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Red Lion, Snargate

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user reviews of the Red Lion, Snargate

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

A fine undeveloped multiroomed pub with the ale served from the wood. Style is as it would be in the 1940s. A must see, and a warm welcoming find on an autumn evening.
richythemole - 4 Feb 2018 15:11
Haven't been here for a few years as it's rather a long way from Woolwich and very remote, but a really brilliant place, so like many was really sorry to hear of Doris's passing, as the last guy said "you hope some things never change" I hope her daughter keeps the tradition going and people from all over the country continue to visit, unique
vinnnie - 11 Aug 2016 11:37
Was very sorry to hear of Doris's passing. She got a very nice obituary in the CAMRA newspaper What's Brewing. I hope her daughter/son carry the pub on in the same way she did for the many years that she was at the helm. RIP Doris.
littledrummerboy - 20 Jun 2016 08:22
The kind of place that you hope will never change. It's a lovely pub - inside and out - that encourages conversation with those around you and serves up some good Goachers beers. The 1066 Old Ale was fantastic. Wish we could have stayed longer.
littledrummerboy - 29 Mar 2016 09:02
It's like going back in time sixty or seventy years. Doris, the landlady is 83, and bright as a button (although rather deaf). A couple of beers and a cider from the barrel, no lager and definitely no food, piped music or Sky sports. Long may it continue.
simontheeditor - 31 Jul 2012 18:11
Another superb beer festival at the weekend. Yum Yum!
martins2 - 25 Jun 2012 04:44
Saturday 23rd June - Beer Festival.
martins2 - 1 May 2012 06:16
Finally got to this pub and was not disappointed. Unique in a good way with good beer and very nice secluded beer garden. Inside was fascinating and welcoming, one day will get to spend the evening in there!
TheTrooper - 22 Apr 2012 21:35
Beer Festival coming up in June. Dates will be posted shortly
martins2 - 29 Mar 2012 05:52
When I say to my two kids every couple of months "we're off to the best pub in the world", they know we are coming here. Visit in small numbers please whilst Doris and her daughter provide for your recreation this perfect time warp. Enjoy bar games, drink up the unspoilt decor and period atmosphere. And by the way, there's usually at least one Goachers beer , DSB (named after the landlady), a Guest able and Kentish Double Vision Cider, all off the barrel.
cfowler - 31 Jan 2012 21:49
Whoops, make that Saturday PM!
martins2 - 4 Jul 2011 23:10
Amazing Beer and Cider Festival last month, plus 2 really cool bands, and... the Red Arrows flying over on Sunday PM, Wow!!!
martins2 - 4 Jul 2011 23:08
Visited the day after their beer festival so a wonderful range of delights were on offer. My first visit and this pub is a gem. Totally unspoilt and a warm welcome from Doris, the landlady. An absolute must.
Alan_br12df - 19 Jun 2011 20:21
A pint of Whitstable brewery Winkle Picker was simply divine. Very busy on a warm Sunday lunchtime. Good show as ever.
martins2 - 9 May 2011 19:47
Again a welcome visit to The Red Lion, one of my favourite pubs. Had gone out for a ride to avoid the Royal Wedding on TV and met by plenty of likewise guys. Good conversation and good beer. Goachers mild excellent as usual as was the Brewers Gold.
bob.the.wop - 1 May 2011 11:12
Visited last night, first time in months, really enjoyable evening good chatter and the Westerham S. P. A was excxellent and a lovely fire going on a cold march evening.

keithjd - 19 Mar 2011 18:06
Visited again on a cold, wet, Sunday lunchtime. Lovely warm fire to say nothing of the Double Vision Cider, Wow!!
martins2 - 22 Feb 2011 08:44
One of my all time favourites, that serves excellent beer from a range of breweries. A rare pub where you can chat to other friendly regulars or amuse yourself with a traditional pub game.
IanAle - 18 Feb 2011 12:28
Wonderful remote village pub. Like entering a time warp with lots WW2 memorabilia. NO fruit machines, NO games tables, NO TV. Excellent traditional welcome, log fire, loads character and cracking real ales and ciders. A MUST to visit. In same family for 100 years this year.
04Mutley - 24 Jan 2011 18:48
Again another visit. Greeted by Doris and a lovely warm fire on a cold, damp day. Goachers Mild was Sublime x 10!
martins2 - 23 Jan 2011 13:59
Top place as described in the reviews below- my favourite pub in the South East. If the pub was a car it would be a Morgan. Last few visits there have been off the barrel local beers from Goachers and Dairy Brewery and then a guest such as Skinners. Long may it continue
cfowler - 26 Dec 2010 18:53
If you want to hear local people, talk local stuff, go back to June 1940, see teenagers relax with pensioners, together, by the fire, in a different world, then you are welcome.
This is English civiised society, warm, friendly, rural, basic.
A magic place in time.
People travel here from across the world.
Go back in time.
barrygilbert52 - 10 Dec 2010 21:26
Just a quickie to reiterate the below. Really nice place, great beer, smashing folk.

