10 beautiful riverside pubs in Kent

PUBLISHED: 13:29 14 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:46 14 July 2020

The Old Weavers ale house in Canterbury is one of our top riverside pubs in Kent (photo: Paul Sturmey, Getty Images)

The Old Weavers ale house in Canterbury is one of our top riverside pubs in Kent (photo: Paul Sturmey, Getty Images)


There’s nothing like finding a quiet spot in a beer garden with the sound of a river running along beside you. We have picked 10 places to do just that

Coronavirus statement: Please make sure to adhere to social distancing and any other rules that pubs have implemented. Also be aware that some details and features are subject to change during the transition out of lockdown.

The Man of Kent

Little Mill, East Peckham

Late 16th century inn, The Man of Kent, backs right onto the River Bourne and comes complete with red brick bridge. Burgers come juicy, stacked, with lots of cheese and a side of salad, fries and onion rings. What more do you need?

The garden: The interiors are cosy in the winter and feature a wood burning fireplace and exposed beams. Or, when the sun’s out, head into the garden for a pint of something cold as you watch the passing river. Children can even ask behind the bar for scraps to feed the fish.

Fordwich Arms

King Street, Sturry, Canterbury

Perched near the Great Stour is the Fordwich Arms, the bucolic red brick pub that serves a menu of daily changing food that is updated seasonally with new produce. Attention to detail and commitment to great food has earned the restaurant a Michelin star, awarded in 2019. Sunday lunch is a speciality at the Fordwich Arms with “melt in the mouth” lamb with mint sauce and yorkshire pudding. If you have room, there will be plenty of puddings to quell those sweet cravings.

The garden: The pretty terrace is right next to the river, a perfect spot to watch the canal boats bobbing past and with views over the green countryside beyond.

Tudor Rose

High Street, Upper Upnor

Decorated sympathetically, contrasting modern and traditional, the Tudor Rose in the pretty village of Upper Upnor is situated on a cobbled street that runs up to the historic Upnor Castle and the River Medway - a perfect setting for riverside drinks. Tuck into a tempting British pub classic such as steak and stout ale pie with potatoes and seasonal vegetables or a fisherman’s board of smoked salmon, mackerel fillet, king prawns, crayfish tails and crusty bread.

The garden: The pretty garden has a homely feel and is just a stone’s throw away from the River Medway.

The Fighting Cocks

The Street, Horton Kirby, Dartford

The menu at the Fighting Cocks is extensive with an eclectic mix of dishes from slow cooked BBQ pork ribs to smoked salmon tagliatelle in a light cream sauce.

The garden: With a glass conservatory restaurant backing onto the large pub garden, The Fighting Cocks in the village of Horton Kirby is a delightful place to enjoy the natural surroundings of the River Darent.

Three Daws

Town Pier, Gravesend

Having sat along the River Thames in Gravesend for over 570 years, the Three Daws is a historical pub packed with character. With a tumultuous history that reportedly includes smugglings and hauntings, this waterside inn is now a popular local that features live bands for entertainment and plenty of food and real ale to boot.

What to eat: Food is made using ingredients that are sourced locally to support Kentish producers. Expect comfort dishes such as peppered topside of beef with vegetables, meat fat seasoned roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Order the traditional gypsy tart for dessert for a true taste of Kent.

The Penny Farthing

Waterside, Crayford

The building that now houses this micropub in Crayford, next to the River Cray, was once a bicycle shop, hence its quirky name. The micropub trend started in Kent and quickly caught on, seeing a revival of tiny taverns serving great beer.

The Penny Farthing is an archetypal micropub; you won’t find TVs or game machines, just well-kept real ale and a welcoming atmosphere - and all this while being right opposite the rambling River Cray.

The Millers Arms

Mill Lane, Canterbury

Mismatched tables and antique-style wooden seating freshened with a contemporary lick of paint greets visitors to The Millers Arms in Canterbury, another riverside local overlooking the Great Stour River. As the name hints, local mill workers once used this inn in the early 19th century after a hard day’s work, and is still a popular spot for post-work drinks!

The garden: When sitting outside at the front of the pub, visitors can see a little section of the Great Stour running past.

The Old Weavers

St Peters Street, Canterbury

For the ultimate riverside pub experience in Canterbury, The Old Weavers Restaurant has a riverside terrace bursting with plants and flowers to create a restful oasis at the water’s edge. That’s not all, diners could also enjoy the ‘dine and boat deal’; enjoy a homemade lunch before a punt on the river (please check the events page on the website for details of when this will start again).

Try a stuffed Yorkshire pudding with your choice of fillings that include beef with sage and a red wine sauce or lamb with plum and rosemary sauce for a Sunday lunch with a difference.

The Shipwright’s Arms

Hollowshore, Faversham

First licensed in 1738, The Shipwright’s Arms in Hollowshore is an unassuming tavern to escape the hubbub - and enjoy some locally brewed real ales. There’s no music, wifi or games machines to interrupt your visit to this pub which has commanding views over the the Swale.

Traditional pub grub is served at lunchtimes (and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays) to hungry patrons. Think crispy battered cod with chips and peas, sausage and mash or a cheddar ploughman’s - perfect for a post-ramble meal and tipple next to the river.

The Ship & Trades

Chatham Maritime, Chatham

A social hub on the waterfront in Chatham, The Ship & Trades specialises in good food that’s best enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the Chatham Maritime Marina and The Quays.

Dishes include pizzas, stacked burgers, doorstop sandwiches and more. Afterwards, there’s plenty to see including the Historic Dockyard, a filming location favoured by Hollywood directors and British television studios.


Follow Kent Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

More from Food & Drink

Thu, 09:32

Dr Trouble is offering the chance to win a set of their all natural limited edition African Lemon Chilli Sauce and their limited edition African Double Oak Smoked Chilli Sauce – 25 sets up for grabs

Read more
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Get everything you need to keep everyone fed and watered throughout the Christmas period or pick up a gift or two from these great Kent producers

Read more
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

English wine is gaining in popularity and this winter could be just the time to try a few.

Read more
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Here’s something for all ages at our Halloween supper – the cocktail can be adjusted to be alcohol free for the kids | Words: Julie Friend - Photos: Julie Friend

Read more
Friday, October 23, 2020

With its wealth of culture, vibrant shopping areas and enticing eateries, Canterbury and its surroundings have much to tempt locals and visitors at this time of year.

Read more
Thursday, October 22, 2020

We are delighted to announce the finalists for the Kent Life Food & Drink Awards 2020! Congratulations to our wonderful finalists!

Read more
Friday, October 9, 2020

No Sunday is complete without a roast dinner, and in the glorious county of Kent you’ll be spoilt for choice with fantastic places to go. We have picked 12 great places where you can indulge in a roast with all the trimmings

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

It’s that time again, the Kent Life Food & Drink Awards are open for nominations

Read more
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

From saving money to helping the environment, there are many reasons to embrace shopping local

Read more
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Get a half price meal at these great Kent restaurants, pubs and cafes with the government’s #EatOutToHelpOut scheme

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Latest from the Kent Life