Good Pub Guide: The 17 best pubs in Kent you simply must visit in 2022

As the cold, English weather and grey skies are finally beginning to clear for some warmer conditions, many of us are itching to get back out to the many amazing pubs Kent has to offer. It’s very easy to get set in your ways when it comes to choosing a spot to drink – you can’t beat a trip to the local, but there are plenty of other watering holes well worth a visit.

Thankfully, finding your next favourite might be easier than you’d expect as the Good Pub Guide has stepped in to highlight some of the best pubs Kent has to offer. The popular guide has recommended 17 of the finest boozers in the county as part of its 5,000 meticulously researched public houses across the UK.

While this year’s edition of the list remains highly-anticipated, it has unfortunately been temporarily shelved due previous lockdown restrictions halting pub inspections. However, last year’s instalment is still available to read and full to the brim of fantastic recommendations.

Below are the best 17 pubs in Kent as recommended by the Good Pub Guide 2021 edition.

The Bottle House Inn

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© Geograph The Bottle House Inn, Penshurst

Where: Coldharbour Rd, Penshurst, Tonbridge TN11 8ET

The Good Pub Guide said: “This attractive, weatherboarded old country pub is a fine choice for a drink and a chat or a full-blown meal. Pine wall boards and bar stools are ranged along the timber-clad copper-topped counter where they keep Larkins Traditional and a couple of guests such as Tonbridge Coppernob on handpump, 20 wines by the glass from a good list and local gin.”

It continues on to say: “Pleasing food includes Thai crab cakes, Greek salad, crayfish cocktail, a pie of the day with mash, seafood paella, piri-piri half chicken with corn on the cob, harissa halloumi salad, steak burger with skinny fries, roasted butternut squash risotto, pizzas, marinated swordfish steak with seared chicory and herby new potatoes.”

Dering Arms

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© Geograph The Dering Arms, Pluckley

Where: The Grove, Pluckley, Ashford TN27 0RR

The Good Pub Guide wrote: “This handsome inn was built in the 1840s as a hunting lodge on what was then the Dering Estate. It has an imposing stone frontage with mullioned arched windows and dutch gables. A beer named for the pub from Goachers and Goachers Gold Star Ale on handpump, six good wines by the glass from an unusually finely stocked cellar, local cider, 30 malt whiskies and 20 cognacs.”

They continued on to say: “First class fish and shellfish (oysters, prawns, lobsters, crab, skate wing, black bream, sea bass and more) are the stars here, though they do offer non-fishy choices too, such as interesting tapas, duck rillettes with ciabatta toast, venison steak with potato and celeriac purée and port sauce.”

The Dog

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© Google Maps

Where: Canterbury Rd, Wingham, Canterbury CT3 1BB

The Good Pub Guide noted: “The clever addition of contemporary touches to the heavy beams and nice old brickwork of this medieval inn make it all the more appealing and attractive. Swivelling wood stools line the counter where they keep Harveys Best and Whitstable Bay Pale Ale on handpump and nice wines by the glass; background music and board games.”

The guide added: “Good, enterprising modern food includes sandwiches, soy-cured salmon with pickled cockles, lotus root and wasabi, mussels in cider cream sauce, chicken, bacon and avocado caesar salad, braised ox cheek with cauliflower purée, pea and broad bean pearl barley risotto, chicken supreme with ham croquette, fondant potato and sweetcorn.”

Duke William

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© N Chadwick Paul Hollywood met Summer Monteys-Fullam at The Duke William pub in Ickham, near Canterbury

Where: The St, Ickham, Canterbury CT3 1QP

The Good Pub Guide says: “Set on the east bank of the River Stour, this attractive pub is nestled in a pretty village with thatched cottages and an 18th-c church. Friendly staff serve three rapidly changing ales from breweries such as Old Dairy, Wantsum and Whitstable on handpump, eight wines by the glass and a good choice of gins and whiskies.”

