A FORMER Newport County AFC footballer has swapped Rodney Parade for another Newport landmark - becoming manager of a hotel in the city centre.

Darren Jones, who had three spells at Newport County AFC during his career, as well as stints with Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town and Forest Green Rovers, has taken the helm as hotel manager at the Queen's Hotel in Bridge Street.

Mr Jones is one of two familiar faces have taken the helm of one of Newport’s most historic venues.

Head chef and general manager Iain Jackson is also well known in the area after previously running the kitchens at the Priory Hotel in Caerleon, Rougemont School in Newport, and most recently the Custom House in Penarth.

The pair are determined to give the historic venue, which dates back to 1863 and has links to the Chartist movement, a new lease of life.

The Queen’s Hotel has recently relaunched its refurbished bar and brasserie specialising in high-quality food, drink and functions.

The Queen’s has recently launched a tapas menu that is available Monday to Saturday and is aimed at office workers and others looking for something quick and different in their lunch breaks.

“We are all about good, healthy food done right,” Mr Jackson said.

“Everything we serve is cooked from scratch using fresh ingredients from local suppliers, and that includes all our seafood, meats, and fruit and vegetables.

“We have a patisserie chef on the team so there is nothing served here that is pre-packaged or pre-prepared.

“It’s all about the ingredients; taking the best produce we can find and letting it do the talking on the plate.”

Functions are also offered by the Queen’s and a refurbished events room can host weddings and other family milestones, as well as corporate and charity days.

Mr Jones said: “The hotel is undergoing extensive refurbishments at the moment, but we already have guests in the rooms we have completed.

“We’re a five-minute walk from the rail station and that makes us a great choice for visitors, particularly those who are here for rugby weekends and the like.”