Food + Drink

Great Country Pubs

It’s summer – time to be planning weekends away and lazy lunches with family and friends. Across the South East our traditional country pubs are also at their very best with gardens in full bloom, great food and beautiful settings to enjoy.


If pub-garden dining sounds tempting, the website offers a hand-picked selection of idyllic, traditional country pubs where you will find great walks and attractions nearby, family dining and even places for four-legged friends to stay.

To help you choose we have picked a few of our favourites in Kent and Sussex.

The Grove Pantry and Inn
Upstreet, near Canterbury, Kent

Meet the Grove’s farmyard residents Heston and Hugh the goats, Lily and Pickle the pigs and Elvis the chicken. The animals are just part of the appeal of The Grove Ferry at Upstreet – a Georgian manor sitting on the banks of the river Stour. Today the Grove is a family haven created by owner Tim whose son Finn is the inspiration for the farm, the animals and the fun features of this country pub and restaurant.

Highlights: Pub has its own Pantry, where visitors can buy local chutneys, cheeses and meats cured in The Grove’s own smoke house.

On site: Meet the animals or enjoy boat trips up and down the river on the Grove’s boat the Ellen Mary.

Nearby: The wildlife and beauty of Stodmarsh Nature Reserve. Just a short drive is historic Canterbury with Canterbury Cathedral and the animated characters of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Howletts Wild Animal Park and Wingham Wildlife park are also close by.


The Chequers Inn
Laddingford, Kent

A quintessential country pub, The Chequer’s traditional white wood frontage and peg tile roof is just part of its 15th-century history and charm. In summer, the pub blooms with an amazing display of flowers and hanging baskets.

Nearby: The Lavender fields of Downderry Nursery; the Hop Farm Country Park.

The White Hart
Newenden, near Tenterden, Kent

The White Hart in Newenden is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty near the River Bodiam. Bodiam Boating Station offers boat trips to Bodiam Castle aboard the Dannie Lee Ferry – or if it’s more nautical fun you seek, the pub can also arrange rowing boats, kayak hire and its very popular Cruise & Dine packages.

Onsite: Petanque and lovely gardens with views.

The Griffin, Fletchling
East Sussex

This is Pooh country. Set close to the Ashdown Forest, a hearty meal at The Griffin is the perfect preparation for an afternoon following in the footsteps of Winnie the Pooh and friends. Download a guide and find your way you through the famous 100 Acre Wood to Pooh Bridge and a must-play game of Pooh sticks.

Also: Fletching Cricket Club, whose very attractive ground is 200 yards from the Griffin, is one of the best known village clubs in the country. Regular fixtures are played through summer. Plus, The Griffin stocks a wide choice of delicious Sussex ales.

Nearby: The Bluebell Railway, The Cats Protection League’s National Cat Centre and Ashdown Forest Llama Park.


The Bell, Iden
East Sussex

Pets are very welcome at The Bell. The pub stands in the charming hilltop village of Iden, just five minutes’ drive from historic Rye and the open sands at Camber – where four legged friends can run and play in the dunes to their hearts’ content. Returning to the pub, the pub’s guest rooms accommodate dogs and canine guests are even served their own sausage at breakfast.

Landlady Lindsey Best says, “The Bell is perfectly positioned for walks. We are surrounded by orchards and fields, and the Military Canal is not far. Plus our own garden is a safe and secure area for owners to take their dogs for a wander too.”

Nearby: Historic Rye, Bodiam Castle and the Blue Reef Aquarium

The website features pubs across Kent, East and West Sussex, the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. It includes pubs with accommodation and groups facilities plus useful, maps, links and itinerary suggestions.

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