Lunch with a view: 11 top waterside eats
Ahh, is there anything better than a stroll along a water's edge? Actually, yes - a long lazy lunch with some stonking views across Kent! Come on landlubbers, let's tuck in.
Deal Pier Kitchen, Deal
Not to be missed – this fab new eaterie at the end of Deal’s iconic pier is one of THE best spots to eat in town with fresh and organic food PLUS it’s dog-friendly.
It’s one of THE destinations in Deal for brunch with all of the well-loved classics (smashed avo on sourdough toast and a very fine fry-up) plus loaded sweet potatoes, sweetcorn fritters and their DPK pancakes with bacon and maple syrup or Nutella and berries if you really want to start your day with a bang. You’ll also not be disappointed by the view from this RIBA award-winning structure. With exceedingly good coffee, a tasty lunch menu and a dedicated Brunch booze drinks list, why would you ever want to leave?
The Belle Vue Tavern, Ramsgate
If you’re looking for great food and some of the best sea views in Kent, you’ll find it here. The “Balcony of Kent” offers views across Pegwell Bay and out to The Channel which makes it a great place to catch the sea air and all the sunshine, not forgetting the spectacular sunsets.
Lime Wharf Cafe, Bodiam Boating
A gorgeous, rustic, licensed restaurant and river activity centre 6 miles from Rye and 8 miles from Cranbrook. Perfect for a family day out, with boating and camping on offer. Or meeting a friend for a post-dog walk coffee and cake.
It’s a seriously gorgeous rustic restaurant, housed in a Scandinavian boathouse-inspired building at the Bodiam Boating Station just opposite the pretty river (although you can’t actually see the boats drifting by from the café). There is great menu offering breakfast (made with locally sourced produce) and lunches with anything from a warming homemade soup to authentic Spanish tapas, burgers and seasonal specials. Did we mention the cocktail bar too?!
The Zetland Arms, Deal
Boasting an awe-inspiring location on the beach in Kingsdown, Deal, the Zetland Arms makes the most of its stunning setting – pairing spectacular ocean views with sublime local seafood. Walk along the promenade between from Deal to Kingsdown and reward yourself with a bite to eat and tipple on this beachside pub. Run by the same couple who run the Coastguard pub at St.Margaret Bay, (see below), The Zetland has a reputation for good food and friendly service. Dogs also welcome – booking recommended as seating area fairly small and it does get busy (particularly popular with golfers as lots of courses nearby).
The Old Neptune, Whitstable
Known to locals as Neppy, this down-to-earth pub on the beach boasts stunning views of the Whitstable sunset. There’s a small, snug bar inside which regularly hosts live music nights – from blues, rock ‘n’ roll and soul. The perfect hang out if you love a slice of local history and old school charm in a spit-and-sawdust kind of way.
With a stunning view of Folkestone Harbour and beyond, this is a smart, stylish, but relaxed, restaurant. The owner is Gordon Ramsay protégé Mark Sargeant so not surprisingly the food is excellent with the focus on local and fish being the obvious speciality. The trendy façade contrasts with its immediate surrounds which are pretty down-to-earth, and perhaps taking this into consideration, the menu is sensibly priced for a foodie destination (£21.50 for Two Courses) so it’s a win-win.
The Waterfront Cafe, Bewl Water
Bewl is a big, beautiful reservoir sitting pretty in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Weald and is the perfect place for family-fun, with playgrounds, cycling, fishing and boating – not forgetting the Aqua Park! After all that fun, try The Waterfront Café currently open for takeaways only but has a large terrace overlooking the lake with plenty of space to sit and take in the view. Enjoy a selection of snacks and ice creams or a tea/coffee.
Pearson’s Arms, Whitstable
One of the Kent pubs run by TV chef Richard Phillips this has all the hallmarks – stylish interiors, fabulous food and relaxed atmosphere. There’s the obvious emphasis on fresh fish (this is Whitstable folks) and a great choice too – not only is there a full A La Carte and Set Menu there’s also top quality Light Bite/Bar Snacks (no, not Pork Scratchings) which includes dishes like Fresh Rock Oysters with Pickled Shallots. For something more warming in dreary Jan or Feb try one of the mouth-watering Sunday Roasts such as the Roast Shoulder of Charing Pork with Beef Dripping Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Red Wine Jus. This pub is the perfect rest-bite after a beach stroll along Whitstable’s salty shores.
The Coastguard, St Margaret’s Bay, Dover
A historic sea-side pub and restaurant in St Margaret’s Bay, near Dover, dive (no pub intended) into superb food and rink whilst enjoying epic views over the waves. It’s also Britain’s nearest pub to France – the nearest thing to a foreign holiday most of us will experience. With new owners, it’s just undergone a major facelift – to include touches that reflect its maritime heritage – a red and white lighthouse-style paint job, boat-shaped planters and a sea-inspired refurbed interior. They’re working on improving the food too, but if you’re happy with basic pub grub then it’s worth a trip for the view.
Grove Ferry Inn, Canterbury
Sitting right on the banks of the River Stour in Upstreet this watering hole offers beautiful views to anyone lucky enough to grab a window seat (or riverside seat under an umbrella in the summer). Enjoy an alfresco glass or two on the decking or head to the garden out back which has a children’s play area.
The Sportsman, Whitstable
This Michelin starred pub has long sat at the top of the chart and rightly so. On the surface it’s very low key – even describing itself on Twitter as the ‘grotty rundown pub by the sea’. All a bit tongue-in-cheek obviously – more that they just don’t buy into pretentiousness and there’s a really laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. When I visited the menu was simple and perfectly executed – the fish could not have tasted fresher (it’s right by the sea just outside Whitstable).