West Sussex-based South Coast Inns, which is backed by industry veterans Chris and Delia Chapman, has acquired the Royal Victoria & Bull Hotel in Dartford, Kent, for its ninth site and first in Kent.

The 23-bedroom, grade II-listed inn is the town’s oldest and was formerly owned by Tattershall Castle Group (TCG), which entered administration in October 2015. The venue was the last TCG site trading in administration.

The property, which dates to 1703, has retained many period features including a vaulted gallery in the main bar that would originally have been around the carriage archway.

South Coast Inns, run by the Chapmans and their son Sam, was formed following the sale of the Chapman Group in November 2016.

The Chapman Group formerly owned and managed 28 hotels and pubs in the south of England and was sold to Dominion Hospitality, an affiliate of private equity group Stellex Capital Management.

Anthony Jenkins, associate director at Christie & Co, which brokered the Chapman Group sale and South Coast Inns’ latest acquisition, said: ““We were delighted to assist Chris and Delia in the expansion of South Coast Inns’ portfolio. The market is currently strong for pubs with rooms with many parties – from growing multiple operators to first-time entrants – keen to acquire.”

South Coast Inns operates hotels and pubs with rooms in Sussex, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Shropshire.