33 brill outside dining spots
It’s been a long time coming, hasn’t it? And while it still has to be outside (puffa jackets at the ready), Kent boasts a fab selection of outside dining spots so make sure you book these pronto!
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. I also love to hear your suggestions – as much as I bomb around trying out new places, you are the guys who live and breathe your local areas. So let us know your favourite places to eat out in the sunshine in the comments below.
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. They will be re-opening from April 12 with their Garden Menu (see here) and 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. They’re re-opening on the 12 with a Tiki Bar, BBQ plus rain covers, heaters and blankets – so they’re prepared for every situation! See their BBQ menu here and don’t forget to check out the Muddy Review before you go.
The Milk House, Sissinghurst
The inside of The Milk House may be closed for now but you can still hop on down to their 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 from Tues 13 April, enjoy their brand new menu and 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. They will be reopening on Mon 12 April serving drinks and food in their garden which can also be covered and heated. 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. Now open, they have a few tables in a marquee so dress appropriately and get booking!
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? Open from Tues 13 April, make sure to book your table: 01892 782271. Read the full 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). Opening from 12 April between 12pm – 6pm (weather dependant) with their Garden Lite Bite Menu. Don’t forget to read the full review here.
The Three Mariners, Oare
Long a local community hub in the waterside village of Oare, and overlooking the river leading to The Swale, near Faversham, The Three Mariners will be open from the 12 April, 12-7pm. So if you’re anywhere in the Faversham, Sittingbourne or Whitstable area it’s well worth a visit as it sits conveniently in the centre of those three east Kent towns. Book a table and don’t forget to read the full Muddy Report before you go – read our 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. Book your table now.
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 where they have sorted socially distanced seating, erected a marquee, have warming fire pits and plenty of blankets. There’s a shortened menu, more appropriate for garden dining but of course, you will still find their usual wild centric cooking, exploring the flavours of our indigenous Kent landscape. The menu is also offered for takeaway.
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 when they re-open from Weds 14 April, Weds to Sun. Book your table now
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. You might be happy to know there’s no need to book and there’s no time slots here so you can stay for as long as you like!
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. No need to book just turn up and grab a table, there’s 15 tables out front and only 6 in their back garden.
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! Now open with no booking necessary, turn up and secure a spot in their lovely garden.
The Wheatsheaf Bough Beech, Edenbridge
This independent pub in Edenbridge serves freshly-made, inspiring food and is perfect for your next day out. The Wheatsheaf Bough Beech is now open for outside dining, call them on: 01732 700 100 to book your table.
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 Pig at Bridge Place, Canterbury
Dig into a delicious lunch menu at The Pig at Bridge Places‘ open-air, all weather outdoor terraces – the spring shindig will kick off from Mon 12 April! 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! Make your first taste of hospitality this year one to remember. Book your table now.
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. Now open for drinks Thurs, 6-11pm and dinner, Fri-Sun.
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 in April with a new wine list, cocktail and drinks menu. But if it’s fine dining you’re after you can book for the grand re-opening from 1 May 2021 on the online booking system hive-sevenoaks.co.uk.
The Quay, Faversham
Opening with their new Courtyard and Front Terrace (which is now open for bookings!) 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. Now open for outside seating in their ‘Winter Garden’ which is fully covered and heated with sheep skin rugs and blankets to keep you cosy.
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
Now in a brand new location, 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! No need to book either! 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! Now open for outside dining on their covered terrace and heated outside dining area, book your table here.
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. No need to book here!
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. Open from Weds 14 April to Sundays every week for outdoor seating only.
Deal Pier Kitchen, Deal
Whilst indoor dining won’t be an option until 17 May, you can still visit Deal Pier Kitchen for takeaway! With a pier, a promenade and a long stretch of pebble beach, Deal’s beach is the perfect spot to unwind and have a a picnic. So roll up a beach towel and enjoy the seaside town. Deal Pier Kitchen is a fab eatery at the end of Deal’s iconic pier is one of THE best spots to eat in town with fresh and organic food. With exceedingly good coffee and a tasty lunch menu, is perfect for your next picnic! Their takeaway shack is open Mon – Sun every week serving hot food and delicious pastries. Come down and enjoy a Lobster roll, Fish Finger sarnie or Beef Brisket Bap with a view!
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 currently open for takeaways only but has a large terrace overlooking the lake with plenty of space to sit and take in *that* view. Open for takeaway, Weds – Sun, 11am – 3pm. 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?! Book your table here.
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 which is opening from Fri 16 April and plenty of the 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. They are not taking bookings at the moment, it’s first come, first serve basis only.
Squerryes Dining Room & Terrace, Brasted
Now taking bookings from May 19 – Sep, Weds-Sat evenings, 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. Make sure to book your table (maximum parties of 6) before setting off! 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. Book your table now.