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Things to do in Kent

Picture courtesy of KentTourism.co.uk

The County of Kent, situated at the south eastern tip of England, is often called the 'Garden of England'; with its hop fields, oast houses, orchards, sumptuous gardens and captivating countryside.

Kent is the oldest place name in Britain, the county's history goes back to Roman times, not surprising then that Kent has many historic towns, more than the average amount of intriguing castles, beautiful stately homes and historic attractions.

Kent offers visitors the chance to relax and unwind, stroll in quiet country lanes, go horse riding, cycling, play golf or enjoy exhilarating coastal walks.

On the north coast, lies the historic town of Rochester, childhood home of Charles Dickens.

Many of Rochester's buildings feature in Dickens' novels.

Chatham is famous for the Historic Dockyard, once home of the Royal Navy, where over 400 years of naval history are brought vividly back to life.

Picture courtesy of Kent Tourism.

Sittingbourne and Milton Regis were barge making towns - for a flavour of their past visit the Dolphin Yard Sailing Barge Museum.

Picture courtesy of Kent Tourism.

Nearby are beautiful Kentish villages such as Tunstall, Upchurch and Rodmersham, with thatched roofs, centuries old churches and atmospheric pubs, surrounded by orchards.

Faversham, nestling between the rural beauty of the Downs and the Picture courtesy of Kent Tourism.sweeping flatlands of the north Kent marshes, is one of the most charming and historic small towns in the area.

The Isle of Sheppy's name means Island of Sheep - it is a popular holiday destination, with award winning beaches. Ornithologists should visit the Swale National Nature Reserve on the sourthern tip of the island and the Royal Society for Protection of Birds site at Elmley Marshes.

There Picture courtesy of Kent Tourism. are five historic towns to be found in the heart of Kent:

Maidstone, the County Town of Kent, has excellent shopping, sports and leisure facilities. Only five miles from Maidstone is the magnificent Leeds Castle - a wonderful historical national treasure.

Sevenoaks, home of England's oldest house Knole, which is set in 1000 acres of splendid deer park.

Ashford, a convenient central point to tour from, to explore delightful villages in the surrounding countryside.

Tonbridge, home of the most complete motte and bailey castle in Kent, and Royal Tunbridge Wells, Picture courtesy of Kent Tourism.one of the most elegant towns in the country.

Each town is distinctive and offers antique shops, lively shopping centres and gourmet restaurants

One of the Country's greatest cities, Canterbury is a wonderful blend of heritage, culture and tradition. The magnificent Cathedral and the tranquil ruins of St Augustine's Abbey form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Picture courtesy of Kent Tourism.Kent Tourist Information can be found in Sun Street.

Herne Bay, north of Canterbury, has an attractive seafront, and the town's story including the fate of its famous pier, is told at the local museum.

Further along the coast, fresh fish and seafood are for sale at Whitstable's busy harbour.

The east coast of Kent is known as the Isle of Thanet - you will find three principal resorts here: Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Each has its own distinct character, attractions and charm. Picture courtesy of Kent Tourism.Throughout the season the area is packed with festivals, sports and events, providing a wide choice of stimulating activities.

Kent's Garden Coast is a region rich in heritage, picturesque villages and sandy beaches:

Folkestone is a traditional seaside resort, with harbour, seafood stalls, cobbled streets and a mile long Edwardian cliff top promenade.

Picture courtesy of Kent Tourism.

The ancient and tranquil Cinque Port town of Hythe offers speciality shops and walks along the Royal Military Canal, and the tourist information centre is in Red Lion Square.

Romney Marsh is a unique expanse of flat, open countryside characterised by medieval churches and excellent rural pubs, it has been a smugglers' haunt for generations. The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, the world's smallest public railway runs from Hythe to New Romney and across the marsh to Dungeness with its lighthouse, power station and RSPB National Nature Reserve.

The landscape of White Cliffs Country is unforgettable, with breathtaking views from the Cliff tops. On a clear day you can see France, 21 miles (30 kms) across the Channel. The port town of Dover has many tourist attractions, with the ancient castle and the more recent second world war tunnels inside the white cliffs. Dover.

