38 brill outside dining spots
Stretch out the late summer days with a simple lunch in a beautiful spot. We've share the pubs, restaurants, cafes and gardens in Kent where the food is yum and the views are wow!
With summer coming to a close it won’t be long before we’re cuddled up in front of a roaring pub fire, but until then, we’re determined to make the most of the balmy temperatures (yup, we’ve got our rose-tinted glasses firmly on).
Whether you want your green space overlooking a winery, a mural, a river, a meadow or the sea, we’ve scoured Kent for the best in show. Here’s our guide to the best places in Kent with fabulous scenery, wholesome food and views you can drink in…
The Chequers, Lamberhurst
This characterful 15th century inn has new owners and has benefitted from a full facelift. The Chequers has a stylish, but low-key vibe and it’s now one of our firm family favourites. There’s even a large and pretty outside garden, making it a perfect sunshine dining destination. Found in the middle of Lamberhurst, this conveniently located picturesque is within easy reach of top day trip destinations, like Scotney Castle, Bewl Water and Bedgebury for starters. But before you go, read what we really thought.
The Duke William, Ickham
Have you discovered this rural pub which boasts one of our favourite beer gardens – and the food is as good as the view? That’s the Duke William for you, an attractive pub in the heart of the tiny, idyllic village of Ickham. This is one of Mark Sargeant’s eateries, so you’re in safe hands food-wise, and it also boasts one of the most picturesque beer gardens you can imagine, complete with open views across corn fields. And a brilliantly convenient children’s play area too. Don’t forget to read the Muddy Review before you go!
The Leicester Arms, Penshurst
The Leicester Arms Hotel has been at the heart of Penshurst village for several centuries, once forming part of the Penshurst Estate. It is loved by locals, ramblers, cyclists, local businesses and over-nighters alike. The restaurant itself is kid-friendly, with a great menu. Secondly there’s the beer garden outside lends itself well to stretching restless legs. Thirdly, the location is day-tripper heaven. You’ve got Penshurst Place a couple of hundred metres walk up the road or Hever Castle 5 mins by car and the best is at the end of the Tudor Cycle Trail. See their menu here and don’t forget to check out the Muddy Review before you go.
The Milk House, Sissinghurst
Hop on down to The Milk House‘s Hopper Hut! The outside bar is inspired by the temporary huts provided for hop-pickers on Kentish farms in the 19th century. Book a table on the terrace and enjoy a well-earned midweek drink in the garden. This village pub is at the heart of the community and you can explore Sissinghurst with the historic castle and gardens just a half a mile’s walk from the pub. Read more here.
The Dog, Wingham
The Dog at Wingham a friendly, stylish, foodie pub – which has also now listed in the Top 50 Gastropub Awards so you know the food here is top notch. Superbly located on the road that links Canterbury and Sandwich, and near Wingham Wildlife Park. With 8 beautifully designed bedrooms, a Dog Walking Club, great food and cute sun terrace for al fresco eating this one is well worth a visit. Want our full report? Read the Muddy Review
The Chaser Inn, Shipbourne
Looking for a charming family-friendly pub, a beer garden to soak up the sun and a wondersome walk? Introducing The Chaser Inn, sitting pretty in Shipbourne countryside, over-looking the green with lots of rural lanes to explore in the immediate area, so particularly popular with walkers and cyclists. Think standard pub fare rather than swanky dining, grab a table in the pretty side garden, bordered with hedges and shrubs and overlooked by the church.
Galapagos at The Old Vine, Cousley Wood
A wonderful slice of South American sunshine on the Kent/Sussex border – offering something different that you just won’t find anywhere else. Galapagos is the place you’ll find authentic Latin American dining in a rural 15th century pub – right in the heart of the High Weald’s stunning Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Out the back there’s a pretty little beer garden and further seating at the front of the building. The rear beer garden is walled with a colourful mural, bringing a fun, bright and exotic feel to the setting. Why not make a day trip of it and walk the 40 mins round trip to Bewl Water and back? Read the full Muddy review.
