Original article from Kent Live
It's been a hard year of lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions for the hospitality industry.
As we hopefully move way from the curbs on our social lives for good, we mustn't forget that Kent is home to a range of fine country pubs offering a wide choice of food and drink.
And now we're allowed to dine and drink inside again there's no better time to check them out.
Whether you are after fine food, fine wine, a family-friendly pub or anything in between, Kent's top pubs can cater to your needs.
From bustling city centre boozers to beautiful country inns, and from tiny craft ale pubs no bigger than a sitting room to the the perfect places to warm yourself in front of the open log fire.
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Of course, what makes a great pub depends on your priorities. It could be good food, great beer, music or a friendly atmosphere.
What's certain is that you'll find all of these things in the pubs below (though not necessarily all in the same pub).
They all have this in common: they are all places you will love having a drink.
It goes without saying there are lots of great Kent pubs that haven't made this list – we just couldn't fit them all on. The ones that did make it below are listed in no particular order.
Also always remember to check the coronavirus guidance in your area as well as the current rules and opening times for your specific venues.
The full list is below.
The Compasses, Crundale
Where: Sole Street, Crundale, Canterbury, Kent CT4 7ES
What: A celebrity favourite is The Compasses Inn in Crundale, between Ashford and Canterbury.
Paul Hollywood, who used to live nearby in Wingham, once told his Twitter followers how much he loved their Sunday Roast.
Husband and wife team Rob and Donna Taylor took on The Compasses Inn near Canterbury in 2012. Donna looks after front-of-house while Rob works as head chef, and his food has received a host of accolades.
The pub holds the only Michelin bib gourmand in Kent and has two AA rosettes.
The Bouverie Tap, Folkestone
Where : 45 Bouverie Rd W, Folkestone CT20 2SZ
What : A microbrewery may not be your first choice for a pint and dinner but the drinks selection here is huge and the food is in no way 'micro'.
The menu is limited but incredibly tasty and chocked full of locally sourced ingredients.
Try the daily specials or the vegetarian pie and you can't go wrong.
The Bell, Kemsing
Where: High Street, Kemsing, TN15 6NB
What : This pub offers a warm welcome and friendly atmosphere.
On the site for more than 100 years, the pub offer a good selection of real ales and fine wines as well as an excellent menu of home cooked food.
The Stone Horse, Higham
Where: Dillywood Lane, Higham, ME3 8EN
What : A warm and welcoming country pub in the heart of Kent.
The Stone Horse has been a licensed premises since 1886 and the building itself dates back to 1774 during the reign of King George III and still has many of its original features.
Kipps' Alehouse, Folkestone
Where: The Old High Street, Folkestone, CT20 1RL
What : Kipps' Alehouse follows the general principle of a micro-pub, serving real ale directly from the cask.
All ales are sourced from small independent micro-breweries and served in third pint glasses for tasting. Several ciders are on sale from boxes on the bar counter.
This micro-pub is unusual in that is serves a variety of bottled craft beers and draught international lagers. Generally, the Alehouse also has upward of 10 international wines, a selection of gins and in addition to Prosecco, Port and Sherry.
Market House, Maidstone
Where: 30 Earl Street, Maidstone ME14 1PS
What: Formerly known as Earls, the Market House is located in the heart of the County Town opposite the Hazlitt Theatre and next to Fremlin Walk shopping precinct.
There's a covered al-fresco drinking and dining area to the front of the building and a first floor roof terrace overlooking Fremlin Walk, with heated, covered seating areas.
The menu includes everything from small tapas-style plates and superfood salads to spinach tortilla wraps and burgers and all our dishes are freshly cooked using local ingredients where possible.
Beau Nash, Tunbridge Wells
Where: 59 Mount Ephraim, Royal Tunbridge Wells TN4 8BE
What : Found at the top of Mount Ephraim, just a short walk from the centre of town, The Beau Nash is the height of hospitality in Tunbridge Wells.
It’s a warm and welcoming pub which dates back to the late 1800s, with authentic original features like wood-panelled walls and church-pew seating providing a throwback to more traditional times.
