The Street East Brabourne Ashford Kent TN25 5LP 01303 813 334
You’d be hard pushed to find a nicer country pub than the Five Bells, a sixteenth-century inn idyllically located just footsteps from the Pilgrims Way in the tiny North Downs village of Brabourne. The pretty garden, strewn with coloured lights, its tables set with checked cloths and fresh flowers, evokes the easy panache and joie de vivre of a French village hotel, while inside the comfortable, well-worn space is filled with quirky bits and bobs and offbeat rustic accoutrements, warmed by fragrant log fires. This isn’t style over substance, however; though it’s a million miles away from the stained-carpets-and-sticky-tables country pub of yore, this refreshingly modern place has a profoundly traditional heart. Come for a quiet pint in the early evening, or join the merry local crowds on weekend afternoons when convivial hours are spent eating, supping, chatting and enjoying excellent live acoustic music. The devil’s in the detail: practically everything you consume here is locally sourced, from the well-kept and flavoursome local ales (PD Goacher, Hopdaemon and Gadds, among others) to the still, chilled cider served from the barrel and the fruity wines from Kentish vineyards Chapel Down, Terlingham and Biddenden. You can eat here, too, choosing from a remarkably short menu, and stay in one of four boutique rooms upstairs.
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Pints £3.50. Burgers, fish cakes, fish, pizzas from around £12, scotch eggs £5.
Mon–Thurs 9am–11.30pm, Fri & Sat 9am–midnight, Sun 9am–10.30pm.