Historical pubs in Kent: 9 of the best
- Credit: Archant
Kent is perhaps the oldest county in England so it isn’t surprising that there are a plethora of history-drenched pubs with intriguing, charming and sometimes violent histories. We pick 9 of our favourites dating way back from the 12th to the 16th century
1. The Old Eden, Edenbridge (15th century)
This ancient building was originally built as a Wealden hall house in the 1400s and still retains period features that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. With locally sourced food on the menu and real ales in the taps, this pub has a welcoming open fire to warm the toes in winter and a pretty garden for summertime drinks.
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2. Ye Olde Yew Tree Inn, Westbere (14th century)
Thought to be the oldest pub in Kent, Ye Olde Yew Tree Inn in the pretty village of Westbere, dates all the way back to 1348, nearly 670 years. Dark wood flooring and beams surround drinkers and diners with a roaring open hearth fireplace in the winter too. Outside, surrounded by greenery and traditional village scenes, a relaxing pint in the beer garden is the perfect way to while away a summer’s afternoon.
3. The Kings Arms, Boxley (12th century)
Fall into a big leather chair next to the open fire at The Kings Arms, Boxley for an evening of food and drink. With a “passion for food,” dishes are prepared with locally sourced ingredients that diners can enjoy in the ancient pub that retains many period features. Originally built in 1195 as a house for monks who may have brewed and sold ale there as early as the 12th century, the first official ale licence was granted in 1539 and has been serving locals and visitors ever since.
4. Five Bells Inn, Brabourne (16th century)
A charming, friendly village pub with an eclectic design that reflects its historical heritage while catering to the modern person, the Five Bells Inn in Brabourne is a firm favourite with villagers and “pilgrims” alike. Walkers bring their dogs in after a long walk in the Kent Downs for a drink and meal with friends and family. There are plenty of events at the Five Bells: every month on the fourth Sunday, there is a Vintage and Racing Club featuring classic cars to admire. Check the ‘what’s on’ page on the website for more details and other events.
5. The Three Chimneys, Biddenden (15th century)
There are cosy, period-style interiors at The Three Chimneys in Biddenden, making for a perfect historical setting for a relaxing pint or some food made with locally sourced ingredients. The Three Chimneys is ideally located to visit more historical locations including the fairytale Scotney Castle, the wonderland that is Sissinghurst Castle Garden, the enchanting Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, and many more.
6. The Bull Inn, Rolvenden (15th century)
15th century country pub The Bull Inn in Rolvenden is steeped in history, evident in its sympathetically decorated interiors that retain some of its pretty period features. Real ale aficionados will be pleased as will foodies looking for some elevated pub grub. Families with children and dogs are also welcome in this friendly tavern, which makes it the perfect end to a day of rambling through Tenterden, Cranbrook or the village of Rolvenden itself.
7. The George & Dragon, Chipstead, Sevenoaks (16th century)
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Although updated with stylish décor, the history of The George & Dragon isn’t lost. Located on Chipstead’s high street, there is a focus on simple food with a twist, made with fresh, seasonally changing and local produce. Dark wooden beams run along the ceiling and dark wooden furniture adds to the olde worlde ambiance. In the summer, head into the garden to sit amongst the herbs and foliage, with a view of the fine historical building, beer in hand.
8. The Three Tuns, Lower Halstow, Sittingbourne (15th century)
The building that now houses The Three Tuns in the village of Lower Halstow, Sittingbourne, was built in 1468 and has been serving parched and weary travellers since acquiring an ale license in 1764 – that’s over 250 years! Food prepared with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients is on the menu and local ales from Kentish micro breweries are on tap. There are also plenty of quiz nights and other events going on throughout the year at The Three Tuns; eat, drink and be merry in a fine historical setting!
9. The Ship, Herne Bay (14th century)
Mentioned as one of our favourite smugglers pubs in Kent, The Ship pub in Herne Bay has a bloody and fascinating history along with sea views to die for, which are perfectly experienced with some fresh seafood and a glass of wine. Comforting dishes include daily changing seafood to top off a linguini; or maybe The Ship Burger made with ground beef topped with onion, tomato and gherkin with a side of chunky chips, tomato relish and salad.