About The Tiger Inn

This delightful country pub offers everything a traditional country pub should. Tucked in the downs between Ashford and Canterbury (and only ten minutes from Folkestone too) the Tiger Inn pub may prove difficult for some to find but it’s worth persevering - once found never forgotten!

The best access is to follow the signs from Stone Street just off junction 11 of the M20. This ideal location is great for those who want somewhere to grab lunch after a stroll on the Wye downs or a mid point rest along the North downs way. Dogs are always welcome in the bar and you can tether your horse on the rail in the car park!

An Oasis in the Kent Countryside

Outside there is plenty of room for al fresco dining when the weather permits, along with an old oak framed smoking shelter, which houses a mixture of pews and bar stools made from old tractor seats! There is also an environmentally friendly roasting hot heater to take away those late evening chills. Inside it is traditionally furnished with cushioned dark wood pews in the bar and a mix of antique and classic pine tables, chairs and pews in the restaurant.

This pub is tastefully decorated throughout with dried hops around the ceiling, soft bulb lighting as well as beautiful oil candles on each table. The bar area has traditional dark wood floorboards with open fires at each end. There are some lovely faded rugs on the stone floor in the newly used part of the restaurant at the rear of the pub, which is a great area for larger parties.

The North Downs Way

The North Downs Way runs right past our front door and is one of 15 National Trails. The route is well signed and is maintained to a higher standard than regular rights of way. National Trails run through some of the most spectacular and treasured landscapes in England and Wales.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Tiger Inn sits in protected landscape of The Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The aims of the AONB unit are to protect and enhance the landscape are involved in a wide range of rural projects that impact on the countryside.

You may also like to know that the Explore Kent website is full of fun outdoor activities for everyone, including walking, cycling and other events in the Kent Area, with useful local info and handy maps to download.

The Tiger Inn's History

First referred to in 1678 as a Messuage and Stable (house and stable), the Tiger Inn soon became known as a simple ale house, and was given its first name of the Chequer in 1749. Then, by 1778, it had become referred to as the Four Bells, due to the number of bells hanging in Stowting church. And in 1802 the pub was renamed the Anchor, which coincided with the pub being acquired by the Mackeson brothers. Most recently, in about 1985, it was re-named the Tiger.

Having changed hands many times over the years, the pub was notably purchased by Henry and William Mackeson on 26th May 1802 for £300 (and then renamed from the Four Bells to The Anchor). It was one of the first pubs purchased by the Mackeson brothers shortly after they had bought the Hythe brewery. On the death of William Mackeson in 1821, the pub was still valued at £300, and “Mackeson” remains emblazoned in bold letters on the front of the house.

Why 'The Anchor Inn'

An anker is a form of cask used by smugglers to bring brandy into the country. As a vessel approached the coastline, ankers would be fastened to a length of rope which was weighted with stones, with an anchor at either end. This would then be suspended below the water and when the coast was clear, usually at night, the smugglers would claim their booty. The choice of the name “Anchor” in 1802 suggests that the pub was likely one of the many pubs in the area frequented by smugglers.

By 1985 the villagers of Stowting had tired of the name “Anchor”, so some of the pub regulars decided to put their suggestions for a new name in a bucket and the pub would be called by whichever name was drawn. The winning name (the Tiger Inn) was entered into the draw because a tiger had supposedly once escaped from a travelling circus and was recaptured nearby using a bedspread.

The oldest part of the building dates hack to the 1600s, but most of the additions were carried out in 1839. However, in 1946, when a Mackeson employee visited the pub, he observed that: “There were no counters, a serving hatch being used. Ceiling – Plaster breaking away and needs repair. Walls – Damp in places and brickwork breaking away. There was no piped water to the washing up area. Comment – Rebuild or alterations. Brewery comment – Neither!”

Part Time Landlords and Ladies

Past landlords had a variety of second jobs, including Sarah Caister in 1816, who was also the village butcher, as was George Brett in 1855, because the pub provided only a marginal living. Indeed, there are entries in the Mackeson ledger for 1912 revealing a loss of £11/7/10, and in 1914 a larger loss of £33/19/7.

However, money was spent on renovation work and in 1931 a new scullery and porch were added at a cost of £150, and that same year the forming and tarring of the forecourt cost £46. The rent during this period was a modest £3/15/- a quarter. During 1953 the pub generator was sold for £10, and in 1954 a bathroom and water closet were installed at a cost of £530. The pub also boasted a skittles alley and, in pre-war days, the landlord would ring a cow bell to draw attention to closing time.

However, on 25th March 1976, Whitbread sold the pub, returning it to being a free house, after which it continued to trade on a reasonable basis until the mid 1990s, when the owner, who also ran another pub on nearby Stone Street, got into financial difficulties and had to sell up.

The Tiger Inn Today

There were fears that the pub would either close down or be turned into a “theme” pub, and to prevent this happening it was purchased by a consortium of villagers who worked to build up the business over more than 15 years, before selling the pub on to Innflair Ltd, a business operated by the Nixon family, who have a long history of running food-led family pubs and restaurants. Nowadays the pub presents as a character building, sympathetically restored with an excellent restaurant offering candlelit dining.

Make a reservation:
01303 862 130
Food served from Wednesday to
Saturday ... 12pm - 9pm,
& Sunday ... 12pm - 5pm.
(Closed Monday & Tuesday)