Thanet is the one of the UK’s great places to visit pubs, unless you really detest micropubs or the seaside. No doubt I’ll be heading back that way despite having visited all the Beer Guide pubs now.

Round the coast, I’ve also enjoyed Folkestone a lot.  It’s not quite Hastings, but has a few steep Dickensian streets, decent micro and traditional corner pubs, and great ice cream from La Casa del Gelato.

Nothing new Beer Guide-wise here, but a couple in adjoining Sandgate and Hythe. Unsurprisingly they’re a characterful local and a micro. It will be some years before there’s not a new micro in the Guide round here.

Sandgate’s Earl of Clarendon is a trickily situated pub, a steep walk up a hidden lane from the pebbly beach. They’re a hardy lot round here, plenty of OAPs managed the climb.


It’s the sort of cheery and unpretentious local you’d find in the more pubby parts of South-east London.  I would describe the atmosphere as “relaxed”, befitting the Canterbury (T)ales being promoted by the pub.  First time I’ve seen those for years.

Just enough beer trade, too, to justify four handpumps, and a very decent Wife of Bath (NBSS 3).  Otter and Bombardier might seem odd choices in Kent, decent as they were. I also wonder whether a non-beer geek would be able to make a choice between those four.

A pleasant walk along the coast to Hythe. An attractive town, even with the digging up of much of the High Street, and the Potting Shed is a good complement to the more traditional Three Mariners.  That apart, it will look entirely familiar to anyone who’s been to Thanet, and the beer was local, decent (NBSS 3.5) and £3. Absolutely heaving.

A flying visit unfortunately, with not even time to pop in to see Doris in the Red Lion at Snargate.

12 thoughts on “WEST OF FOLKESTONE

  1. Ive been to all three towns in your blog,i have had two separate week holidays staying in Folkestone with the wife to be and then the wife on our honeymoon.
    We did pubs in Sandgate and Hythe,the Earl of Clarendon in Sandgate was a Shepherd Neame tied house when we did it,shame it is still not one,i have a decent photo of it in its Shepherd Neame guise taken in 1985 or 1986.
    Our favourite pub in Folkestone was the Earl Grey on the old high street,we have been in the pub loads of times as it was a Shepherd Neame tied house,and had great session in there with a gang of UDR members from Northern Ireland who were training at Hythe ranges,it was our honeymoon and when they found out we were not allowed to buy any drinks,great days and memories.


    1. Glad to hear someone else did their honeymoon in a proper English seaside town Alan, we went to Southsea.

      Also glad to hear someone else like Shep Neame, bet you’ve done pubs in Faversham where there’s a lot of character as well as good beer.


      1. Yes i have been to Faversham on a few occasions with a mate while doing a two week crawl round Kent,we had to do Faversham as the Shepherd Neame brewery is there and the Fremlins brewery was still open when we did the town back in 1982 and 1983.
        We did the Shepherd Neame ale trail where you collected stickers from each pub visited,we managed to do just over 100 of their tied houses and another 103 other pubs,we did most of Faversham,Sheerness,Whitstable,Sittingboune,Margate,Ramsgate,Broadstairs and Herne Bay and a few in Maidstone and Gillingham,plus a few village pubs.
        Sadly i did not take a camera with me so missed out on loads of photos.
        I have been looking into going to Hastings with the wife for a weeks holiday,does it have plenty of pubs and does it look fairly nice as i have never been there.
        I have never been to Southend and only done one crawl in Essex,Witham and Chelmsford.


  2. I remember the Clarendon from its days as a Shep’s tied pub. Pleased to see it’s now a free-house; although four beers might be pushing it for a pub that size.

    What did you think of Canterbury Ales? I’ve never been overly impressed with their beers, but as it’s been quite a few years since I last sampled them, they may have improved. I think people confuse them with the excellent Canterbury Brewers, who are based at the Foundry pub; normally a “must visit” pub on the way back from the Kent Beer Festival.

    I grew up in East Kent, so I know Folkestone, Sandgate and Hythe quite well; even if they have all changed over the last 40 years or so. Unfortunately, I am not quite old enough to remember the Mackeson Brewery in Hythe which, I understand shut in 1968. I must have passed it dozens of times, as a passenger in my father’s car, but as a thirteen year old, I wasn’t really interested in beer and breweries!


    1. You could fob a 13 year old off with a visit to a chocolate factory but not a brewery, odd that.

      Your views concur with mine Paul (apart from my defence of Sheps which might just be me defending the defenceless !).

      I remember Canterbury Ales from a visit to their pub there (I think) in the late 90s, nothing like Canterbury brewery. It was Ok but I wished I’d gone for Otter, which is not something I thought I’d be saying a year ago.


  3. Going back to the honeymoon theme, for a minute, my wife and I spent ours in Rye, which sort of counts as a seaside town – even if the retreating coastline has left it two miles from the sea. It is also one of the Cinque Ports; something which reflects its maritime past.

    We stayed at the historic and atmospheric Mermaid Inn, which dates back to the 15th Century. Thirty years ago, Rye wasn’t as good a town for drinking in as it is now; although the Standard was pretty good. I’ve a feeling the Mermaid may have been keg-only back then, but there were other distractions, apart from the beer, to keep us both amused.


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