If pubgoers at The Bull Inn at Linton, Maidstone, think the new face behind the bar looks familiar, they’d be right – new General Manager Natalie Alden took over the pub from her parents, after growing up there.
Natalie took on the running of the Shepherd Neame pub – which moved from being a tenanted site to a managed house earlier this month – after watching her parents run it for the past 15 years.
And she has such a fondness for the establishment, that she had her own wedding reception to husband Charlie there five months ago, with many of the guests being regulars at the pub.
Natalie, 39, said: “I am completely and utterly in love with The Bull Inn. I got married in September here, and all the customers came to the wedding.”
Her parents Kim and Bob were in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years and Natalie, who has two sisters and two brothers, describes running a pub as ‘in her blood’.
She said: “I have lived with the industry since I was seven; I have lived and breathed it. We used to come home from school and Mum was working behind the bar and the head chef would make us our tea.
“Whatever I have done in my life over the last 15 years, I have kept ending up back here. So when my parents decided it was time to move on, and it became a managed house, it made perfect sense to apply to become the General Manager.”
She said of her parents, who are now enjoying well-earned semi-retirement: “My parents have been massively supportive of me doing this. After all, it’s because of them that I got into the industry in the first place!
“They have taught me that if you want something in life you have got to work hard for it. My parents are incredibly hardworking people, and are great role models for us to look up to.”
After taking on the management of the site, which offers breathtaking views over the valley from its garden terrace, Natalie has been delighted that the vast majority of its staff have chosen to stay on.
Some cosmetic changes to the site are planned, but, Natalie emphasises, it will continue to provide the same warm welcome it has done for regulars and new visitors alike that it has done for many years.
“The Bull just needs someone here to love her,” she added. “And I do love her.”