Crown Inn, Sarre, Shepherd Neame


History of The Crown Inn, Sarre

The Crown Inn has attracted a varied roll call of notable customers over the years, including Charles Dickens, who visited on numerous occasions, possibly while staying in nearby Broadstairs. The pub’s restaurant currently boasts a Charles Dickens lounge area.

Richard H Lindo took over as landlord in the early 20th century. He had worked as manager and secretary at London’s famous Drury Lane Theatre for many years and several stars of stage, and later screen, visited during his time at The Crown Inn. A notice outside reminds us that the Shakespearean actress Ellen

Terry once made an appearance here, as did Dan Leno and Marie Lloyd, two of the biggest music hall stars of the day. Later, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Tommy Handley and Tessie O’Shea, among others, popped in for a drink. During his time as landlord, Lindo commissioned a charming pamphlet entitled Ye Olde Crown Inn at Sarre, subtitled A Short History of a Famous Kent Hostelry.

The pub was also the venue for the last Charge of the Light Brigade survivors' dinner following the 1854 battle, and a copy of the menu and list of names are still on display at the pub.


Cherry Brandy

Kent has long been famous for its cherries and at one point there were around 20,000 trees growing locally, a mixture of wild and Morello.

First created by Grants Distillery in 1774 in Dover, production of Grants Morello Cherry Brandy the liqueur was moved to sites in Lenham and Maidstone after the original site was damaged by falling rocks from the famous White Cliffs nearby.

Grants remained a family-owned business until the 1960s when production ceased, but in 1990 Shepherd Neame acquired the brand and revived it, incorporating many of the old design features in the bottle packaging.

Grants Morella Cherry Brandy was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite tipples, while Charles Dickens was so fond of the stuff that he immortalised it in the pages of the Pickwick Papers, perhaps after encountering The Crown Inn’s famous cherry brandy!

The current recipe is a very close match to the original, made with 100 per cent English cherries and blended with pure English grain spirit to produce a rounded, warming and delicious drink.

It continues to proudly proclaim itself ‘The National Liqueur of England’, and in 1994 it was awarded a Royal Warrant from HRH The Prince of Wales.

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