IT was love at first sight when hotel manager Simon James saw Williton’s 16th century pub the Masons Arms – now, a few months later, he has bought it.

Simon, his partner Aimee Trigell and their three children have moved into the thatched grade two listed building from Andover, Hampshire.

“We were looking to move to somewhere further South West and when we saw the pub we fell in love with it. It was exactly what we wanted,” Simon said.

“Everyone has been very friendly and helpful and we have inherited a wonderful staff. We are welcoming old and new customers to our new venture.”

Simon and Aimee intend to keep the original charm of the pub, but will extend the hours food is provided and hope to open all day in summer.

Mike Phillips, of selling agents Stonesmith, said: “We were delighted to sell this iconic thatched coaching inn which demonstrates that the demand still remains for profitable freehold pubs and inns throughout the South West.”