Published: 05:00, 16 June 2022
| Updated: 11:14, 17 June 2022
After a mixed bag of sun and showers, the heat has come to stay this week as Kent basks in a mini-heatwave.
And what better way to celebrate that by basking on a pub bench with a pint in your hand? If the beer garden is calling some of these are certainly worth considering.
The Singleton Barn, Singleton, Ashford
A tithe barn dating back to 1631, the building is full of character with oak beams and open rafters under which exceptional ales and quality pub food are served. The family-friendly venue has a large garden and play area for kids and is one of the most popular pubs in the area for live sport. More at singletonbarn.co.uk or call 01233 629379.
The Pavilion, Harbour Street, Broadstairs
Located on the beachfront at the award-winning Viking Bay, visitors can enjoy supping on a pint with views out to sea with the sand just metres from their feet. With a balcony and lower beer garden, which has its own bar too, it is a prime spot for the summer months and you can even walk onto the beach from the garden area. Food is served all day. More at pavilion-broadstairs.co.uk or call 01843 600900.
The Dolphin, St Radigund's Street, Canterbury
Found in the winding, cobbled back streets of Canterbury, The Dolphin, run by local pub magnate Charles Smythe, had a revamp and provides with a comfortable atmosphere and has a large beer garden, allowing for social distancing. More on Facebook or call 01227 455963.
Old City Bar, Oaten Hill, Canterbury
Located close to the centre of Canterbury, the Old City Bar is one of five boozers owned by city pub magnate Charles Smythe. The tavern has a large pub garden equipped with several tables and heaters. It serves up a menu featuring pub classics, such as burgers and fish and chips. More at oldcitybar.co.uk or call 01227 766882.
The Shakespeare, Butchery Lane, Canterbury
The Shakespeare is tucked away along a narrow lane a stone's throw from Canterbury Cathedral. It is believed its historic premises first opened as a pub more than 200 years ago. Peckish drinkers are able to choose from a wide range of hearty dishes and burgers on the tavern's menu. More at shakespearecanterbury.com
Waggon at Hale, Capstone Road, Chatham
Traditional, family-run pub overlooking fields and near Capstone Farm Country Park, is a popular haunt for families and dog walkers taking a stroll around the lake and woods. Its large garden includes a play area and is home to the pub's resident pets. The menu ranges from light lunches to fine dining with cocktails and unusual gins also available. More via Facebook or call 01634 400800.
The White Horse, St James Street, Dover
This hidden gem of a pub is always popular with locals and people passing through, but is easy to miss if you don't know where to look. Famously good food can be enjoyed in a beer garden fenced with centuries-old stonework. It does get sun, but the paved floor also means it's a perfect spot no matter the weather. More at thewhitehorsedover.co.uk or call 01304 213066.
The Cricketers, Crabble Avenue, Dover
If you fancy sitting in the grass on a sunny day without worrying about being too close to other people, this is the pub garden for you. Spacious and sunny all day long, it has a good range of meals and a large range of beers. It's family-friendly, and the garden is more than big enough for kids to run around in. More at cricketersdover.co.uk or call 01304 206396.
The Coastguard, Bay Hill, St Margarets Bay, near Dover
Called the nearest pub to France, visitors will certainly be able to feed any cravings for a seaside view. The seating area at the front is almost directly on the beach, so would serve as a great setting-off point for socially distanced walks on the beach. With plenty of seafood dishes, as well as traditional pub fare, there's something for everyone. More at thecoastguard.co.uk or call 01304 853051.
The Red Lion, Badlesmere, Faversham
The family-run free house serves real ales, wines and has an entirely gluten-free kitchen, all set in the beautiful village of Badlesmere. There is a generous and picturesque child-friendly garden. More at redlionbadlesmere.com or call 01233 740309.
The Pullman, Church Street, Folkestone
Just off the main drag of the town the unassuming pub is nestled in a side street and has a surprisingly luscious garden in the back. Highly reviewed by those who visit, it is like a miniature rainforest - a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the high street and beach. More at thepullmanfolkestone.com or call 01303 488966.
