A HISTORIC pub is now offering bed and breakfast accommodation following a major refurbishment.

The Saxon Inn, in Escomb, near Bishop Auckland, which dates back to 1671, has been extended and nine boutique en-suite bedrooms have been created.

Owner Paul Hope used £190,000 in funding and has invested £60,000 in the new rooms, which include double, twin and family options.

To service the new facilities, four new full and part-time jobs have been created, including front of house roles.

Recruitment is also underway for a full-time chef who will oversee the 70-cover restaurant and will take the total number of employees to 13.

Mr Hope said: “There has been a large amount of investment into Bishop Auckland and it’s fast becoming a popular tourist destination, meaning it is the perfect time to expand and introduce accommodation to our offering.

“Thanks to the funding from NatWest, we have been able to create nine immaculately decorated rooms, available at affordable prices, so guests can enjoy the local area.

“We look forward to continuing to welcome both locals and tourists to The Saxon Inn.”

Mr Hope, who has 40 years’ experience in the hospitality trade, acquired The Saxon Inn with his now retired parents in 2001, transforming it from a struggling pub.

As part of the next phase of the pub’s expansion, Mr Hope plans to purchase additional land to extend the kitchen and car park, as well as refurbish the lounge area and exterior of the building.

Finance broker Howard Broadbent, at PXL Associates, introduced Mr Hope to Andre Parcian, NatWest business development manager and Paul Marshall, NatWest relationship manager, to support the expansion of his business.

Mr Marshall said: “Paul’s passion for his business and commitment to the community is undeniable.

“From opening 365 days a year to running free seasonal events for locals, The Saxon Inn is a huge asset to the Escomb community."

“With the funding we have provided, Paul and the team are now able to cater for overnight guests and we wish them every success.”