Sure, autumn in Kent means our gardens are ablaze with vibrant colour, our walks are leaf-crunchingly spectacular, and don’t even get us started on those Instagrammable views, but above all, our autumn food and drink is sensational!
They call us the Garden of England because we have some of the freshest local produce around, from orchards and vineyards to shores famous for their fish and seafood. It’s no surprise then that our county boasts a whole host of restaurants offering menus packed with local produce, and with harvest on the horizon, autumn is the ultimate time to experience them with family and friends.
It’s brand-new, it’s exciting, it promises to be a dining experience like no other! We can only imagine the anticipation when you tell your little ones they’re off to Port Lympne, but throw in a delicious family meal overlooking the spectacular bear habitat, now that’s sure to get the excitement going. But hey, you might be saving a visit to see the animals for another day, and just fancy heading here for a family get-together, which is exactly what you can do since it’s open to the public! Friday nights are for family time, and you know what else? Curry night! Their mouth-watering, authentic curries are ready to be enjoyed and you only have to take a look at the menu and your stomachs will be rumbling. Head to Bear Lodge Restaurant on Saturday for those classic dishes we all just love, and you know what Sunday calls for? A roast dinner of course!
As the leaves begin to turn those beautiful oranges, reds, and yellows, and the air gets that little bit crisper, we can’t help but rush off to the seaside for a refreshing coastal walk. Those moody, dramatic skies above the vast ocean are the perfect backdrop for a stroll by the seaside, followed by a hearty meal and a warming drink. Lucky for us, Folkestone is the perfect spot for just that. With loads of amazing restaurants along the Harbour Arm, like Little Rock and Rocksalt, you’re spoilt with plaices to go to tuck into some seasonal, locally caught seafood, all while staring out at breath-taking seascapes.
Come along to the Kent Cookery School this year to get a real taste of local produce, all while improving your own cooking skills. Get hands on and join in on the foodie fun, learning how to cook a 3-course meal with the masters and (most importantly!) getting to eat it all once you’re done. For those of you looking to gain confidence in the kitchen, whether you know your simmering from your stewing or you’re a novice with the knife, this one’s for you!
Fancy a seasonal dish, cooked lovingly over the fire, paired with a delightful Kentish wine? Look no further than Boys Hall, where you can enjoy the flavours of the season to the max, whether that be in their restaurant, the terrace, or the cosy pub (now that's about as autumnal as it gets!). Settle down for the afternoon with a drink in hand, surrounded by the country garden and nestled within the refurbished 17th century house. And once you've filled up on delights from across the county, you can stay the night in one of their boutique rooms, resting your head for ultimate relaxation.
Available just once a year during the hop harvest, Curious Brewery's duo of green hop beers are a true celebration of the season and Kent's hopping heritage. Head to the Curious Brewery bar for a limited edition pint of the small-batch Challenger Pale Ale, which has been brewed using the freshest Challenger hops grown just down the road at Hukins Hops. Or keep your eyes open for the UK Curious Cascade, another special edition, available in pubs across Kent. What's more, on 20th and 21st October Curious Brewery will be throwing a Green Hop Celebration, so get ready to raise a pint to our Kent-grown hops!
Set on a 2,500 acre estate in the North Downs, Squerryes is the perfect place to go for a true taste of Kentish wine this autumn. Using only fruit grown and handpicked from their vineyard, the love and care shines through with every sip you take. Treat yourself to the full experience with a specially crafted Autumn and Winter Tasting, or even settle down to a seasonal, mouth-watering meal in their restaurant, soaking in the delights of autumn at one of the county's finest wine estates.
Oh believe us, a visit to Gusbourne should be top of any foodie’s list and for a real experience, we recommend the Discovery and Estate tours. Each hosted tour of the vineyard will take you through the process from grape to glass, before a tutored tasted and lunch of the finest local produce. Take home your very own taste of the Kentish countryside with a bottle of their English Rose, laden with mouth-watering flavours of sun-warmed strawberries and citrus. Your very own Kent getaway, bottled up to save for a rainy day!
Come a little later in the season and the walks at Balfour Winery will provide jaw-dropping colour and leaf-crunching walks, with ancient woodland, wildlife and those rolling vineyards all lending themselves to the camera. Top off your day with a visit to the tasting room, for a better view of the grape harvesting, and a glass or two of their very own wines paired with platters of charcuterie, cheese and fish for the ultimate taste of Kent. Cheers!
And the wonders of wine don't stop there...you know that autumn has well and truly arrived when you can nestle into the tasting room at Corkk, watching out over the cobbled streets of Canterbury as you sample delicious, award-winning wines from across the country. Neighbouring Canterbury Cathedral, you can wander your way through picturesque streets of the city before settling down in their chic yet comfortable tasting room, sampling delicious wines, carefully chosen by one of only 400 Masters of Wine in the world - now that's an offer we can't refuse...