Watch the opening hours though: 12-3 afternoons, and 7-11 evenings.
grovetown - 11 Jul 2010 20:23
Only manage to get to this pub once or twice a year, but always thoroughly enjoy my visits. This week was no exception. It entails a train journey to Ashford and a bike ride down, which only whets my thirst all the more.

Beer always good, with a fine selection generally from local brewers, all on gravity. Also a Cider or two on tap too.

Doris, who runs the pub with her daughter, is a great character. Had a chat with her about her Land Army days. Very friendly pub.

Apart from crisps and pickled eggs, there's no food, but they're happy for you to bring your own to eat in the garden.

Already planning my next visit down (with my packed lunch).
bob.the.wop - 26 Jun 2010 08:05
Another visit last week. Good to see it really busy on a Sunday lunchtime.
Pub is an absolute must even if your not in the area!
martins2 - 31 May 2010 05:01
this pub is an absolute must see if your in the area,
vinnnie - 4 May 2010 12:20
Another visit last weekend.
Once again the Goachers Mild was fantastic.
Nice to see the pub quite busy too.
martins2 - 2 May 2010 22:48
What on earth could I add to thereverend667's fine review of this pub? Nothing much really I'm afraid.

Took a 20 mile round trip from Rye to visit this fine pub and boy was it worth it. What a lovely lady Doris is, OK so her hearing aid batteries were playing up that night much to the locals pleasure, but what a character - thoroughly enjoyed listening to her tales of the past, what a pub, great beer/cider.

If you HATE Harvesters, pubs with kiddies running around everywhere, are sick of the majority of pubs that only care about diners, just don't get Wetherspoon's, wouldn't even wash your floors with UK brewed lager then I really feel this is probably your ideal pub. If in the area you must aim to visit this unique pub above any others on your list, it made my holiday it really did! 10/10 - One of England's finest and three cheers to Doris for keeping it that way!

MisterX - 26 Apr 2010 03:47
Having had years of "Pub-sploring" under my belt and despite being only about half an hour or so from my cousin who lives in the atypical Kentish village of Tenterden it's still somehow managed to take me almost 3 years to finally wet my whistle in The Red Lion or Doris's as it's more commonly known found nestling in a almost forgotten corner of the the Kent countryside.

For those who don't know Doris's in a 15th Century pub that's is situated in Romney marsh and has been in the same family for almost 100 years, to say it's resisted change is an understatement. The Landlady of 60+ years, hence the pub's name of Doris's (not The Red Lion obviously!) , has said that the pub hasn't been decorated since around 1890 apart from alot of WWII posters and local snippets adorning the walls. Winner of every CAMRA award they can bestow (Pub of the year, Pub of the decade, Pub Of the South East etc etc) they only serve one type of lager and that's Carling.

In small bottles.

Probably warm.

There's hardly any electric so no chilled pump dispensed soft drink, no ice machine, no artfully kept choice of wine (unless you could locally produced plum wine), no fruit machines, no jukebox, no TV showing Sky Sports, no truck with almost anything modern in fact. This includes urinals. More on that later.

"Food" at any time of the day consists of either Plain, Salt N' vinegar crisps or LEATHAL looking Pickled eggs (personally anything in vinegar turns my stomach but I'm told that these home made eggs are beautiful) and the whole place is lit with candles and the odd 40 watt bulb.

Don't get me wrong, I maybe painting a grotty picture but it's clean and tidy it's just like taking a step back in time say 50+ years to how a country pub would have been yesteryear...

After a unlit drive through some of the twistiest lanes imaginable at speeds only a local should drive at and suffering a sudden couple of almost 90 degree turns in the road that left my face pressed against the window we arrived at the place.

It's not in the isolated boggy spot I pictured in my head, the nearest village is only about a 5 minute drive away and the pub faces a wonderful old church (quite amusing to think at this tiny crossroad there is the polar ends of local village life) not that I could see it when we arrived as it was darker than a miners armpit.

The surrounding countryside has more of a look of say Norfolk than the Garden Of England. It's flat green irregular shaped pastures and little streams. There's also for a Townie like myself the shock of the total absence of noise. I mean no insects, car alarms, people, Emergency Services anything except the wind and rain sighing and once in awhile a car trundling past.

The building itself is a surprisingly large structure half plant covered but tidy and respectable not some tumbledown shack if "a pub that's not changed since 1890" image appears in your mind. The Slaughtered Lamb* it is not.

