We’re delighted to share the results of one of our latest projects – an extensive refurbishment of The Cross Keys pub in Great Woolstone, Milton Keynes.  The project has doubled the number of restaurant covers in the Charles Wells premises, and includes an extension to the historic building in a conservation area.

The Cross Keys is a well-loved, traditional village pub, complete with thatched roof and listed status, meaning it was vital for the new design and redevelopment to be sympathetic to the pub’s location, surroundings and heritage.  

Having recently been awarded the SME Buckinghamshire Business Award for Pub of the Year, The Cross Keys has been enjoying huge popularity and has built a reputation for excellent food, drink and service.  With this in mind, the redevelopment focused on extending the site to give larger restaurant and bar spaces, along with alterations to the kitchen to cope with the increased capacity. The balance between casual dining and drinking spaces and a more formal restaurant allows The Cross Keys to appeal to a wide range of customers, from families and couples to larger groups and parties.  

The new extension spans over an existing patio and incorporates a barn into the restaurant space.  Previously used for additional storage, the barn was transformed into a bright, contemporary area with bi-fold doors opening onto a new patio and outside space.  As well as providing further capacity for the popular restaurant, this element of the redevelopment doubles as a new area for private events.

Our Creative Director, Abi Perry-Jones said, “We worked closely with the planning department to find a suitable solution for the site that works well operationally, looks great and is sympathetic to the building.  An overarching design style flows through all of the spaces, but each of the areas in The Cross Keys has its own distinct look and personality. We opened up a beautiful original fireplace and installed new wood-burning stoves to ensure a cosy, welcoming atmosphere as soon as guests arrive.  Conscious of the site’s heritage, we designed a bespoke feature wall which was illustrated onsite by a local artist to capture some key moments from the pub’s history”

Although there is a light, bright contemporary space at its centre, our design retains many of the original cosy corners, characterful features and architectural details.  The new entrance lobby includes a large wine store to maximise visual appeal and impact on entering the building. The colour palette mixes cool blue and gold fabrics with tan leather to complement the original rustic timbers.  A variety of seating was installed including a striking high banquette which runs the length of the new dining area.

Artwork and interior accessories were chosen to reflect the locality.  There’s a nod to the famous WW2 codebreakers of nearby Bletchley Park, in pieces which use morse code to spell out welcome messages, and music fans will appreciate the displayed posters from bands and artists who have performed at the Milton Keynes Bowl.

Commenting on the project, David Broadhurst, Property Development Manager at Charles Wells said, “We’re delighted with the results of this renovation project. The Cross Keys was operating well before, but the increase in covers and in usable space for customers has delivered a significant increase in sales. We’re currently exceeding some quite ambitious sales targets for the site, and it’s certainly one of the shining stars in the Charles Wells portfolio at present. I was most impressed with the exceptional level of teamwork from all involved and it was a pleasure to work with Abi and the team at Jones AD, who made it a pain-free project and gave us confidence that they’d deliver on time and to budget.”

Commenting on the project, The Cross Keys licensee Hannah Edwards said,
“The new design really has exceeded our expectations.  The feedback from our regulars has been fantastic, both in person and on social media and TripAdvisor.  The way that Jones AD have reconfigured the space has allowed us to offer truly seamless service and to work efficiently.  We’re still a popular village pub and casual dining venue and can now continue to extend our food offering to become a real local dining destination.”