Cosy in winter with a real fire roaring, The Beau Nash is a fine place to spend a summer’s day too. The pub boasts a large and leafy garden which provides not only a peaceful retreat from the bustling town, but also one of Tunbridge Wells’ more surprising wedding venues – fully licensed for small ceremonies.
Halfway House, Sevenoaks
Where: 80 London Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 2JD
What : This small, local pub has a truly welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
The Halfway House has a great selection of local Kentish products on offer, from lagers and ales, to wines and spirits.
The George, Tunbridge Wells
Where : Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells
What : Owners Richard Simm and Jason Dormon brought back the original name and completely re-vamped this old pub when they took over in 2016, and have been steadily building up a loyal following.
“We started from nothing really,” said Paul, who has also worked for the pair at their other pubs, the Ragged Trousers and the Sussex Arms in the Pantiles.
“We were used to the Pantiles, but to open at this end of the town was a step into the unknown. Our success is testament to our lovely customers, who keep coming back, and to our wonderful staff.”
The Jackdaw Inn, Denton
Where: The Street, Denton, between Dover and Canterbury, CT4 6QZ
What: Just a stone's throw from Canterbury, The Jackdaw is renowned for its quaint interior inside its 17th century surroundings.
It was also the setting for the famous Battle of Britain film and guests can take a look at the various Spitfire memorabilia in the pub and in its very own Spitfire room.
Good news is there's a log fire to cosy around in the winter too.
The Chaser Inn, Tonbridge
Where : Stumble Hill, Shipbourne, Tonbridge TN11 9PE
What : The Chaser Inn is one of Kent's most striking pubs.
The beautiful pub has a colonial style which is picturesque on the outside and perfectly cosy on the inside.
Venturing into the pub on a cold winter's day is a perfect treat – it's warm and inviting, due to the fantastic open fires, bookcases lining the walls, and, of course, a large helping of country charm.
The Mariner, Folkestone
Where: 16 The Stade, Folkestone, CT19 6AB
What : This welcoming former Mackeson pub rebuilt in the 1930s is approached through 19th century railway arches.
Outside tables overlook Folkestone’s old fishing harbour and the recently revived harbour arm. Just fifty yards away are the Sunny Sands, one of Kent’s best bathing beaches.
All major sporting events are shown on multiple screens and there’s even a handy post box for those holiday post cards.
The Milk House, Sissinghurst
Where : The Street, Sissinghurst, Cranbrook TN17 2JG
What : The Milk House, in Sissinghurst, is run by publicans Dane and Sarah Allchorne, and ‘prides itself on its food, keeping dishes simple, and working with the seasons, using only the freshest produce from local suppliers’.
The couple and their chefs aim to source their ingredients from within a 20-mile radius when creating a menu for all tastes and budgets.
The Milk House, in The Street, has a classic menu of traditional pub fare, while its dining room lunches and dinners offer more adventurous dishes.
The Old Neptune, Whitstable
Where : Marine Terrace, Island Wall, Whitstable, CT5 1EJ
What : The Old Neptune pub gives you the chance to enjoy a pint on the beach.
It is the perfect place to enjoy stunning sunsets over the sea with continental lagers and terrific home cooked food.
The Poet at Matfield
Where : Maidstone Road, Matfield, Tonbridge TN12 7JH
What : The Poet is famed for its delicious food but it is also a great pit stop for those looking to shelter from the harsh weather.
Low ceilings, wooden floors and quaint decor all come together to create a wonderful cosy backdrop to enjoy a warming dinner after a long wintry walk.
The menu is packed full of seasonal treats that are always changing, so you'll always have something different to try when you stop by.
The Coppice, Eastchurch
Where: Fourth Avenue, Eastchurch ME12 4EW
What: A lovely little country pub that's something of a hidden gem on the Isle of Sheppey.
Established in 1979 the pub has a traditional look and has been serving the people of Sheppey with a variety of drinks including real ale and good traditional pub grub for many years.