Climbing from the car the first thing that strikes you is that you can see candles burning invitingly through the windows and it was possibly brighter in the car than inside the pub, atmospheric is the best way to describe it.

Not romantic candle-light but candle light due to necessity.

The door opens into a tiny porch area just big enough for you to shake yourself dry (a Saturday night in a Marshland in March of course it was wet) then leading into the main bar.

..I say to describe my very first impressions of the place?

Unfortunately my first impressions as I walked through the door was a strong smell of wee.

NOT what I expected, what it actually is is a slight damps smell mixed with wood smoke, beer and the surrounding areas slightly fresh earthy smell. To be honest it was hardly noticeable but having small children and an incontinent old cat you develop a nose for things that aren't the norm like that! It soon became unnoticeable anyway and it's not an all pervading stench by any stretch of the imagination.

The main part of the pub consists of a white speckled marble topped bar with 4 pumps set in a Pewter top with a couple of the afore mentioned candles and a small display of the nibbles available. The pumps it seems are for show only as all the ales, cider and Perry I saw served all night were gravity drawn, as in right out of a tap in the cask drawn from a row of polypins and wooden caskets hidden behind the bar and change is dealt from a huge old wooden drawered cash machine that noisily "Chur-CHINGS!" at every transaction.

The whole place is a drunkards nightmare: uneven floors, walls, narrow doorways and low beamed ceilings.

Oh and the interior is DARK.

I mean really DARK.

As I said the only light is from one wall light per room and a couple of candles. It's not dingy in any way, it's just a lower light level than we in the 21st Century are used to and it takes awhile to get used to. The yellowy cream paint on the walls and the World War 2 memorabilia and CAMRA posters plastered everywhere really helps set the mood of the place, this is a proud Kentish pub no mistake. It also has something of an old ladies front room as it had kitchen type chairs and local Churchy Bric-A-Brac and local village and Parish paraphernalia tidily stacked on tables and windowsills. The Snug Bar seats were actually old pews and sitting on the bar stools took great concentration as what with the uneven floors and all the stools legs being different lengths you almost preferred leaning against the bar. One strange thing I noticed was that the local actually had a Kentish accent not the usual London twang, something I suddenly realised I'd not heard that since I was a child and used to have weekends away at an Auntie & Uncles who owned a Guest house 25 years ago.

Now for the interesting part, the beers!...

With an admittedly smaller range than I expected it was still a healthy couple of bitters (Westerham Brewery, the 1965 was great), two milds and a locally made Perry and Cider.

The milds were very drinkable (sorry I can't remember the names!) according to my cousin and the Perry was the nicest I've had in years, clear, not too sweet, full flavoured, cool and refreshing. The Cider and the Perry were a respectable 6.5% so only a half of each was had. You could tell the Cider was good by the fact it felt like it was destroying the enamel around your gum line, that sort of buzzy almost electric tingle.

On a more "earthy" note the toilets are interesting. Their the old fashion outside lean-to and the urinals are a brick wall painted with black rubberises paint and the trough is guttering cemented into the floor, saying that it's clean and I've been a hell of alot worse pub toilets!

For the 3.5 hours we were there I think there was only 6 other people that came in during that time of which a couple came in just wanting food only to be told in an almost gleeful voice from the barman that they did a mean bag of Salt N' Shake crisps but that was it. A real breath of fresh air in this era of almost forelock tugging Americana "Have-A-Nice-Day" customer service or bland disinterest.

Talking of Septic Tanks', one quite surreal sight was when a HUGE American Chevy pick-up rumbled in to the car park and the owner climbed down and popped in for a few drinks. A huge red and chrome V8 monster sitting a few feet away was the only sign that Doris's was even in this century I saw the whole night, even mobiles don't get a signal down there so the pub was refreshingly free of bleeps and blurps of modern life invading your evening.

I have to admit it was a bit too quiet for my Saturday night tastes and my cousin did say it was the quietest he'd seen it on the few trips he's had there but I had a great time soaking up the atmosphere and vibe of this lovely old pub and as

I noticed Tenterden Aerodrome is having a 1940's weekend soon, to be honest they could do alot worse than move the venue lock stock and beer barrel to Doris's.

