You’ve heard of the Famous Five – well, this is our Favourite Five! Totally unscientific, based on local knowledge, and aiming for a coastal, rural AND urban vibe, welcome to our Favourite Five series.
The pub is, of course, a famous British institution, not just for great food, locally brewed beers and ales as well as wines and cocktails, but teas, coffees and cakes too. Here are five of our favourites.
THE BRITANNIA INN, DUNGENESS
Dungeness is the UK’s only desert – but luckily for hungry and thirsty visitors it’s also home to the Britannia Inn.
Perfectly positioned between the two Dungeness lighthouses and just a stones’ throw from the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway station, you can sit indoors next to a real fire in the winter, or enjoys the views outside in warmer weather.
Fresh fish is, of course, a speciality – with chips, naturally! Other locally sourced ingredients include meat from local butchers, Solley’s ice cream, and a great British pint from Shepherd Neame, England’s oldest brewer. Daily specials, vegetarian options and a children’s menu are also available.
There is wheelchair access, disabled toilets, and the Britannia Inn is dog-friendly – all set in the heart of the Dungeness estate, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and home to some very rare wildlife and flowers and plants.
The Britannia Inn, Dungeness Road, Romney Marsh, Kent TN29 9ND
THE CITY OF LONDON, DYMCHURCH
‘The City’ is a family-run pub by the beach serving homemade food. Jamie is head chef while his partner Emma runs the front of house and their two children often lend a helping hand.
Where possible ingredients are sourced locally, and there is always a local ale on the hand pull, quite often from Romney Marsh Brewery or Hopfuzz.
Split over two levels, the seawall level is a child and dog friendly pub open for lunch and dinner – in fact they even have doggie ice cream. Specials of the day are always on offer, the burgers are legendary, the pizzas perfection, and the Sunday roasts to die for. They have a huge gin selection as well as many non-alcoholic drinks and premium lagers.
On the High Street level is the City of London restaurant which is open on Thursday-Saturday evenings by reservation only. Fish dishes are the speciality but there are always a meat and vegetarian option available.
The City of London may have been one of Dymchurch’s best kept secrets, but its popularity means that booking is a good idea, especially at weekends.
The City of London, 68-70 High Street, Dymchurch, Kent TN29 0NL
THE STAR INN, ST MARY IN THE MARSH
The Star Inn puts the ‘p’ into picturesque. Nestled in the countryside, opposite the 12th century church of St Mary the Virgin, the building has been there for over 450 years. Starting life as a farm building, it became The Star in 1732.
Today’s pub offers a variety of selected real ales, beers and wines, alongside a regularly changing home cooked menu using the freshest ingredients available and locally sourced wherever possible. Pies, roasts, steaks and burgers are all on the menu, served up with a helping of friendly chat along the way.
Outdoor seating and a generously-sized garden mean that The Star has a well-earned reputation for hosting events – music, morris dancing, classic car events, reggae nights and a Queen’s Jubilee tribute act are all on the bill.
In more recent history, Noel Coward rented the Star Inn cottage while looking for a house to buy. This was when he became friends with Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, who lived nearby and is buried in the churchyard opposite. It is believed that this is where he wrote his first successful play, The Vortex.
The Star Inn, St Mary in the Marsh, Kent TN29 0BX
THE KINGS HEAD, HYTHE
The Kings Head has been on the High Street since 1583, making it the oldest pub in Hythe.
We reckon it could be the superb ales and great food that have kept it there for around 450 years, along with the inglenook fireplace (now home to a wood-burning stove), beamed ceilings and a great sense of the past to present.
Home-made and freshly cooked food is served all day, using carefully sourced local produce, and the shortcrust pastry pies are one of the dishes the Kings Head is known for. Kentish cask ales are on offer, along with a superb wine list. Add in a courtyard garden and heated, sheltered decking area, and you could while away many an hour here!
If you’re looking for entertainment alongside a pie and a pint, the Kings Head hosts regular live music, quizzes and even table magic… surely a magical combination?
The Kings Head, 117 High Street, Hythe, Kent CT21 5JJ
THE RADNOR ARMS, FOLKESTONE
In the heart of Folkestone’s Old Bouverie district, The Radnor Arms is a pub of two halves – the main bar with its rough-panelled walls is reminiscent of an old style pub with a modern twist, while the private dining rooms ooze chic décor.
As you would expect, locally sourced food and drink is a key element of the menu, and with the Garden of England on the Radnor’s doorstep amazing produce comes from the county’s best fisherman, farmers, bakers, brewers and craft cider makers. Fish comes from Folkestone Trawlers who operate out of Folkestone Harbour, fine English wines, bread from the Docker bakery in Lympne, and the pub even has its very own farmstead, Mill House.
Regulars praise, amongst a list of many, the Sunday roasts, the tapas, a great Negroni, and the outside seating area – why not find out for yourself?
Radnor Arms, Christ Church Road, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2SX