The Property

Dating to 1731, our 17,000 square foot property was lovingly restored and rescued from derelict ruin in 2012, undergoing extensive restoration works to return it to the beautiful building and lively hub it once was.

Tucked adjacently to the Market Square and accessed by its traditional carriage archways, the characterful Grade II listed property is now home to our two restaurants, cocktail bar, hotel with 19 rooms, and alfresco courtyard and bar, as well as a lovely little salon.

Offering a glimpse into the past and centred around the original cobblestoned courtyard, Retford’s former coaching inn occupies a scenic spot in the heart of Retford and is fondly remembered as the White Hart Hotel, which had a well-known clientele from Queen Victoria to King George V and Dick Turpin. An integral part of the town’s heritage, in its heyday it saw up to 19 stagecoaches and scheduled services a day and was frequented by travellers on their pitstop along the Great North Road, then the main route from London to York and Edinburgh.

Undoubtedly steeped in antiquity, the building’s surroundings are now stylish with a nod to its historical elegance; still preserved within the walls are traditional structures and features such as the conserved stable stalls, reinstated signage, ringing coach bell, old mounting block, and the centuries-old wall bust in memory of a young girl who was killed in an unfortunate coaching accident whilst playing in the yard in the late 18th century.

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The Restaurants

Home to lunchtime get-togethers, afternoon tea and evening dinner, our restaurants transform seamlessly from day to night with a busy but relaxed atmosphere.

Set in stunning surroundings and housed within centuries of history, you’ll find Dante’s Italian hidden to the rear of the property in the traditional stable stalls in the courtyard, whilst The Herbalist (formerly the coaching inn) fronts Bridgegate, with our parlour restaurant situated within the old tap-room, thought to be Dick Turpin’s typical haunt.

Here also lies the statue of a young girl who was accidentally crushed by a heavy stagecoach in the late 18th century. Mounted by her father in his grief, the bust was made in memorial and placed in the White Hart with a curse set upon it, warning if anyone were to touch or remove the statue, death would shortly follow – needless to say, we’ve never touched it and there’s a sign placed just below to warn you not to either! Recorded as one of Retford’s most tragic and now famous ghost stories, many claim to have witnessed a young girl in period clothing playing in the courtyard over the years.

Our Italian menu is cooked fresh from our small boutique kitchen and caters for both restaurants from 12pm noon, serving tasty Tuscan food all day long and headed by Dante’s granddaughter Sofia. You can also enjoy afternoon tea between 12pm and 4pm in the parlour and snug.

Both restaurants have impressive views of the courtyard and are tastefully designed with industrially rustic interiors, offering a cosy setting for the warmest of welcomes.

Equally as lovely as the other, guests may be seated in either of our restaurants and while we will always do our best to accommodate, seating requests are not guaranteed.

The Courtyard

Tucked away tranquillity within the heart of the town centre, our cobbled courtyard is Retford’s best kept secret.

A distant memory is the once constant hive of activity with bells ringing, horns announcing the arrival of coaches, and horses’ hooves clanking on the cobbles. It is now the perfect place to relax, unwind, socialise, and enjoy drinks and dining alfresco. Our outdoor space is open all year round and seamlessly shifts with the seasons, from a secluded summer suntrap to a wintery alpine hideaway.

Unfolding from the Market Square to Bridgegate, our courtyard has plentiful seating, chilled music, a blanket booth and a bar, and our lovely lavender-laden spot is a popular choice for cocktail hour, afternoon coffee, a long lunch, and fairy-lit dinners.

Tables in our courtyard are allocated on a first-seated basis and cannot be reserved. If you are booking to dine with us, your table will be allocated in one of our restaurants; should the weather be permitting on the day, then you are welcome to move outside to dine, subject to availability.
*We do not serve food in the courtyard on Friday and Saturday evenings after 5pm.

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The Cocktail Bar

Facing out onto Retford’s famous “White Hart corner”, our cocktail bar embraces its history of harlots and speakeasy past, transporting you to an era where a prime partnership between a Botanist and Madame ran the underground operations of the town.

With Madame Yak’s covert bordello and Dr Culpepper’s renowned library of curiously selected libations and herbal remedies (cue being named ‘The Herbalist’), the White Hart was known for its ‘administrating of pleasure’ operations and satisfying the senses.

These days, the bordello business is retired, and the cabinet shelves have been replaced with a selection of tipples from Italian handpicked wines, numerous gins, carefully crafted cocktails, and coffee.

Designed with plush velvet seating and a lounge vibe, you’ll find the Botanist’s and Madame’s memorabilia dotted throughout the venue and it makes for the perfect place to enjoy afternoon drinks, evening cocktails or a nightcap.

Our cocktail bar tables are allocated on a walk-in, first seated policy and cannot be reserved. For large drinks groups however, please call ahead.

The Hotel & Attic Rooms

Great food and drink is at the heart of everything we do, and really, we’re a restaurant with 19 cosy rooms providing a safe, clean and comfortable slumber for those who wish to stay the night.

From contractor accommodation to en-suites, our rooms span across two floors and three wings of the building and are located above the courtyard.

Being a listed property, expect sloping floors and slightly steep stairs, though it adds to all its charm!

The attic rooms on the third floor remain largely untouched, thought to be the maids’ quarters which eerily linger with visible damage from a tragic fire. It is alleged that two maids didn’t make it out and burned alive whilst trapped, and though we’ve never been able to confirm where this report originated from, strange occurrences happen near the attic rooms with screams claimed to have been heard… and we often find the locked entrance has been reopened!

Our rooms can be reserved online:

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