the weather. 

“I need to say what a true credit my staff have been – not just to the inn, but to the company as a whole. They have been working 18-hour long shifts back to back to help as many people as possible.”

Supervisor Lewis Scott said: “We just did what we felt was right to do. We couldn’t see people stuck. We made people as comfortable as best we could, handing out duvets. 

“The atmosphere was lovely, it felt really strange – it kind of felt like it was the end of the world. But everyone was happy and talked to each other – including the staff – there were only five of us in all day and night covering the bar, kitchen, housekeeping and maintenance, as so many people hadn’t been able to get in because of the snow. 

“We’d started work at 7.30 am and worked until about 1230. Everyone just rolled up their sleeves. The night just flew by." 

The Inn Collection Group’s managing director Sean Donkin said: “I am extremely proud of the goodwill of the team at The Lindisfarne Inn and their outstanding actions. They really did go above and beyond to assist stranded motorists, whose only other option would have been to spend the night in their cars in freezing conditions.

“It’s a heartwarming example of the important role pubs play in the community and how, in adverse times such as these, people come together to support each other.”

Sean Donkin named as managing director of The Inn Collection Group

Sean Donkin has been named as the new managing director of The Inn Collection Group as the North East hospitality and leisure specialist prepares for further expansion.

With an 18-year career in the hospitality sector, Sean has been promoted to managing director from his previous position as operation director for company which has a growing portfolio of eight pubs with rooms in prime locations across the North of England.

Sean joined the business as general manager of the group’s top-performance unit, The Bamburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses in 2008.

Business founder, Keith Liddell, who is moving across from CEO to serve as the award-winning group’s executive deputy chairman, said: “Sean has an outstanding track record in the market and I am delighted to see his career develop in tandem with the growth of the group.

“The Inn Collection Group has a policy of promoting talent from within, which has led to exceptionally strong staff retention rates. In Sean’s case, this policy has resulted in an individual who has unparalleled knowledge of the industry as well as the group and its ethos through his hands-on involvement with our growth at every stage.”

As well as maintaining the high quality, service and facilities for customers that mark out the group’s estate of pubs, Sean’s focus is leading the growth and expansion of The Inn Collection Group, both within and further afield from its North East heartland.

A major refurbishment of The Seaton Lane Inn near Sunderland is underway while 2018 will also see the opening of the new £4.2 million Northumberland unit, The Amble Inn in October. The recent acquisition of properties adjacent to The Bamburgh Castle Inn will introduce a further 13 bedrooms to this high-profile site.

Sean said: “The Inn Collection Group has carved out an excellent reputation becoming a trusted brand in the sector. I am delighted to be stepping up to the position of managing director as a year of exciting development lies ahead of us. 

“We are already one of the largest private provider of accommodation in the region. During 2018 we will continue to seek out new premises – including sites beyond the North East and Yorkshire - that fit with our philosophy of offering pubs with rooms accommodation and classic homemade meals at great value for money prices.”

Sean sees the group’s 250-strong workforce as a key component of the company’s vision for growth and is rolling out a new training academy for staff which will introduce a company intranet for online training and development.

Sean said: “We are proud to have established an ambitious team of customer-focused staff. Having been promoted through the ranks of the company myself, developing our people to meet their full potential and enjoy long and successful careers with us is close to my heart.”

The Inn Collection Group is a pathfinder for Britain’s Favourite Walks

If the runaway success of ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks has inspired you to dust off your walking boots, then head for an Inn Collection Group pub and enjoy some of the UK’s best walks on your doorstep.

A trailblazing nine routes close to the group’s pubs with rooms, made it into the programme’s top 100, with the North – and especially coastal walks – coming out top among voters.

Around 8,000 people voted for their favourite walks for the programme, presented by Julia Bradbury and Ore Oduba, with famous faces and keen hikers profiling their own favourite paths.

The Inn Collection Group’s operations director Sean Donkin said: “It’s no surprise that people love to walk in the North. We have the best beaches, more castles than any other county in England, rugged hill country and showstopper viewpoints  – all interspersed with amazing local history and attractions.

“Our inns, which span the North of England, including Northumberland, County Durham and North Yorkshire, pride themselves on welcoming in walkers. Our staff are keen hikers themselves. Myself, along with general managers from the whole group have just walked the route from Dunstanburgh to Craster – the very route which made the show’s final ten in the whole of the country.

“We welcome muddy boots, have wash down facilities, help with drying wet gear – and staff are always happy to share local knowledge of nearby routes, facilities, accessibility, public transport and what people can see and do along the way – they will even drop off and collect walkers from their routes, if they can.”

To celebrate the wealth of walks around their inns, the group has introduced Walk Inn breaks at several walking hotspots.

Including bed and breakfast, a welcome drink on arrival, dinner, a pack of 20 waterproofed O/S walks around the inn of your choice, and a packed lunch, Walk Inn start from £40 per person on top of standard room rates. 