West End Tavern, Marden
Where: West End, Marden, TN12 9JB
What : The West End Tavern is a pub and restaurant set in a very picturesque area within the 'Garden of England'.
The pub is on the Goudhurst road at the west end of Marden village located only a short drive from Maidstone, Tonbridge, and Tunbridge Wells.
Originally built in the 18th century, the pub is located on the site of the Old Forge in Marden, where ale has been sold since the 1800s. The West End Tavern quickly became the most popular 'beer house' among the local Kent Hop Pickers in the 1940s to 1950s.
Where: 15 Milton Road, Gravesend, DA12 2RF
What : TJ's is a traditional public house located in Gravesend with a lovely garden and catered function room – offering a wide selection of drinks and food.
The George Inn, Molash
Where : The Street, Molash, Canterbury
What : The George is a former coaching inn and an established, family run business in the village of Molash in south east Kent.
Situated on the picturesque North Downs – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, they pride themselves on fantastic local produce, award winning food and 14 years of experience and friendly service.
The restaurant won the award for Kent Dining pub in 2016 and all their food is made on the premises.
Where possible they use locally sourced products including meat from Rooks of Ramsgate, fish from Folkestone Trawlers and fresh fruit and vegetables from Foodari (Fresher by Miles) in Molash.
They also have their own small holding and gardens where they raise animals and grow their own vegetables, fruit and salad.
The Lanes Micropub
Where : Worthington Street, Dover
What : The friendly, award-winning micropub off Worthington Street is comfortably furnished and carpeted.
Five real ales, mostly from Kentish microbreweries, and over 10 ciders are served on gravity from the temperature-controlled cellar room.
Wine, mead and soft drinks are also from Kent producers.
Snacks can be bought in from the local deli and a feasting board is available with 48 hours’ notice.
The Deal Hoy, Deal
Where: 16 Duke Street, Deal, CT14 6DU
What : A traditional local pub in the northern quarter of Deal's historic conservation area.
Named after a small Kentish sailing vessel, the pub makes waves with its authentic wood-fired pizza, a host of delicious drinks and a lively line-up of entertainment.
It’s a place packed with characterwith a smart interior wearing its nautical history with pride, and a traditional log burner providing a warm welcome in winter.
The Rose, Dartford
Where: 36 Overy Street, Dartford DA1 1UP
What : A family run pub who take good care of their customers and are particularly proud of their food offering.
The Blacksmiths Arms, Hollingbourne
Where: The Street, Wormshill, Hollingbourne, ME9 0TU
What : A Grade II-listed, timber-framed, 17th century village pub, formerly three cottages, situated in rolling downland countryside near to the Pilgrims Way.
It has a cosy bar with original brick floor, and is warmed in winter by an inglenook log fire. A local beer is often available, alongside beers from across the UK. Food is the main emphasis here, served in the beamed and candlelit restaurant and table reservations are required.
Pearsons Arms, Whitstable
Where : Horsebridge Road, Whitstable, CT5 1BT
What : Pub and upstairs restaurant serving modern British cuisine using local seafood, meat and cheese.
The Queen's Inn
Where : Rye Road, Hawkhurst TN18 4EY
What : On the border of Kent and East Sussex, The Queen's Inn in Hawkhurst offers luxurious rooms alongside its high-quality restaurant and bar.
The Dirty Habit, Maidstone
Where : Upper Street, Hollingbourne, Maidstone ME17 1UW
What : Restored pub in an area of natural beauty, offering traditional British and continental dishes.
The Barrow House, Faversham
Where : The Street, Egerton, Faversham TN27 9DJ
What : The Barrow House is a pub in idyllic Egerton, a village known for its thriving community spirit as much as its magnificent views across the Weald of Kent, picturesque cottages and local history.
Previously known as The George, the inn was originally built in 1576 using timbers from sailing ships and traditional cob and straw plaster, which still remain behind the 17th century timber frame, weatherboards and Kent peg tiles.
The Three Chimneys, Biddenden
Where : Hareplain Road, Biddenden, Ashford TN27 8LW
What : The Three Chimneys is surrounded by beautiful scenery, with the building itself possessing dark oak beams, aged hops and a lovely roaring fire.
