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26th January 2023

The Sportsman in Seasalter named in Top 10 Best Gastropubs in Britain at Estrella Damm Awards 2023

The Sportsman in Seasalter has been named one of Britain’s top 10 best gastropubs in Britain for a seventh time at the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards.

The Shepherd Neame-owned site, run by brothers Stephen and Philip Harris, took fourth place in the list announced on Monday (January 23) at a ceremony in Suffolk.

Hundreds of votes were cast to determine the Top 50 by industry experts including food critics and writers, gastropub chefs and other food influencers.

The Sportsman, which has held a Michelin star since 2008, has previously topped the list in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021 and last year, when it came sixth.

Judges praised Head Chef Stephen Harris’ menu for being sourced almost exclusively from the land surrounding the pub, with seaweed picked from the beach, homemade salt from the sea, and meat from ‘bountiful’ local farms.

His slip sole grilled in seaweed butter is a “must-try for any visitor”, and despite his dislike for ‘signature dishes’ this would be his, judges said, adding: “It’s the purest expression of what makes The Sportsman fantastic: simplicity, thoughtfulness and, most importantly, it is delicious.”

They said: “The Sportsman is also remarkably affordable for an eatery of its standing and now offers one menu – a five-course tasting menu – celebrating small, seasonal dishes that showcase the local environment,” adding: “Be warned, however, it remains a tough pub to get a seat in because the popularity of its cooking stretches the world over, so plan before visiting.”

Stephen Harris said: “It is a really strong list – there are so many great places on it, so we are really pleased to go back up to fourth place. It is down to the hard work of the people here: we do it because we love it and we love the place.

“I do feel like we have got better this year. If you have got high standards you try not to let them drop. We have been at this pub 23 years and we have built up a regular trade.  Yes we are booked up several months in advance, but it means you can plan.”

He added: “I am very aware that it is a tricky time for a lot of businesses at the moment and we are just thankful that we are in a good position.”

You can find The Sportsman at Faversham Road, Seasalter, CT5 4BP, telephone 01227 273370.

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About Shepherd Neame

Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for over 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British classic ales such as Spitfire, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, and the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and is the sole UK distributor for premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline.

Shepherd Neame is not responsible for the content on third party websites.

Press release from Shepherd Neame.

For further information please contact Communications Executive Angela Cole on 01795 542142 or email or visit