A HISTORIC hotel in Salisbury has changed hands after being put on the market for just under £3m.

The Best Western Red Lion Hotel in Milford Street, has been bought by Cypress Ltd, a company that owns two Best Western hotels in Essex – the Rose and Crown in Colchester and the Atlantic in Chelmsford. Best Western is a national franchise that allows privately owned hotels to join forces for marketing and purchasing.

Mark Bramley, the Red Lion’s general manager, said the purchase of the hotel, which was founded in the 13th century and is one of the oldest in the country, was completed on Monday night.

He said of the new owners: “They have been here every day this week and plans are afoot to upgrade the hotel. At the moment we have 51 rooms and we are looking to increase that.”

The Red Lion has been owned by the same family since 1913. Michael Maidment, the last proprietor in the family line, said the hotel would be in good hands with the new owners.

He said: “It is the end of an era and the family have been there a long time. But we are delighted that it is going to carry on to its next phase and there will be continuity – although there is bound to be change because everyone has their own style. “I have been there 37 years and it has been wonderful, but there comes a time, when you are 66, when you have to let other people take the reins.”

Mr Maidment says he has enjoyed the everyday involvement the business. He said: “It’s talking to staff and customers and the building itself is fantastic; it gives such a framework for people to work in. This is just another, minor step forward in the long history of the hotel.”

The family’s involvement began when Mr Maidment’s grandparents, Charles and Elsie Thomas, took on the hotel. It then passed to his uncle Bill and his wife and in 1977, and on their retirement, Mr Maidment’s parents Arthur and Molly took over the hotel. Mr Maidment ran the hotel with his wife Jill, sister Valerie and brother-in-law Clive.