Branch Diary

Branch Diary

Things are moving up a gear on the branch activities front so I recommend having your diary out whilst you read this so as not miss any of our forthcoming socials and meetings. We’re returning back to normal as far as we can after the pandemic (fingers crossed) and there’s a bit of catching up to do, whilst we also wish to slot in extra bus trips and socials. As there are several events planned, I’m showing these in a list format, slightly differently to normal as follows:

Branch Diary

Thursday, 5th May 7.30pm, Tonbridge pub crawl. Start at the George & Dragon, 17 Shipbourne Road, then to include Ye Olde Chequers by the bridge, plus any others we choose on the evening working our way back to the station.
Monday, 16th May – Branch Business Meeting at the George, TW at 7.30pm – please note the change of date and the earlier time following a vote on starting time at the last meeting. The meeting is open to all members as usual. Discuss the business of the Branch, the progress of campaigns and the current situation of our local pubs. Or just join us for a pint or three!
Saturday, 21st May noon. Visit the CAMRA south east Heritage Pub, the Old House at Ightham Common. We take the 222 bus from Tonbridge at 10.56 arriving at the pub about 11.30. Some may like a 30 minute walk as the pub doesn’t open until noon. Return on the 14.12 bus. Two hours in the Old House, then back to Tonbridge.
Saturday, 4th June noon onwards. Visit to the Halfway House, Brenchley, Jubilee Beer Festival. 297 bus from Tunbridge Wells at 12.15 arrives right outside the pub at 12.47. Return buses leave at 14.54 and 16.54. We also have the option of getting off the bus earlier to take in the Hopbine en route together with a 30-minute walk on to the Halfway House, or some might like to travel by train to Paddock Wood and walk from there.
Thurs 9th June 7.30pm. Visit the pubs of Shoreham by train. Start at the Crown and walk back through the village. Trains arrive in Shoreham from Sevenoaks at 2 minutes and 32 minutes past the hour. Return trains leave at 15 and 45 minutes past. To include what used to be Ye Olde George Inn – now heavily refurbished and renamed the Samuel Palmer. (The Kings Arms may or may not reopen by 9th June following a recent fire).


    • 27th April – Orpington Liberal Club – Meet The Brewer/Tap Takeover with Twickenham Fine Ales, doors open 18.00.
    • 28th April – 3rd May – Opera House, TW – Tap Takeover with Bedlam Brewery and Meet The Brewer at 6–9pm on Thurs 28th.
    • May – Cider Month
    • 2nd May – 29th Aug – CAMRA Summer of Pub campaign                                   
    • 5th – 7th May – Bexley Beer Festival
    • 11th May – ‘Pint of Science’, Miners Arms, Dunton Green. This has been going on for a few years and takes place across the world. It is aimed at the general public and talks are given by scientists/researchers on a whole range of topics of interest. Held in pubs, a half an hour or so presentation is given followed by Q&As and then the audience go to the bar to refill their glasses. Tickets £5 doors open 6.30pm, the event is scheduled for 7.30-9.30. Quite easily accessible there and back by train. Trains from Sevenoaks arrive at Dunton Green at 18.38 and 19.08 (from Tunbridge Wells/Tonbridge change at Sevenoaks) and return trains leave at 21.54 and 22.24. Tickets are selling out fast so be quick
    • 20th – 22nd May – Eastbourne Beer & Cider by the Sea
    • 25th – 28th May – 3rd National Woodfest – The only beer festival that serves beer from the wood exclusively, with up to 60 beers from the wood
    • 26th – 28th May – 7th Kidbrooke Beer & Cider Festival
    • 27th April – Orpington Liberal Club – Meet The Brewer/Tap Takeover with Twickenham Fine Ales, doors open 18.15.
    • 27th – 29th May – 9th Angelfest – Tonbridge Angels Music and Beer Festival
    • 27th – 29th May – Born To Be Mild – London Mild Ale Festival at the Sambrook’s Brewery Tap details here and tickets can be purchased here
    • 2nd – 5th June – Halfway House, Brenchley – Jubilee Beer Festival, a weekend later than usual due to the Jubilee bank holidays being moved. 70 real ales, 20 ciders, 10 live music acts
    • 15th June – Beer Day Britain
    • 17th – 18th June – CAMRA AFRM/K&ESR Real Ale & Cider Festival 2022, Tenterden Town Station, live music and trains all day Sat, bar on trains
    • 27th – 29th Aug – ‘Pick Your Own Hops’ event at Hukins Hops Farm near Tenterden. You’ll get a chance to fill up a large glass jar with your hand-picked hops to take away, a tour of the farm including the 1960’s hop picking machine and modern hop kilns, follow in the footsteps of previous generations who have made the journey to Kent in the past as part of the ‘Hop Picker’s Holiday’. £10 Adult / £6 Child, 10% Discount for CAMRA Members with code: CAMRA10, 2 Hours
    • 22nd Sept – 2nd Oct – Cask Ale Week
    • October – Cider Month
    • 7th – 9th Oct – 11th Spa Valley Railway Real Ale & Cider Festival

    Pub News

  • The King’s Arms, Shoreham is temporarily closed due to a fire.
    The Rock, Chiddingstone Hoath is being taken over by the owner of the Leicester Arms, Penshurst.
    The King & Queen, Edenbridge has work ongoing. Could it be reopening?
  • The Glasshouse, a new cocktail bar intends to open in what was the Common Rooms at 45 Mount Ephraim, TW.
  • The Beau Nash, TW is no longer a Shepherd Neame pub and is now owned by the same people as St. John’s Yard and the Shuffle House restaurant.
  • The Beer Seller, Tonbridge has resumed hosting home-brewer evenings on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 7.30pm in  the function room upstairs. Join your brother and sister brewers to taste and talk about all things brewing!! Bring a bottle of your own for everyone to try.