It continues on to say: “Food is good, comes in generous portions and includes roasted red pepper hummus with sourdough, smoked chicken terrine with lardons and leek mayonnaise, fried plaice and tartare sauce bap, honey and mustard glazed ham with triple-cooked chips.”

The Ferry Inn

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© Google Maps

Where: Appledore Road, Tenterden Rd, Stone in Oxney TN30 7JY

The Good Pub Guide states: “A favoured haunt of smugglers in the 17th c, and located in a picturesque setting on the edge of Romney Marsh, this pretty cottage pub has plenty of room for both drinkers and diners. The chatty main bar has hop-draped painted beams, a green dado and stools against the counter where they serve a beer named for the pub (from Goachers), Harveys Best, Sharps Doom Bar and a guest such as Cellar Head IPA on handpump, 16 wines by the glass, farm ciders and 24 gins.”

It continues on to say: “Tempting food includes devilled lamb kidneys on toast, moules marinière, vegan scallops with oyster mushrooms, squash and cauliflower purée, buttermilk chicken burger with spicy coleslaw and sweet potato fries, guinea fowl with tenderstem broccoli, roasted new potatoes and oyster mushroom sauce, glazed duck breast with parmentier potatoes, chargrilled chicory and sage and orange sauce.”

The Five Bells inn

Where: The St, East Brabourne, Ashford TN25 5LP

The Good Pub Guide says: “At the foot of the North Downs, this 16th-c inn is a fine place to spend a few days in comfortable bedrooms; lovely surrounding walks. Staff are helpful and friendly. Ales include their own house beer Pickled Egg Pale Ale, Old Dairy Summer Haze and a couple of changing locals such as Pig & Porter Skylarking and Tonbridge Blonde Ambition; also, Aspall’s and Dudda’s Tun ciders on draught and 16 well chosen wines by the glass.”

It adds: “Pleasing pubby food includes salt and pepper squid, whitebait with sriracha mayonnaise, ploughman’s, roast chicken breast with caesar salad and poached egg, smoked frankfurter with sauerkraut and fries, rib-eye steak with grilled tomato, mushroom and chips, wood-fired pizzas, and puddings such as vanilla cheesecake and strawberries and black forest brownie with vanilla ice-cream.”

The George & Dragon, Fordwich

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© Google Maps

Where: King St, Fordwich, Canterbury CT2 0DB

The Good Pub Guide Reads: “Our readers find this handsome hostelry very homely, with its spreading character rooms populated with lots of prints and paintings, bookshelves, large mirrors, house plants and tankards. Friendly, helpful staff serve St Austell Brunning & Price Traditional Bitter plus guests from the likes of Adnams, Canterbury Ales, Tonbridge and Wantsum on handpump, 17 wines by the glass, 34 whiskies and 49 gins.”

It continues on: “Good quality food includes sandwiches and ‘light bites’, pan-fried scallops with pea purée and shredded ham hock, chicken caesar croquettes, honey-roast ham and eggs, braised feather of beef bourguignon with horseradish mash and buttered kale.”

The George & Dragon, Chipstead

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© Google Maps Google Maps

Where: 39 High St, Chipstead, Sevenoaks TN13 2RW

The Good Pub Guide wrote: “It’s no surprise our readers love the inventive menus and excellent food at this bustling and easy-going pub: licensee Ben James describes himself as a ‘passionate, eccentric foodie’ ‘ and framed magazine and newspaper articles by him about foraging and field-to-fork cookery adorn the walls You’ll find the pub’s own George’s Marvellous Medicine from Westerham and one or two guest ales on handpump, alongside 16 wines by the glass, a good rage of whiskies and cocktails ‘ many people visit just for the espresso martinis.”

They go on to say: “Rewarding, hearty, seasonal food using local produce includes a daily set menu (not weekends) and very popular Sunday roasts. Dishes include harissa roasted cauliflower with celeriac purée, toasted almond and diced apple, roasted sweet potato with puy lentil, spinach, caramelised onion and tomato salad with coconut.”