The pub aims to deliver an informal dining experience with local produce, offering a variety of ales, wines and spirits.
The White Horse, Dover
Where : St James Street, Dover CT16 1QF
What : The White Horse Inn is one of the town's oldest residences dating from 1365.
It was built during the reign of Edward III as a dwelling for the Churchwarden of St James Church which stood next door.
Today the White Horse still is a local pub dispensing various beverages including delicious coffees, a superb collection of trendy gins and a selection of well-loved pints.
The pub also serves up a mean Sunday roast, alongside other dishes, and aids in local charity events.
The Pullman, Folkestone
Where : Church Street, Folkestone CT20 1SE
What : This lovely Kentish pub hidden on a Folkestone side street has a reputation for fine feasting and warm hospitality.
Not only will you receive warm and friendly service, you'll feel cosy and toasty inside too as the fire is located conveniently next to the bar to keep you snug while you drink.
And, if it's a Sunday and you really want to warm your cockles, you can get a cracking roast here too.
The Dog, Wingham
Where : Canterbury Road, Wingham CT3 1BB
What : The Dog is a wholly family affair as the B&B is run by Marc Bridgen, his mum Marilyn, his brother Oliver and his stepfather Shaun Tilley.
The family have worked tirelessly renovating every aspect of the pub since picking up the keys in June 2016 and serve an ever changing menu of British cuisine.
And the pub has made light work of picking up award after award in recent years.
Bishops Finger, Canterbury
Where : St. Dunstans St, Canterbury CT2 8AF
What : With its charming olde-worlde exterior, the 16th Century Bishop’s Finger stands out as one of Canterbury’s most distinctive pubs.
Unmissable in every sense, it’s just a short walk away from the historic cathedral and other major attractions, making it the perfect place for a pint for locals and tourists alike.
The pub’s traditional frontage suggests small and quaint, but this place holds a secret or two. The rear of the pub opens out onto one of the largest beer gardens in Canterbury – a real hidden gem in the city, and the place to be on a summer’s day.
There’s even a TV screen outside, showing all the latest action on Sky Sports.
It’s one of five large screens throughout the pub, making this a really popular place to watch the big sporting occasions.
The Sportsman, Seasalter
Where : Faversham Road, Seasalter, Whitstable
What : This restaurant has held a Michelin star since 2008, and has been showered with numerous awards over the years.
The restaurant is known for letting the area and surroundings dictate the menu, serving oysters and fish from the Thames Estuary and meat and vegetables from the land.
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.
Duke William, Ickham
Where : The Street, Ickham, Canterbury CT3 1QP
What : Relax in front of the fire, perch at the bar or tuck yourself away in a cosy corner and enjoy the superb food, drink and atmosphere in this quintessential Kentish Pub located in the heart of the Garden of England.
The Potting Shed, Maidstone
Where : Horseshoes Lane, Langley, Maidstone ME17 3LZ
What : The Potting Shed is a down to earth eating house which has been created in the unusual style of a potting shed with a grass roof and decorated with gardening tools, urns and hidden delights.
The big dining room with its magnificent open kitchen is vaulted with a wooden clad ceiling and opens out onto a beautiful garden which boasts an amazing outside space and a great kids play area as well as being host to a herb and vegetable garden.
The Tickled Trout, Maidstone
Where : Chequers Cottage, Lower Road, Maidstone ME15 0PE
What : Located near the gorgeous village of West Farleigh, The Tickled Trout is the local hub for lovers of great food and drink.
The cosy pub has a beautiful dining room as well as six boutique hotel rooms, sun terraces and large garden with kids’ play area.
Old City Bar, Canterbury
Where : 2 Oaten Hill Pl, Canterbury CT1 3HJ
What : The Old City Bar is a hidden gem of a Canterbury pub, serving up fresh food and fine ales just outside the famous city walls.
Comfortably within walking distance of the main city centre, it’s just far enough away to provide respite from the crowds, making it the perfect place to escape for a pub lunch or a peaceful pint.
