Duke William Pub with rooms in Ickham, Kent

Prices from:
£80 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Spruced up iconic Kentish pub
  • Traditional with rustic-chic vibe
  • Classic pub food with a twist
  • Seasonal menus – local fish/meats
  • Simple contemporary rooms
  • Fab summer garden with rural views
  • Great walks pass the front door

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitGreen FingersVisit a Stately PilePrivate Dining

Real Time Booking Available
Overview

Duke William Ickham, Kent, CT3 1QP

The personal touch

Having made a huge success of Rocksalt, a stylish, contemporary bar, restaurant and rooms overlooking the English Channel in Folkestone, chef Mark Sargeant, former right-hand man to Gordon Ramsay, took on the Duke William in 2015. Set in sleepy Ickham in the stunning Stour Valley, just 20 minutes from Canterbury, the Duke has long been an iconic Kentish country pub, popular for its food, fabulous summer garden, and it’s proximity to some great walks. Although spruced up, the Duke, thankfully, retains its traditional authenticity in a rustic-chic style and the ethos behind the food that firmly established Rocksalt on Kent’s culinary map has been instilled at the pub – classic pub food (with a twist) built around the best produce and suppliers Kent has to offer. What’s more, it’s still very much the village local with a lively community vibe with midweek events and summer fetes and barbecues for all the family. Note the classic frontage and rare etched windows and step into a proper welcoming bar, all stripped beams, acres of oak floor, big scrubbed pine dining tables topped with candles and fresh flowers, long cushioned settles (some with furry throws), and deep leather sofas fronting a crackling log fire. There are cool grey hues and quirky artwork on the walls, local magazines and daily papers to peruse, and blackboards championing local suppliers, while the central bar groans with local ales and craft beers, boutique gins and local juices for drivers. Rooms for dining ramble through to the airy conservatory, which leads to the summer garden, one of Kent’s best, with rural views and a latch gate leading to a passing footpath. Mark Sargeant also owns the Smokehouse (fish & chips) in Folkestone and The Wife of Bath (restaurant with rooms) in Wye.

Sticky fingers

Kids are really welcome in the pub; they have their own menu (smaller portions too) and there are highchairs and games to play, and cots/z-beds are available too. There’s a children’s play area in the garden.

Muddy paws

Dogs are allowed in the bar and the garden and overnight in one of the bedrooms (Ramsay).

Alfresco

The fabulous rear terrace and garden is the place to be on fine summer days – the country views are stunning. Bring friends and eat at the vast wooden table on the terrace, or hide away in one of undercover booths. There are colourful hanging baskets, herb baskets, olive trees and potted plants, and a rose-covered gate leads out to open fields and a footpath.

 

What’s the Damage?
4 doubles: from £80; midweek retreat £129 includes 3-course dinner

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Disabled access to bar & dining areas
  • Limited parking: spaces opposite & on the village street

 

Sleep

Duke William Ickham, Kent, CT3 1QP

Do not disturb

The four charming upstairs rooms maintain the cool, contemporary-rustic feel of the bar and dining areas downstairs. Named after Mark Sargeant’s culinary heroes – Floyd, Stein, Ramsay and MPW – all are snug and stylishly kitted out in a simple, artful style. Expert a trendy dark grey décor, big brass beds topped with the best mattresses, linen and down, Nespresso machines, modern artwork, retro radios, metal and timber furnishings, an upholstered easy chair, and quirky touches like a complimentary tipple of sloe gin, a small library of the room chef’s cookbooks, including one on the bed on arrival, and a book relating to the area for you to peruse. En suite shower rooms are neat and compact with thick towels and decent toiletries. There’s a shared sun terrace with views across the garden and rolling countryside; Stein has direct access through its own private patio doors. The communal cupboard on the landing has a fridge (milk & water), extra toiletries in case you have forgotten anything, and a well-stocked honesty bar. Breakfast is a relaxed affair from 9am and is well worth waiting for but if you need to head off early a hamper can be delivered to your room.

