Top 10 Pub Beer Gardens
Okay so the weather so far has been changeable to say the least. But could it be that (*whisper it*) summer is finally here? So you’ll be wanting to find a watering hole with a huge, wonderful garden to boot your kids into, while you chill out with some awesome food and a triple gin and tonic. Oh come on, it can’t just be me again!
I’ve been to a gazillions of pubs in Kent on *cough* Muddy duty and have drawn together this scratch list, admittedly half cut late in the evening, but hopefully with a degree of knowledge and insight. Yeah yeah, I’ve probably left some goodies off, and if you think there has been a libellous omission, genuinely please let me know – I love to hear suggestions and much as I bomb around trying out new places, you are the guys who live and breathe your local areas. I hope these suggestions help you have a wonderful weekend. Slap on the sunscreen and enjoy the view!
The Duke William, Ickham
Sitting deep in the chocolate-box depths of the Kentish countryside, this pub boasts a big-name chef, Mark Sargeant who is ex-Ramsay. With one of the most picturesque beer gardens you can imagine – open views across corn fields – and top notch food, you can’t go wrong here.
Tickled Trout, Wye
For more than 400 years, an Inn or Tavern has stood on the banks of the river Stour and this pub, not far from Ashford, maintains that ‘olde world’ charm. Serves decent pubby food, is popular with locals and the perfect place to enjoy a pint while watching the swans glide past.
The Beacon, Rusthall
Just a few minutes outside Tunbridge Wells, this pub has undergone something of a Renaissance in the last year, morphing into a quality, destination restaurant (it came a close second in our Muddy Awards 2016 for Best Restaurant). Pearched high on a hill, over-looking 17 acres of land in what’s called Happy Valley, the pretty terrace makes the perfect spot for alfresco dining, washed down with one of their tasty cocktails.
The Duck Inn, Pett Bottom
I’m hearing nothing but high praise for this foodie country pub at the moment. Added to that, James Bond novelist, Ian Flemming, wrote You Only Live Twice here in 1964 and it was the first pub in Kent to earn a Michelin star. Be sure to Dine Another Day. *Groan*.
The Milk House, Sissinghurst
This stylish pub, right in the middle of beautiful Sissinghurst, serves excellent food, including wood-fired pizzas and an outside bar in the summer. There’s a great garden space in which to off-load the Mudlets. And it just won our Muddy Award for Best Boutique Stay, should you fancy a mini break away.
The Chaser Inn, Shipbourne
In this picturesque village, not far outside Tonbridge, this pub enjoys the pretty parish church as a backdrop alongside serene views over the village green. Makes for a great day out – start with a slap up Sunday meal then walk to Ightham Mote (NT) – the Greensand Way walking route passes the front door.
The Little Brown Jug, Chiddingstone Causeway
The food here is typically pubby, but decent enough, the staff are friendly and will squeeze you in even when the pub is bulging (and it’s a very popular destination with locals). It deserves a special mention for the beer garden huts which are open all year round and cost only £25 to hire, seating up to 8. You can roll the sides down for privacy or warmth and they’re plugged into the mains, providing heating and lighting – you also get table service instead or ordering at the bar. This is also a family-friendly pub with a children’s play area just visible through the trees.
The Vineyard, Lamberhurst
Another family-friendly pub, this beer garden is also home to a brilliant outside Bar & Grill in the summer months. Mr Muddy Kent is a particular fan of the Grilled Whole Langoustines while the kids always love their Chicken Burger and Chips.
The Three Chimneys, Biddenden
Nestled in the most scenic surrounds, near Biddenden, this is an exceptional pub. The food is fabulous, there’s loads of pockets of outside space – from sunspot terraces in which to sink an afternoon rosé to the spacious back garden where kids can roam freely (although it’s a more grown up space – personally I’d prefer to enjoy this one Mini Muddy-free). Even better, while it’s constantly under-going improvements, this pub has retained it’s original features, like low beams, inglenook fireplaces and beers sold straight from the cask.
The Windmill, Hollingbourne
Run by TV chef Richard Phillips this offers a range of good grub, ales and wines for thirsty passers-by and avid foodies alike. In the summer sit out and soak up the rays while enjoying the new BBQ and smokery where the food is cooked right in front of your eyes, every Saturday and Sunday (as well as bank holiday Mondays).