*- The name of the totally unfriendly pub in The American Werewolf In London that had Brian Glover shouting.

thereverend667 - 25 Mar 2010 19:20
This traditional Kentish country pub pub is one of a rare breed, an endangered species. It is a small independent locals' pub with charm, history and personality in every corner, unspoilt by contemporary pressure. The larger room was empty when I went in which left the main bar with me and 4 others in it. I was welcomed into the conversation by the regulars and left feeling that I'd had a great experience. I stuck to the Goachers Mild, which was excellent, but there were 2 other beers on which I will try next time I'm down this way. Thoroughly recommended.
ETA - 12 Mar 2010 06:36
A second visit at the weekend.
Still as amazing as ever.
The Goachers Mild was superb.
martins2 - 20 Oct 2009 08:40
Just one of the few great pubs left in England, no gimmicks just great beers and always a conversation.
barryq - 10 Aug 2009 10:53
Visited this wonderful little pub a couple of years ago and glad to read it's not lost its character and still serving the excellent Goachers Imperial Stout! I hope to return one day to enjoy this perfect country pub.
Highbury - 7 Jul 2009 13:14
A rare and unique little pub. No food, just beers and ciders. No point trying to describe this gem, just visit.
samphirehoe - 25 May 2009 18:38
This is a unique and special place which I won't try to describe - just go and see for yourself... PS - The previous reviewer called the Goachers Imperial Stout "sublime", but I have to say that I thought it was rather better tha that!
rpadam - 27 Mar 2009 19:10
Last weekend I paid another visit to this pub. Thanfully nothing had changed and Doris was there holding court as befits her legendary status, leaving the day to day operation in the capable hands of her daughter, Kate.

The Goachers Imperial Stout was sublime and my partner re aquainted herself with the Double Vision cider. An oasis of calm in this troubled economic world. Long may this remain.

arathorn - 13 Mar 2009 07:27
Recently took a friend from New Zealand to show her what a real old fashioned pub would have been like in days gone by and despite this being only my second visit, we were greeted like old friends who have been regulars for years. Fantastic pub, superb ambience, great beers, huge welcome and a unique experience. Wonderful to meet the legendary Doris as well this time. A pub that everyone should visit at least once.
RogerB - 31 Dec 2008 09:43
Thank God for your marvelous pub Doris .. forever the best hostelry in the World as far as I am concerned. Long may you reign.
adrianboult - 15 Sep 2008 00:33
Best pub ever. Doris and her daughter are brilliant, the summer festival is brilliant, the hallowe'en pumpkin carving festival is brilliant (although I believe you can only enter if you bought the seeds from Doris), the beer is brilliant, the beer-stealing chickens are get my drift.

The overgrown garden is wonderful to sit in on a summers day, very quiet with only the occasional roar of an old motorbike as a beardy fan of real beer arrives or leaves. The chickens poking around are partial to a crisp and if your pint has overflowed in to your tray then they'll have that too. They are the healthiest chooks I've ever seen. The guinea fowl is less interested!

Every time I've been I've met people who have travelled for miles on a recommendation. Not that it's exactly my local - it's almost an hours drive! Don't come expecting anything more substantial than a packet of crisps, and remember that Doris keeps traditional hours.

The walls, as already mentioned, are covered with assorted memorabilia including photos from Doris' days as a land girl, beer mats, posters, coins and old signs. Lighting is fairly, um, atmospheric and it is like sitting in someone's parlour but all good fun.

One word of warning - the toilets are outdoors in a shed. They are probably cleaner than a lot of pub toilets but the dirt that's there is different. Plus arachnophobes might not like it.
lozabelle - 9 Sep 2008 19:26
Yes, more like a 20 minute walk from Appledore station.
martins2 - 29 Aug 2008 00:12
I'm with the majority on this one. Nobody who has read the reviews could be in any doubt what to expect so, if you don't like this sort of pub, don't go there. On the other hand, if you like good beer, old-fashioned entertainment, conversation and a generally cosy feeling, then this is the pub for you. If agc2070 can really do the walk from the station in 10 minutes, he/she must be very fit!!
southdown12jack - 26 Aug 2008 11:12
Caught in a timewarp, yet so close to the large population in the South East. Long may it remain different.
Ale's kept very well.
martins2 - 6 Aug 2008 17:24
I would pay just to cross the threshold, a hundred out of 10!
nelly0164 - 30 Jun 2008 16:26
Sometimes a pub can disappoint when so much has been said to recommend it but the Red Lion really does have that wow factor to justify its position as one of the countries most unique and oustanding pubs.

The interior is divided into 3 rooms with the main bar to the left of the entrance. Each room has barely enough space for a couple of well worn tables and a few old pew seats with homemade cushions. In the main bar itself, a few chairs are scattered around the edge of the room beneath the low beamed ceiling which is plastered with old coins and banknoters and has developed a gravity challenging bulge. The old marble bar top has 4 pumps although the beers are poured direct from the casks behind the bar, 2 Ales, a mild and a cider being the norm (Surrey Hills Ranmore Ale, Ellgoods Double Swan, Surrey Hills Hammer Mild and Double Vison Cider on my visit). There are no electric pumps so lagers and keg beers are satisfyingly absent.

