Kent is an area of the country I have only really visited just once before.
So when the opportunity came to return, I didn’t hesitate.
We spent the weekend in Faversham, the home of the Shepherd Neame brewery.
If you’re a keen ale drinker Faversham is the place to go. Surrounded by lots of traditional English pubs all selling local brews, it’s an ale drinker’s paradise.
We arrived in the area on a warm, sunny weekend when the pub gardens were full of happy drinkers soaking up the sunshine.
We stayed at The Sun Inn, a Shepherd Neame pub right in the heart of this lovely little town in the main shopping area, surrounded by lots of independent shops.
The pub has plenty of character with lots of original features and lovely furniture and fireplaces.
The eight rooms at the hotel were very clean and comfortable, with a lovely bathroom. Inside the pub itself, it’s very quaint and has a very British feel to it.
There is a huge pub garden with lots of tables to enable punters to appreciate the sunshine while enjoying the local brews.
The food in the pub’s restaurant was exceptional. I had fish to start with and lamb for a main meal, plus a rich chocolate dessert. The food was probably the highlight of the trip for me.
Although the area is known for its real ales, the pub does have a wide selection of wines to choose from.
We also had breakfast the following morning, of which they have a good range of meals to choose from, including, of course, the traditional English fry-up.
The only minor issue that we encountered was parking, as the pub itself didn’t have a car park and we had to use a pay and display car park, which was only avail-able for a limited number of hours.
There is, however, a railway station nearby, should you wish to avoid any hassle with parking.
We used our time in Kent to visit other nearby seaside towns including Whitstable and Herne Bay – full of the traditional seaside favourites such as fish and chips, and ice cream.
And of course, we couldn’t leave Faversham without having a tour around its famous brewery.
Whether you’re an ale drinker or not, the tour is definitely worth doing and my partner was in his element as we were taken all around the famous brewery.
It’s fascinating to learn about the history of the brewery and it’s interesting to find out how the business has passed through the generations to become the huge success that it is today.
Each stage of the process of making the beer is shown, and people can even sample the barley and hops to see how they taste before they turn into beer.
At the end, you are given a selection of different ales and lagers and tasked with guessing which is which, and also shown how to truly appreciate a good beer.
Faversham is an excellent location in which to explore the local area, especially with Canterbury just up the road, and if I could go back again I would definitely spend more time around that way.
It’s a tranquil, beautiful part of the country that in many parts is unspoilt.
It’s a good way to spend a weekend away without having to leave the country.
Faversham is easily reached by car, with good access from the M2 via the M20, M26 and M25 motorways.
There is also a train station in the town centre.
A tour around the Shepherd Neame brewery is £11.50 for adults and £7.50 for children – but they must be aged between 12 and 17.
To find pubs and hotels to stay in, or to book a tour around the brewery, please visit the website at shepherdneame.co.uk.