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Secret Drinker's Top 12 fireplaces at pubs in Kent and one for luck


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Enjoying an armchair pulled up to an open fire with a great pint of real ale in one hand while the other pats the head of a dozing dog curled up at your feet is about as British as it can get.

Having this dream job has allowed me to enjoy a few great pints in front of a grate and I’d like to share a few fires you might like to try.

A large inglenook fireplace, regularly replenished with fantastically seasoned logs, is right at the heart of the Cock Inn pub
A large inglenook fireplace, regularly replenished with fantastically seasoned logs, is right at the heart of the Cock Inn pub

The warmest spot I found was at The Cock Inn, Ide Hill. A no-nonsense, homely village pub with a huge inglenook fireplace. It was so hot I moved my chair back and accidentally blocked a door so the landlord couldn’t get into his own pub.

Another one which was roaring was the fire behind the central entrance at The Minnis Bay in Birchington.

I was happy to sip a beer and watch the ships on the horizon – though on my last winter visit I became too toasty and had to move away from the heat!

The Foresters Arms in Tonbridge favours a log burner, but they certainly know how to get it roaring. And, a bonus, the screen above it was switched off. I avoided Uma Thurman in the gents but while I was away the barmaid binned my pint – grab yourself a tall bar stool and feel the warmth.

The Foresters Arms has a great log burner which was roaring away as soon as we worked – not surprising when you see the impressive log store to keep it fired up
The Foresters Arms has a great log burner which was roaring away as soon as we worked – not surprising when you see the impressive log store to keep it fired up

One which didn’t light my fire was the Dukes Head at Hamstreet – we were naturally drawn to the fireplace, but the bloomin’ thing hardly flickered into life the whole time we were in. Unlike one particular girl at the bar, whose blue touch paper had definitely been lit.

Oh dear, it was a real damp squib at the Dukes Head. The fire was barely alight when we arrived and no-one bothered to give it a second look the whole time we were in.
Oh dear, it was a real damp squib at the Dukes Head. The fire was barely alight when we arrived and no-one bothered to give it a second look the whole time we were in.

When I visited the Coach House in Maidstone I was mightily impressed by the beautiful log burner. But the best spots were already firmly reserved by resident British bulldogs Stanley and his mate in the wing chair. Next time I’m in I’ll make sure I gently ease the hounds to one side...

Home to two wonderful British bulldogs, you’ll do well to get a turn in front of the log burner at The Coach House
Home to two wonderful British bulldogs, you’ll do well to get a turn in front of the log burner at The Coach House

A group of faithful four-legged friends were also enjoying The Cricketers Inn in Meopham when I popped in. There were fires in each room roaring away and the thing I particularly liked about these is the fact they are set a bit higher in the walls. There was a cute hound under almost every table.

It might not be the biggest fireplace I’ve found, but the rate at which locals were piling wooden roof tiles onto it at every opportunity meant the Rose & Crown’s fire was blazing away the whole time – you could feel the heat through your jeans as you walked past.

For its size, the fire at The Rose & Crown is hotter than any I’ve ever come across. If the flames dies for just a second one of the locals simply loaded more wooden roof tiles onto it from a wheelie bin at the back
For its size, the fire at The Rose & Crown is hotter than any I’ve ever come across. If the flames dies for just a second one of the locals simply loaded more wooden roof tiles onto it from a wheelie bin at the back

Special mention must go to Tom at The Smoke & Cured in Ulcombe. The brave fellow served our drinks and then simply reached into the fire to rearrange the logs by hand.

Strangely, The Rose Revived, in Hadlow has made my list despite the fire not being alight. It deserves mention as one fireplace was opened during lockdown and the other will be great once it is repaired.

Sadly this fire is temporarily out of action but if you’re lucky when you get to visit the Rose Revised it might have been repaired
Sadly this fire is temporarily out of action but if you’re lucky when you get to visit the Rose Revised it might have been repaired

The Red Lion in Badlesmere had two great comfy chairs in front of the fire and once Lexie the spaniel decided to leave I was left with a prime spot. A great local free house with a superb log fire.

I was impressed by the Red Lion and enjoyed it even more when I managed to climb into one on the two chairs by the fire
I was impressed by the Red Lion and enjoyed it even more when I managed to climb into one on the two chairs by the fire
When I first arrived the prime spot in front of the fire was taken by a very loveable spaniel, Lexie
When I first arrived the prime spot in front of the fire was taken by a very loveable spaniel, Lexie

The Queens Inn, in Hawkhurst was part of a double header. It definitely came out on top and one of the reasons was its wonderful open-doored log burner gave off a perfect slightly smoky aroma and a warmth no-one wanted to leave.

Take a chocolate box Kent village, add a pub with centuries of history and a wood burner to a great fireplace. The result is The Woolpack Inn at Chilham. This is a wonderful pub packed full of tradition and is well worth a visit.

The Woolpack Inn is Hagrid the hound’s second home and he loves it. Fortunately for me he was happy to sit at the bar and not in front of the fire
The Woolpack Inn is Hagrid the hound’s second home and he loves it. Fortunately for me he was happy to sit at the bar and not in front of the fire

Last, but by no means least, is the Anchor Inn at Wingham which has three great open fireplaces and had them all alight when I visited. Weanie was stretched out in the front bar but I found a lovely spot to have lunch in front of the fire in the back bar.

The fire at the entrance of The Anchor Inn was already taken by Weanie the lurcher but the pub has three open fires and I discovered this one in the back room
The fire at the entrance of The Anchor Inn was already taken by Weanie the lurcher but the pub has three open fires and I discovered this one in the back room

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