12 of the best restaurants and pubs in Kent

Food and Drink

Posted by Ed Roberts on 20th February 2021

The Garden of England, Kent is a superb place for some quality wining and dining whilst on your holidays. Surrounded on three sides by water (to the north, the Thames Estuary, and the east and south, the English Channel), seafood lovers are sure to enjoy some of the freshest fish and shellfish around whilst dining out. 

Foodie hotspots include Whitstable, which is known for its vast oyster beds and annual festival, and there are also some excellent gastropubs in the High Weald. Kent only has a handful of Michelin-star restaurants but the ones that exist are well worth a visit, like The Sportsman in Seasalter or STARK in Broadstairs. Many of Kent’s towns offer a wide range of Indian, Chinese, Italian, Caribbean restaurants providing an endless choice of international cuisine too. There is so much to discover on your holiday to Kent.

Discover Kent

Finding great places to eat whilst on your holiday is something of a tradition for most of us, so why not choose one of our Kent cottages to stay in so that you can tickle your tastebuds in a host of new places? There are so many great holiday homes to stay in all across Kent, and we have properties from the High Weald AONB to the tip of Dungeness for you to pick from, some of which contain fully equipped kitchens where you can treat your family to a slap-up meal made from locally sourced produce. Follow us to these excellent hostelries on your culinary excursion to Kent.

Kent cottages

The best places to eat in Kent

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Country pubs in Kent

The Compasses Inn, Scrundale

The Compasses Inn, Crundale

For an exceptional pub lunch, you can’t go far wrong with a trip to The Compasses Inn in Crundale. Tucked away between Canterbury and Ashford, this country pub is a great prospect for a relaxed lunch and good pint of Kentish ale. It has won many high-profile awards for its food and service including a Michelin Bib Gourmand, two AA Rosettes, and high rankings in the Top 50 Gastro Pubs list. The menu is filled with dishes made with local produce.

Stay nearby: Oast House Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests

The Woolpack Inn, Warehorne

Found in the Kent village of Warehorne is the 16th-century inn, The Woolpack. Surrounded by the low-lying Romney Marshes, the pub is a modern public house that still retains its rustic atmosphere. The menu is populated with a varied choice of pub favourites, and an enticing specials board listing the chef’s favourites. The menu is seasonal to reflect the best of the local fare available for their great selection of meals. The pub is close to Tenterden and Appledore which are both very pleasant destinations in Kent for a delightful amble after lunch.

Stay nearby:  The Hop Pickers Oast and Barn, Appledore | Sleeps: 25 guests + 2 dogs

The Tudor Rose, Upper Upnor

A lovely country pub, this blends the modern and the traditional with aplomb. The Tudor Rose in the pretty village of Upper Upnor can be found located on a cobbled street close to the picturesque Upnor Castle and the River Medway. The Tudor Rose provides the perfect setting for a riverside drink on a sunny day. Enjoy some classic British pub meals such as steak and stout ale pie or a fisherman’s platter of smoked salmon, mackerel fillet, king prawns, and crayfish tails. Delicious.

Stay nearby: Weald View | Sleeps: 4 guests

Seafood diners in Kent

Wheeler’s Oyster Bar, Whitstable

Founded in the mid-1800s in Soho, London, Wheeler’s Oyster Bar is a firm favourite with locals and visitors to Kent alike. The Whitstable branch is the sole survivor of a long-defunct chain but there’s no sign of this establishment’s demise in the foreseeable future – it’s positively thriving. If you end up here, oyster tasting should be your MO (obviously). The menus are also home to delicious fruits de mer, prawn cocktails and oceans of seafood dishes. Wheeler’s also stocks craft ale beers brewed in Kent such as Canterbrew.

Stay nearby: Shanty | Sleeps: 6 guests + 1 dog

Dungeness Fish Hut, Dungeness

You can’t get closer to the source than enjoying juicy seafood on the beach 100 metres away from where The Hut’s fishing boat hauls out. Dungeness Fish Hut is a rite of passage for all serious seafood gastronomes. Little more than a shack and a few picnic benches, you will be out in the elements, so wrap up warm on cooler days. The food is as fresh as can be and the stunning Dungeness location makes for a unique spot to enjoy a light and unforgettable lunch.

