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New owners for award-winning Bath inn

Holcombe Inn, a 5-star country inn hotel with an award-winning restaurant located in Holcombe, Bath, has changed hands through Christie & Co.

The former owners decided to sell the business in order to pursue a move to Cognac in France, where they converting a former distillery into a Chateau for events.

The 11-bed Holcombe Inn has been purchased by Caroline Gardiner and Alan Lucas of LucasGardiner Ltd, a London based creative catering, consultancy & event company. The new owners have worked in London for the past 25 years and will bring a wealth of experience to their new home in Somerset.

In 2014, the pair established bespoke catering company, Lucas Gardiner, which has grown rapidly over the last four years. Gardiner previously trained at L’Ecole de Cuisine Francaise in Sussex, before embarking on her career in catering. Lucas has over 20 years’ experience of fine dining cuisine having worked in restaurants and hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental.

Gardiner will run the operations and logistics side of the company whilst Lucas and his team of chefs will focus on the food production aspect. They both pride themselves on their love of seasonal British food and the menus are littered with culinary classics reinvented for a modern audience all whilst ensuring that the best quality ingredients are always at the forefront.

They commented, “The plan was always to move away from the hustle and bustle of London and create something unique and food-led in the countryside and we were very lucky to find The Holcombe Inn that is already a very established food-led business, with a great team and ethos.

“We are looking forward to working closely with our chefs and local suppliers to produce modern, contemporary, seasonal food using ingredients from our own gardens. We are also delighted to inherit a fabulous team of staff who seem to always get great reviews and we are delighted to be working alongside them.”

Nicholas Calfe, Director (Licensed) at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, said, “This sale demonstrates the continuing demand for quality freehouses and the importance of having a mixed income stream, which the Holcombe Inn has.

'The three income streams ensure you attract your local drinkers and diners, destination food trade with the quality letting rooms drawing people from across the country, particularly weekenders from London.”

“We worked closely with the vendor to guide them on what they needed to prepare and make available to ensure the sales process went quickly and smoothly. My clients were proactive and organised in this regard, we were able to achieve completion within three months of the offer being accepted.”

Gary Boyce, Director at Christie Finance, arranged finance for the buyers and commented, “Recognising Caroline and Alan’s significant experience in the sector and given their success at forming and growing Lucas Gardiner Ltd, we were able to build a compelling business case to present to banks on their behalf.

'The Holcombe Inn enables them to use their expertise and contacts to expand the already profitable and popular business. The addition of a quality event catering offering alongside the core business will further diversify income and awareness and I expect this to be a great success.”