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OVERVIEW

A glossy yet authentic Kentish country pub serving what local celebrity chef Mark Sargeant describes as "no-frills" food. The Duke, as the locals clustered around the bar know it, combines genuine pub charm with the signature eccentric style of Sargeant and Josh De Haan, joint owners of several local properties.


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Rooms available from £155 per night

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OUR REVIEW

THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

On a lawn-mowing day, Wickham feels like something out of the Darling Buds of May with its comely thatched cottages, village green, church and river. Yet for all its sense of blissful isolation, the historic city of Canterbury is just a ten-minute drive away, and central London a one-hour train ride from there. Scenic country rambles along the banks of the Little Stour, historic Canterbury and coastal Sandwich are all nearby.

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. Book trains to Canterbury West.

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THE LOOK AND FEEL

The "quirky" pub style of Sargeant and De Haan, whose Kentish empire encompasses five pubs and restaurants, is bang on trend. The deep grey walls and subdued lighting of the main pub (the Den) make for languorous lunches while the light-filled conservatory and garden create endless summer afternoons.

THE FACILITIES

The vibe here is upbeat and informal. Regulars are known by name and, when we stayed, encouraged to linger for impromptu lock-ins. There are also pub quizzes, summer fêtes, barbeques, burger nights and similar mid-week enticements, which ensure it feels constantly buzzy.

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Garden
  • Pets allowed
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi

BED AND BATH

The Duke's four bedrooms deliver more on style than size, continuing the dark grey walls, contemporary art and vintage furniture theme of the pub. Named after Pink Floyd and chefs who have inspired Sargeant, they each offer comfy king-size beds, decent bathrooms and tea and coffee facilities complemented by a communal pantry with an honesty bar.

Room types: Stein, Ramsay, Floyd, MPW

Key amenities: ensuite with shower and complimentary toiletries, hairdryer, desk, iron, ironing board, tea and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi

FOOD AND DRINK

Changing with the seasons and championing local produce, Sargeant's dishes tick off many of the pub grub greats with a dash of chef-magic. Served on white china plates ringed with blue, recalling old-school enamel wear, favourites include haggis scotch egg with tomato chutney, fragrant Romney Marsh lamb neck curry and rich Kentish pie of the day.

The Duke William: European and British inspired cuisine, local produce, pub classics, Sunday roasts. Food served Weds-Sat 12-8.30pm, 12-6pm on Sundays. Mains from £12.

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