The Harbour Inn, Harbour Street, Folkestone
The Harbour Inn is a fantastic spot to soak up a seaside atmosphere and people-watch. There's an outdoors seating area. The food is fantastic, if a little on the pricey side, but there's definitely a reason why locals and day-trippers alike keep coming back for more. Details at theharbourinnfolkestone.co.uk or call 01303 487260.
The Three Daws, West Street, Gravesend
Sitting on the edge of the River Thames looking out towards Essex, the Three Daws has exceptional views of the estuary. The historical tavern, which dates back to the 1400s, provides a wide range of ales and boasts an impressive menu with sharing platters and classic pub grub. Although there is plenty of space, booking is advisable due to the picturesque location. More at threedaws.co.uk or call 01474 566869.
The Windmill Tavern, Shrubbery Road, Gravesend
At first glance The Windmill Tavern looks to be a small, secluded pub with not much out the back. But don't judge a book by its cover - the quaint drinking house boasts a sprawling but enclosed lawn area for patrons to enjoy not just its specialist ales and range of flavoured gins, but its food menu which includes light bites, all day breakfast, a selection of fish and classic burgers. Details at windmillpubandgarden.com or call 01474 352242.
The Ferry House Inn, Harty, Isle of Sheppey
This award-winning pub, right on the Swale Estuary, dates back to the 16th century. Now also a popular wedding venue, its restaurant has been awarded an AA Rosette for dining and it boasts gardens, an oak gazebo and children's play area. There is also a brilliant circular walk from Harty, across unspoilt country, down to the beach at Shellness - with a stop in at the pub for family-farmed beef and lamb, home-reared free range game birds and homegrown veggies, fruit and herbs. Details at theferryhouseinn.co.uk or call 01795 510214.
The Dirty Habit, Hollingbourne, near Maidstone
Not far from Leeds Castle, high up on the Pilgrims Way, the Dirty Habit is part of the same small, but ever-expanding chain as The Farmhouse in West Malling and the Potting Shed at Langley. Tastefully decked out both inside and out, the pub serves up an impressive menu that includes sharing platters and authentic wood-fired sourdough pizzas. The large walled garden has plenty of space, but booking is advisable. More at elitepubs.com/the-dirty-habit or call 01622 880880.
The Duke of Marlborough, Union Street, Maidstone
The town centre boozer underwent a dramatic refurbishment in the first national lockdown, and its extensive pub garden at the back is now a shining example. If you fancy something other than the beers and ales there's also flavoured rums and ginseccos to try. Contact via Facebook or call 01622 677727.
The Plough Inn, Langley, near Sutton Valence
A real sun trap, this large patio area may not be in keeping with the traditional beer garden but its well-spaced benches and neatly divided booths make social distancing easy. The promise of cocktails on tap and a great pub menu make this recently renovated inn a safe bet for a sunny post-lockdown pint. Details at theploughpublangley.co.uk or call 01622 842555.
Playa Freehouse and Restaurant, The Leas, Minster-on-Sea, Sheppey
The Playa is that rare hostelry - a pub on the Isle of Sheppey with a sea view. It is popular with residents and visitors alike and until the last lockdown staged regular band nights indoors and music festivals in its large beer garden. It has been running a takeaway menu but also has a great little restaurant for when we are allowed back inside. More via Facebook or call 07494 020957.
The Tudor Rose, High Street, Upper Upnor, near Rochester
A gem of a pub at the bottom of a cobbled street in the village it is next to Upnor Castle, an Elizabethan artillery fort overlooking the River Medway. Aptly furnished to reflect the area's rich naval heritage, there is a large walled garden at the back with shaded areas. Impressive menu, real ales and dog-friendly. Details at tudorroseupnor.co.uk or call 01634 714175.
Belle Vue Tavern, Pegwell Road, Ramsgate
There's a reason this pub garden is called 'The Balcony of Kent', with its stunning views across the picturesque Pegwell Bay towards Sandwich. With a large space, much seating and an outdoor 'Sundowner Bar', it is one of the most popular summer spots in Thanet. Visitors can enjoy al fresco meals from an extensive menu and barbecues, with the BBQ Shack open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings during the summer, weather permitting. More at thebellevuetavern.co.uk or call 01843 593991.