The Hare

Where: Langton Rd, Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells TN3 0JA

The Good Pub Guide says: “A combination of good, enterprising food, a wide range of drinks and imaginative lively décor lure customers back here on a regular basis. Cheerfully efficient young staff serve Greene King Abbot and IPA and two guests such as Bath Gem and Bedlam Benchmark on handpump, 21 wines by the glass, 59 malt whiskies, 42 gins and a farm cider.”

It adds: “Contemporary food includes sandwiches and ‘light bites’, smoked salmon with orange and beetroot salad with horseradish cream, vegetable risotto with broad beans, radish, asparagus, and lemon, stilton, caramelised red onion and potato pie with redcurrant jus.”

The Pearsons Arms

Where: Horsebridge Rd, Whitstable CT5 1BT

The Good Pub Guide said: “Appealing décor including driftwood walls, settles with scatter cushions, captain’s chairs and leather armchairs on a stripped-wood floor, and carefully considered extra touches such as big flower arrangements on the bar counter, help make this welcoming beachside pub special. Courteous staff serve Pearsons Arms (named for the pub from Adnams) and Sharps Doom Bar plus two guests such as Ramsgate Gadds Seasider and Timothy Taylors Landlord on handpump, 21 good wines by the glass and an extensive list of cocktails; background music and regular live music nights.”

It continues to say: “Highly regarded food includes sandwiches and small plates (salt and pepper squid, Whitstable rock oysters, grilled aubergine with basil pesto, mini chorizo sausages), plus pan-fried scallops with yuzu mayonnaise, roquefort and chicory salad with toasted walnuts.”

Pepper Box Inn

Where: Windmill Hill, Harrietsham, Maidstone ME17 1LP

The Good Pub Guide stated: “This attractive white-painted old pub is just the place to relax after a good walk; indeed, the Greensand Way footpath is nearby. Shepherd Neame Master Brew and guests such as Shepherd Neame Spitfire and Whitstable Bay Pale Ale on handpump and 16 wines by the glass; background music.”

It adds: “Enjoyable food includes lunchtime sandwiches, tiger prawns in garlic, chilli and ginger butter, sloe gin pigeon with blackberry dressing, pork and mushroom stroganoff with tomato, paprika and basmati rice, a pie of the day, Thai fish curry with tiger prawns and crispy cod, duck breast with apple.”

The Plough Inn

Where: Stalisfield Rd, Faversham ME13 0HY

The Good Pub Guides describes: “With its rustic tables, old beams and blazing log fire in winter, coupled with excellent food and good choice of drinks, this a very welcoming place to spend a few hours. There are four Kentish ales on handpump from brewers such as Hopdaemon, Old Dairy, Ramsgate Gadds, Wantsum, Westerham and Whitstable (August beer festival), 16 wines by the glass, six local ciders and a wide selection of gins, malt whiskies and rums.”

It goes on to say: “Imaginative food using the best local produce and cooked by the landlord includes lunchtime rolls and seasonal daily specials, plus seared scallops with green beans, pickled fennel, pink grapefruit and caper beurre noisette, ham hock and chorizo terrine with celeriac rémoulade, Sicilian fish stew, burger with bacon jam, brie, slaw and chips, a pie of the day, Buccleuch fillet steak with cherry tomatoes, king oyster mushrooms, watercress salad and triple-cooked chips.”

The Radnor Arms

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© Ian Scammell

Where: Christ Church Rd, Folkestone CT20 2SX

The Good Pub Guide says: “Tucked away in a little backstreet, this is an interestingly renovated Victorian pub that’s proving a welcome addition to the town’s pub scene.There are several interconnected bar and dining rooms with quirky décor, a friendly, bustling atmosphere and a fine choice of drinks (do note the copper stills used for serving ales) that includes local suppliers such as beers from Pig & Porter and Old Dairy, ciders from the Kent Cider Company and wines from Gusbourne Estate.”

