Al-fresco dining in Kent

Alex Valentine

12th April 2021

We've survived the cold, winter months cooped up inside, and we’re so happy to see some our much loved establishments opening their doors again for a spot of alfresco dining (and let’s be honest, we're grateful for a night off washing up duty)! We’re looking ahead to long, sunshine-filled lunches at our local pub and balmy evenings accompanied by a stunning view and a crisp, cold beer in hand – but we’ll also brave the less-than-ideal weather conditions for our favourite meals at our much missed eateries! We’ve gathered the ultimate alfresco dining spots so you’re ready to enjoy outdoor dining in Kent this spring. Oh restaurants, how we’ve missed you!

Please be aware many resturants and cafes will require pre-booking at this time, so always check the restaurant's own website for their latest guideline on reservations and Covid-19 policies. Please follow the latest government guidelines on social distancing. 

Pubs are back with Shepherd Neame 

Pour us a pint and give us a beer mat - we're so happy to see Shepherd Neame pubs reopening their doors again! For charming beer gardens nestled in city centres, suntrap countryside gardens after a long walk and spots for a sweeping sea view, Shepherd Neame have put together a list of some of their best beer gardens, ready for that sunny Sunday back in the pub. 

Wine and dine at Gusbourne

Wine and dine in the vine(s) at Gusbourne Vineyard! You can enjoy a free self-guided tour around the vineyard and drop by for drop in tastings and wine by the glass to truly get in the summer spirit. Why not treat yourself to a pre-prepared picnic from Gusbourne on your visit? You’ll find the best of Kent and Sussex produce, such as artisan cheese and charcuterie, local fruit and homemade bread, accompanied by a bottle of Gusbourne Brut Reserve. All this is presented in a Gusbourne bag with reusable picnic glassware for you to keep…

Travel the world with Macknade Food Village

Macknade Fine Foods in Faversham are allowing us to travel with our tastebuds on a true foodie adventure this spring! Get lost exploring new tastes including ‘Karara’s authentic and aromatic Indian food and ‘California Cravings’, offering Mexican street food with a fresh Californian twist.

A pew with a view in The Isle of Thanet

Boasting some of the most beautiful coastal spots in Kent, it’s no surprise the Isle of Thanet has a spot or two for alfresco dining with a sparkling sea view. Head to Finbars Westgate's balcony area to enjoy a sunset over the West Bay, Buoy and Oyster for uninterrupted views over Margate Sands or spot the boats docked in Ramsgate Marina at Royal Harbour Brasserie.

Make an afternoon of it at Hush Heath Winery

What do you need after a long, leisurely walk around Hush Heath’s sprawling vineyards on a warm spring afternoon? How about a spot on their sun-trap decking to tuck into a locally sourced food platter, enjoyed with a glass (or two!) of their exquisite wines? That sounds like the afternoon we’ve been dreaming of through the winter months…

Fine dining at Rocksalt Folkestone

A superb seafood selection awaits you at Rocksalt. Set out over the harbour of Folkestone diners can experience panoramic views of the water whilst kicking back and relaxing on the glass fronted deck, and a menu that's earned them not one, but two AA rosette awards. 

Riverside drinks in Medway

If you're looking for outdoor dining with a waterside view this spring, then head up to Chatham and book your table at one of their riverside gems. The gorgeous Ship and Trades pub serves up a feast of treats alongside craft ales on it's rustic outdoor decking, while the brand new Pumphouse restaurant at Copper Rivet Distillery allows you to sit back with one of their own distilled spirits and tonic, and enjoy views over to Upnor Castle. 

Foodies at Folkestone Harbour Arm

With a whole host of stalls serving everything from Champagne and craft beer, to Greek mezze and hand-stretched pizzas, the Folkestone Harbour Arm is the perfect spot to pitch up for a spot of summer dining – it’s pretty hard to beat those sensational sea views, and ample, spacious seating makes it ideal for enjoying an afternoon by the coast.

Munching in Maidstone

If you’re heading out for a spot of shopping in our county town of Maidstone take the chance to refuel at one of their best independent eateries. The Old Boat Café enjoys riverside dining right in the heart of the town, or head further out to The Potting Shed in Langley for an instagrammable brunch on a stylish and spacious outdoor decking. And who said indulging had to be unhealthy? Head to The Blackthorn Trust in Maidstone for delicious, vegetarian and plant-based food. Most of their produce is even grown on site, so you know it's full of the good stuff!

Indulge at Hythe Imperial Hotel

Hythe Imperial Hotel are ready to give you an afternoon of indulgence thanks to their new afternoon tea in their outdoor heated ‘dining sheds’, ideal for spacious social distancing and colder days. Booking is essential, but they’re also offering their Martello bar menu alfresco with tables first-come-first-serve.

Head to Italy with The Old Dairy Brewery

The Old Dairy Brewery in Tenterden is the perfect place to stop off for a pint thanks to their Taproom beer garden, but on Saturday's they've partnered with Moretto's Italian Food Truck for a truly Roman evening in West Kent. And if you'd like to keep some spontanity for your evenings out, you should know there's no need to pre-book for The Taproom! 

Alfresco in Ashford

Hop off the train at Ashford International and you’ll be greeted with a whole host of new outside dining spots ready for you to enjoy. Opt for a delicious brunch at Macknade Elwick Place and have a browse of their locally-sourced artisanal produce before heading to brand new Italian Unita 4 to be transported for your slice of Amalfi in Ashford. For those longer spring evenings, be sure to explore Coachworks. Adorned with fairy lights and retro deck chairs, this cool new foodie destination and event space is one to remember for your summer celebrations - take your pick from their tempting street food stalls serving up everything from American BBQ to woodfired pizzas. Finally, end the night by heading down to the Curious Brewery for a refreshing, locally brewed pint.

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