 

What’s the Damage?
4 doubles: from £80; midweek retreat £129 includes 3-course dinner

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Disabled access to bar & dining areas
  • Limited parking: spaces opposite & on the village street

 

Eat & Drink

Duke William Ickham, Kent, CT3 1QP

Mastering the menu

(Starters: £6.50-£10.50; Main Courses: £11.50-£28; Desserts £6.50-£10; Bar menu £3.50-£12.50)

In keeping with the laid-back vibe of the place, the food at the Duke is unpretentious modern British food, namely simple, well-cooked pub classics backed up with quality south coast fish and excellent steaks. The daily pub menu evolves with the seasons and is served throughout the pub, or you can prop up the bar with a pint of Old Dairy Bitter and graze from the bar menu – mussel popcorn with garlic mayonnaise, sausage roll with tomato chutney, fish bap with mushy pies and tartare sauce, or tuck into a bucket of chips. Best to settle in and kick off with potted Dungeness shrimp and sourdough, or mushroom and thyme soup, followed by sea bass, heritage tomatoes and samphire, honey mustard glazed ham, fried egg and chips, the Duke burger served with smoked bacon and cheese, pickles, bourbon sauce and fries, or a 1kg Tomahawk steak for two. Leave room for lemon posset, raspberries and shortbread or a plate of Kent and Sussex cheeses. Time your stay for steak night (Monday), don’t miss the Sunday roasts, which are a real family affair and renowned locally, or why not order the full afternoon tea (savory & sweet) menu. The bar is chock-full of quaffable goodies and favours smaller, more unusual local producers, including ales from Old Dairy and Tonbridge breweries, fizz from Gusborne and Herbert Hall, and Owletts juices appear alongside Fentimans. Delve into the decent wine list from Bibendum (9 by the glass) or the raft of boutique gins.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: from 9am
Lunch: 12 noon – 3pm (11am – 3pm Saturday; 11am – 5pm Sunday)
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm (6.30pm – 9.30pm Saturday; no food Sunday evening)

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm (12 midnight Friday & Saturday; 10.30pm Sunday)

What’s the Damage?
4 doubles: from £80; midweek retreat £129 includes 3-course dinner

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Disabled access to bar & dining areas
  • Limited parking: spaces opposite & on the village street

 

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - Duke William

2

Anno Gin, Marden TN12 9QJ

Set up by PhD research and development chemists Andy Reason and Norman Lewis, this artisan gin distillery produces Anno Kent Dry Gin in a small batch copper pot still called Patience, using a blend of traditional botanicals with local hops, lavender from Downderry Nursery, samphire from Romney Marsh and wild flowers. Time a visit for a distillery tour and tutored tasting.

3

Chapel Down Vineyard, Smallhythe, Tenterden TN30 7NG

With celebrity supporters, including Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, Chapel Down is widely regarded as England’s leading wine producer, with award-winning still wines, sparkling wines and craft beers produced amongst the 22 acres of vineyards at Tenterden. The winery and restaurant is open all year round, with guided tours offered between April and November.

4

The Compasses, Crundale CT4 7ES

The Compasses is an attractive 15th-century country inn lost down lanes deep in the North Downs. Worth finding for chef Rob Taylor’s impeccable cooking – his short daily menus work with the seasons and champion local suppliers. Sandwiches and pub classics (with a twist) at lunchtime; great Shepherd Neame ales too.

5

The Goods Shed, Canterbury CT2 8AN

Next to Canterbury West station, this converted engine shed houses a daily farmers market, with an eatery serving the pick of the day’s produce on a raised level. Come for lunch and peruse the vegetable stall (all local produce), the butcher’s, cheese counter and wine merchant, among others, and take some great ingredients home.

6

Macknade Fine Foods, Faversham ME13 8XF

One of the South East’s leading food halls that offers an alternative to shopping in a supermarket. There’s an in store butcher, an impressive deli counter, freshly baked bread, craft beers, local wines, and an excellent café which showcases the fabulous ingredients to be found in the farm shop.

7

Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham ME13 7AX

Enjoy an 80-minute tour of Shepherd Neame’s Faversham brewery, which has been entwined in the fabric of the town since 1698. The tour culminates in the Visitor Centre and a tutored tasting of Shepherd Neame’s Kentish ales, and you can visit the Brewery Shop to buy beer to take home.

8

Wye Bakery, 22 Church Street TN25 5BJ

Artisan bakery producing a range of continental and English breads, including spelt and sourdough loaves, as well as rolls and pastries, all freshly made on the premises.

9

The Sportsman, Seasalter CT5 4BP

A culinary, Michelin starred haven remotely set beside the sea wall amid marshland and caravan sites. Book ahead to sample Steve Harris’s sublime cooking and his short daily menu that brims with local goodies – meat from the saltmarsh, Whitstable oysters, fish from the estuary, and local allotment produce.

10

The Three Mariners, Oare ME13 0QA

Bare boards, open fires, rustic-chic furnishings, hearty menus featuring local seafood and farm reared meats, and a laid-back vibe draw a discerning crowed to this cosy pub in sleepy Oare. Best enjoyed after an invigorating ramble across Oare Marshes.