The Coastguard, Dover
Searching for holiday vibes in Kent this year? We may have found just the answer for a sun-filled day right on the seafront. You can expect heaps of family fun and good food at The Coastguard – just outside Dover. This historic sea-side pub and restaurant is in St Margaret’s Bay, is the closest pub to France and has kept watch on the sea-front for more than 300 years. With gorgeous sea-views and delicious pub food, what more could you want? Read more with the Muddy Review.
The Three Chimneys, Biddenden
Nestled in the most scenic surrounds, near Biddenden, The Three Chimneys 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). Don’t forget to read the full review here.
The George & Dragon, Chipstead
This local village pub, offers a warm welcome, friendly service and excellent food. The George & Dragon in Chipstead has a menu that changes daily, so you can be assured that everything is fresh, seasonal and they use local produce where possible. Relax in their garden, pop in for coffee, a quick drink after work or enjoy a tender piece of venison and a glass of Claret.
The Red Lion, Stodmarsh
The Red Lion, Stodmarsh is a handsome and historic pub, located near Canterbury, with a brilliant outside space and great grub. The bar is open from noon everyday but note that the kitchen opens Weds-Sun from 1pm – 6pm for dining in the beer garden.
Kentish Hare, Bidborough
The Kentish Hare, in nearby Bidborough, is listed in the national Top 50 Gastropub Awards and was awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin guide in 2021. Every time we’ve visited this eatery it always makes the gourmet grade, is welcoming and stylishly designed (with the hare theme and quirky furnishings dotted around the place). There’s a beer garden with lots of pockets of space here, perfect for some lunch in the sunshine.
The Bull Inn, Linton
Nestled in the village of Linton, a pleasant rural setting located south of Maidstone on the A229 Hastings Road. The Bull Inn is now open with their gorgeous gardens with *those* beautiful countryside views, serving a fine range of drinks and a superb menu.
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. The Zetland has a reputation for good food and friendly service – dogs also welcome! They are open from 10am everyday and food is served between 12-3pm and 5:30-7:30pm.
The Parrot, Canterbury
Did you know The Parrot is one of Canterbury’s oldest buildings? Tucked away down a picturesque cobbled street, this historic pub is also described as the ‘secret garden’. Whether you’re going for a crisp glass of wine, some nibbles, a quick sandwich for lunch or one of their famous gourmet burgers – there’s something for everyone!
The Wheatsheaf Bough Beech, Edenbridge
Head over to The Wheatsheaf at Bough Beech an age-old watering hole (dates back to the 14th century – fact fans) offering modern British dishes. With the gorgeous combination of Georgian high ceilings and Tudor beams the dining space evokes a by-gone era plus a large garden area.
The Little Brown Jug, Chiddingstone Causeway
We love The Little Brown Jug‘s beer garden huts which are open all year round and seat 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. The food here is typically pubby but tasty plus there’s a play area visible through the trees so perfect for all the family!
The Crescent Turner, Whitstable
If you’re a regular reader of Muddy, you’ll already know how much we rate The Crescent Turner Hotel sitting pretty in Whitstable – now it’s on Jack Whitehall‘s radar too! We spotted his visit on his Instagram Stories. If you haven’t discovered yet, let us give you the lowdown…. It’s the perfect place to escape the crowds of Whitstable for one of the best sundowner spots in Kent and if the mood takes you, stay for dinner and the night since it boasts 18 bedrooms – many with sea views. The kitchen offers tapas and light bites or head to their restaurant Palm Pavillion for a foodie feast.
Food lovers heaven! Check out award-winning restaurant and deli in Faversham, Macknade‘s Food Village with a whole range of exciting dishes available to eat outside on the desk. From authentic Italian pizza to home-cooked Indian cuisine, you’ll be able to find something for everyone to enjoy (including four-legged family members)! Take a look at the menu here.
PLUS Every Thurs – Sun, The Food Village is also home to Kent’s most vibrant independent traders, showcasing authentic, traditional dishes and modern, fusion delights including; Karara (Kent’s much loved Indian chef, Paul Babra) and Silver Birch Fine Foods (Jamaican and Japanese influences). Prepare to salivate!
