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Newmarket's historic White Hart Hotel set for facelift

One of Newmarket High Street’s most popular hostelries closed on Monday for an extensive refurbishment which will bring its bar area bang up to date.

The White Hart Hotel’s spacious main bar is being gutted to make way for a luxurious and user-friendly set-up which will open on March 4 with a VIP night for invited guests and will then be open for business as usual from breakfast time at 8am the following day.

Customers will be able to enjoy a comfortable re-fitted bar area, with new seating, lighting and flooring and a small raised stage area for live bands. Booths will be provided with fridges so that drinks can be pre-ordered and paid for and be waiting for customers as they take their seats and there will be new menus for breakfast, lunch and evening bar meals.

General manager Dylan Lane oversees the start of the work at the White Hart
General manager Dylan Lane oversees the start of the work at the White Hart

An additional Sky sports box will give sports fans the opportunity to choose between watching three sports when events clash and there will be a private, partially closed-off area for small private parties.

With 18 comfortable bedrooms on the upper storeys, a function room and car park, the White Hart will be able to cater for both bar and hotel customers for 52 weeks of the year.

General manager Dylan Lane, who ran the Marston’s Brewery-owned hotel between 2005 and 2015 was asked to return two years ago to revive its fortunes after a downturn in business.

“That was partly to do with changes in the High Street and a drop in footfall,” said Dylan. “But there is life in the old dog yet and I am sure the town is worth investing in.”

The White Hart was first mentioned as an inn in historic documents from 1472 – 13 years before the end of the Wars of the Roses and 20 years before Columbus sailed on his journey of discovery to America. From the time of the 1841 census its history is more fully documented as an inn and tavern, a commercial hotel and posting house and hotel and brewery among other descriptions. On February 18, 1941, it fell victim to the bombing raid on the High Street which left 27 people dead. The hotel was devastated by the seventh of 10 bombs dropped that morning and was subsequently rebuilt.