Jim and Claire outside their beloved Killy

The Killingworth Castle is re-opening tomorrow night (Friday Sept 3) having been closed for a month after a fire broke out in their kitchens overnight.

Although the kitchen is still gutted, the rest of the historic pub in Wootton near Woodstock, was left unscathed, and landlords Jim and Claire Alexander have sourced a top of the range temporary kitchen enabling them to reopen for business.

So what happened? “We were on a family holiday in the Lake District when we were woken at 4am by someone phoning to say The Killy was on fire.

The fire brigade managed to put it out before it spread but the kitchen was utterly decimated,” Claire remembers. “We are just delighted that no one was hurt, that’s the main thing.”

“WE’VE SET UP A TEMPORARY KITCHEN ON SITE AND WE REOPEN WITH A NEW MENU TOMORROW NIGHT”

So what caused it? “A moulded plug apparently. At least we were insured but we are still devastated. We felt the rug had been pulled from under our feet again.

The gutted kitchen after the fire

“But it was a real shame because The Killy was really getting to where we wanted it to be, we were fully booked and our head chef Adam Brown’s reputation was spreading. We’d just been re-awarded our two AA rosettes and we were all feeling so upbeat and positive… and then the kitchen set on fire and that was that.”

“It’s been a horrendous year for the hospitality industry anyway, and then this. I’d begun to think we were cursed.”

“The chefs have been chomping at the big to get cooking again “

“But we’ve set up a temporary kitchen on site and we reopen tomorrow night, so we are really excited about getting going again.

“And while we had to close the pub for a month, we managed to keep the B&B open and just taxied our guests into Woodstock to eat.

The new menu is up and running

“Even getting hold of a temporary kitchen was problematic because of the all the festivals going on, but we didn’t want something that wasn’t up to our usual standards, so we’ve waited until we got what we wanted, and now we are ready to go.

“we are looking forward to welcoming everyone back and we’ll see them very soon”

“The chefs have been chomping at the big to get cooking again because their reputation was spreading and we were fully booked, so for them it’s been really disappointing.

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“So come 6pm tomorrow night we are back and hope to welcome people through our doors once more.

“We had so many regulars and the locals came back time and time again, but we’ve got a great reputation and there is a real demand for The Killy’s food, so we know we can get back to where we were before the fire.”

“We hope all our customers come back and support us”

“But then we have all become pretty robust at dealing with difficult and unusual situations.”

Inside Killingworth Castle

So what can we expect? “We’ve got a new menu and hope all our customers come back and support us.

“The team have really rallied round and been very supportive – we all just want to get going again.

“So we are looking forward to welcoming everyone back and we’ll see them very soon.”

Book at https://www.thekillingworthcastle.com