11

Barnsole Vineyard, Staple, Kent CT3 1LG

Located in the small village of Staple, just a few minutes drive from Wingham, Barnsole is a small, boutique vineyard and winery producing award-winning sparkling and still wines. Drop by for a free mini tour and tasting any time or book and hour-long tour and tasting (£11) with the winemaker. You can buy bottles from the winery door.

12

Gibsons Farm Shop, Crockshard Lane Wingham, Kent CT3 1NY

In beautiful countryside just outside Wingham, this long-established family-run farm shop offers a full range of quality fruit and vegetables from the farm and local area, alongside a butchers, florist and a popular café.

13

Wingham Bakery, 93 High Street, Wingham, Kent CT3 1DE

Established in the village well over 70 years ago, this popular, family-run bakery supplies excellent bread to the Dog, so why stroll down the High Street and take a loaf or two home with you. Artisan flavoured breads, good cakes, and a café too.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - Duke William

Activities

Shopping

6

Glass Etc, Rye TN31 7NA

Based in a former Salvation Army chapel in Rope Walk in picturesque Rye, Glass Etc is one of Britain's largest shops selling antique and 20th-century glass. A vast stock, not all of it on show, consists of around 30,000 pieces spanning the period c1750-1980.

7

Smallhythe Gallery, Smallhythe, Tenterden TN30 7NB

An exciting gallery exhibiting work by local contemporary artists, with an emphasis on landscape and abstract work. There are also classes in art and creative writing, plus workshops in painting, drawing, poetry and writing for adults and children.

Places to visit

2

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Sissinghurst TN17 2AB

Not far from Cranbrook, Sissinghurst's wonderful garden is the enduring legacy of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson who laboured long and hard to complete this horticultural work of art. There's a lot to see at Sissinghurst, including Vita's tower writing room and nearby lakes and woodland.

3

Smallhythe Place, TN30 7NG

Located in the glorious Weald of Kent, this small 16th-century cottage was the home of the greatly admired Victorian actress, Ellen Terry. Explore this pretty, half-timbered building and discover her fascinating theatrical collection. In the garden stands the thatched Barn Theatre.

4

Rye TN31 7AY

Ten miles north of Hastings, the charming East Sussex town of Rye is filled with picturesque cobbled streets and clay-tiled roofs. Exploring the town really does convey the impression of visiting the set of a period costume drama or film. The National Trust-owned Lamb House, the former home of the American writer Henry James, is located in Rye and open to the public.

5

Godinton House and Gardens, Hothfield TN23 3BP

One of the most important and fascinating houses in Kent, Godinton House at Ashford boasts an illustrious history dating back to the medieval period. The gardens are especially striking and idiosyncratic. Included here are a newly designed Rose Garden and the Walled Garden with its greenhouses and delphinium collection.

8

Leeds Castle, Leeds ME17 1PL

The classic “English” castle, in the midst of a huge lake-cum-moat; it may appear familiar from many films that have featured its medieval splendour. Umpteen connections with royalty, it is has all the appropriate trappings in-situ, from magnificent tapestries and fine furnishings to paintings and centuries-worth of ephemera, including a collection of dog-collars (canine!). Add a range of themed gardens, a maze and a vineyard and the heady mix is complete.

Walking

www.kent.gov.uk
www.visitkent.co.uk
Kent has more than 4,200 miles (6,700km) of countryside and coastal paths. Chalk cliffs, downland, marshes, beaches – there’s something for everyone. Miles of footpaths and a variety of waymarked long distance routes make the area ideal for walkers. The Weald Way runs across Kent and Sussex crossing the chalk ridges of the North and South Downs and through the Weald, stretching almost 80 miles (126.8km). The Greensand Way (108 miles), which links Haslemere in Surrey to Ham Street in Kent, follows the Greensand Ridge. The North Downs has a wealth of walking opportunities, with some fabulous circular walks taking in the North Downs Way and peaceful paths across the rolling and very unspoilt downland landscape.

Cycling

www.kent.gov.uk
www.visitkent.co.uk
The two-wheeled action available ranges from fast-paced mountain biking to family friendly routes. You can hire bikes at Bedgebury National Pinetum, where there are tracks for all levels of ability. The Royal Military Canal, near Rye, is a favourite destination for many families, with long traffic-free sections making it safe and user-friendly. The network of lanes on the North Downs are perfect for cycling.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Ickham is signposted off the A257 between Canterbury and Sandwich at Littlebourne, 7 miles east of Canterbury

By Rail: Nearest railway stations are Bekesbourne and Addisham, both 2.9 miles from Ickham

 

Address:

The Street, Ickham, Kent, CT3 1QP

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