It’s that time of year again for celebrating the Kent hop harvest with the Faversham Hop. Festival Now ancient Kentish laws and traditions demand this be done by drinking copious amounts of ale and staggering from pub to pub listening to lots of great bands with yer mates.
So what’s on?
Well there’s four music Stages for a start.
In the grounds of The Abbey School there’s the Hoppers Ceilidh
On Saturday there are eleven Morris Dancing troupes and four on Sunday
Morris dancing venues
Well enough of that singing and dancing m’larky, where’s the important stuff, the beer!
There’s sixteen pubs in Faversham so you can have a good session and a lot of them will have a band on, so what ever pub you’re in when the legs stop functioning you’ll still have entertainment, (provided of course the landlord lets you lay slumped on the table/bar/grass).
So in no particular order here they are, starting from the A2 London Rd going into the Mall.
Crown and Anchor in the Mall, where Les will serve a fine pint of Master Brew or whatever else you fancy, I believe he’s got Hop festival ale and Sheps IPA on. Also on Sat from 2-5pm there’s a free for all folk sing along session
The Elephant, again in the Mall, just up from the Crown. Jim is renowned for serving many fine real ales, in fact the Elephant has won Swale CAMRA branch pub of the year six years in a row from 2007 to 2012 and East Kent pub of the year 2010. Has a band on Fri night and all real ales are £3.20 a pint.
The Railway Hotel, Preston Street,the first pub to greet you if you come by train. Always a good pint and has nine bands on over the weekend.
The Leading Light, Preston Street, Faversham’s Weatherspoon pub and very nice it is too.
The Vaults Cask and Kitchen, Preston Street, Seven bands on over the weekend. Always has great real ales and ciders on and serves excellent food too. A pub for life, not just hop festivals.
Then at the end of Preston Street, you can go left or right,turning right into East St brings you to
The Market Inn. Recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Always a good venue for music, it has ten bands over the weekend.
On the way to or from the Market Inn you will pass the Swale CAMRA beer stall, outside Iceland, usually has nine or ten local real ales. If you turn left at the end of Preston street you come to the market place. here you’ll find the Market place stage and also the
The Bear, One of Faversham’s oldest pubs. Always has a good selection of regular Sheps ales and seasonal ales,one of my favourite pubs in town.
To the left of the market square and the Bear is West Street. go fifty metres along and you come to
The Sun,excellent Sheps beers all year-round, for the festival has seasonal Queens Court Ale and Brilliant Ale on as well as it’s usual line up. Has four bands playing over the weekend.
Next walk to the end of West Street and turn left into South Rd, continue for approx one hundred and fifty metres turn right into Napleton Rd and you will shortly come to the
Three Tuns, another of my favourites, Admiral Lord Nelson used to drink here don’t- ya -know. Always a good line up of Shpes ales. Come out of the Tuns and go along Tanners St to
The Bull, now while we’re name dropping, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I have been known to sink a few here. always a good music venue, not sure what the line up is but it’ll be good, they had a music fest last weekend. oh and they serve a tasty pint of master brew too.
Out of the Bull and turn right, back into the lower end of West St, continue up to South Rd and turn left by the zebra crossing into North Lane. Follow this this along, passed the hallowed ground that is Sheps brewery. On the left is Bridge Rd, take this over the creek and you will come to
The Albion , slightly away from the crowds, on the creekside. More known for it’s food, Mexican/English, it serves some excellent Master Brew and there is usually a band playing during the festival. Continue along Church Rd and you come to
Brents Tavern , a locals pub serving real ales usually has a Youngs on.
Go back to North Lane and where the road turns into Quay lane, on the corner stands what was the old Swan and Harlequin pub but it is now the
Faversham Creek Hotel and Red Sails restaurant. Not sure what they will be doing as it is no longer a pub,although it will have a wine bar, it looks very nice however and you could always have a meal in the evening, although I suspect you will need to book as the place has just opened.
But enough of this talk of food, it gets in the way of drinking, so, just up the short hill of Quay lane is the junction with Abbey St and Court St, turn right into Court St and you will find the Brewery Stage and Sheps outside bar – by their offices,(on Sunday there will be a hop blessing at 10.45 on the brewery stage).
Turn left into Abbey St and just up on the right is
The Phoenix Tavern always has lots going on whatever the time of year and always has plenty on real ales on. There are always band playing for the festival but not sure what the line up is yet. Walk to the end of Abbey street and there is
The Anchor, serves a wide selection of Sheps Ales and delicious food. Has eight bands playing over the weekend.
Of course if all this fun and excitement gets too much you can always jump on a train to Teynham and visit the emporium of ale and cider that is the Swan, – Sam isn’t the als ice bucket challenge supposed to be a bucket and not a barrel !