Our challenge

The Crown & Thistle is a 400-year-old Grade-II listed coaching inn residing on land that was once part of Abingdon Abbey. The inn contains a village of individual buildings – the oldest dating back to 1605. Faithfully restored and reinvented for 21st century tastes, the inn is clustered around a cobbled courtyard and framed by 200-year-old wisteria.

With such rich history to work with, we were excited when Oakman Inns asked us to dream up a creative platform that would bring the heritage and character of the pub to life. Our solution needed to stretch into a comprehensive system that would encompass the ever-growing portfolio at Oakmans. We scoured archives to unearth the quirky details and compelling stories that would pull on your leg and pluck at the heartstrings.

Our approach

We adopted a distinct graphic approach for each pub based on its unique community, environment and architectural history, applying it across websites, menus and promotional collateral. We often drew inspiration from the often-overlooked details– bringing cobbled courtyards, unique fireplaces and weathered beams into focus. In contrast, we sought to celebrate their modern take on the age-old inn-keeping tradition, showcasing the inventive food, the open-plan theatre kitchen, and the relaxed yet attentive service, helping breathe new life into ancient stone and timber.

A modern expression
of the old English pub
we know and love. 

Our solution

In addition to an extensive menu system for the estate, we created a beautiful brochure wholly dedicated to their rooms and events space, ensuring footfall drive beyond The Crown & Thistle’s popular restaurant spaces. Restrained and sophisticated design, evocative photography and refined copy successfully blend old and new. We even managed to thread in the Inn’s distinctive personality through revealing the quirky, historical details preserved by new owners Oakman Inns.