The Pig at Bridge Place, Canterbury
Dig into a delicious lunch menu at The Pig at Bridge Places‘ beautiful outdoor terrace. Expect a simple 25-mile menu of their greatest hits but not quite as you know it – spring harvest Kitchen Garden veggies and salads, meats from our local farmers and fresh fish from nearby ports rounded off with a classic pud – all designed to be enjoyed outside, accompanied by a bottle! Definitely will be something to remember.
The Beacon, Rusthall
Tucked away down Tea Garden Lane in Tunbridge Wells, you’ll find The Beacon set within 17 acres of woodland with three lakes. A truly picturesque setting with a pretty terrace and breath-taking views to enjoy all year round. Enjoy cocktails, brunch, lunch or dinner. Take a look at their Garden Terrace Menu before you go. So whether you’re dining as a family or out for date-night – from special ocassions to a dog walking pitstop – enjoy inviting, seasonal dishes, local wines in a relaxed atmosphere.
Bowley’s at The Plough, West Malling
You’ll want to know all about Bowley’s Restaurant at The Plough in Trottiscliffe (pronounced ‘Trosleigh’) within easy reach of the delights of West Malling. It’s a real foodie punch, expect Michelin-esque food with exquisite attention to detail, all wrap up in an incredibly laid-back feel to the pub. Whether you are after a relaxing coffee and cake with a girlfriend, or an amazing five course tasting menu with delicious wine, The Plough is well worth a visit.
In a courtyard in one of the town’s oldest areas and in the heart of Sevenoaks sits Hive, a popular new eatery offering an eclectic range of food, wines and cocktails sourced from local suppliers. Hive has a heated outdoor seating area sheltered by a 70 year old maple tree open for drinks with a fab wine list, cocktail and drinks menu.
The Quay, Faversham
The Quay is a new boutique hotel, bar and restaurant which is a real foodie favourite within the Faversham area. The perfect spot for lunch, dinner or drinks! You can make a beautiful day trip of it as there’s fantastic Kent countryside around you – as well as the coastal scene with beach side destinations such as Whitstable only a ten minute drive away!
The Old Fishmarket, Tunbridge Wells
Situated in the heart of The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Sankey’s Champagne and Seafood Bar is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the very best British fish and shellfish. Go for the standard oysters, starters and mains or be adventurous and build your own platters! So whether you’re stopping by for a light lunch, pre-evening nibble or full banquet, it’s the ideal venue.
Macknade in Ashford, offers an all-day dining experience that takes guests from breakfast and brunch; through to supper and cocktails in the evening. The menus reflect Macknade’s Kentish and Mediterranean roots, using quality ingredients, simply cooked to bring out their natural flavour. This includes a selection of salads, sandwiches and cheese & charcuterie platters, as well as meat dishes sourced and prepared by Macknade’s award-winning butchers. They open for outdoor dining on their terrace, open everyday 9am -5pm. View their Terrace Menu here.
Folkestone Harbour Arm
Folkestone’s restored Harbour Arm is a beautiful promenade out at sea which offers a whole load more than just a pretty awesome view. There’s live music and events throughout the year, plus a brilliant collection of small, independent businesses. It’s become a true destination for food and drink fans – with top food critics travelling to try the street food sellers like The Big Greek Bus, the mobile Greek restaurant. Or head to the Lighthouse Champagne Bar, tucked into the Folkestone Lighthouse at the tip of Folkestone Harbour Arm. Soak in the views and enjoy champagne by the glass or the bottle.
Papa Bianco, Faversham
Papa Bianco is down at Standard Quay in Faversham with a beautiful waterfront setting. Sit outside, try their popular pizzas, have a cocktail and don’t forget about dessert! Or you can still take your order to go. Their pizzas are hand rolled and stretched by their pizzaiolo’s, so sometimes they’re round and sometimes they’re square. We like.
Frasers of Egerton, Ashford
Frasers of Egerton is as an award-winning restaurant with rooms, located on a tranquil farm in the heart of the Kent Countryside (plus it’s a gorgeous boutique wedding and events venue). A foodie destination in its own right with a 2 AA-Rosette award-winning restaurant, you won’t want to miss this! Read their Garden Alfresco Menu and don’t go without checking our review of course.
