Northamptonshire pub keeps it local

Mark Robinson, Mark Hindwood, Emma Robinson and Carl Long outside the Red Lion in Cranford
Mark Robinson, Mark Hindwood, Emma Robinson and Carl Long outside the Red Lion in Cranford

The new publican of a village pub which is getting a makeover should be a familiar sight to locals.

For Mark Robinson’s family have lived in Cranford for more than 250 years!

This is our village pub, so it’s great to be a part of it.

Mark Robinson

The Red Lion in the village, near Kettering, is being relaunched at the start of August.

New publicans Mark and Emma Robinson, who used to be farmers, have lived in Cranford for 10 years themselves, but Mark is Cranford born and bred and his family have lived there since 1750.

They are getting ready to relaunch The Red Lion in Cranford, investing in refurbishments in partnership with Punch Taverns, the owners of the premises.

During the works the public bar will stay open as much as possible.

The pub will reopen its doors formally at 7pm on Friday, August 7, with a free glass of fizz for all comers and sample tasters from the pubs upcoming seasonal menus.

The 400-year-old pub was once the heart of village life. But Mark and Emma thought Cranford should have a thriving pub for the whole community, and decided the best way to make that happen was to take it on themselves.

The Red Lion has two bars, a conservatory and a restaurant that overlooks the large and beautiful, sunny garden, which is maintained by a local gardener.

The refurbishment will give the conservatory a fresh new look, upgrade the lighting and revamp the bars. The pub will also gain a new purpose-built kitchen.

Mark and Emma will delegate the day-to-day running of the pub to their manager Mark Hindwood, another local who has a real passion for front of house service.

Alongside Mark they have brought in Carl Long, a highly experienced chef and the current holder of the Northamptonshire Chef of the Year Award who will provide great home-cooked food.

Carl is introducing a fabulous new menu combining pub classics, with an à la carte menu highlighted with seasonal dishes and locally sourced produce.

This includes fresh game when in season, sourced from the shoot associated with the Robinson estate, and great quality local meat.

As farmers, Mark and Emma have access to the best in the area.

Behind the bar, the pub will offer draft cider, premium lagers and a comprehensive wine list.

Manager Mark is introducing a range of craft ales and providing suggestions for drinks paired with Carl’s dishes.

Mark and Emma Robinson said: “This is our village pub, so it’s great to be a part of it.

“With our strong team in place, it’s going to be the heart of the village again.

“Our great new chef and spanking new kitchen mean The Red Lion will serve fantastic food too.

“We have really put the pub back on the map.

“It will be a great focal point for the village and also a pub worth driving to for the great food, warm atmosphere, and beautiful alfresco eating and drinking in summer.”

New business development manager for Punch Taverns Mike Reider said: “It’s been a pleasure being involved in this lovely country pub, and working with Mark, Emma and the team.

“Their combined experience will help rebuild The Red Lion’s reputation as a great pub to go to for good food, quality ales and a fantastic atmosphere.”