Kent grows more than its fair share of top-quality produce, which has helped cultivate a thriving foodie scene with provenance, seasonality and some of the country’s best chefs at its core. The Good Hotel Guide, Britain’s leading independent guide to hotels, have selected their top foodie hotels in Kent from their Kent collection. Book a room and mix world-class dining with days out walking, nosing around vineyards and exploring crumbling castles...
Set in the beautiful Kent Downs AONB, this 200-year-old inn has been brought bang up to date with exposed original brickwork, oak floors and top-of-the-range furnishings, but it’s the menu and wine list that really stand out. Head Chef Andrew King, who used to work at the Michelin-starred Lucknam Park, puts the emphasis on local produce and has developed the sort of relationships with producers that incite middle-of-the-night text messages – about the latest catch landed at Deal, of course. Depending on the season, you can expect wild rabbit kiev, seared Rye Bay scallops, divine Kentish strawberries or Kentish lamb.
Good Hotel Guide tip: The Sir Thomas Berridge room has great views of 12-century St Anthony’s church.
2. Sands Hotel, Margate
Smart Sands Hotel is just yards from the excellent Turner Contemporary gallery and so close to the beach that it feels like the waves would lap your feet if you dangled them out of the enormous windows. The seaside joie de vivre filters into Sands’ foodie offering too. Melt, the vibrant gelato bar downstairs, serves superb handcrafted gelato, and the afternoon tea menu will really make you smile. Choose from blends such as Margate Seaside (“Inspired by our own bracing sea air”), Kentish Ale and Sand’s own Afternoon and Breakfast blends. Linger for one of the spectacular sunsets over one of southeast England’s best beaches and dine at the hotel’s Bay Restaurant.
Good Hotel Guide tip: All but two of the tastefully decorated bedrooms overlook the sea or Margate’s lively Old Town.
3. The Milk House, Sissinghurst
A favourite with locals, The Milk House is a beautiful gastro pub in the heart of wine country – Kent has over 50 vineyards. The former 16th-century hall house, which retains its timber beams and Tudor fireplace, has four contemporary, light-filled rooms. Unsurprisingly, the décor is elegantly creamy throughout. The Milk House’s straightforward seasonal menu is sourced from within a 20-mile radius and the bar stocks cask ales from Kentish breweries and a wide selection of local wines.
Good Hotel Guide tip: Take advantage of free tastings and stock up on multi-award winning English sparkling wines at nearby Biddenden, Kent’s oldest commercial vineyard.
4. Crescent Turner, Whitstable
This red brick hotel has sweeping views of the Kent coast, squashy sofas and a wood-burning stove, while the 18 bedrooms are distinctly individual. Whitstable is all about oysters (and quirky independent shops, boutique galleries and bohemian cafes) so naturally oysters feature on the Turner’s menu. Order them one at a time or as many as you can slip down your throat and enjoy the view across to where the oysters were dredged from the sea. For ultimate oyster bliss, coincide your visit with Whitstable Oyster Festival, in late July.
Good Hotel Guide tip: With a kitchen, lounge and three canoes, the Crescent Turner’s beach hut is anything but a ‘hut’ – hire it!
5. Rocksalt, Folkestone
Watch the sea-to-fork journey of the seafood on your plate from this highly regarded fish restaurant. The striking dark-timber-and-glass building hovers over Folkestone’s fishing harbour, guaranteeing a sea view wherever you sit. The scene on your plate is just as impressive: unwaveringly seasonal, local ingredients are magicked together to create dishes like marinated Folkstone whelks, and cold chocolate and sea buckthorn fondant. Chef Mark Sargeant was Gordon Ramsay’s right-hand man, and the Michelin stars have rubbed off on him. Across a cobbled street, Rocksalt’s four bijou rooms are pretty tasty too, with exposed brick, antique beds, wet rooms and harbour views.
Good Hotel Guide tip: Rocksalt’s wine list is at odds with its otherwise impressive local ethos, so order a Rocksalt Rocktop, their locally brewed ale.
Find more great hotels in Kent at www.goodhotelguide.com.
About the author: Emma Field
“UK travel expert Emma Field writes regularly for the Good Hotel Guide, the leading independent guide to the best hotels, inns and B&B's in Great Britain and Ireland, and the best place for impartial advice on finding a good place to stay.”