A HISTORIC pub has become a buzzing new food and drink venue after it was taken on by a community group, despite a major setback.

Open Arms Kington (OAK) took on the Oxford Arms in Kington in April this year but found it could not reopen the popular pub and hotel straight away because it needs urgent repairs and renovation.

Undeterred, the volunteer group set about creating a beautiful new space in a historic barn and the courtyard to the rear of the pub, which has already hosted successful events in recent weeks, such as a Bastille Day supper with French-inspired food from the Cider Barn, Pembridge.

Hay-based Origin Pizza has also made a number of appearances at the Oxford Arms courtyard, including feeding some of the crowds who attended Kington’s famous wheelbarrow race in June.


The courtyard bar is now open on Friday and Saturday evenings with other pop-up food offerings planned throughout the rest of the summer. The Oxford Arms also has a colourful caravan café, serving barista coffee, cakes and snacks from noon to 6pm every Saturday.

In addition to the barn, protection from the weather is provided by a large vintage caravan and gazebos over the courtyard, creating a bright, open space, which is proving popular with visitors and locals.

Other events planned for the summer include the Kington Folk Club’s Summer Social on August 12, with local musicians and food from the Cider Barn’s pop-up kitchen, and Ludlow’s Pizza Girls and Wild Street Kitchen from Shrewsbury will be serving food on August 31 and September 22. The Cider Barn will make another appearance on August 19, after Kington’s Vintage Rally and again on September 21, during the Kington Walking Festival.

OAK plans to reopen the Oxford Arms next year, reviving one of Kington’s most cherished pubs and providing a community space, with an emphasis on supporting local youth. Proceeds from the Oxford Arms will be reinvested into community projects.

OAK spokesperson Judith Gardner said: “We were so disappointed not to be able to reopen the pub itself as soon as we would have liked, but when we emptied out the barn and cleared up the courtyard we revealed an amazing unused space that we might not have discovered otherwise. This has enabled us to bring in revenue and hopefully keep us on target for the grand reopening next year.”