Published: 06:00, 23 February 2020
If you've ever wanted to run your own traditional pub, then there's plenty of characterful boozers currently on the market in Kent to choose from.
We've highlighted some of the most eye-catching, which range from a £1.2 million historic tavern set in five acres near Ashford, to a cosy town centre pub in Dover which can be snapped up for just £220,000.
They are among almost 40 freeholds across the county being marketed through the commercial arm of Right Move.
But Marc Bridgen who together with his mother Marilyn owns the multi-award winning gastro pub, The Dog at Wingham,advises caution before diving in.
"It's not a venture to be taken lightly and you need to be fully committed," he said.
"I would advise anyone to do a lot of research and have a detailed business plan because the cost of doing things is often much higher than expected - especially if you have to maintain an old building."
Despite the well-documented closure of pubs over the last decade, the Office of National Statistics says the number in business is now beginning to rise again, driven by the popularity of 'gastro' pubs.
For those keen to get into the trade and with more than a million to spend, the picturesque Kentish weatherboard Black Horse at Monks Horton boasts "incredible views of the Kent countryside".
The pub is said to be full of character with open fireplaces and exposed wooden beams, separated into three areas with a 100 cover restaurant and a bar area. It also has separate owner's accommodation above.
For £800,000, the Barrow House at Egerton is ready-made for a new owner, being a popular pub with three en-suite guest rooms.
It nestles in a sought after village and has built a reputation for being 'food led'.
Although clearly a character period building, it has been extensively renovated and sympathetically modernised.
Also very traditional is The Smugglers in St Margaret's-at-Cliffe near Dover which is on the market for £790,000 and has the benefit of an adjoining three-bedroom cottage.
Step inside and you'll be greeted by its ship's barrel-themed bar in a very traditional setting, including a brick fireplace and wood burner.
There is also a 40-cover restaurant with oak-vaulted ceiling and part oak panelled walls which overlooks the rear garden.
For £740,000, you can buy the Black Lion at Appledore near Ashford which is described as an "imposing and attractive village inn situated in the highly sought after and affluent location".
On the market for the first time in 25 years, it offers a bar and restaurant with three-bedroom accommodation above.
The agents say it has a wealth of charm, including open fires.
There will be little for any new owners to do to the Chequers Inn at Petham which, although currently closed, recently underwent extensive renovation and is being marketed for £740,000.
Located beside Stone Street with lots of passing traffic, the agents say it is an "incredibly rare opportunity to acquire a well-established business offering tremendous potential."
It also boasts a beer garden, parking for more than 30 cars and has four-bedroomed accommodation above.
The historic Plough and Harrow at Borden near Sittingbourne dates back to 1654 and is now on the market for £700,000.
Fully renovated in the last three years, including re-wiring and new wood burners, it has an 80-cover restaurant and rear pub garden.
The business was also awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor, so presents the opportunity to build on the former reputation, says the agent.
They don't come much more quintessentially English than the grade II-listed, 15th century Abbot's Fireside at Elham which is on the market for £675,000.
Bursting with character, it also boasts a spectacular medieval open fire place, six en-suite guest rooms and is licensed for weddings.
The current owners are said to be looking to retire, which offers the opportunity to take on a thriving bar and restaurant with hotel rooms.
"An exceptional and impressive traditional 19th century freehouse in an affluent village" is how agents describe the Red Lion at Milstead near Sittingbourne which is on the market for £600,000.
It offers versatile trading area with a bar and 30-seater restaurant as well as four bedroom family accommodation above.
There is also a beer garden overlooking glorious countryside and a good sized car park.
For someone wanting to invest in a pub which is already being run by an experienced tenant then the Prince of Wales in Hoath near Herne Bay could be the right opportunity.
This traditional village inn with open log fireplaces is being marketed for £550,000.
It is said to be very well presented and has a large attractive garden with seating for 60 covers inside and 100 outside.
There is two-bedroom live-in accommodation above.
The King's Head in Sutton Valence is a traditional 17th century pub which has undergone complete refurbishment and modernisation.
On the market for £550,000, it is said to have a wealth of charm and agents say the business offers "an extremely rare and outstanding opportunity for those seeking a lifestyle change."
Billed as a "highly impressive 18th century grade II-listed traditional freehouse is the Shepherd and Crook in Burmarsh, which is on the market for £525,000.
Modernised throughout but retaining a wealth of character, it also benefits from a separate two-bedroom letting apartment and is set in a desirable, picturesque village.
Listed at £425,000 is the quaint, grade II-listed Honeysuckle Inn in Ramsgate.
A long-established business in a quiet setting just outside the town centre, it has a bar and 42-seater restaurant with three-bed accommodation above.
If it's a city centre business you prefer then check out the Monument in Canterbury, which is another period property dating back to the early 18th century and also historically listed.
It is being sold by Shepherd Neame and can be bought for around £360,000 yet offers five bedroom accommodation and many original features.
But perhaps the bargain listing is the The Carriers Arms in Dover which can be bought for £220,000.
Marc Bridgen believes that offering good food is vital to a pub's success these days.
"It's easy to get carried away with the romance of running a country pub but you have to approach it with hard business nose..."
"You really can't make a success of it just selling pints of bitter, unless you are something like a real ale micro pub," he said.
He also advises that having good, dedicated front of house team and skilled kitchen staff is vital to success.
"It's easy to get carried away with the romance of running a country pub but you have to approach it with hard business nose," he said.
"But there are rewards if you get it right and a great sense of satisfaction although you can never rest on your laurels."
Other freehold pubs currently listed for sale in Kent include:
The Ascot Arms, Gravesend - £795,000, Lashings, Maidstone - £790,000, the Queen's Arms, Egerton - £695,000, The Coach and Horses, Sandwich - £580,000, The Peacock, Gravesend - £525,000, The Swan, Ashford - £495,000, The Two Sawyers, Woolage Green - £375,000, The Wheatsheaf, Ramsgate - £360,000, The Little Black Dog, Great Chart - £250,000 and The Raglan, Folkestone - £195,000.