Behind the main bar is a small room with an upright piano as its focal point. Old books and magazines are randomly piled up and numerous traditional pub games (cribbage, solitaire, naughts and crosses) as well as a few rather baffling ones (the Canada Dry mixer game?) recall the joys we had prior to the invention of computer games and electronic gadgets (and I�m not THAT old). Note also the old Allwin machine on the wall by the entrance that sadly didn�t look very functional.

Whilst the general d�cor has remained undisturbed for decades, there are a few more modern additions like the millenium quilt (presumably knocked together by various locals) that jockeys for position amongst the ciggy card collections, corkscrews, keys, a somewhat random selection of fading pictures and WW2 posters. Dotted about are other odds and sods like looms and airraid sirens making it seem like a mix of Treasure Trove and Steptoe & Son.

The tile floor public bar continues with the archive approach with more WW2 memorabelia and a fantsastic sign near the door advising that the room is now illuminated by Edison Electric Lamps and not to try lighting them with a match. It probably made good sense when it was put there. Maybe the no smoking signs will be of similar interest in years to come. Yet more traditional games (dominoes, table skittles, shove halfpenny and a rather challenging dart board) and books are there for general use. Through the serving hatch you can view an old room presumably used for off licence sales in days gone by.

Naturally the toilets are of the outside variety complete with cobwebs a plenty. The beer garden is quite small but extremely well kept and attractive and includes a small aviary.

All in all, a quite stunning and original pub, the type of which has all but disappeared and you really need no excuse to pay it a visit. Just make sure it is open as the opening hours are as dated as the pub.

RogerB - 27 Jun 2008 15:48
Although a ten minute walk from Appledore station, the B2080 is a somewhat busy road to walk along. A pleasant way to reach the pub by bike is to alight at Hamstreet and head south, cross the bypass and follow the winding Ham Mill Lane all the way. The church in Snargate is worth a visit too as you can climb all the way to the top of the tower and view the marsh.

The pub is a unique experience and a true time warp. Beer straight from the barrel, no lager, double vision cider (two pints of this and the bends in the lane returning to Hamstreet seem strangely delerious), no electric lights, outdoor toilets, no food, Kenny Everett and Brownie Guide annuals from the 1980s in the back room, etc.

A fantastic pub and a real culture shock for townies.
agc2070 - 31 May 2008 15:30
It's only two stops on the train and a half-mile walk for me. The people I was chatting with yesterday came on a personal recommendation from 100+ miles away. Four ales straight from the barrel, proper cider, the place is how a pub used to be years ago. It's probably not *everybody's* cup of tea, but I like it !
But don't arrive between 3pm and 6pm - it's traditional opening hours too!

MankyBadger - 23 Feb 2008 10:05
Naturally, everyone has their own personal view of a pub, and mine is rather bias in that I was their with my parents over the Christmas holidays. They had wanted to try this place for at least 5 years but had never got around to it.

The decor was to my taste, as I love a traditional but eclectic pub, and the people on either side of the bar were all very friendly.

The ale was lovely, if deceptive. I tried several Goacher's ales which had been well-kept (inc. a light ale and the mild). The stronger their flavours, the weaker their alcoholic content. I should think that this means that the more potent pints slip down quickest. Perilous stuff.

Good fun all round.
The_Puzzler - 14 Jan 2008 10:44
A national treasure. In keeping with the wonderful Romney Marsh, this pub is similarly untroubled by modernity and all the better for it.

The Red Lion is like a time machine. Step in and step back to the 1950s.

A time where mild ales flows on tap, when Kentish ale is served straight from the barrel and when local cider gets you legless before you know what's hit you.

A time when strangers actually spoke to each other. A time before lager. A time before chargrilled chicken with chargrilled vegetables for �14.95.

A great pub. The drawback is that the Red Lion makes almost every other pub in the world a disappointment in comparison.
nimnam - 8 Jan 2008 17:06
CJG says marshman should 'celebrate difference' - but in fact I think that's what he's trying to do. I happen to agree with the majority; I love this pub, and would not want to change a thing about it. But I completely respect the right of marshman or anybody else not to find it to their taste, and in fact I'm glad there are people who feel like him. The world, and pubs, would be pretty dull if everybody liked the same thing.
But please don't change the Red Lion.
earlydrinker - 14 Oct 2007 12:47
I do not need to trek into the wilds of Kent to visit the Red Lion, I only live about 5 miles away and could not understand why this pub had so many good reviews and not one negative post when the majority of locals seldom or never use it.