Cross the threshold here and you’re greeted by a traditional bar, packed with a superb selection of local ales, lagers, ciders, wines, spirits and hot drinks. The separate restaurant, meanwhile, serves hearty pub classics and seasonal specials seven days a week.
Where: King Street, Fordwich CT2 0DB
What : This recently refurbished pub boasts a 1930s bar and an oak panelled dining room.
And its riverside location promises a beautiful dining terrace during the summer, with lovely views of the river.
The Fordwich Arms was opened by Daniel Smith, Natasha Norton-Smith and Guy Palmer-Brown less than a year and a half ago but noise surrounding the pub's amazing food, drink and atmosphere has been steadily building to crescendo.
In 2018 the team picked up its first Michelin star – no mean feat in a county where only a handful other restaurants can boast of the same.
The Plough, Faversham
Where : Stalisfield Road, Faversham ME13 0HY
What : The Plough Inn at Stalisfield is a beautiful country pub with rooms in a village high up on the Kent Downs between Faversham, Canterbury and Ashford.
Owners Marianne and Richard Baker have over thirty years’ experience in the hospitality industry and are passionate about combining great food and drink with welcoming service in a relaxed setting.
The Woolpack Inn, Warehorne
Where : Hook Wall, Romney Marsh TN29 9TJ
What : The Woolpack Inn dates back more than 600 years and stands in the heart of Romney Marsh, surrounded by dykes and reed beds that are home to a wealth of wildlife.
A former smugglers' haunt, the pub oozes charm and character, with hops adorning old beams, a large inglenook fireplace and quarry tiled bar.
Located in great walking country, the Woolpack Inn is a perfect place to stop and satisfy the thirst and appetite during a day out in the country.
The Plough, Langley
Where : Sutton Road, Langley, Sutton Valence, Maidstone ME17 3LX
What : Sophisticated food and service in elegant surroundings.
From the copper bar and the pre-dinner lounge to the restaurant with a window to the heart of the kitchen; the Plough at Langley delivers on many levels.
The Goudhurst Inn, Cranbrook
Where : Cranbrook Road, Goudhurst, Cranbrook TN17 1DX
What : One of the best country pubs in Kent, The Goudhurst Inn offers fantastic locally sourced food and drink, as well as comfortable hotel rooms.
The Stanhope Arms, Westerham
Where: Church Road, Brasted, Westerham, TN16 1HZ
What : This welcoming old village pub is the perfect place for a pint, with six real ales including Greene King and well liked pub-style food.
Kent is an absolutely stunning place to live.
We've got so many brilliant locations and awe-inspiring backdrops across the county, so it's no wonder the pictures from the community of photographers on Instagram keep coming thick and fast.
We're pretty sure that you agree with us that Kent has massive appeal to those with an eye for a picture. But if you did doubt us, then following the @kentlivenews Instagram account is a must-do.
We share the best photos from around the county daily, as well the headlines you need to know about from around Kent on our Instagram stories.
If you want to get involved, use our #kentlive hashtag when you post your photos – we look through them all and repost the best on our account.
What are you waiting for?!
The Ferry House Inn, Isle of Sheppey
Where : Harty Ferry Rd, Leysdown-on-Sea, Sheerness ME12 4BQ
What : The Ferry House Inn is a beautiful 16th Century Country Public House sitting alongside the Swale Estuary in the peaceful hamlet of Harty, on the Isle of Sheppey.
They provide quality pub food, a la carte dining in their restaurant, weddings, 4* accommodation and events.
The Barn restaurant offers full waiter service, with a comprehensive menu, and many fresh seasonal dishes. Whereas The Bar offers an extensive choice of home made dishes, with only the best ingredients.
The Butchers Block, Burham
Where : 65-67 Church St, Burham, Rochester ME1 3SB
What : This laid back country style pub and restaurant near Rochester caters for all the family, including our four legged friends.
The pub is nestled in the village of Burham, amid glorious Kent countryside. With newly built garden patio areas at both the front and rear of the pub, you can soak up the sun through the day and into the evening while sampling their famous food.