Pubs Officer Report

AUGUST 2021: Pub News

  • The Old House, Ightham (just outside our branch) has restarted selling beers from the wood on a regular basis aiming to have at least one beer from the wood at all times subject to sales and supply. The pub is opening at 6pm in the evenings at present.
  • The George & Dragon, Westerham remains closed and is believed to need renovation.
  • Westerham Brewery’s new, enlarged and improved taproom is now open.
  • The George & Dragon, Speldhurst has been under new ownership since April and serves 4 real ales.
  • The Dovecote, Capel has reopened after a refurbishment and is now run by Nick & Shelley again, who also own the Toad Rock Retreat, Rusthall.
  • The George & Dragon, Tudeley has been spruced up and is believed to be reopening soon after having been closed for some time.
  • The Old George Inn, Shoreham is rumoured to be installing a microbrewery.
  • The Trading Post, TW has reopened as the Tiger Tavern with 2 handpumps.


  • The Cock Horse, Hildenborough was described as a “disused pub” and is the subject of a planning application submitted on behalf of Shepherd Neame for development into 2 semi-detached houses. Some objections have been raised by people who believe the pub could thrive, although Sheps claim it is no longer viable as a drinking establishment – Courier 27/3/20
  • The Bell Inn, Golden Green lease has been taken over by the local community via a new limited company known as The Queen’s Own Taverns Ltd.
  • The Ivy House, Tonbridge plans to reopen soon offering takeaway food, having been closed for 2 years. It has been refurbished by new owner, Jamie Brady, who also owns the Carpenter’s Arms
  • The George & Dragon, Speldhurst is being taken over by a new landlord after the pub suddenly shut recently. The lease is being taken over by Elite Pubs, who also own the Vineyard, Lamberhurst and the Poacher & Partridge, Tudeley and is expected to reopen in July. Meanwhile the Leicester Arms, Penshurst which closed at the same time remains closed as does the Black Pig, TW. All three pubs were previously run by Julian Leefe-Griffiths – Courier 13/3/20
  • The Merry Boys, East Peckham is closed and has been sold. Upstairs of building being converted to flats it is believed and owner is willing apparently yo consider community use of pub area (tbc).
  • The Stanhope Arms, Brasted is subject of a possible community interest in purchasing and there is to be a meeting in the village hall on 12th Feb.
  • The John Brunt VC, Paddock Wood has now have reopened (12th Feb) with 4 handpumps following a £480,000 refurbishment.
  • The Woodman, Goathurst Common, Ide Hill freehold is for sale.
  • The George & Dragon, Speldhurst and the Leicester Arms, Penshurst are reported closed at short notice.
  • The Stanhope Arms, Brasted is closed and the freehold is for sale.
    The Little Gem micropub, Sevenoaks (no real ale) is closed.
    The Windmill, Sevenoaks Weald is changing hands. The current managers will close up after this weekend and new people take over from 1st February.
    The Tally Ho, Knockholt no longer opens at lunchtimes and is expected to close at the end of June.
    The Queen’s Head, Five Oak Green had a soft reopening before Christmas and plans to open properly in late January.
    The Cock Horse, Hildenborough is boarded up and barricaded with the pub sign removed.
  • The Windmill at Sevenoaks Weald may also be a potential community buy-out.
  • The John Brunt VC, Paddock Wood is closing on 2nd December for refurbishment and will reopen as a gastro-pub in February.
  • The Real Ale Way, a new micropub opened at 23 High Street, Westerham on Thursday 7 November 2019.
  • The Wheelwright’s Arms, Matfield is the subject of a planning application for conversion to residential.
  • The Padwell Arms, Stone Street has been closed for some time and is now the subject of a planning application to demolish it and replace with residential.
  • The Windmill, Sevenoaks Weald is believed to be in danger of closing soon.
  • Bedford, TW has reintroduced its Cask Ale Club – all cask ales at £3.50 a pint from 5pm on Wednesdays.
  • Black Pig TW is currently closed (Nov 1st).
  • The Royal Oak, Crockham Hill is understood to be the subject of a potential community buy out, presumably to save the pub. If you are a local and/or want to get involved or support the initiative keep your ear to the ground and let us know what’s going on.
  • Elsie’s (the Queen’s Arms), Cowden Pound often has a guest beer these days (recently Pig & Porter Blackbird Stout).
  • The Tunbridge Wells Bar & Grill is now re-opened as The White Bear (its original name) having been taken over by Young’s; 3 x hand pumps.
  • Fox & Hounds, Toys Hill is closed (July-19) and for sale as residential property. Possible target for a Community buy-out – let us know if you hear anything.
  • Spread Eagle, Hawkenbury is closed for re-furbishment (Aug-19)
  • The Primrose in Tonbridge has now been demolished

Check out WhatPub for other info.