The Belle Vue Tavern, Pegwell Bay
The Belle Vue Tavern
has a wealth of history. Now a Shepherd Neame
tenancy, this former Tompson & Wotton house
dates back to at least 1760, and in all probability, was proffering accommodation, refreshment and stabling as early as 1720. If the tunnels connecting the inn with the 18th century cottages over the road are indicative, the Belle Vue was definitely favoured by smugglers. “Big Jim”, the village blacksmith, was said to run the Pegwell gang. The moonlit bay was the perfect dropping place for contraband. In fact, a former gardener at the tavern was said to swim out to the luggers in the bay and bring ashore the kegs; apparently he drowned on one of his nocturnal ‘runs’. The contraband was cached in the cellars of the tavern and removed in an emergency to the safe houses across the way.
By the beginning of the 19th century the inn had cleaned up its image and was receiving the patronage of royalty. In 1830 the Duchess of Kent and her daughter Princess Victoria visited the pub and its renowned tea gardens. They must have enjoyed the local shrimps offered by ‘mine host’ John Cramp, for he was to receive the royal appointment as ‘Purveyor of Essence of Shrimps in ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen’
Its current incumbents, Tony & Shirley Pearson
, took over the tenancy in November 2009 and promptly set about completely refurbishing the Pub, Restaurant and its spectacular garden which boasts probably the best sea views in all of Thanet, if not Kent!
Tony and Shirley have been in the licensed trade for over 20 years and have won several prestigious industry awards throughout that time. Their hospitality is renowned and they look forward to welcoming you to The Belle Vue Tavern.