The leisure sector is experiencing a period of accelerated change and expansion in response to the appearance of new technologies and changing consumer behaviours and expectations.

Our leisure sector team keeps up to date with all industry developments to provide practical and commercially informed legal solutions. Our clients range from cinema operators, hotel chains, competitive socialising operators, restaurants and pub groups to developers, financiers and operators of sports, cinema and leisure facilities.

Drawing on the expertise of our diverse firm, our team provides advice on a wide range of legal and business challenges.

Our strength in corporate work means that we can advise clients on the structuring, financing and successful execution of major corporate transactions such as acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and refinancings. More broadly, we support clients across all areas of commercial activity including planning, management, franchising, and operational and promotional matters.

Our real estate specialists help investors, developers and end-users with the acquisition, development, construction and funding of leisure-related developments, both on individual properties and across large portfolios. And in all these activities, our tax team provides advice and expertise to ensure that transactions are structured and managed tax efficiently, particularly in relation to property tax.

For legal updates and news, please visit Fladgate’s Hotels and Leisure Law blog.

If you have any questions or queries please call Mark on +44 (0)20 3036 7290 or email msaunders@fladgate.com

Acts for a range of clients, including hotel chains, restaurants, unbranded boutique hotels, pub companies, operators, financiers and developers.

Chambers UK
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Regularly retained by owners, operators, investment vehicles and developers to act on complex projects, throughout the UK. Serves clients across the full gamut of the market including those with gaming, cinema, hotel and restaurant assets. Advised Global Gaming Ventures on the acquisition of two casino properties in England worth a combined £32.6 million. Acted for Starboard Hotels on its acquisition of a portfolio of Ibis hotels from Accor through a purchase and franchise agreement. Julian Lewis and Stephen Lewis are key client contacts.

Chambers UK

Typically acts for developers and owners in the sector. Advises on a range of asset types including cinemas, restaurants and sports facilities.  “They’re a very hands-on firm whose focus is on generating client loyalty.”

“They have a commercial approach and look for longevity in their client relationships. They are down-to-earth, approachable and good at explaining things in a non-legal way.”

“They have always been very efficient. They are very responsive and we like the individuals there.”

Chambers UK

Advised Merlin Entertainments on projects at Alton Towers Resort, including new themed accommodation lodges and several treehouses. Represented Four Pillars Hotels in the disposal of its portfolio, which includes six hotels in Oxfordshire, to a Starwood Capital-affiliated fund.   Head of department Julian Lewis is a key contact.

Chambers UK

The group is well known for its work in publishing and other media but also has strength in other sectors like leisure and resources. Their ability to get deals done is well recognised by clients, who comment: “They are clever guys, but their great attribute is their ability to find a solution when problems arise”. Known to “drive deals over the finish line”, Anthony Vaughan has extensive experience within the area of corporate hotels and leisure.

Chambers UK

This firm has strengthened its position in the last year, and has benefited from an increase in restructuring and refinancing work. It has made some significant client gains in the hotels sector, including the likes of the Abba Hotels Group and Splendid Hotel Group. The real estate team is praised as “very detailed, very thorough and very well integrated with other teams within the firm”. In terms of client service, clients comment: “They’ve just been very efficient: they’ve been very thorough, they turn things around speedily, and we’ve no reason to look anywhere else”.

Chambers UK

Represents a broad array of clients, including significant hotel chains, luxury resorts, leisure facilities and restaurant groups. Offers international expertise and experienced in handling cross-border transactions in Europe. Strengths: “Thorough and accessible. They have a good breadth of experienced partners and all the necessary specialists”. Assisted real estate investor group Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners with the sale of the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle De France to Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Represented Chorus Group in its construction contract related to the completion of the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard, London.

Chambers UK

Regularly retained by owners, operators, investment vehicles and developers to act on complex projects throughout the UK. Areas of expertise include funding, real estate, developments and transactional work. Serves clients across the full gamut of the market, including those with gaming, cinema, hotel and restaurant assets. Acted for 4C Hotels on negotiating a franchise agreement with Hilton for new boutique hotel brand Canopy. Julian Lewis is a key contact.

Chambers UK


Fladgate LLP’s ‘strong team with strength from partners to associates’ is ‘very experienced in the leisure sector’, where key players include the ‘very commercial and deal orientated’ Stephen Lewis, and Mark Saunders, who is ‘market leading on title and lease issues and excellent at large transactions, especially cinemas’. Saunders recently advised Odeon on the opening of a cinema in the new BH2 leisure complex in Bournemouth. The practice is also noted as being ‘a very good source for guidance in difficult transactional situations’, and in one highlight Nick Mumby acted for Aldgate Tower Investments on its £346m sale to a joint venture between China Life and Brookfield Property Partners.


Legal 500

Other names to note include the highly recommended Gideon Dabby-Joory, who represented an offshore private family trust on the £35m disposal of a brownfield site for development in St Pancras, and senior associate Amanda Hado-Bodfield, who ‘gets the deal done’. In the retail sector, high-end tenant clients include Roche Bobois and Jurlique UK. The ‘very insightful’ Richard Reuben leads the team.

Legal 500

  • Jamie Barber, bar and restaurant entrepreneur – opening of new Hush restaurants in central London (including at High Holborn and St Paul’s) and the launch of his new Brazilian street food restaurant, Cabana. Cabana currently has three venues: Westfield London, Westfield Stratford and Covent Garden, with plans to open further branches over the next three years.
  • Wright Brothers Oyster House Ltd – acting in connection with restaurants in Soho, Borough Market and South Kensington.
  • Global Gaming Ventures – real estate work of their proposed acquisitions of new 2005 Act casinos in Bath and Leeds.
  • Yo! Sushi – acquisition of new restaurant units.
  • Aspers Casinos – acquisition of a 60,000 sq ft casino at Westfield Stratford and ongoing management work together with advice on the restructuring of the lease of their casino in Swansea.
  • Odeon Cinemas – various new operating sites including Bournemouth, Hereford, Trowbridge and Milton Keynes.
  • Brasserie Blanc – advising Abriand Limited, a company established by management to acquire the entire issued share capital of Brasserie Bar Co Limited, which owns the Blanc Brasserie premium casual dining business and The White Pub Company gastropub business. In turn, Abriand was funded through a £20m debt and equity investment made by Core Capital.
  • Esporta (health club operator) – £179m disposal of a portfolio of freehold and long leasehold racquet clubs. The 17 clubs were acquired by British Land and let on 25 year leases to Virgin Active. Fladgate also advised on the property aspects of the disposal of the Esporta Health Club business to Virgin Active for £77.6m.
  • Little Chef restaurant portfolio – £59m purchase and leaseback of the Little Chef restaurant portfolio and on an option agreement with R Capital, a well–known venture capitalist, to acquire the entire business of the chain following the insolvency of the Little Chef group.
  • Sanguine Hospitality Management – takeover of Marco Pierre White branded restaurants.