THE Castle Inn has reopened, following months of lockdown and a campaign to save it from closing permanently.

Before Coronavirus hit, the Kendal pub had stood empty since November 2018 when its licensees reluctantly called last orders at the bar for what looked like it could be the final time.

The once-bustling hostelry on Castle Street was subsequently put up for sale by Heineken’s leased pub business for £180,000.

In a bid to stop developers turning the ‘sorely missed’ local into housing, campaigners sought earlier this year to have the Castle Inn registered as an asset of community value.

But, in the end, this campaign move was not necessary, as new buyers stepped in.

Two new owners, Su and Chris Duxbury, secured the Castle Street premises in March - just two days before pubs across the country were ordered to shut by Number 10, and five days before the first phase of lockdown was announced.

The inn finally reopened last Thursday, enjoying a busy first weekend.

"This has always been a much-loved community pub," Mrs Duxbury said. "So we've not gutted the place or altered anything dramatically.

"Locals will find things unchanged - apart from the new owners, of course.

"We're just listening to what folks in the area are saying - if they want us to introduce a karaoke night, for instance, we'll do one. But we have no plans right now other than to restore the service that existed here before.

"We've had to do a deep clean, install hand sanitisers and make all the required adjustments to ensure the pub is up to spec according to government guidelines.

The new owners also wished to dispel any hearsay concerning the rumoured closure of the Ring O’ Bells pub.

"It's a very old building that just doesn't have the space for us to reopen at the moment," Mr Duxbury explained.

"It didn't pass the risk assessment, so we weren't going to take a reckless decision.

"But we fully plan to reopen the pub once it's safe to do so."