Original article from Kent Live
With its seafront and plentiful countryside, we reallt are spoilt for outdoor activities.
For walkers, there are many paths across the county that offer splendid views of Kentish nature.
All the best walks end at the pub and we know Kent isn't short of outstanding options on the food and drink front either.
On the Saxon Way path is The Sportsman in Whitstable, combining one of our best walks with one of our best pubs.
Hike the Saxon Shore
Before thinking about a pint and some filling pub grub, you'll need to walk up an appetite.
The Saxon Shore Way starts in Gravesend and runs right along the coast to Hastings in East Sussex.
That's a total of 262 kilometres which, if you walked the whole distance, would leave you deserving much more than one lunch!
Along the Saxon Shore is Whitstable and The Sportsman, the must-visit pub on the route.
Logistically, if you're aiming to finish at The Sportsman it also makes sense to start there and plan an 'out and back' route along the Saxon Shore Way.
From the pub, the path leads past beach houses and along the seawall towards Seasalter Beach, famous for its oysters.
Seasalter also rose to prominence way back when for its salt production in the Iron Age, consequently making it a target for Viking raids.
On a clear day, you can see across to the Isle of Sheppey from the path.
Eventually, you move into Graveney and here you'll want some decent walking boots as the land becomes a bit softer and marsh-like.
This land played host for The Battle of Graveney Marsh back in 1940 which came about when a German plane was shot down from the sky but the crew survived before being captures.
It's a well-known fact that the captured German crew were first taken to The Sportsman pub for a drink, an event commemorated by the pub.
The route from Whitstable, past Seasalter and to Graveney should take around two hours to walk its 5.7 miles.
Out and back would take four hours, a full morning's work, and leave you deserving of a tasty lunch.
The award-winning The Sportsman
The Sportsman has a Michelin star to its name and has topped the Top 50 Gastropubs list in the UK in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021.
The awards are voted for by leading chefs, restaurateurs and food writers.
The incomparable reputation of the restaurant has been painstakingly built by its chef-patron Stephen Harris and his brother Phillip since they acquired the Shepherd Neame premises in 1999.
Harris is proud of the local area and takes that into the pub which endeavours to serve up the best offerings from local areas.
He previously told KentLive: "We could point out the lambs in the field, the seaweed and oysters on the beach that ultimately end up on our diner’s plates.
“Some 15 years ago that was quite groundbreaking, now it’s become the normality for lots of places.
“I think that’s how we became a ‘cult’ restaurant and why chefs from all over the world come here to try our food.”
The Sportsman offers quintessentially British food with an upmarket twist.
It's a bit of a treat, but after working up an appetite on The Saxon Shore, it's a well-deserved one.
The restaurant's website reads: "Menu highlights include roast saddle of Monkshill farm lamb with mint sauce; thornback ray with brown butter, razor clams and sherry vinegar dressing; and braised brill fillet with mussel and bacon tartare.
"Desserts include chilled chocolate mousse cake with raspberries and raw cream; rhubarb soufflé with rhubarb ripple ice cream; and summer fruit salad with lemon verbena ice cream."
The Sportsman boasts an average of 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor with the two most recent reviews headlined 'Never disappoints' and 'Superb from start to finish.