For further information on the County of Kent visit Kent Tourism.

Days out in Kent

  • Bayham Abbey
    Come and enjoy this romantic Abbey ruin, set in the picturesque valley of the River Teise, in the heart of the Weald.
    Bayham Abbey
  • Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest
    Open all year, Bedgebury is the perfect place to walk, cycle, ride or play in a spectacular world of trees.
    Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest
  • Belmont House and Garden
    The unique Georgian house of Belmont, set in beautiful gardens and surrounded by classical English country parkland, commands stunning views of the rolling Kent countryside.
    Belmont House and Garden
  • Boughton Monchelsea Place
    Boughton Monchelsea Place is a lovely Elizabethan Manor House, dating from 1567.
    Boughton Monchelsea Place
  • Brenzett Aeronautical Museum
    Brenzett Museum is a unique collection of wartime equipment, remains recovered from aircraft crash sites and memorabilia collected and donated to the Museum since its formation in 1972.
    Brenzett Aeronautical Museum
  • Bromley Museum
    At Bromley Museum we will help you to uncover many interesting facts about Bromley's past as well as how people lived through the ages.
    Bromley Museum
  • Canterbury Cathedral
    Canterbury Cathedral is situated in the County of Kent in England, in what has become a World Heritage Site. It is located within walled grounds together with ruins and medieval buildings.
    Canterbury Cathedral
  • Canterbury Roman Museum
    Canterbury's acclaimed new Roman Museum has been specially constructed underground in the excavated Roman levels below the Longmarket Shopping Centre.
    Canterbury Roman Museum
  • Canterbury Royal Museum & Art Gallery
    Canterbury's Art Gallery has a large and varied art exhibitions programme, and significant permanent collection.
    Canterbury Royal Museum & Art Gallery
  • Canterbury West Gate Towers
    One of England's finest mediaeval fortified gatehouses, with arms and armour displays, prison cells and panoramic views from the battlements.
    Canterbury West Gate Towers
  • Chartwell
    Visit the home of Sir Winston Churchill and gain an insight into the domestic life of Britain's famous wartime Prime Minister.
  • Chatham Dockyard Historical Society
    The Society was founded in 1980 by a group of Dockyard men dedicated to perpetuating the history and work of Chatham Dockyard.
    Chatham Dockyard Historical Society
  • Chislehurst Caves
    There are over 20 miles of mysterious caverns and passages which have hewn out of the chalk over a period of 8,000 years.
    Chislehurst Caves
  • Cobham Hall
    Cobham Hall is an outstandingly beautiful red brick mansion dating from 1584, which demonstrates an exciting combination of Elizabethan, Jacobean, Carolean and 18th Century styles.
    Cobham Hall
  • Crofton Roman Villa
    The Crofton Roman Villa house was inhabited from about AD140 to 400 and was the centre of a farming estate of about 500 acres.
    Crofton Roman Villa
  • Doddington Place Gardens
    The lovely landscaped gardens are set in the grounds of an imposing Victorian mansion and cover ten acres.
    Doddington Place Gardens
  • Dolphin Yard Sailing Barge Museum
    Unfortunately the museum was destroyed by fire on Sunday October 26th
    Dolphin Yard Sailing Barge Museum
  • Dover Castle
    Secret tunnels, an underground hospital, a defensive keep and a Roman lighthouse - these are just some of the unique features awaiting visitors at Dover Castle.