Where do we even start with this coastal gem? Probably with the seafood, eh? Angela’s of Margate is all about local, partnered with the Windmill Community Garden and the recipient of the coveted Michelin Green Star Award 2021 and 2022, making it a must-visit for its green credentials alone. Fancy preparing an autumnal meal at home? Cliftonville Farmers’ Market has won numerous awards for its packed stalls of bread, vegetables and more. And for a sample of some irresistible, crisp, local brews, they’ve got that too! NorthDown Brewery and Gadds Brewery both offer award-winning beers right from their taprooms, both open to the public and boasting live events throughout the year for the perfect pairing with your drink.
Now, we couldn’t talk about the seasonal delights of Kent without mentioning Whitstable, could we? This seaside spot is most well known for its oysters, having been where the Romans once harvested Native Oysters, and to this day is our go-to when looking for some mollusc magic. Join in our footsteps (and the Romans’!) and head along to the Whitstable Oyster Company, before grabbing yourself a coffee and freshly baked cake from Grain and Hearth, and wandering down to the beach for the afternoon. And in the evening, for magnificent sea views and a warming drink, The Old Neptune sits right on the seafront and is the ideal place to settle down. Don’t feel like leaving? The team at Keepers Cottages thought as much, so have got some great spots for you to spend the night, like The Flamingo House in the centre of town, Stillwater with its beautiful balcony and private garden, or Peace Cottage for a retreat just minutes from the beach.
Explore White Cliffs Country through its rich culinary landscape. Here you’ll find some of the freshest local produce at the farm shops, and there’s plenty to choose from including the Little Stour Farm Shop in Wingham, selling everything from plants to fresh bread, and Delf Farm Shop in Sandwich where you can find fresh, seasonal produce. Walmer Court Farm Shop stocks an incredible range of goods from hand baked cakes and biscuits to beer! Little Farthingale Farm on the outskirts of Dover is a traditional farm shop with a butchers and bakery.
To stay the night and enjoy all that the area has to offer, why not book yourself in for a stay at Keepers Cottages’ 2 bedroom property, The Cove? Just seconds away from Deal’s Saturday Market, you can head down first thing to get dibs on all the freshest produce to cook up a feast in your Kentish home-away-from-home. Or, if the whole family wants to join in on the fun, the Victory Cottage offers amazing seaside views, sat right on the beach near cosy and comforting Zetland Arms.
Oh Rochester, with your fairytale castle and historic cathedral, your views alone are enough to make us swoon, but restaurants Fish at 55 and Sol Y Sombra are enough to have our mouths watering. At Fish at 55 you’ll be spoiled for choice with a menu of daily fresh seafood, while Sol Y Sombra’s tapas dishes are inspired by Chef Anibal’s Spanish heritage.
Earning a special mention on our list, this favourite is renowned as one of Kent’s best pubs, and has the awards to prove it! The menu is ever-changing, with Head Chef Samuel McClurkin taking inspiration from the finest local ingredients. What’s more, this exceptional dining spot stays true to its name, inviting four-legged friends to come on in and enjoy the experience with you. And if you fancy indulging in some of those famous Kent beers and wines (who can blame you), the rooms upstairs make this little spot the perfect weekend getaway.
While Port Lympne’s incredible safari experiences and accommodation may well have you thinking you’ve been transported to the African plains, the food and drink in the restaurants is about as Kentish as you can get. Taking great pride in home-grown ingredients (seriously, the vegetables are picked from their very own market garden), The Garden Room’s beautifully restored setting is the perfect place to indulge, with a menu of artisanal Kent produce. With hop gardens and vineyards galore on the doorstep, it should come as no surprise that the drinks menu is equally Kent-focused, with Kentish brews and English wines to complement those delicious dishes.
There’s nothing quite like freshly-picked ingredients turned into a freshly home-made supper, candles lit and your closest friends and family around the table, so allow us to introduce Maidstone’s selection of farm shops. Teston Farm Shop takes locally grown to a whole new level, with apples fresh from their very own orchard, and a whole host of produce that’s traveled as little as four miles! While Haven Farm Shop is another fan of keeping those food miles low, offering fruit and vegetables fresh from local growers who sell directly to the store – now that’s keeping things green. A visit to Little Fant Farm Shop is another must, with a tea barn for Saturday afternoon treats, and a variety of produce that’s grown right on site! Now, who fancies rustling up some butternut squash soup?
Come along to one of the best restaurants in Ashford, where you can enjoy meals made from seasonal, local, and fresh produce. The award-winning Frasers of Egerton offers amazing, traditional meals, in the heart of the Kentish countryside - all set within a beautifully traditional oak framed barn. They've got brunch, afternoon tea, Sunday lunch...what more could you need? Bringing you the “taste of Kent to your table”, this is one spot you don’t want to miss out on this season.