Thorley Taverns completes sale of The Oak Hotel – with The Royal soon to follow

The Oak Hotel in Ramsgate Image by Braveheart, , via Wikimedia Commons

Thorley Taverns has completed a sale of the freehold for The Oak Hotel in Ramsgate to isle businessman Dayne Gooding.

Thorley Taverns director Phil Thorley confirmed the sale of the seafront venue today (October 28). The hotel has 34 en-suite bedrooms, The Restaurant Sixty – Six and bar.

It means that after 24 years of owning and operating The Oak Hotel and Restaurant 66, Thorley Taverns have called last orders for this site which is one of their 19 venues across Thanet and Sandwich.

The decision to sell the property was made by Thorley Taverns to provide funding for further investment in the remaining 18 venues they continue to operate and to provide financial security through the uncertain economic climate the UK faces.

The majority of the staff employed at the Oak are to remain with the company and have been redeployed to other locations within the pub group.

Mr Thorley said the site had not been put on the market but an agreement was made after an approach from Mr Gooding.

He said: “They aim for it to remain a hotel and he will invest in it and is really excited about the deal, as we are.”

Mr Thorley also confirmed The Royal, on Ramsgate’s harbourfront, is still going through the process of being sold.

Plans for the site were lodged with Thanet council by prospective new owner Jamie Copland back in June.

Mr Copland wants to demolish part of the existing building and erect a five-storey side extension with recessed balconies, single storey roof extension and roof terrace. He also wants to add a new three-storey building to rear to provide 8 apartments  and rearrange two existing apartments and reduce the scale of the current commercial unit housing The Royal pub.

The Royal plans (Image Lee Evans Partnership)

Documents from Lee Evans Partnership on behalf of Mr Copland say: “The site offers an opportunity for a bold landmark scheme that will create a statement, enhance the urban fabric and act as a catalyst for further regeneration for its location.

“Whilst the building has some historic relevance, it has been subject to minor changes over the years that it is submitted have negatively impacted its character and appearance, and thus the contribution it makes to this key local setting. It has also begun to appear tired due to lack of investment and upkeep recently. A new lease of life would benefit the site and historic frontage here and also encourage long-term occupation and upkeep, both of which are under threat.”

A decision on the application is yet to be made.

Thorley Taverns director Phil Thorley (Photo Thorley Taverns)

Mr Thorley said the company is focusing on investment on its existing estate.

He added: “The late night (economy) in Ramsgate, and everywhere, has changed. We have been looking at that change and a change of direction and are investing in our existing estate, spending lots of money inside and outside on different venues.

“We think (The Oak Hotel) is a good move for Dayne and it is a good thing for Thorley Taverns as we continue to invest.”

Thorley Taverns was created in London in 1971 by Phil’s father Frank and opened its first Thanet venue -The Charles Dickens in Broadstairs – in 1975.

The family made the permanent move to the isle in 1977 and continued to grow, selling the last London pub in 2013 to concentrate on the Thanet pubs, restaurants and hotels.

The company employs around 400 staff, retaining some 98-99% of those during furlough and then return after the pandemic.


  1. Because that’s business lol, its up to the customers if they buy, other pubs used to be like it with “happy hour” up to the customer if the stay or not.

  2. New owners want to demolish it and have something urban. With roof terrace… Yuck. No thank you… Roof terrace up to the sky… Like the council agreed height on seafront in ramsgate.. Nice one.. NOT. I dont drink in pubs.. But to urbanise it and demolish it. NO MR COPLAND keep it as a pub thanks

  3. The Royal has for too long been a disgrace to Ramsgate’s seafront and to Thorleys which is otherwise a thoroughly decent local company. We really don’t need a venue whose main selling point seems to be how cheaply you can get drunk here. The local idiots don’t need this kind of encouragement.

  4. Pity they are both under the flight path should Manston re-open! Is this why Mr Thorley is getting rid them, because cargo planes roaring in 2 or more an hour just 300 meters above their heads, won’t be conducive to a happy customer stay? Weatherspoons ditto!

  5. Your right i remember planes coming in directly over the new seafront flats that are now being built but they dont know about the flight path route

  6. So sorry to hear this and we will miss the lovely staff at both the Royal and Oak. Thank you for your lovely service over the years. Barry, Jane and our annoying dog Bella

  7. Seen that area change over the years from awful to improving, the royal pub is closing never be a pub/bar there again, atleast the diplipaded fosters sign on the front wall will also go.
    Another ex TT pub the port and anchor pub has been converted to holiday let’s etc.
    The oak could be more apartments, its the marina view dfl’s and investors love. New boutique hotel planned adjacent to the marina funded from levelling up fund. Another New hotel planned for the royal sands development.
    See so many people walking past local pubs that are open but have no customers, Punters on their way to spoons.
    Think energy costs are a blame amongst other obvious blames which everyone knows.

  8. What about the people who have bookings with Thorley Taverns l. Will you be honouring them at your other venues. Very stressed and disappointed bride to be as your staff are not blvery helpful!!!

    • I blame pubs themselves for various amenities for children. They should never be allowed access, screaming and running around like hooligans.
      Pubs were originally for men who wanted to get away from women and kids where they could scratch their privates and swear like troopers.
      Pub grub is another intrusion.

      • Ha ha, having 3 Daughters and a wife I spent most evenings in the pub , ended up with a drink problem years ago.

        • Paul, it really is the end of pubs as we knew them. Old and traditional pubs for blokes are fast disappearing, being replaced by something horrid.
          Being somewhat Victorian in attitude, I am a great believer in the idea that kids should be seen and not heard.
          A damned good thrashing never hurt anyone.
          By the way, I gave up alcohol over twenty years ago so I don’t care what the Thorley clan get up to. Knock ’em all down, I say. Then they will have to take their noisey kids to the zoo instead.

  9. I can understand selling a pub in Ramsgate but the Royal has prime position overlooking the harbour.
    As for selling a hotel also in a prime position?
    I think this is one of those business deals that no one will ever know the truth about & is a lot deeper than what is public knowledge.
    I bet Thorley Taverns opens a new venue within the new Royal Sands seafront complex and of course gets a prime position.
    Frank wouldn’t let Phil just sell up like that – Frank would more than likely buy next-door and expand.
    Something is in the pipe-line and they need to release capital.
    Good luck to them, they are very hard working company up against the likes of D J Wetherspoons and other big chains in these post Covid times.

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