My post on the Red lion was my opinion of the pub, made without any personal comments on any prior reviewers opinion. After visiting recently I can only say the pub still rates zero on all aspects other than real ale, which as usual was superb, and its garden.

marshman - 3 Oct 2007 04:40
I went into the Red Lion many moons ago and was completely smitten. I feel immensely sorry for those punters who do not "get it". I stop by a soulless chain pub in Crawley on my way home (but not very often) and see people who don't seem to be all that "involved" with the experience. Loud music blares, vacuous stares meet your gaze, huge TV screens surround you, you might as well be at home! Youngsters today have absolutely NO IDEA what it's like to go to a pub and chew the fat with complete strangers from different walks of life. It's all part of the rich fabric of life which used to be. Robots serving ale from machines...
cdare123 - 21 Sep 2007 15:08
I would have thought it pretty obvious from the many previous reviews that this pub would be a timewarp like someones house, serving primarily real ales straight from the barrel. So why, having read all those complimentary and descriptive reviews would anyone bother trekking into the wilds of Kent to visit it if that's not their scene? Very strange.

My own view is that a "public house" should be just that - like members of the public going into someone's house where they can make new friends and acquaintances. Not a soulless commercial operation staffed by uniformed hired-hands.

The Red Lion is a rare gem indeed.
Rich66 - 20 Aug 2007 22:38
Marshman clearly suffers from foot in mouth disease. To say the pub deserves 9 out of 10 for its ales but 0 for everything else is a bit like saying that the Tate Modern deserves 10 out of 10 for the artwork but as the toilets are a bit iffy it only deserves a 5 overall. Celebrate difference.
CJG - 14 Aug 2007 15:46
You're absolutely right Marshman, not everybody wants to drink in a time warp pub like someone's front room. That's why there are thousands of extended, modernised, plastic watering holes churning out sky sports and endless Radio 1 playlists for people who wish to go and indulge in a few Carlsbergs and scampi & chips. For every old pub that is modernised, convereted or closed, pubs like the Red Lion become even more precious. I am sure you didn't venture into Kents rural backwaters expecting to find a Slug & Lettuce!
RogerB - 14 Aug 2007 09:42
Are negative comments about this pub forbidden, I agree that it is certainly individual, even unique. Serves good real ales and has a great beer garden, but it does not appeal to all. Not everybody wants to drink in a pub like someones front room from a bygone era with little choice other than real ales. highly overated but 9/10 for real ale, garden and nostalgia.
For everything else a big fat zero, should change its name to Marmite, you either luv it or hate it,
marshman - 2 Jul 2007 03:03
This is what a good pub used to be like,good beer and good conversation what more could you want.A gem of a pub.
Londonchef - 21 May 2007 17:30
Went back again today - the beer garden is fantastic, as is the beer, the setting, the pub - can't praise the place enough.
MankyBadger - 5 May 2007 21:23
What can I say, was on holiday locally and I made the trip to look this pub up having read the reviews here, and boy was I not dissapointed....I have wondered what living in the past was like and this is an experience I will never forget, lovely friendly staff who treated us like friends not customers, and on the 2nd night we visited the people within the establishment had travelled several miles just to have one pint. Lovely real ales from the casket. Shame I live 130 miles away...highly recommended.
CDAB - 4 May 2007 22:30
This is somewhere about which I�ve heard wonderful reports. The plan for today was to stop for a quick half (just to have a look) and then to crack on. We stayed two hours.
It�s not so much going into a pub as going into someone�s living room. The beer is poured straight out of the barrel. As the bar seemed a little crowded we wandered to a room at the back where we admired a really old pub game, �Toad in the Hole�, in which you have to toss brass counters into a hole on a table. But this wasn�t a museum exhibit. It was a working game. The little old lady who runs the place soon tootled over with a handful of brass counters and showed us how to do the game. I was afraid I might damage something � the counters were quite heavy. But Doris was insistent we enjoyed ourselves, and another visitor to the place joined us and we spent ages lobbing counters at the hole. A point is scored each time the counter lands on the table and two points when it goes down the hole. My son scored 31 to my 17.
I need to go back to practice!

