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How The Swan became the Dorber family's second lovely place...
Back in 2004, Mark and Sophie decided that they would leave the London rat race behind and seek a new life on the Suffolk coast. Taking on the lease of an unloved bedraggled Arts-and-Crafts pub, The Anchor at Walberswick, they set about lavishing love and investment into what is now a charming seaside inn, with the sand dunes and the blue-green waves a short walk down the road.
Mark had spent over 20 years running the iconic The White Horse - also known locally in London as The Sloaney Pony - on Parsons Green between Chelsea and Fulham. This was known as a stalwart innovator of the smart capital drinking scene, and was rightly named Pub of the Year on many occasions, regular hosting of beer festivals and offering a home to no less than 300 different ales served annually.
While in London, Mark launched the Beer Academy, the grain equivalent of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. He remains a passionate founder-director today.
The devotion of Mark and Sophie restored the Anchor into the landmark pub it should always be. In late 2012, they then discovered a similarly uncared-for historic gem in the 16th century Swan next to the river in the heart of Stratford St. Mary, up river from Dedham on the Suffolk/Essex borders. Since unearthing a site of such potential, they have set about with gusto on their long journey to fulfil their obsessive vision for the epitome of a village pub and restaurant.