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Kent’s top gastropubs

Foodies rejoice! 5 of Kent's fabulous pubs made the cut in the national Top 50 Gastropub Awards. Meaning that outside London Kent has the highest number listed - woo-hoo! Book your table now!

The Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs 2020 in the UK have just been released, and five of our local haunts have made the cut – meaning that outside London Kent has the highest number listed.Woo-hoo!

We’re over the moon to see Muddy fave The Dog now joining the esteemed list and others making big leaps higher up the chart. Sooo who’s got the perkiest pavlovas, juiciest loins and chicest charcuterie? Find out right here, and see who made the gourmet grade.

The Sportsman, Whitstable – No.2

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). Book now!

The Sportsman, Faversham Rd, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent CT5 4BP, Tel:01227 273370; thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk

The Compasses Inn, Canterbury – No. 6

Rising 15 places from last year’s ranking of 21, the Shepherd Neame establishment has really impressed the judges this time round. This rural pub is found deep into the chocolate-box depths of the Kentish countryside, down narrow winding country roads tucked away in the village of Crundale, between Canterbury and Ashford. Husband and wife team, Rob and Donna Taylor describe their pub as a ‘muddy wellies and fine food kind of place,’ which sums it up perfectly. Since they took it over several years ago, they transformed the menu and refurbished the restaurant a bit but very much kept the country pub style – garlands of hops, low beams and inglenook fireplaces.

The Compasses Inn, Sole Street, Crundale, Canterbury, Kent, CT4 7ES, Tel: 01227 700 300, thecompassescrundale.co.uk

The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury – No. 17

The Fordwich Arms near Canterbury was another Kent pub which jumped a significant number of places this year – from 42nd to 17th. Fordwich Arms is the winning mix of a great Kent pub that just so happens to serve exquisite food (the pheasant dumplings are a must, trust me) which affirms once again why it’s really not that bad living in the sticks.

The Fordwich Arms, King St, Fordwich, Canterbury CT2 0DB, Tel: 01227 710444, fordwicharms.co.uk

The Kentish Hare, Bidborough – No. 43

Tunbridge Wells’ the Kentish Hare came in at number 28 galloping up the poles from number 43 last year – so climbing a total of 15 places. Winner of Best Destination Pub in the 2019 Muddy Awards this eatery is stylishly designed with the hare theme and quirky furnishings dotted around the place, there’s lots of pockets of space here and you’d be just at home having a grown up meal out with the mother-in-law in the main dining room, or feeding your kids in the more relaxed bar area. The kids menu is spot on, there’s a beer garden, Fish’n’Chip FryDay and even better all kids under 5 eat free. Whatcha waiting for?

The Kentish Hare, 95 Bidborough Ridge, Bidborough, Tunbridge Wells TN3 0XB, Tel: 01892 525709, thekentishhare.com

The Dog at Wingham – No. 49

And a new entry in at number 49 – Muddy favourite The Dog – which also scooped Best Food prize at the Great British Pub Awards. This place has it all – family run, verrry good food, 8 beautifully designed bedrooms – all with en suite bathrooms and loyal regulars thanks to its strong sense of local community.

Found in picturesque Wingham, which is rather superbly located on the road that links Canterbury and Sandwich, this pub makes a good option if you want to make a weekend of it – or just visit for a walk and lunch. thedog.co.uk

See the full list here.

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