MankyBadger - 13 Apr 2007 17:53
Relaxed, charming, a good experience.
lovetodrinkhatedarts - 13 Apr 2007 03:36
Best approached via pushbike along the winding country lane from Hamstreet. Real ales served straight from the barrel. Lamplight, back room full of old books ranging from girl guide books to Kenny Everett annuals! Beware of the double vision cider too. Pub will not appeal to larger fanatics and big screen enthusiasts. This is a real rustic experience.
anonymous - 28 Feb 2007 23:22
Quite the most surreal experience I've had in a long, long time. We often go for a drive or walk around the countryside at weekends and end up in one of the many pleasant village pubs within a 10 mile radius of Ashford. Having read the reviews on here, this was a pub that I've been meaning to visit for ages so as the weather was too miserable for walking on Saturday, it seemed like a good opportunity to make the trip. However, nothing could have prepared for this extraordinary museum-like place. As others have said, this is a remarkable pub and I could easily have spent a good few hours just "reading the walls". I particularly loved the sign warning that the room was equipped with Edison Electric Light and not to try lighting it with a match !! The "bar" is actually more like a shop counter and is none the worse for that. Only proper beer is sold (no lager) and it's all obviously well kept. The only downsides were that a) we were the only ones in there on Saturday lunchtime so there wasn't much of an atmosphere and b) it's not really the sort of place that our 10 year old daughter appreciates ! She was interested in the ration books etc. that adorn the walls as she has been learning about the war at school but she was a bit put off by the friendly but rather noisy dog. Next time, we will leave her at Gran's so we can explore this fascinating place a bit better.
Cover_Point - 15 Jan 2007 13:25
All our yesterdays, a blast from the past a diamond in the rough good beer and no compromises.
dogbolter - 18 Dec 2006 19:55
I see the spoilers have been at it again.
Fabulous pub,picturesque location,excellent clientele,an all round class act.
Ekbalco - 7 Dec 2006 22:09
One of the few "Basic, Unspoilt" pubs that is also immaculate. I also recommend the walks around the pub in early Summer - England at it's best.
mtaylor40 - 3 Dec 2006 21:25
A wonderful, charming and characterful old pub which has been run by the same lady for decades. Let us hope that it never falls into the hands of a large pub company.
Alerover - 2 Dec 2006 19:16
Worthy of an un-arguable 10/10. Unbelievable people are doing this . Should only be able to mark pubs when you review them - that'll sort this out.

Country gem with unspoilt insides. Has been reviewed in Camra's "Beer" mag that comes with What's Brewing JN

jamie.nakin - 29 Nov 2006 18:04
It's on the CAMRA National Inventory of Unspoilt Pub Interiors. Without doubt the finest hostelry in Kent.
5thearlofwimbourne - 29 Nov 2006 17:08
Oh dear! I see the spoilers have been at it again, giving zero ratings to any new pub appearing on the Top Ten. The Red Lion is a wonderful place and had an average rating of 9.7 from the first fourteen people who rated it on here. I'm already looking forward to a rare chance to visit next weekend. Well worth the mile and a half walk from Appledore station.
Rich66 - 19 Nov 2006 13:22
A national treasure.
CJG - 13 Nov 2006 17:41
A real treasure, nothing more to be said.
stuartandmonica - 13 Nov 2006 10:36
I am heartened to find so many visitors to this out-of-the-way, entirely traditional establishment have rated it so highly. It won't suit everyone's tastes, of course, and many people, particularly I fear the under 30s, may well miss the point of the Red Lion and dismiss it on some spurious grounds such as it is "cluttered", or "doesn't serve food". Really, to the discerning drinker and pubgoer who in these corporatised, insensitive and fast-moving times just yearns for a simple, old-fashioned meeting place that extols down-to-earth values, none of that will matter. The ales are superbly-kept. The welcome from the family is genuine and friendly. The interior is deservedly listed in CamRA's National Inventory as it has not been altered since the 2nd World War - I wasn't born until the 1970s but feel that having used the Red Lion I now have some semblance of a notion of what most country pubs would've been like in the 1940s. It is jam-packed with intriguing memorabilia that has been collected over many years, and one could spend hours whiling away the time inspecting it all over a few beers. The pub dog mooches around entirely in keeping with the mellow, contemplative atmosphere, and is never intrusive.
Without being at all stilted or branded, this is a living museum and it should be cherished for as long as the family keep running it at time minus 50 years.

TWG - 25 Oct 2006 16:57
I visited this pub with my wife (not a great lover of such places) but she was absolutely enchanted with the place and enjoyed listening to the landlady's reminiscences. The beer (Goacher's)was absolutely first class and well worth the long drive from Haywards Heath. Long may this pub thrive.
fridge - 9 Sep 2006 09:53
Another wonderful Kent pub, I was lucky enough to go on beer festival day and enjoyed every second (The Imperial Stout was to die for). Fabulous old school interior adorned with friendly staff and punters alike. Will be making sure I visit again soon!
Quinno - 26 Jun 2006 22:04
I called in here on Monday evening with a friend down from London, and had primed him upon what to expect. His jaw just dropped when we pulled up outside. He was just speechless when we entered.

Doris was chatting with another couple of ex land-army girls who were visiting locally.

Goachers Ales very much in evidence - the Imperial Stout was superb!

Further to my January posting, "Southern"'s new summer railway timetable has just come out ( 11 June ), and joy of joys, vitually every train to and from Ashford now stops at Appledore. Oh happy day.

