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The Duke William, Ickham, Kent
Set in a Kentish village complete with thatch cottages jumbled around a neat green and burbling river, The Duke William is almost too Hollywood-perfect a pub. Stepping in from the sunshine, your eyes adjust to the inky grey interiors and low beamed ceilings to spy a roaring wood fire, candles flickering in old ceramic beer jugs and hops drying above the bar. It's alleged that Brangelina frequented the pub while they stayed in Kent (and were still married), probably thinking they were still on set. Nonetheless, The Duke is a genuine locals' pub owned by locals, even if the latter includes famous chef Mark Sargeant. So, as well as real ales and pub quizzes, you can expect excellent grub and stylish bedrooms.
We love the fact that there's plenty to do on the doorstep but lots further afield too - a bittersweet dilemma.
The Duke William is in the traditional Kentish village of Ickham, with the historic city of Canterbury just 20 minutes' drive away. The surrounding area offers country walks and rural peace and quiet.
By car: The drive is around 2 hours from London, 2 hours 30 mins from Brighton and Oxford, and 3 hours 20 mins from Birmingham. There is free parking at the front of the hotel.
By train: London St Pancras to Canterbury West takes 1 hour. The pub is a 20-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The hotel is ideal for food lovers looking for a piece of rural Kentish country life, with a hit of contemporary style. We love the eclectic mix of art, which ranges from gilt-framed oil paintings and glass-framed prints to a wall-hung collection of vintage crockery.
Service & Facilities
The reserved signs on the tables, which are spelled out in scrabble letters on little wooden racks, are a nice touch.
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
- Pets allowed
Stein opens onto a private balcony with countryside views but Floyd, one floor up, is less affected by pub noise. The tiny library in each room, which includes a volume by the chef/artist who inspired its name and a copy of local bestseller 'Ickham, the friendly village', is lovely.
Stein, Ramsay, Floyd, MPW
Facilities include: king-size bed, ensuite with shower, complimentary toiletries, hairdryer, alarm clock, TV with Freeview, free Wi-Fi, desk, iron, ironing board, hairdryer, Nespresso machine, wide range of tea and coffee
Food & Drink
A full cooked breakfast can be enjoyed in the pub or, if you prefer, a hamper packed with pastries, toast, cereal, yoghurt and juices can be delivered to your bedroom. The 1kg Tomahawk steak (for two) is a carnivore's dream while vegetarians can revel in gooey mushroom, leek and macaroni cheese.
The Duke William: European and British inspired cuisine, local produce, pub classics, Sunday roasts. Mains from £12. Food served Weds-Sat 12-8.30pm, 12-6pm on Sundays.