THE ULTIMATE KENT PUB CRAWL
There is nothing like a proper, traditional British pub. And there is nothing like a proper, traditional Kentish pub – the best of the best. We’ve had pubs, inns, taverns, whatever you like to call them, ever since the Romans invaded in AD43 – we certainly do have a lot to thank them for, and today these symbols of British culture are so much more than simply a place to have a swift drink.
Kent itself has a wide variety of pubs that range from the chic bistro to the village local, and each one has a charm all of its own. But the best way to experience each different type – and each different tipple – is to try insideKENT’s Ultimate Kent Pub Crawl!
1: The Bickley
The Bickley is a pub of two halves. It is located in leafy, suburban Chislehurst, and yet it feels like a modern city pub, but you don’t have to travel too far to get there. The selection of beers and wines at The Bickley is excellent, each one having been researched before being added to the list. And the food is of excellent quality too; this is a pub that the whole family can visit and enjoy. Live music on a Saturday, roasts on a Sunday, special cocktails on a Thursday, steak night on a Wednesday… Take your pick, because any night is a good time to visit The Bickley.
The Bickley, Chislehurst Road, Chislehurst BR7 5NP
020 8468 7613
2: The Windmill
Once the winner of ‘The Most Improved Pub of the Year’ by the West Kent branch of CAMRA, the Windmill – owned by Goacher – is somewhere you can go and be guaranteed a warm welcome. Customer service is key here, and with such a great atmosphere created through simple attention to detail, it’s no wonder that this one-time run down pub in Sevenoaks is now a thriving and much-loved part of the local community. As a bonus, there are a range of local ciders and, of course, real ales on tap – and some excellent food too. In the summer, the patio garden is a delight.
The Windmill, 1 Windmill Road, Sevenoaks TN14 6PN
3: The Poet at Matfield
The Poet at Matfield is very much a pub to dine in, and to experience new things in. That could be a craft gin (there are many available here), or a fabulously creative cocktail. It could be the imaginative, contemporary British food on the menu (do you like the sound of jumbo quail breast, confit leg, duxelle of mushroom, fig and quail egg, for example?). It could be the building itself, so welcoming and comfortable. It could be any of these things, or all of them – this pub is a pub for everyone.
The Poet at Matfield, Maidstone Road, Matfield TN12 7JH
4: The Peacock Inn
The Peacock Inn is a family run, 14th-century pub that is as traditional as they come. However, the food and drink served here is much more than simple ‘pub grub’ – it is simple, wholesome and delicious and the ingredients are, wherever possible, locally sourced. With a lovely garden area for when the weather’s good and crackling open fire when it’s cold, there is no reason not to visit.
The Peacock Inn, Goudhurst Road, Iden Green, Goudhurst TN17 2PB
5: The Vine Inn
While it’s true that some old pubs can feel too dark and too small, the Vine Inn is as far removed from that as possible. The conservatory area is a light and bright, open and welcoming, and you can choose to sit there, in the bar, or even out in the walled garden if you prefer. Food comes in good portions, and there are a variety of exciting vegetarian options too.
Vine Inn, 76 High Street, Tenterden TN30 6AU
6: The Royal Oak
Are you a pudding person? If you are, The Royal Oak in Brookland will be your idea of heaven. The desserts here are all innovative and homemade, traditional puds with a twist. The rest of the menu is just as mouth watering and, if you have any dietary issues and nothing on the menu works for you, the chefs will create something that does. Sunday lunch here is quite an experience, and it is always followed by live music. If you are just popping in for a drink, give yourself some extra time to choose from the excellent selection of beers, wines, ciders and spirits.
The Royal Oak Inn, High Street, Brookland TN29 9QR
7: The White Hart
The owners and staff of The White Hart are justifiably proud of their pizzas, which are all handmade and cooked to order in a special authentic Italian oven. This pub is fun, as well as a great place to eat. Their website says they “offer serious food in an unserious way”, and that makes sense – why not simply enjoy good food and have a laugh along the way? With local tipples behind the bar and a dog-friendly attitude, The White Hart is a genuinely lovely pub.
The White Hart, 71 High St, Hythe CT21 5AJ
8: The Pullman
The entire aim of The Pullman is to allow people to enjoy themselves in a comfortable, hospitable hostelry. From the grill menu that includes succulent local Kentish beef steak to the best, freshest, most perfectly cooked fish from the nearby coast, there is a feeling of general wellbeing and relaxation here. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that generations of customers have passed through its charming old doors – and enjoyed every moment of being there.
The Pullman, 7-9 Church Street, Folkestone CT20 1SE
9: The Bohemian
Deal’s The Bohemian offers Kent’s largest selection of spirits, so if you prefer a shot to wine or beer, then you should try it out. There are over 60 different vodkas, fifty gins, an unbelievable 40 absinthes (which are pretty rare) and an astonishing 100 different whiskies, bourbons and Scotch. But as well as this there are a huge number of beers to sample including plenty of fruit beers. It’s a vibrant place to spend an evening trying new things!
