Fondly known as ‘The Garden of England’ due to its abundance of hop farms and orchards, Kent is the county of magnificent castles, glorious gardens, historic houses and maritime heritage. It is England’s oldest county and sits in the South East corner of the country. Boasting a fine selection of Blue Flag award winning beaches and a vast array of attractions to suit all ages, Kent is a popular holiday destination, but why?
10 reasons to visit Kent
- Conveniently located, Kent is around half an hour from the centre of London. With its high speed rail links, you can be enjoying the Capitals many attractions in no time at all and return back to relax in a more sedate setting at the end of the day. Kent also provides the opportunity to take a day trip to France with easy access by train or ferry.
- A mild climate and low rainfall levels provide the opportunity of enjoying some of the country’s finest weather – one of the many reasons this beautiful lush county has won awards for its vineyards and breweries.
- With more historic houses and castles than any other county, you will never be short of a place to visit on a rainy day. From romantic Leeds Castle to the eventful troubled history of Dover Castle, there are plenty of fascinating places of historic interest. Other historic attractions include Chartwell, Hever Castle, Scotney Castle, Sissinghurst, Canterbury Cathedral and Rochester Cathedral, the second oldest cathedral in England.
- Fantastic beaches can be found along Kents coastline which boasts an incredible eleven Blue Flag awards. From the shingle shores of Dungeness (the largest shingle beach in Europe and home to over a third of the UK’s plant species) to the golden sands of Ramsgate (with the UK’s only Royal harbour), Kent has something to offer all types of beach lover. There are little sandy bays, such as Botany Bay in Broadstairs, where you can escape the crowds for a quiet moment or enjoy some good old fashioned seaside fun on Margate’s sandy shores where you can build sand castles until your heart’s content, enjoy a donkey ride or for a cultural experience, visit an exhibition at the Turner Contemporary. Beaches that have gained Blue Flag status due to bathing water quality, facilities and being litter free are: Botany Bay, Stone Bay and Joss Bay in Broadstairs; Main Sands and Westbrook Bay in Margate; Minnis Bay in Birchington; Herne Bay; Tankerton; Main Sands and St Mildred’s Bay in Ramsgate and West Bay in Westgate-on-Sea.
- A diverse array of attractions provide entertainment for all ages of a day and night. From steam railways to museums and art galleries to zoos, there will always be something to keep the children and adults entertained during the day. Why not visit a vineyard, take a tour of a brewery, visit the world’s most complete dockyard of the Age of Sail at Chatham or explore the Kent coastline and follow the Maritime Heritage Trail from Gravesend to Dungeness, taking in the smuggler’s haunts along the way. Once the sun goes down there are buzzy bars, night clubs, Michelin Star restaurants, country pubs serving Kentish ales and Theatres to keep you entertained.
- Two picturesque Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty cover a third of Kent, famed for its oast houses, bluebell woods, flower meadows, iconic White Cliffs, rolling hills and mysterious marshes. Rich in flora and fauna, there are many country parks, nature reserves, wetland sites teeming with bird life and ancient woodland providing a haven for wildlife.
- Outdoor activities are plentiful, whether you are looking for water-based fun or prefer to keep your feet firmly on land. The landscape provides a perfect playground for outdoor activities with quiet country lanes and miles of public rights of way that are superb for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Expansive sandy beaches are ideal for kite surfing and the coastline provides plenty of opportunities for water sports including sailing, surfing and jet ski-ing. Fishing is another popular pursuit and there are award winning golf courses including the host to fourteen open championships, The Royal St. George’s in Sandwich.
- Plenty of events and festivals are hosted in Kent throughout the year covering a diverse mix of interest. These include The Hop Farm Music Festival at Paddock Wood; the Kentish Beer Festival near Canterbury; the Whitstable Oyster Festival; the Kent County Show at Detling; the Broadstairs Folk Week and the Rochester Dickens Festival to name just a few.
- Follow in the footsteps of the famous and discover Kent’s ‘claims to fame’. Possibly its largest is Charles Darwin whose home, Down House has now been preserved by English Heritage and is open to the public. Other famous connections include Princess Pocahontas who is buried in Gravesend; the greatest novelist of the Victorian era Charles Dickens; Ian Fleming who’s holiday home in Kent provided inspiration for some of his Bond novels and films; Geoffrey Chaucer, the ‘Father of English literature’ well known for The Canterbury Tales; the famous writer Jane Austin who often visited Goodnestone Park Gardens in Canterbury; Joseph Mallord William Turner, the famous artist who lived in Margate and was inspired by the Kent coastline and the English writer and author H. E. Bates who gained inspiration for his book The Darling Buds of May when on holiday in Kent.
- Local delicacies may not be top of the list but Kent is ‘natures pantry’ and famous for its farms, orchards and coastline which provide plenty of culinary delights. Pretty villages have farmers markets where you can sample local fruit, vegetables, game and home reared organic meats or head to the coast and pick up Whitstable Oysters or wonderfully fresh Dover Sole. If you fancy a tipple, why not try a pint of Spitfire, brewed by Britain’s oldest surviving brewery (Shepherd Neame in Faversham) or a glass of English wine from an award winning Kent vineyard.