Kingdom is a place to escape, explore and enjoy nature, based on a love of cycling, community and food, all set in a magical 13-acre woodland. A natural space to unplug, unwind and relax with family and friends over a meal, a yoga class or a bike ride.
The clubhouse is the natural heart of Kingdom and is a striking wood and glass structure with a café, roof deck and plenty of outdoor space with benches serving delicious food, sourced locally and cooked well. The café is open everyday between 9am-3pm.
The Old Dairy Café, Goodnestone Park Gardens
This is not an ordinary tearoom, the Old Dairy Café‘s chef Chris, comes from Corner House in Canterbury so you can expect some inventive and delicious dishes as well as the classic sandwiches to keep everyone happy. It has a beautiful seating area for outdoor tables within the courtyard.
Deal Pier Kitchen, Deal
This fab foodie destination 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. Deal Pier Kitchen has cultivated a reputation for great breakfast, brunch and lunch delicacies, showcasing local produce as well as a wide variety of Gluten Free, Vegan and Vegetarian dishes. The perfect destination to go with the kids and dog after a bracing walk along the beach.
The Waterfront Café, 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 has a large terrace overlooking the lake with plenty of space to sit and take in *that* view. Enjoy light meals, fresh cakes, scones and a choice of snacks, ice cream and drinks.
Lime Wharf Café, Bodiam Boating Station, Northiam
This is a seriously gorgeous rustic restaurant, housed in a Scandinavian boathouse-inspired building at the Bodiam Boating Station, Northiam, just opposite the pretty river (although you can’t actually see the boats drifting by from the café). Perfect for a family day out, with boating and camping on offer. Or meet a friend for a post-dog walk coffee and cake. There is a great menu (where possible all ingredients are sourced locally) offering breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea – we’d highly recommend the Breakfast Burrito, or for lunch think burgers, hot dogs and salads (with Gluten Free or Vegan options too). There’s some incredible ice cream flavours to try and the tasty cakes are handmade on site. Did we mention the cocktail bar?!
Tadpole Tearooms, Canterbury
Situated in a rural, working mixed farm in Canterbury, Tadpole Tearooms is the perfect pit-stop with beautful walking areas and cycling routes nearby. There’s a glorious outside area and plenty of variety as the menu changes weekly. Expect delicious home-made cakes, flapjacks and brownies (plus gluten-free options), wonderful coffees and a huge selection of tea and soft drinks. It’s a great place to catch-up with friends, with a kiddie area with books, crayons and, toys so you don’t have to entertain your children!
VINEYARDS & GARDENS
Hush Heath, Staplehurst
Family-run wine estate, Hush Heath is set within 400 acres of Kent countryside. From expert-led winery tours and guided wine tastings; to stunning vineyard walks and nature trails within ancient oak woodland, it’s the perfect day out! Don’t forget to grab a table within their impressive, state-of-the-art winery on their beautiful terrace and heated marquee.
Squerryes Dining Room & Terrace, Brasted
You’ll want to book a spot on Squerryes’ Terrace! Overlooking the vines for those sun-filled days which could easily pass for the south of France rather than just west of Sevenoaks. Enjoy mouth-watering seafood married with fresh seasonal ingredients from the 2,500 acre Squerryes estate and a glasses of chilled Squerryes fizz. Offering tapas style sharing plates during the day or fine dining in the evening – you’ll love this unique eating out experience. Want our full report? Read the Muddy review here.
Woolton Farm, Kentish Pip Cider
Why not visit a Cider Farm for your next day out? Visit Woolton Farm, the home of Kentish Pip, (right next to Howletts Wild Animal Park, 5mins drive from Canterbury) a family-run fruit farm that they’ve now opened to the public! They’ll be serving the finest Kentish beers, gin, wines and ciders from their 16th century thatched barn. Enjoy locally sourced food from The Goods Shed, all set in the huge green space, it’s the perfect day out.