As lucky as I am, home for me means Kent, the famous "garden of England". Whilst I haven't always been so convinced of the merit of this title, it's certainly true that there are beautiful little pockets of greenery to spend time in. One of the best is the countryside surrounding Canterbury, where the land undulates gently around clear-flowing streams and the occasional wild marshland. Footpaths run through the fields and villages and the relatively flat terrain makes it perfect weekend walking territory.

(As tranquil as it looks, don't be fooled - there is plenty of opportunity for "naughty" behaviour in the vicinity alla Ms. May)

Whenever we visit  Canterbury, we drive through these country lanes, making the journey part of the day out in itself. We have many happy memories in the area too; picnics beneath the trees, paddling in the Stour (where my sister told her first ever joke - at my expense of course) and delicious lunches at the Duke William in Ickham. We've been going since I was a kid - I remember eating spaghetti bolognese in the garden and stroking the then-owner's gorgeous golden retriever in the sunshine. It's changed hands over the years but some habits are best left untouched and I thought that finally, it was time to write a little about the place on here.

Desperately trying to hold onto a bit more of the summer, we sat in the garden for lunch. With views across the fields and just the sound of birdsong and chatter from the restaurant, we set ourselves up for a long, relaxing lunch. The menu is admittedly a bit poor for vegetarians - there's only ever one option and it tends not to change all too often. I'd tried the cheese and potato pie the last time we visited and although it was really tasty, it just wasn't the kind of light lunch I had in mind on this particular day.

So instead, I decided to be a pescatarian for the day. I started with a wonderfully fruity British kir cassis (a heartily recommended special)...

Followed by a crisp glass of Sauvignon...

Accompanied by a basket of their wonderful fresh bread with salted butter. This is always brought out at the start of the meal and it's so warm and soft, the butter just dissolves into it. A real treat that disappears within seconds.

As a main course, my sister had the sausage and mash (which I of course didn't try) but which received a solid thumbs up from her...

And Mum had the fish and chips with minted mushy peas and homemade tartare sauce. Let's just say that those chips are ever so steal-able.

I chose the salmon cakes with grilled courgette and carrot salad. The breadcrumb coating was too thick, making the cake hard to cut into and a little dry to eat - some kind of dipping sauce would have helped this - although the flavour overall was lovely. The courgettes had been imbued with the taste of summer barbeques on the grill and the carrots were tossed with toasted seeds, giving the dish a burst of wonderful, fresh flavours.

And because I can never resist dessert, I went for the banoffee pie with passion fruit and caramelised banana. I was a little uncertain about the passion fruit but it was a strangely successful union!

Because I am mean, I then proceeded to drag my family into the surrounding fields for an amble in order to walk our lunches off. The joke was on me in the end, as Bertie (the dog) decided to take me for a run down the lanes instead. It made me feel a little sick but I didn't regret a bite of our earlier lunch.

If you're in the Canterbury area and looking for a quiet country gastropub, this is the one to visit. The food is simple but well done and you can always be sure to have a lovely time. (Plus we once spotted Paul Hollywood there so you know it must be good). And just in case you were wondering what it looked like inside, here's a pic I snapped of our gorgeous table from a visit earlier this year:

Happy eating!

The Duke William
The Street, Ickham
01227 721308