Stay nearby: 3 Old Stone Cottage | Sleeps: 2 guests

Buoy and Oyster, Margate

Take a day trip to the traditional seaside resort of Margate to visit the fabled Buoy and Oyster. Situated in a gorgeous Grade II-listed building on the seafront, The Buoy and Oyster serves fresh fish caught and cooked on the same day. Tuck into a bowl of oysters before trying a supreme seafood linguine. Enjoy a walk along the promenade afterwards and around Margate’s fabulous beach and harbour.

Stay nearby: Sunset House | Sleeps: 10 guests

Fine dining in Kent

The Sportsman, Seasalter

The Sportsman in Seasalter is a Michelin star-awarded gastropub by the sea. Close to Whitstable and surrounded by the outlying lowlands and oyster farms, the striking setting and the food at this fantastic establishment is a big draw. The Sportsman is a down-to-earth and relatable prospect for a quality meal. Specialising in seafood, the menu is seasonal and always contains several dishes of interest. Be sure to book ahead to avoid missing out.

Stay nearby: Seasalter Beach Retreat | Sleeps: 4 guests + 1 dog

STARK, Broadstairs

STARK, Broadstairs

Nestled in the narrow streets of the ever-up-and-coming seaside town of Broadstairs, STARK is a well-regarded, no-nonsense restaurant whose mission is to give you great food, as simple as that. It has been awarded a Michelin star, so quality is assured; the interior is sharply decorated, and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. STARK even has its own cookbook published by its head chef, Ben Crittenden.

Stay nearby: Forge Cottage | Sleeps: 5 guests

Kathton House, Sturry

A trip to Canterbury exploring its lanes and cathedral is a must if you are on holiday in this part of Kent. Another reason to head into the city is for lunch or dinner at the unique Kathton House which is located on the A28 in the nearby village of Sturry. It’s an unforgettable dining experience with a menu offering a veritable list of culinary treats and some off-piste variations on established favourites. Book ahead, as Kathton House is on many a gourmet’s hit list!

Stay nearby: Wren Cottage | Sleeps: 6 guests

Family-friendly restaurants in Kent

The Zetland Arms, Kingsdown

Down on the beach at Kingsdown, just south of Deal and Walmer, is the idyllic Zetland Arms. Its front door opens out onto the shingle beach and makes the most of its sea views. The kids can play whilst you enjoy a pint or a satisfying dinner. The Zetland Arms is one of the Kent coast’s most picturesque pubs, sat close to the base of some towering cliffs where the remnants of WW2 battlements peep out from the vegetation.

Stay nearby: Gore Cottage | Sleeps: 5 guests + 4 dogs

The Veg Box, Canterbury

The Veg Box in Canterbury is a very cool independent vegetarian restaurant that is a big hit with families. There is even a breakout area with books and toys for children and ample space for you to park your pram if you have one. Although there isn’t a kid’s menu per se, you are invited to tailor your choice to suit a junior diner or help them load a salad box. Vegan options are also available!

Stay nearby: Blackbird Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests

The Pilot, Lydd-on-Sea

The Pilot Inn, Lydd-on-Sea

If you like nothing better than getting stuck into a plate of delicious fish and chips, then The Pilot Inn is a great, laidback family-friendly pub. Located at the edge of the Dungeness shingle bank, it’s a very popular family pub with a fabled history of being the heart of the local community. The filmmaker Derek Jarman, who lived close by, is quoted as having said that The Pilot serves the best fish and chips known to man, and who are we to disagree? There is a garden at The Pilot too where the kids can play or explore the beach.

Stay nearby: Stonihoe | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog

Map of restaurants in Kent

Find our favourite places to eat and drink in Kent on this handy map.

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Stay with us in Kent

Stay at one of our delightful self-catering holiday cottages in Kent. We have a selection of enticing holiday properties close to all of these wonderful Kent pubs and restaurants. Where will you choose to rest on your holiday to Kent?

Kent cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.