The Bohemian, 47 Beach Street, Deal CT14 6HY
10: The Charles Dickens
One of the largest pubs in Broadstairs there is enough room at The Charles Dickens for everyone – whatever your reason for being there. For great food and ambience you’ve got the Copperfields restaurant upstairs, with the most beautiful views out across the stunning Viking Bay to enjoy while you eat. If you want to socialise and enjoy a few drinks, the bar downstairs has plenty of choice, and the friendly bar staff will be happy to help you pick.
The Charles Dickens, 5-6 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs CT10 1QS
11: The London Tavern
Named for London, based in Margate, this pub has the best of both places in its fantastic food, drink, and atmosphere. The food here is modern, but it’s not fussy. It will fill you up and it will do so for a fair price. The main focus on the food served at The London Tavern is Italian, and the ingredients are as fresh as possible. But there is more to the menu than Italian food, so whatever you’re in the mood for you should find something to suit you.
The London Tavern, Addington Street, Margate CT9 1PN
12: The Grove Ferry Inn
Location, location, location… And The Grove Ferry Inn in Upstreet near Canterbury has one of the most lovely locations imaginable. It sits right on the banks of the River Stour in an idyllic setting. The gardens are full of the pub’s own animals including chickens and pigs (which patrons can feed if they want to) as well as a children’s play area, and the interior of the pub itself is warm and inviting. With live music every Friday and a locally sourced, exquisitely produced menu along with fine wines and Shepherd Neame beers, here is a place to really revel in the beauty and diversity of Kent.
The Grove Ferry Riverside Pub & Inn, Grove Road, Upstreet CT3 4BP
13: The Dog at Wingham
There is something so utterly lovely about The Dog at Wingham that it deserves all the praise that is so often heaped upon it. Light, bright, comfortable and cosy all at once, it is a contemporary looking pub but one that has not lost sight of the history that surrounds it. The food here is exceptional, but although you might come for the food you’ll stay for the enjoyment of being in such a gorgeous place. Plus you can stay overnight in one of the well-appointed rooms, and emerge fresh faced in the morning to enjoy a great Kentish breakfast.
The Dog At Wingham, Canterbury Road, Wingham, Nr Canterbury CT3 1BB
14: The Foundry Brew Pub
The Foundry Brew Pub is a rather unique little place. Originally a Victorian foundry, production still happens here, but it’s no longer metal items. Now it’s beer. You can in fact watch the process take place in the pub’s very own microbrewery. There is also an extensive food menu, plus plenty of other local beers, wines and ciders. Informal and relaxed, The Foundry Brew Pub offers a little of everything.
The Foundry Brew Pub, White Horse Lane, Canterbury CT1 2RU
15: Albion Taverna
Unlike many Kentish pubs, the Albion Taverna offers incredible Mexican-inspired food from its pretty old building in Faversham. Secluded and quiet when it comes to location, when it comes to the events, general fun and fiesta, it’s where the party really starts. Locally sourced ingredients are at the heart of everything that is created in the kitchen here, and this lovely community dining experience will always be worth attending. The owners and staff are passionate about what they do – and it shows.
Albion Taverna, Front Brents, Faversham ME13 7DH
16: The George Inn
The George Inn is all about family. It’s a family-run business for a start, making for a close-knit team that works effortlessly well together. But it’s also about the family that is created by the customers who frequent this lovely bar, the ones who come back again and again to sample the delights of the menu. To top it all off, The George won Kent Dining Pub of the Year in the 2015 and 2016 Taste of Kent Awards!
The George Restaurant & Bar, The Street, Molash CT4 8HE
17: The Kings Head
If one word can be used to describe The Kings Head in Wye, it’s ‘quality’. The staff here offer perfection, and that means that the food, the ambience, the décor, the range of drinks is all exactly what you want and need from a proper village pub. The menu is an award-winning one, so you can rest assured that your meal will be memorable – and there are rooms here, so if you get too full you can always stay for the night!
The Kings Head, Church Street, Wye TN25 5BN
18: The Wagon & Horses
The menu at the Wagon and Horses changes on a regular basis because the food always has to work with the ingredients available – everything is seasonal and fresh. Although you’ll always find a few favourites nestling alongside creative dishes such as spice battered chicken strips and the pie of the day. And if you come from further afield you can even camp overnight here since there is a Caravan Club campsite right on the pub’s doorstep.
The Wagon & Horses, Faversham Road, Charing, Ashford TN27 0NR
19: The Windmill by Richard Phillips
The Windmill might have a kitchen run by renowned chef Richard Phillips, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a community pub. In fact, locals and visitors alike enjoy frequenting the Windmill and trying its wonderful array of locally sourced food and drink. Whether you are looking for a formal sit down meal or you just want to pop into chat with friends, you’ll be more than welcome.
The Windmill, 32 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne, Maidstone ME17 1TR
20: The Bull
Recently renovated in 2012, this privately owned 13th-century inn is not just a pretty face – it’s a four AA star rated hotel as well, so if you want to stay overnight after enjoying the bar’s hospitality, you don’t have to go very far. The Bull is a charming place, with a wonderful lounge with big, comfy sofas to enjoy, as well as open fires when the weather suits. With delicious à la carte meals as well as excellent bar snacks (all of which is made with locally sourced ingredients), the Bull is an elegant place to call home for a night or more.
The Bull Hotel, Bull Lane, Wrotham TN15 7RF