For 12 weeks we’ve been cooking, baking and barbecuing our way through lockdown, but with restrictions finally easing, we can take a break and treat ourselves once more. Whether it’s fine dining, street food or a trip to the pub, let’s find out where the best food and drink places are to explore in Kent.
Down on the farm
We are blessed here in Kent with numerous farmers markets and farm shops selling fresh local produce. Many of our farm shops have kept us going through lockdown with home delivery or click and collect services.
However, for those of us who enjoy a good browse, there’s some good news as many of outlets are beginning to reopen their doors to customers. With social distancing measures in place, you can safely browse your favourite local farm shop or farmers market again.
Farm shops and markets currently open to the public include: Staplehurst Nurseries and Frankie’s Farmshop, Hartley Coffee House and Farm Shop, Cranbrook (please note, the Coffee House is open for takeaways only), Gibsons Farm Shop, Wingham, and Tonbridge Farmers Market, which has opened its doors for the first time since lockdown and will continue to open on the second Sunday of each month selling award-winning fresh and local food.
The Wye Farmers Market has also opened its doors for the first time this month and will continue to meet every first and third Saturday of the month from 9am-12pm.
Perhaps you’re still shielding and require home delivery. Why not try The Folly Farm Shop, Sandhurst or The Small Holding, Cranbrook, both of whom are currently delivering their delicious hampers and food boxes across most parts of Kent.
Who doesn’t enjoy a sunny afternoon in the beer garden with a cold drink in hand? Many of our wonderful Kentish pubs have been finding creative ways to keep us well fed and watered during lockdown, with several offering a click and collect or takeaway service. However, nothing beats going to the pub to soak up the atmosphere. It’s been a challenging time for our hospitality sector, so it’s great to hear that some pubs are already making plans to open their doors, or gardens at least, in early July.
These include several of the esteemed ‘Elite Pubs’ chain: The Potting Shed, Langley, The Great House, Hawkhurst and the Pig & Sty, Bethersden, who are all working diligently in preparation to safely re-open their pub gardens and terraces in early July. The Potting Shed also boasts a burger shack and outside bar area! Visit online to book a table and to explore some of their exciting offers including Friday Lobster Night for £40 per couple and the Tuesday Steak Night with a bottle of Malbec from just £39 per couple.
Or if you still love the convenience of a good-quality takeaway or click and collect service, checkout The Curious Eatery, Boughton-Monchelsea, The Milk House, Sissinghurst, Neptunes Hall, Broadstairs, The Artichoke, Chartham or Rye Bay Fish, Rye (selling fresh fish daily from the local fishing ports of Rye, Hastings, Eastbourne and Dungerness).
Fancy a tipple?
Thanks to the slightly warmer climate and drier conditions, Kent and Sussex have become two of the major players in the wine world, winning awards and earning well-deserved recognition across the globe. So, you’ll be pleased to hear that some of our best-known vineyards and wineries are open to visitors once more.
Chapel Down, Tenterden is currently welcoming visitors to The Winery Shop and the vineyard and herb garden are open for walks; the Estate and Cellar Door shop at Hush Heath Estate, Staplehurst is now open; and Chartham Vineyard, Chartham will be welcoming customers back for cellar door purchases.
Did you know that we will be celebrating English Wine Week between the 20th-28th June 2020? This annual national event is designed to celebrate and raise awareness of English wine, as well as showcase how accessible English varieties are. To help celebrate, The Bolney Wine Estate, Haywards Heath, is offering free live virtual tasting throughout the week. Visit their website to find out more and to book a live tasting.
And what about one of our best-loved British summer traditions?
I don’t know about you, but we have many happy memories visiting one of our many local fruit farms here in the Garden of England to pick-your-own strawberries. Well you’ll be pleased to hear you can still do this at one of the following farms: Lower Ladysden, Goudhurst, Sharnfold Farm & Shop, Eastbourne, Stonepitts Farm, Sevenoaks and Maynards Farm, Ticehurst are all open now for PYO.
We’ve saved the best till last……
Our most exciting news has got to be the Drive & Dine Theatre at Hever Castle. Pull up, pop on the handbrake and enjoy the show from the safety and comfort of your own car. All whilst tucking into a tasty dish from an exclusive menu curated by Michelin-starred Chef Tom Kerridge. Tickets are on sale now.
Long may this beautiful summer weather continue, so we can all look forward to enjoying some local fresh strawberries with a glass of English sparkling wine at our local pub or eatery.
At a socially acceptable distance, of course.