    Dover Castle
  • Dover Roman Painted House
    The Roman Painted House, the finest Roman House on show in Britain, was discovered by Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit. wenty five years of excavation across ancient Dover by the Unit have uncovered 50 major structures.
    Dover Roman Painted House
  • Druidstone Park
    Come and visit Druidstone Wildlife Park where you can appreciate the company of the animals and birds in a relaxing country setting.
    Druidstone Park
  • Emmetts Garden
    This charming and informal garden at the highest point in Kent was laid out in the late 19th Century., with many exotic and rare trees and shrubs from across the world.
    Emmetts Garden
  • Finchcocks
    Finchcocks is a fine early Georgian manor in a beautiful unspoilt setting which houses a magnificent collection of some ninety historical keyboard instruments.
  • Great Comp Garden
    Set in the heart of the Garden of England and surrounding a 17th century house, Great Comp Garden is the delightful creation of Roderick and Joy Cameron, their having moved to Great Comp in 1957.
    Great Comp Garden
  • Groombridge Place Gardens and the Enchanted Forest
    Welcome to Groombridge, a beautiful wealden valley with an incredible 700 year old history.
    Groombridge Place Gardens and the Enchanted Forest
  • Hole Park Gardens
    Hole Park Gardens are situated on the edge of the picturesque Weald village of Rolvenden. A family owned estate Hole Park has been owned by the Barham family for the past four generations.
    Hole Park Gardens
  • Howletts The Aspinall Wild Animal Park
    The Aspinall Foundation's Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent is a family day out where education, conservation and fun combine.
    Howletts The Aspinall Wild Animal Park
  • Ightham Mote
    Ightham Mote is a superbly restored 14th century half-timbered house set in a deep wooded valley, surrounded by its original water-filled moat.
    Ightham Mote
  • Kent and East Sussex Railway
    Economic pressures forced British Railways to withdraw the passenger service in 1954. Volunteers got together and, in 1974, re-opened a section of the line. The railway now runs for almost 11 miles, making it one of the longest such lines in the UK.
    Kent and East Sussex  Railway
  • Kent Life
    There's so much new to do at Kent's premier heritage farm attraction with 28 acres of fun which includes our timed-daily activities
    Kent Life
  • Knole Park
    Knole Park is just the place to combine a round of golf with a historic and interesting National Trust property.
    Knole Park
  • Leeds Castle
    Set in 500 acres of beautiful parkland, a visit to Leeds Castle is full of discovery.
    Leeds Castle
  • Lullingstone Castle and the World Garden
    Lullingstone Castle - Historic Family Mansion, Church and home to the World Garden.
    Lullingstone Castle and the World Garden
  • Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery
    This exceptionally fine regional museum housed in Chillington Manor a delightful Elizabethan manor house, boasts a rich and impressive variety of historical objects, fine art and natural history.
    Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery
  • Marle Place Garden and Gallery
    Marle Place is a peaceful, privately owned garden with ten acres of formal planting and many more acres of woodland and orchard.
    Marle Place Garden and Gallery
  • Museum of Canterbury with Rupert Bear Museum
    A fascinating time-walk of Canterbury's 2000 year story, from the building of the Roman Town to the Rupert Bear Gallery.
    Museum of Canterbury with Rupert Bear Museum
  • Penshurst Place & Gardens
    Penshurst Place is one of England's finest historic houses set in the Weald of Kent's peaceful rural landscape.
    Penshurst Place & Gardens
  • Pines Garden and The Pines Calyx
    The Museum has a wealth of local and maritime interest and an exhibition of Noel Coward who was once a celebrated resident of St. Margaret's in the early 1950's.
    Pines Garden and The Pines Calyx
  • Port Lympne The Aspinall Wild Animal Experience
    Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, in Kent, is a 500 acre safari adventure.
    Port Lympne The Aspinall Wild Animal Experience
  • Powell-Cotton Museum
    The Park, gardens and woodlands provide an attractive and tranquil backdrop to Quex House, one of Kent's finest Regency houses, and the Powell-Cotton Museum a vast collection of treasures gathered on twenty-eight expeditions to Africa and Asia.
    Powell-Cotton Museum
  • Quebec House
    Those who enjoy British military history will particularly appreciate a trip to Quebec House in Kent. It was the birthplace of General James Wolfe who went on to defeat the French at Quebec in 1759.
    Quebec House
  • Ramsgate Maritime Museum
    Ramsgate Maritime Museum focuses strongly on Ramsgate and its immediate environs, with a brief introduction to the rest of the region's maritime past.
    Ramsgate Maritime Museum
  • Scotney Castle
    A visit to Scotney Castle is a great 2-for-1 deal. Start with the 19th century "new" neo-Tudor style house which was built for Edward Hussey in 1837.
    Scotney Castle
  • Sissinghurst Castle Garden
    Sissinghurst Gardens in Kent was the creation of author Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson, MP, in the 1930's. Vita inherited Sissinghurst Castle in the 1930s.
    Sissinghurst Castle Garden
  • Smallhythe Place
    Smallhythe Place is the perfect place for theatre lovers who will be both surprised and charmed by the contents of this 16th century farm house in its quiet rural setting.
    Smallhythe Place
  • South of England Rare Breeds Centre
    Have you ever tickled a sheep under the chin, scratched a pig's ear, or patted a golden goat? You can at the Rare Breeds Centre, the home of friendly animals.
    South of England Rare Breeds Centre
  • Squerryes Court
    Experience the warm welcome of this beautiful 17th Century manor house, still lived in by the descendants of John Warde who purchased Squerryes from the Earl of Jersey in 1731.
    Squerryes Court
  • The Canterbury Tales
    Ever wondered what it would be like to step back in time and experience the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era? At The Canterbury Tales you can do just that.

