A PUB which has been closed for two years reopened this week following a £2.5m refurbishment.

The Wellington Arms, in Stratfield Turgis, has undergone a major transformation by its new owners, the independently owned and run Red Mist Leisure, who welcomed the first customers on Tuesday.

Attending the ribbon cutting ceremony the day before was make-up artist and former international supermodel Jemma Kidd, wife of the son and heir of The Duke of Wellington, whose family own the surrounding estate.

Invited guests, including staff from the Wellington Estate, had a first look around the premises at a special reception on Monday where they enjoyed prosecco and canapes.

They seemed impressed with the design of the new-look family-friendly destination pub, which also has 25 boutique bedrooms due to open in January 2019.

Set within the Wellington Estate, which is owned by The Duke of Wellington and his family, the reopening of the pub has created more than 40 new jobs for the local area.

Guests attending the event on Monday evening were given tours of the pub, admiring the cosy snug area, extended bar area, private dining spaces, a corporate meeting room, outside garden terrace and an impressive 160-cover function room, complete with its own entrance, lobby, cloakroom, top of the range AV equipment and bar.

The Wellington Arms also offers electric car-charging ports.

The first customers were able to sample the new menu this week, enjoying dishes using fresh, seasonal and local British food, prepared in a brand-new state-of-the-art kitchen, led by award-winning head chef Jay Williams, who has been with Red Mist Leisure for seven years.

He said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge of running the events suite simultaneously with the restaurant and hotel rooms. I have done all three separately in the past but combining the three is going to be exciting and enable me to be creative in my cooking.”

The menu includes handmade seasonal pies, freshly caught fish and chips using a secret batter recipe combining Red Mist’s own ale, and a range of daily specials, such as grilled black pudding with poached, free-range egg on a brioche crouton, potted Devon crab and fennel pate or warm pecan tart with salted caramel ice cream.

Customers can also enjoy a wide array of local ales and craft beers, along with the award-winning Tilford Brewery ales from Red Mist’s microbrewery in Surrey.

The team is focused on provenance and sustainability, with ingredients sourced locally from Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire to support local trade.

Joe Simkins, general manager, said: “Myself and the team are delighted to be open and look forward to welcoming our customers, both old and new. This pub, with all its offerings and unique location, is a real milestone for Red Mist Leisure as we head into our 15th year.

“We are also very much enjoying a collaborative approach with the Wellington Estate and forming part of the family’s growing portfolio, which includes Wellington Riding; one of the UK’s biggest and best-known equestrian centres, Wellington Country Park and the Wellington Farm Shop.

“We look forward to the challenge in making our pub the heartbeat of the local community.”

Charles Wellesley, the 9th Duke of Wellington said: “I am most impressed by the sensitive restoration of the Wellington Arms Hotel. The bar and dining rooms will seat comfortably well over a hundred people in a most agreeable atmosphere. The Waterloo Suite is an ideal space for large dinners and conferences. I congratulate all those involved in this work and hope that the former customers will return with enthusiasm.”