For the last six years The Stage Door has always been my pub of choice to finish walking the section from Abbey Wood to Dartford.
It is a warm and welcoming place, the beer is good, it is only five minutes from the station and is worth stretching those weary legs just a little further.
It is a Shepherd Neame house with Masterbrew, Spitfire and a third ‘guest’ which on my January visit was Spitfire Gold, light and hoppy but one that I enjoy more in summer.
My Masterbrew was good, the perfect refreshing pint.
For the moment, there is no food on offer but there are plans for the future.
In good weather there is the bonus of a great outdoor area at the back that in spring is bathed in pink and white cherry blossom that adds that little touch of colour after walking the Cray Marshes.
For a 150 years it was the Smith’s Arms but after a restoration in 1982 the name changed to link the pub to the Orchard Theatre behind and it provides relief for those looking for a pint at ‘half-time’. Just to reinforce its proximity to the theatre, there are publicity photographs of actors and it can be fun for some trying to put names to faces – I usually have little success.
What surprised me on my visit yesterday was that Paul the landlord knew all about 1066 Harold’s Way and happily confirmed that the many walkers and walking groups on route to Battle had finished the walk from Abbey Wood in The Stage Door – there can be no better affirmation.
Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – the long distance walk from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey and Hastings Castle inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings 1066. The Stage Door, Dartford will be No 26 in Beer Notes