    The Canterbury Tales
  • The Seaside Museum Herne Bay
    The Herne Bay Museum has entertaining displays about this popular seaside resort and the fate of its famous pier and the Gallery has a collection which focusses on local views and on work by artists connected to the area.
    The Seaside Museum Herne Bay
  • Tonbridge Castle
    Medieval Gatehouse and Motte and Bailey Castle Grounds.
    Tonbridge Castle
  • Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery
    Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery shares the special story of the borough of Tunbridge Wells.
    Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery
  • White Mill Rural Heritage Centre
    The Windmill was built around 1760. It was used to grind wheat, barley and oats. In 1889 a steam engine was installed to drive the mill when there was no wind.
    White Mill Rural Heritage Centre
  • Whitstable Museum & Art Gallery
    Whitstable Museum has displays of Whitstable's seafaring traditions - the oyster industry, diving and fascinating aspects of the natural world. The Special Exhibitions are a popular feature.
    Whitstable Museum & Art Gallery
  • Willesborough Windmill
    Willesborough is one of the largest smock mills in the south of England. The Mill, a Grade II listed building, was built in 1869 and had enough power to turn four mill stones.
    Willesborough Windmill

Places to Visit in Kent

  • Ashford
    Ashford is a busy market town which still has many medieval houses for you to admire. It is a convenient central point to tour from, to visit the numerous attractive villages.
  • Borough Green
    Borough Green is a quiet village in Kent. Around the chapel in the centre of the village are a number of varied shops, eating places, banks and not far away the railway station with regular direct access to London.
  • Broadstairs
    Broadstairs has an old world charm all of its own. There are winding streets, and fishermen's cottages cluster round the harbour. Viking bay is the town's main beach, but there are six other bays for you to enjoy.
  • Canterbury
    This beautiful city with cobbled lanes and streets, is the seat of the Anglican Communion and Kent's premier tourist destination.
  • Chatham
    Chatham is a large town to the south west of Gillingham in Kent. It is on the banks of the River Medway and is rich in naval dockyard history.
  • Chevening
    A peaceful spot at the end of a quiet country lane, Chevening is essentially a great mansion and its estate, with a church and a small group of cottages.
  • Chiddingstone
    Chiddingstone is a beautiful Kentish village with a perfect row of Tudor houses. Their half-timbered gables, mullions and casement windows, picturesque red-tiled roofs and projecting upper storeys have provided a setting for many films.
  • Cliftonville
    Cliftonville is a suburb of East Margate in Kent. Its long sandy beach at the foot of the cliffs has been a popular holiday destination since Victorians first took to sea bathing.
  • Cranbrook
    Cranbrook is a small unspoilt town, which has retained its medieval feel, through the layout of streets and alleys. Buildings date from 15th to the 19th century.
  • Crockham Hill
    Crockham Hill is a small village which can be found on the way from Oxted to Edenbridge.
  • Dartford
    Dartford is an important town in Kent, about 16 miles east of London.
  • Deal
    Deal is eight miles north east of Dover on the coast of Kent. Once the busiest port in England, its quaint streets are lined with history.
  • Dover
    Dover, the closest town in Kent to the continent, is the gateway to England. Now the world's busiest ferry port, it is famed for its range of defences and military architecture.
  • Dymchurch
    The small village of Dymchurch is on the edge of the Romney Marshes in south east Kent. Located five miles south west of a Hythe, it is the epitome of a traditional seaside town for family holidays.
  • East Farleigh
    East Farleigh is a wide spread, but small village, with a lively and close knit community.
  • Eastchurch
    Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey was itself once the home of the early pioneers of aviation. Lord Brabazon of Tara, holder of Pilot's Licence No.1, and the late Sir Winston Churchill were both taught to fly at the old Eastchurch aerodrome.
  • Eynsford
    Eynsford is a pretty Kentish village in the lovely Darenth valley. Its ancient ford and a hump-backed mediaeval bridge across the river are still in use.
  • Faversham
    Faversham is a picturesque medieval market town. Many of the buildings, which were built in the 18th century, have been restored and are on view today.
  • Folkestone
    Folkestone has recently become famous as the town adjacent to the Channel Tunnel entrance, it is one of England's most elegant Edwardian resorts.
  • Fordwich
    The historic Town of Fordwich lies on the Great Stour river, about two miles east of Canterbury. Its history traces from Roman times.
  • Gillingham
    Gillingham is situated in Kent, 35 miles southeast of London. It was first referred to in the 10th century as Gyllingeham
  • Gravesend
    Gravesend is on the south bank of the River Thames in Kent, facing Tilbury across the estuary.
  • Hamstreet
    The village of Hamstreet is situated where the Kentish Wealden hills meet the flatlands of Romney Marsh and there are plenty of traditional Kentish weather-board buildings in the village centre.
  • Herne
    We have just received a description of Herne from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
  • Herne Bay
    Herne Bay is a sizeable seaside resort on the Thames Estuary in Kent. It lies seven miles north of historic Canterbury.
    Herne Bay
  • High Halstow
    This ancient village is set on the highest point of the Hoo Peninsula and has a wide variety of scenery within its boundaries.
    High Halstow
  • Hythe
    Hythe is a member of the Cinque Port federation, Hythe today is a pleasant seaside town. Once a thriving port, the old town, separated from the sea as a result of silting, it now lies 1.5 km inland.
  • Ide Hill
    Ide Hill is one of the highest villages in Kent, perching on the top of the Greensand ridge at 800 feet above sea-level. It is a most attractive village grouped around its wide green, with a Victorian church on the edge of a wood.
    Ide Hill
  • Isle of Grain
    The Isle of Grain is a sparsely populated area in North Kent. The name was derived from greon which means gravel. It is situated at the eastern tip of the Hoo Peninsula.
    Isle of Grain
  • Ivychurch
    Ivychurch is a sleepy village in the heart of the Romney Marsh. While it may not be awash with amenities, it does offer some interesting sights and historic buildings.
  • Kingsgate
    Kingsgate Bay is arguably one of Kent's most beautiful beaches - secluded, sandy and nestled between chalk cliffs, North Foreland golf course and the historic Kingsgate Castle.
  • Knockholt
    Knockholt enjoys an airy situation on the crest of the North Downs. It is an old village, and over the years its focus has shifted from the original centre round the church to its offshoot Knockholt Pound a mile away.
  • Leysdown
    Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey is a traditional seaside resort with award-winning beach and facilities.
  • Maidstone
    Maidstone is the County Town of Kent and a thriving commercial centre with excellent shopping, sports and leisure facilities.
  • Margate
    Margate has a lovely sea front and a fun fair. Donkey rides were first introduced on the sands of Margate in the early 19th century. Margate is also the birthplace of the Bathing Machine; Thomas Barber, a local man, made the first one in 1736.
  • Meopham
    Whether it's watching cricket surrounded by quaint cottages under the shade of the windmill or strolling through the picturesque and tranquil countryside walks that dominate the area, Meopham is a quintessential slice of Kent life.
  • Milton Regis
    Milton Regis, a suburb of Sittingbourne, offers a tourist attraction with a difference. At Milton creek you will find an old sailing barge yard, which still carries out this type of work on a commercial basis.
  • Minster
    At Minster, the Isle of Sheppey's history is again brought to life at Minster abbey Gatehouse Museum, part of one of Kent's earliest Benedictine nunneries.
