These, the seven of the best dog-friendly pubs in Kent, inland and at the seaside, all go that extra mile for you and your canine companion. Besides the basic fresh water bowls and helpings from the biscuit tin for Fido, the pub grub with provenance proves that this is indeed the Garden of England.
7 of the Best Dog Friendly Pubs in Kent
Kent is blessed with an illustrious past too with royal connections that date back hundreds of years. It was good King Henry who coined the phrase “Garden of England” after sampling some of its cherries, straight from the orchard near Leeds Castle. Tunbridge, often voted the most beautiful town in England, is only one of three in the country that has Royal before its name. Castles, there are at least 17 of them in 1,442 squares miles, are rarely out of sight. It is no wonder that these doggie friendly pubs make our Rovers feel like princes and princesses.
All this royal hoo-hah aside, if you are looking for an inn that allows dogs and makes you feel right at home after a day out exploring the postcard perfect countryside and coastline then you won’t have to look far in Kent. Pubs that take dogs seem to be the order of the day in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there is even one that is set in the grounds of a grand estate.
You might want to begin exploring a slice of the 350-mile coastline that includes the important port of Dover and its iconic White Cliffs. Other than geological giants there’s seaside towns that produce some of England’s best shellfish such as Herne Bay’s mussels and Whitstable’s “native oysters”.
The further inland you go, visiting real ale dog pubs along the way, you will understand why the label “The Garden of England” has stuck over centuries because 75 per cent of the land is unpopulated.
However you plan to experience this part of the UK, you won’t have to worry about leaving your pooch behind because in Kent pubs that allow dogs are not in short supply.
Our Top 7 Choices
Find below 7 of the best pet friendly pubs in Kent
1. West End Tavern, Tonbridge Wells
This Grade II listed former forge dates back to the 1700s and luckily many of its original fixtures are still features such as the inglenook fireplace. As any dog owner knows, the only downside to finding a truly dog-friendly pub is that you’ll never be able to walk past it again without being dragged in by your pooch. This seems to be quite an issue at the West End Tavern, an old-school village pub in the heart of Kent’s countryside. Not only are the staff more than happy to dole out cuddles to four-legged visitors, they’ll offer them a bowl of water and feed them some yummy treats too.
2. The Dirty Habit, Maidstone
A short walk from Leeds Castle, on the Pilgrims Way, this pub where dogs are welcome was a monk’s ale and cider house in the 11th century. The pilgrims who passed on their way to Canterbury would stop here to wet their whistle. You and your trusted mate can still do the same at this dog-friendly pub. The thoroughly modern pub grub offers everything from sharing platters with scallops and lobsters to sourdough pizzas. Inside, the ornate wood panelling and half-timbered walls are still intact and outside there is plenty of covered space for having your meal or just a pint alfresco.
3. Bricklayers Arms, Seven Oaks
A traditional village pub with lake views, you and Mutley might find yourself being treated to a band of Morris dancers outside this dog friendly pub that comprises three terraced cottages. It is at the end of the Darent Valley Path, a 19-mile route that follows the River Darent from the Thames. The pub is Cask Marque approved so you can be sure of the quality of the beer here and there are plenty of options. For your fur baby there are treats and bowls of fresh, as well as the odd rubber toy to chew on.
4. Fez, Margate
If you and your pooch think you have been there and done that, you have seen nothing yet with this quirkiest of quirky seaside pubs where dogs are welcome. It is tiny but that hasn’t stopped an accumulation of eclectic artefacts that include a dentist’s chair and a life-size flamingo. It’s as kitsch as you can get but it’s place in CAMRA’s 2020 and 2021 Good Beer Guide is proof it takes its real ales seriously. There are vintage sofas where you can chill out, Fido at your feet, enjoying a good locally brewed pint such as Mad Cat’s Emotional Blackmail and Romney Marsh Brewery Marshmallow.
5. The Hawkenbury, Hawkenbury
The Hawkenbury’s Rover-in-residence, Rexie, an Alaskan Malamute is keen to welcome fellow four-leggers into his fold. There are always biscuits and water at the ready and for you there is a range of ales from Kentish breweries such as Angels and Demons and Curious Brewery. It is a popular pit stop for those who take the High Weald Wellie Walk or those who are visiting Sissinghurst Castle Garden that is close by. Ploughman platters are popular. Order the ham and cheese ploughman’s platter and enjoy it in the pub’s spacious garden, not forgetting to slip your pooch a few tit bits.
6. Rose and Crown, Faversham
Set in Perry Wood, a designated Local Wildlife Site this is a pub in all its country glory with spectacular views over the Kent Downs. If you come by train, Selling Station is a 15-minute walk through ancient woodland and orchards. It is not surprising that this is one of Kent’s top dog pubs for Londoners for a day out of the Big Smoke with their furry friends. In the summer it draws the crowds with its beer festivals, live music and hog roasts. Its ales include Harvey’s Best from Sussex, Mosiac Pale Ale and it even has its own Rose and Crown lager brewed in Germany.
7. Fitzwalter Arms, Goodnestone
Built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, this pub, with hops-laden beams and roaring fires, is in picturesque Goodnestone Park estate, where author Jane Austen was once a frequent visitor. You and your pooch will think you have stepped back in time when you step through the door of this historic boozer with its lead-paned glass windows, striped wood flooring and exposed brick walls. The bar of this dog-friendly pub is unpretentious and there is always a warm welcome for your waggytail. The pub grub appears as daily specials on the chalkboard and expect hearty fare such as cottage pie and homemade stew.
Thanks to its prime position this is a county that has it all – from its beaches and Victorian coastal towns to inland ancient woodland, downs and rivers that attract visitors, especially those with fur babies, in their droves.
If you are a dog owner and both you and your pooch are partial to picturesque, unchallenging terrain, then it is these Kent dog friendly pubs that are going to be just the ticket for time away in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.