It adds: “Tasty pubby food includes broad beans with mint salt, black pudding scotch egg with apple and apricot chutney, prawn cocktail, beef burger with ketchup, pickles and fries, smoked frankfurter with sauerkraut, crispy onions and fries, beer-battered cod and chips, wood-fired pizzas, and puddings such as cheesecake with strawberries and a selection of ice-creams and sorbets.”

Sankey’s Seafood Kitchen & Bar

Where: 39 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells TN4 8AA

The Good Pub Guide says: “This lively, easy-going, street-level bar offers exceptional seafood, an unusually large choice of drinks and a homely interior decked out with lots of signs and memorabilia ‘ no wonder it’s so popular. Harveys Best, Larkins Traditional and a local guest from the likes or Long Man and Tonbridge are well kept on handpump and there’s a constantly changing range of craft beers, fruit beers, lagers and ciders, 30 wines by the glass and an extensive range of spirits, all served by helpful staff.”

The guide carries on to say: “Good value, tasty food includes sandwiches, snacks such as cockles and devilled anchovies, shell-on Greenland prawns, garlic and chilli crevettes, fish soup with rouille, lobster (half, whole, thermidor), mussels cooked various ways, haddock and smoked salmon fishcakes with spinach and horseradish sauce and chips.”

The Three Chimneys

Where: Hareplain Rd, Biddenden, Ashford TN27 8LW

The Good Pub Guide describes: “This characterful, cosy old inn is an ideal base for visiting the gardens at nearby Sissinghurst (National Trust). The small, low-beamed bar and dining rooms are civilised but informal with plenty of character. Their own Chimneys Ale (from Goachers) plus Harveys Best on handpump, 18 wines by the glass from a good list, local Biddenden’s cider and nine malt whiskies; background music in the restaurants.”

Continuing on, it says: “Highly thought-of food includes ploughman’s, grilled mackerel fillet with salsa and garlic aioli, pigeon breast with celeriac purée and blackberries, hake fillet with cannellini beans, roasted cherry tomatoes and chorizo dressing, courgette and tomato ragoût with grilled halloumi, pork and sage sausages with creamed potatoes and port and red onion gravy, caramelised onion, courgette and tomato tartlet with grilled goats cheese and black olive tapenade”

The White Hart

good pub guide: the 17 best pubs in kent you simply must visit in 2022
© Google Maps

Where: Tonbridge Rd, Sevenoaks TN13 1SG

The Good Pub Guide says: “This large, welcoming inn on the edge of Sevenoaks is the perfect place for lunch after a visit to Knole (National Trust) and its huge deer park. Friendly, efficient staff serve St Austell Brunning & Price Traditional Bitter, Harveys Best and Old Dairy Blue Top plus guests from breweries such as Ruddles, Sharps, Timothy Taylors, Tonbridge and Westerham on handpump, around 20 good wines by the glass, a similar number of gins, 50 malt whiskies and a farm cider; daily papers, board games.”

It continues on to say: “Good quality modern cooking includes sandwiches and ‘light bites’, baked camembert with ciabatta croutes, crispy vegetable gyozas with spiced mango dip, scallops with butternut squash purée, crispy buttermilk chicken burger with fries, cauliflower, chickpea and sweet potato tagine with lemon and almond couscous, fish pie, pork tenderloin with creamy bacon and spring onion mash and cider jus”

The Woolpack Inn

Where: Woolpack inn, Church Ln, Warehorne, Ashford TN26 2LL

The Good Pub Guide describes: “The interior of this part-weatherboarded 16th-c dining pub is interesting and full of character. As well as Tonbridge and three changing regional ales served direct from the cask, there’s local cider and good wines by the glass,and easy-going, friendly staff.”

It carries on to say: “Well thought-of pubby food includes salt and pepper squid with garlic mayonnaise, whitebait with sriracha mayonnaise, roasted red pepper hummus with sourdough, wood-fired pizzas, smoked frankfurter with sauerkraut, crispy onions and fries, beef burger and fries, roast chicken breast with caesar salad, poached egg and bacon crumb”

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