  • Plaxtol
    Plaxtol is a little gem nestling in a fold in the Bourne Valley just South of the A25 and to the west of Tonbridge. It is a small village, the Millenium Stone planted in the grass verge adjoining the Parish Church.
  • Queenborough
    Queenborough, with much to remind visitors of its long history as a seafaring town, is well worth exploring. In the High Street is the Guildhall on the site of an earlier courthouse captured by the Dutch in 1667.
  • Ramsgate
    Ramsgate is a popular seaside town in Thanet, East Kent. It has lovely sandy beaches which first attracted visitors in the 19th century.
  • Rochester
    Rochester is often referred to as 'the City of Great Expectations' due to its association with Charles Dickens. There is a Dickens Centre, as well as Dickens festivals in the summer and at Christmas.
  • Romney
    New Romney is the largest town on Romney marsh, and an ancient Cinque Port. Old Romney is an unspoiled village lying to the west.
  • Royal Tunbridge Wells
    Royal Tunbridge Wells remains one of the most elegant towns in the country, and was considered a rival to Bath when it was a fashionable spa from the 17th to 19th centuries.
    Royal Tunbridge Wells
  • Sandgate
    Sandgate spans 2 ½kms of Kent coastline between Folkestone and Hythe. It fringes the English Channel and clusters beneath steep wooded slopes.
  • Sandwich
    Sandwich is one of the most complete medieval towns in England, it has great charm and character, with its network of narrow streets and alleys; it is one of the five ancient Cinque Ports established by Royal Charter in 1155.
  • Seasalter
    The village of Seasalter can be found on the north coast of Kent, facing the Isle of Sheppey across the mouth of the River Swale.
  • Sevenoaks
    Sevenoaks is believed to have derived its name from a group of seven oak trees which once grew in the area, long since gone; but to keep the legend alive, seven oaks were taken from Knole Park and ceremoniously planted on the common in 1955.
  • Sittingbourne
    Sittingbourne is a modern day market town, but has very strong links with the sailing barge history in its past, which is still very much in evidence today.
  • Smarden
    Smarden is a wonderful place to live and to visit. It is a beautiful Kentish weavers' village with around 200 buildings of architectural and historical note dating from the '4th Century.
  • St. Margaret's at Cliffe
    St Margaret's at Cliffe is situated on the southeast coast of England, between Dover and Deal.
    St. Margaret's at Cliffe
  • Stansted
    The village of Stansted in Kent is ten miles west of Maidstone and within a mile of both the M20 and the A20. It is frequently confused with Stansted International Airport which actually is 50 miles north in Essex.
  • Tenterden
    Tenterden is a delightful country town with wide tree lined streets, historic buildings, inns and shops. It has been described as ' the Jewel of the Weald'.
  • Tonbridge
    Tonbridge is an ancient town dominated by its Norman Castle, it was built in a delightful setting on the River Medway. Home to the famous Tonbridge School founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judd a former Lord Mayor of London.
  • Walmer
    The Walmer of today is a relatively quiet mainly residential seaside town. It has, however, played a significant role in English history. Julius Caesar and his legions are said to have first landed on Walmer beach in 55BC.
  • Westerham
    Westerham is on the western edge of Kent, and is an attractive place with restaurants, teashops and antique shops around its village green.
  • Westgate on Sea
    Westgate-on-Sea is a seaside resort in northeast Kent, overlooking the River Thames estuary about two miles west of Margate.
    Westgate on Sea
  • Whitstable
    Almost any visitor to Whitstable will be surprised. This sleepy town on the north Kent coast has no seaside promenade and few arcade amusements. There are no faded fairgrounds or rows of deck-chairs. Although the national press makes much o

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