One of Kenilworth's oldest pubs set to welcome new business owners

The Virgins and Castle pub in Old Town Kenilworth
The Virgins and Castle pub in Old Town Kenilworth

Renown for being the oldest pub in Kenilworth, The Virgins & Castle is about to welcome new business owners.

The Famous Virgins & Castle - to give it, it’s full name, dates back to 1563 and the time of Elizabeth I and the illustrious Tudor period.

Co-founders of Caviar & Chips, Jonathan Carter-Morris and Marc Hornby who will now be running the Virgins and Castle pub in Old Town Kenilworth

Co-founders of Caviar & Chips, Jonathan Carter-Morris and Marc Hornby who will now be running the Virgins and Castle pub in Old Town Kenilworth

More than 450 years on, this historic pub has had its fair share of landlords, tenants and locals walk over its threshold and enjoy an ale or two.

The Virgins & Castle is one of over 170 pubs and restaurants in the estate of Leicestershire brewer Everards, who are known for their iconic Tiger Ale.

Everards received a great number of applications from aspiring new business owners, but it was hospitality group Caviar & Chips that proved to be the perfect fit to take on the business.

Caviar & Chips currently run an external catering business.

The inside of the Virgins and Castle pub

The inside of the Virgins and Castle pub

They recently won West Midlands Wedding Caterer of the year and have twice been short-listed for national awards for their client-led, bespoke approach to food, drink and hospitable service.

Co-founders of Caviar & Chips, Jonathan Carter-Morris and Marc Hornby have been running the company since 2017 and have quickly built a reputation for their distinctive menus and “can-do” approach to customer service.

Jonathan lives in Kenilworth and will be known to residents for managing The Almanack in the town centre and The Rose & Crown in Warwick with more than 20 years of hospitality experience.

Jonathan said: “Having lived in Kenilworth for the last five years, I’ve enjoyed many-a-pint in The Virgins. It’s a beautiful pub, with incredible character and heritage. When the opportunity came to take it on, Marc and I jumped at the chance.

"We are often asked by our catering clients when are we going to open a restaurant, so they don’t have to just attend a wedding to enjoy our menus.

"Meeting the team at Everards and sharing our ideas and vision made it feel a perfect match, and we’re really excited and proud to be the business owners of The Virgins. We look forward to creating a great place for all of our community to enjoy”.

Jonathan and Marc will welcome customers from Friday March 13 with customers able to enjoy new menus in time for Mother’s Day and Easter.

The Virgins & Castle will be closed from Monday March 9 until 5pm Friday March 13 to allow for refurbishing.

The old town high street pub will be managed by Andy Lock who has worked for Caviar & Chips for the last two years as a head chef.

The Virgins & Castle also has a dining room that will serve customers during lunch and dinner times with classic and traditional pub food and plant-based menus crafted by chefs.

Marc said: "The Virgins & Castle has a lot to offer and the fact that it’s served the community and tourists since the 16th century suggests that there’s not much we need to change.

"We do however want to provide a fantastic menu of traditional pub classics and we’ll also be offering similar plant-based dishes so that as many people as possible can enjoy good, quality pub food.

"We’ll also be bringing our strong focus on customer service and ensuring that The Virgins & Castle is not only known as the oldest pub in Kenilworth, but the most welcoming and becomes famous again.”