By the way, there will be the annual midsummer beer festival on 24th June - one day only, and the pub is open all day.
5thearlofwimbourne - 14 Jun 2006 15:20
Brilliant, wonderful, traditional, beautiful, welcoming, incedible pub! In fact, there are not enough superlatives for this pub.

A bit like stepping back in time, or in to someones front room... This is a positive thing!... I couldn't recommend this pub enough.

Doris is a lovely woman with some great stories to tell... And they are all worth listening too.

Sooty is a really friendly dog, and one of the oly dogs in the world that i actually like.

I was in this pub on Sunday night with a couple of friends who had never been before, and we were all made extremely welcome throughout the evening.

One of the best pubs in the world without a doubt!
moose1 - 10 May 2006 13:58
If possible I'd score this pub about 15 out of 10!!! Stuck in a 1940's time-warp and all the better for it. I dropped in yesterday lunchtime and had a wonderful chat with 70+ year old landlady Doris. She has lived there since 1947 and took over the pub when her husband died 20 years ago and is ably assisted by her youngest daughter Kate and the real boss 'Sooty', the dalmation. She's hoping that the trains issue is close to being resolved with trains hopefully stopping at Appledore from around June onwards.
The next fight with red tape is the legislation that says a computerised electric cash till is required as they don't trust Doris's �sd cash register!!!
Bring it on I say.....I can't see ex land-army girl Doris giving in to the "men from the Ministry" without a fight.
Beers yesterday were Goacher's Light & Stout and Hogs Back A over T (9%).
"Good on yer Doris!"

bobinman - 24 Feb 2006 10:44
If you want a town pub don't go to Doris's as you get a warm welcome and personal servicefrom either Doris or her daughter Katie, Sometimes Katie's "friend" Rob will serve you, but they are the only members of staff so you are treated well(as customers of any business should be.
DAGWOOD - 18 Feb 2006 23:25
A superb, unpretentious local with a marble topped bar. The pub has been in the same family for 90 odd years, and everyone who knows of its existence know it by its nickname, "Doris's". It rates a mention in CAMRA's outstanding pubs booklet.

A midsummer beer festival takes place in June and the pub stays open all day! A selection of old traditional pub games can be played.

The train service has been drastically reduced making a weekend vist by train a non-starter. During the week there are only two trains that run from Ashford International to Hastings, but more frequent in the opposite direction, so the other alternative id a 'bus to Brenzett - approximately 1 mile in the opposit direction from Appledore station. Travellogue over - back to the pub.

As mentioned, beer is gravity direct from the barrel, and Goacher's is the staple. The only concession to food are crisps and suchlike, nuts and jars of cockles.

It's a gem and well worth the effort of getting there, even though it may require a similar amount of logistics as that involved in a major battle.

5thearlofwimbourne - 18 Jan 2006 12:35
Absolutely incredible pub. I can only endorse all previous comments. Like a cross between someone's house and a local history museum with a 1940's theme. Thanks to a cancelled train at Ashford (it's an hourly service) I had only 15 minutes to spend here, having walked for 20 minutes along a narrow road with no pavements from Appledore station, almost falling into a ditch thanks to a f'king silly cow who looked like Camilla Parker-Bowles driving a 4x4 who refused to budge an inch even though she had plenty of time to see me and no vehicles were coming the other way, before walking back again and continuing my journey to Hastings. But it was worth it. If I remember rightly there were four ales available, all from Goachers, although the pumps are decorative with the beer dispensed straight from the barrel. My pint of Goachers Stout was so good I managed to squeeze in an extra half while perusing all the memorablia. I think I disappointed the dog by not stopping to play with him though - he kept bringing his toys over and dropping them at my feet!

A friend tells me the train service is due to be drastcially cut back in the new year with only a couple of trains a day stopping at Appledore and some of the smaller stations on the line in order to cut the journey time from Ashford to Hastings by a few minutes. That would be absolutely scandalous. The pub is difficult enough to get to as it is without driving, but if you're ever in the area or thinking of going, just go! Bear in mind they close between 3pm and 7pm though.

If there's a better pub in the country please let me know!
Rich66 - 11 Dec 2005 21:03
Absolutely wonderful pub, like stepping into someone's home. Super dog as well.
canastajim - 28 Nov 2005 12:54
Charming ramshackle country pub with a delightful beer garden. Sells Goachers's Imperial Stout from gravity cask in a tiny, crowded bar. Very old fashioned and full of character. A special place.
SilkTork - 3 Nov 2005 09:56
An absolute gem! You enter a time warp - straight back to the 1940's. Run by the same family since 1911, The current landlord, Doris Jemison, dispenses marvelous cask beers by gravity, but if it's lager you want try elsewhere as only bottled Carlsburg is sold.
Nigel Godfrey - 1 Sep 2005 18:37

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