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    Sep 23, 2015

    23 Truly Fantastic Country Pubs In Kent

    Welcome to the (pub) garden of England.

    1. The Milk House

    Facebook: TMH.TN17

    A former 16th-century hall house, you'll find this pub in pretty-as-a-picture Sissinghurst. A local favourite, it has a wide selection of local beers and cask ales, while the interiors hint at its deep history – all timber beams and Tudor fires. After a pint, make sure you take a stroll in the nearby Sissinghurst Castle gardens, designed by Vita Sackville-West.

    2. The Chaser Inn

    One of Kent's most striking pubs, this colonial-styled building lies in a lovely little spot, right next to a local church. Outside there's a white-beamed porch and a covered courtyard, both bedecked with flowers. Inside it's warm and inviting, thanks to open fires, bookcases, and a large helping of country charm.

    3. The Little Brown Jug / Via Twitter: @LittleBrownJug1

    The flagship pub from the award-winning Whiting & Hammond group, the Little Brown Jug is nestled alongside a country lane in Chiddingstone. Well-stocked with cask ales, it's a lovely finishing point to a country walk or visit to the local castles.

    4. The Zetland Arms

    Pubs and beaches are pretty much where it's at in Kent. It's home to some of the very best in both categories, and when visiting you MUST combine the two with a beach pub. The Zetland Arms lies close to Dover, giving stunning views of the cliffs, and serves up beer from Shepherd Neame – Britain's oldest brewer.

    5. The White Hart / Via Facebook: The-White-Hart-Newenden

    Kent is littered with various White Hart pubs, but Newenden's is the best – partly because it's located in an "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty", meaning the views around the pub are absolutely gorgeous. Serving pints to the local village since the 16th century and located on a historic smuggling route, the building is filled to the rafters with character, as well as cask ale.

    6. The Bricklayers Arms / Via Facebook: thebricklayersarmschipstead

    Converted from three terraced houses, this pub faces Sevenoaks's Longford Lake, a popular sailing spot. The pub is just as popular with the locals, with Harveys on tap and former local resident Mr Churchill (an expert bricklayer) decorating the sign.

    7. The Sportsman

    This pub comes with a Michelin star, making it some of the best food you'll ever have in such laid-back surroundings. Don't let them fool you with their description – this is so much more than a "grotty, rundown pub by the sea". Even if you don't sample the local-produce-based menu, the atmospheric views make just a drink here well worth it.

    8. Ye Olde Yew Tree Inn

    The oldest pub in Kent, this 14th-century inn reputedly once housed the Archbishop of Canterbury and Queen Anne, as well as helping Dick Turpin hide from the law. Now it's home to hearty pub food, an open log fire to sip a pint by, and two (supposedly harmless) ghosts.

    9. Five Bells Inn / Via Facebook: fivebellsinnbrabourne

    This idyllic 16th-century pub is situated in the tiny village of Brabourne, under the North Downs. Once only discovered by pilgrims and travellers following the Pilgrims Way, the Five Bells is now a local pub through and through. Charmingly eclectic, the inside is as good-looking as the outside, with wooden floors and rustic fires.

    10. The Coastguard

    Julija Berezina / Via Facebook: The-Coastguard

    Francophiles can get really close to our French buddies with a pint at The Coastguard. A Dover pub on, you guessed it, the coast, it's the closest pub to France in the UK, and on a clear day you can see the continent across the sea. If you're lucky, you'll even get a text from your mobile network welcoming you to France as a memento.

    11. The Red Lion

    Owned by village locals, the Red Lion is a traditional country pub near the Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve. Go for a wander in the nearby greenery, and finish up here with a tankard of IPA (and maybe a Sunday roast) in one of the hop-decorated rooms.

    12. The Plough Inn

    A former blacksmith's, rumour has it that the bar of this Sittingbourne pub was once used to shoe horses. The building itself originates from 1260, and still retains much of its old-world charm – fitting, given it serves beer from the UK's oldest brewery. Pair your pint with their famed lamb roast for the full traditional pub experience.

    13. The Three Mariners

    When in this lovely Faversham pub (Oare to be precise), make sure you order food along with your pint. A step above sausage and mash, it still manages to keep its hearty pub roots, and prices start from £4, the cost of a pint in London. So there's no excuse not to indulge.

    14. Tartar Frigate

    One of Kent's only 18th-century flint buildings, the Tartar Frigate is widely regarded as one of the best seafood spots in the county. Smack bang on the beach, the fish is so fresh it could only have come straight from the ocean. Order a pint and a plate of fish and chips (the fancier fare is upstairs) and grab a spot by the window for sweeping views of the Broadstairs coastline.

    15. The Three Chimneys

    Don't be confused by the Three Chimneys only possessing two of its namesake. The name refers to the Seven Years War, when French prisoners were only allowed as far as the pub...which sits on a three-forked road, known in French as Les Trois Chemins (chimneys). The building is even older than the war, dating back to 1420. Much of the old building is still in place, now updated with a cracking selection of wine, malt whiskies, and cask ales (the Adnams is particularly good).

    16. The Crown Inn / Via Facebook: thecrowninnstoneinoxney

    A 300-year-old building stocked with brews from Larkins – makers of proper, traditional Kentish ale. The food ain't half bad either (understatement – it's blimmin' brilliant), with Nicki Conrath at the helm making chicken liver and chorizo on toasted soda bread, alongside belly-warming stroganoffs and pies.

    17. The Shipwright's Arms / Via Facebook: derek.cole.1238

    One of Kent's most remote pubs, the Shipwright's Arms paints a striking picture, lying along Oare's windswept coastline. First licensed in 1738, the real ales (sourced from Kentish breweries like Goachers and The Whitstable) are served in pewter tankards – all gravity-fed straight from the cask.

    18. The Grove Ferry

    Peter / Via

    The River Stour flows past this Canterbury pub, giving beautiful views to anyone lucky enough to grab a window seat. The former Georgian house it resides in ain't too shabby either, with a sprawling garden out back and some spiffy decking to enjoy an alfresco pint on.

    19. The Rising Sun

    The seaside town of Herne Bay is home to the recently refurbished Rising Sun. Take a stroll to see the the Victorian-era freestanding clock tower – the first of its kind worldwide – then finish in the pub with a pint of cask ale sourced from local microbreweries.

    20. The Bull Inn / Via Facebook: TheBullInnRolvenden

    Like the White Hart, Kent is home to a fair few Bull Inns, but with its gorgeous interiors and fantastic menu, Rolvenden's is a firm favourite. Pavlos, the head chef, makes a mean Sunday roast, so feel free to order one alongside a pint of Old Dairy.

    21. George & Dragon

    A classy affair, the George and Dragon is a 16th-century country pub with menus and interiors far beyond those of a local boozer. The decor is softly muted and stylish, the menu rustic but done with gastro flair (think confit duck leg, and walnut and fig tagliatelle), and the ales just as good. A pint of Westerham Grasshopper is a must.

    22. The Smugglers Inn

    For a real piece of smuggling history, you won't do better than The Smugglers, a public house located in St Margarets at Cliffe, a tiny Dover village that dates back to Norman times. The area was a lynchpin at the height of the smuggling trade, hence the aptly named pub. Although recently refurbished, the building retains much of its former features, and feels like a proper pub should.

    23. The Three Tuns / Via Facebook: The-Three-Tuns-Lower-Halstow

    A large pub in a small rural village. The building dates back to 1468, and the pub is still very much of that time, with traditional wood-beamed ceilings and bare brick walls. Laden with awards, the chips have been previously named best in the country, while their offerings on tap are consistently in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Safe to say you can do much worse than a pint here.

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