Walk Inn breaks are available at:

The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses, Northumberland 

The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal, near Holy Island, Northumberland

The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick, Northumberland

The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth, Northumberland 

The King’s Head Inn at Newton under Roseberry, North Yorks

See walks from ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks – Top 100 here

Festive trading boom tops record year for Inn Collection Group

Pub operators The Inn Collection Group have revealed record Christmas trading following upbeat seasonal sales. 

The North East based leisure operator reported a rise in like-for-like sales of 7.5pc in the five weeks leading up to January 6, compared to the same period last year. 

Sean Donkin, operations director at the North East based pub group said: “We are delighted to have exceeded our seasonal sales forecasts with the strongest like-for-like sales achieved yet in the group’s 10-year history.

 “We enjoyed an extended period of festivities as a result of Christmas falling on a Monday, which enabled us to optimise the number of Christmas party events across our units, which has contributed towards a record rise in accommodation sales.” 

He added: “Bar sales grew strongly, driven by demand for premium drinks products and our Christmas menus and entertainment were well received and helped secure record covers across the period.” 

Strong festive trading topped an excellent year of trading for the operator, with the group delivering like for like sales growth of 13pc for the year as a whole.

Overall, all trading formats performed well across the group’s estate of pubs with rooms, with accommodation leading the way with a 26pc increase in sales. 

The Inn Collection Group’s estate has a current total of 202 bedrooms across its Northumberland, County Durham and Teesside units, and construction of a further 30-bedroom new build inn at Amble, Northumberland, is underway, set to open in October 2018. 

The eight-site leisure operator, which is backed by London-based Kings Park Capital, is one of the North East’s largest independent accommodation providers. 

The Hog's Head Inn teams up with the Northumberland Gazette to give a free starter or pud offer to every reader to celebrate 2018

The Northumberland Gazette has teamed up with The Hog's Head Inn to celebrate the New Year ‘inn’ style by giving a free starter or dessert to every reader so they can raise their knives, forks and spoons to mark 2018.

Led by acclaimed head chef Kelvin Gallaugher, The Hog’s Head Inn’s kitchen boasts a strong following of foodies for its delicious, homemade pub dishes and daily changing specials, while it’s user friendly facilities make it a popular choice with families, too. 

And with this offer, a trip to The Hog’s Head Inn has got even tastier by giving every reader the chance to enjoy a free starter or pudding with every adult main course purchased. 

Open daily from 7.30am with food served until 9pm, The Hog’s Head Inn’s winter menu has a wide range of crowd pleasers guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart on a chilly January day. 

From comfort food classics, like steak and ale pie slow-cooked in Tyneside Blonde Ale to homemade pizzas with a range of delectable toppings, a spicy new selection of curry dishes as well as the inn’s famous steak range, The Hog’s Head Inn prides itself on having dishes to suit everyone’s tastes.

General manager Gary Turner said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Northumberland Gazette to wish readers a very happy New Year.

“After the excitement of Christmas and the New Year, January can seem a bit of a come-down. So what better pick-you-up could there be than a mouth watering meal out, with a freebie starter or pudding literally being the icing on the cake!”

To claim you free starter or pudding voucher, simply buy a copy of the Northumberland Gazette (on January 4th) or download and print your Free Starter or Pudding Voucher and handover when you order. A voucher is valid for every adult main course meal, from Monday to Thursday until February 8th.

The Lindisfarne Inn pairs up with The Berwick Advertiser to give readers a free starter or pudding to celebrate the New Year

The Lindisfarne Inn is inviting diners to raise a knife, fork and spoon to 2018 with a scrumptious celebratory offer for readers of The Berwick Advertiser of a free starter or dessert.

The Berwick Advertiser is celebrating the New Year ‘Inn’ style by pairing up with award-winning The Lindisfarne Inn by offering readers a free starter or dessert with every adult main course purchased.

Heading the inn’s acclaimed kitchen team is head chef Mark Bocking who serves up a delicious range of homemade pub dishes with daily changing specials where local game and seafood makes a regular appearance.

And with the voucher below, a trip to The Lindisfarne Inn – just off the A1 near Holy Island, has just got even tastier by giving every reader the chance to get their teeth into a free starter or pudding.

Open daily from 7.30am with food served until 9pm, The Lindisfarne Inn’s winter menu has a wide range of crowd pleasers guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart on a chilly January day. 

From comfort food classics, like Northumbrian Game Pudding and haggis, neeps and tatties, to homemade pizzas with a range of delectable toppings and a spicy new selection of curry dishes The Lindisfarne Inn’s versatile menu attracts a loyal band of followers.

General manager Chris Taylor said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with the Berwick Advertiser to wish readers a very happy New Year.

“January is seen by many as being the bleakest month of the year. What could be more uplifting than a delicious homemade meal out with family or friends, with the added bonus of a free course on us? It’s just the thing to banish any January blues you may be feeling.”

To claim you free starter or pudding voucher, simply buy your copy of The Beriwck Advertiser, published on January 4th,  or download and print from and handover when you order. A voucher is valid for every adult main course meal, from Monday to Thursday until February 8th