Stay in nature with your dog at your side; The brilliant Ferry House is located on the Isle of Harty, which is uniquely an isle-within-an-isle, located on the beautifully remote Isle of Sheppey.
It’s a 16th century dog-friendly property with an award-winning restaurant, working with a field to fork ethos beside the expansive Swale estuary, among protected wetlands, nature reserves and farmland. There are five dog-friendly rooms available where you will find all your doggie essentials – a large comfy bed, bowl and some all-natural, quality homemade dog treats. Crates can also be arranged on request if this is something your dog normally prefers.
There’s a flourishing 1.5 acre kitchen garden, showcasing the rich diversity of produce with established vegetable and flower beds, a large fruit cage, herb garden and two poly tunnels.
There are also fruit orchards, bees and asparagus beds, offering fresh local and seasonal ingredients for the brilliantly thought through menus, created by Head Chef, James Pilcher. We would highly recommend taking a garden tour with James, who will offer you an insight into growing his brilliantly diverse produce and how it translates to the field to fork menus. It’s worth noting that dogs are not allowed in the kitchen-garden, but are welcome to sniff out the front lawn with its stunning estuary views.
The island is a RSPB site for birds of prey, miles of cycle tracks and long stretches of Blue Flag beaches, making it a really great spot to explore with your dog. The Burden family, who own the Ferry House, are third generation farmers, with around 3000 acres, with arable and livestock farming in Harty and Eastchurch – they have a cattle herd producing grass-fed beef and run an estate game shoot. The Ferry House sits on the periphery of their farmland and was initially a humble local pub – there has been a long journey of development into the venue it is today, centred around the family’s long standing personal connection with area, and of growing and food production. It was a joy to stay and discover a little taste of life on Sheppey – so utterly peaceful, The Ferry House offers the perfect spot if you’re after a relaxed countryside escape and a little outdoors adventure with wild ponies and buzzards for company.
At the end of your day exploring, you’re invited to unwind with a relaxing hot stones massage in the purpose-built treatment room, followed by an incredibly wholesome meal in
There are endless walking routes from the doorstep, with the pub sitting at the edge of the beautifully wild and remote Swale Nature Reserve, with its abundant bird life and estuary views. We enjoyed walking over 10km along the Swale estuary, passing a little isolated bird-watching hut – it was such a joy to watch some rare birds frolicking, and wild geese taking flight – circling back through the farm land, country lanes and open fields.
We also loved the Isle of Harty Trail, a superb circular walking route of about 9km, that takes you through wild wetland coastline via the 11 th century church of St Thomas the Apostle.
There’s also Leysdown-on-Sea – about 15-minutes’ drive away, which is a great spot if you’re after a coastal walk, with its Blue Flag beach and a large expanse of grassland opposite.
Your dog is welcome to dine at your side in the restaurant and bar area, where you will be treated to a standout supper with menus that are driven by the seasons, using some of Kent’s finest seasonal produce; innovative flavour combinations are explored in clever and playful dishes that celebrate the diversity of local produce. Expect homegrown and home-farmed fare, inspired by the Burden family’s farming heritage, using an unusual variety of produce cultivated in the kitchen garden, driven largely by the passion and fascination of James, who is inspired by that same desire to be innovative, experimenting where each new season brings new ingredients.
James is also passionate about reducing food wastage at the preparation stage. He is driven to use every edible part of the produce creatively, for example making flavourful ‘onion ash’ from the head and tail offcuts of onions. The pub’s onsite butchery also allows for complete control of a ‘nose to tail’ ethos using the whole animal to its maximum potential of flavour and nutritional value. Menu’s change with the day’s crop, using whatever is at its seasonal best – brimming with wholesome farm produce, packed with flavourful ingredients; think pan-fried pheasant breast and Kentish pork pate en croute, garden Jerusalem artichoke and kale nero gnocci, and cornfed chicken breast with spiced garden squash puree.
The deconstructed honey cake is one of those rare puddings you won’t forget, and the apricot souffle is a melt-in-the-mouth dream. Sticky Toffee comes with a divine Miso toffee sauce and the dark chocolate, garden chicory espresso with rosemary ice-cream is an unusual flavour combo that stands apart. On Sundays, you can tuck into delicious roasts of home-farmed and Kentish meats, served with the wonderful kitchen garden veg.
There is an additional charge of £20 per dog, for the duration of their stay.
The Ferry House is a pawsome spot for us four-legs, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay where I was greeted with a gigantic bed and delicious homemade treats. I was happy to join my humans for dinner in the restaurant, as well as breakfast, where I was kindly given a tasty sausage to start the day!
I received lots of fuss from the friendly staff, and loved exploring the local area with all it’s great wildlife sniffs – I particularly enjoyed walking at the Swale Nature Reserve where we saw wild geese take flight. It’s a long way from home, but I’d happily sit in the car for the four+ hours for another stay at this brilliant dog-friendly spot!
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