With a nickname like the ‘Garden of England’, it should come as no surprise that Kent boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Home to gentle hills, fertile farmland, and the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, there are countless reasons to plan your next holiday in the South East of England. For a few of our favourites, read on and get ready to discover just how much this incredible county has to offer.
Discover outstanding beauty on the Kent Downs
Best for: Finding the perfect picnic spot.
Soft green hills and iconic white cliffs make the Kent Downs widely regarded as one of the most picturesque places in the UK. Recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, its home to thousands of scenic picnic spots, walking routes and thick forests that are perfect for a family game of hide and seek.
For an unforgettable afternoon, why not embrace one of the oldest traditions of the English countryside and go horse riding? Just picture clip-clopping along the banks of a winding river, the wind in your hair and not a worry in sight.
Step back in time at Leeds Castle
Best for: Seeing the ‘loveliest castle in the world’.
Located, oddly enough, over 200 miles away from Leeds, Leeds Castle is a true fairytale. Known as the ‘loveliest castle in the world’, spread across two islands, its sits in the centre of a large moat. Stocked full of black swans and water-fowl, the moat itself is quite the attraction, offering a great place for an afternoon punt. The main appeal of Leeds Castle, however, lies inside in its long and charming past.
Steeped in history, the tales this castle tells are mostly of powerful and prolific women. At one time, the castle was the luxurious holiday home of the Queen Eleanor of Castile, before falling into the hands of Catherine of Aragon. During the 20th-century, it was home to an American heiress who would throw lavish parties for international A-listers of the age. Today, the castle holds stories from all its previous owners and is a great place to immerse yourself in English history.
See the gates of England at the White Cliffs of Dover
Best for: An iconic image of England.
Out across the Channel, for many people visiting the UK the White Cliffs of Dover are the first thing they see. Because of this, these great white iconic cliffs have possibly become one of the most prolific marvels of life in England. They are seen by many as the gates to this great country, standing proud for over 70 million years. But the White Cliffs are much more than just a postcard picture.
They’re an incredible place to stop for a bite to eat and when picnicking on its grassy top, it’s possible to see our neighbour France on a clear day. Take one of the many walking routes that meander down the coastline and you’ll spot some of Britain’s most diverse and exciting wildlife. Once you’ve worked up an appetite strolling the shore, pop into one of the area’s many tea-rooms for a well-earned slice of cake.
Frolic through endless gardens at Hever Castle
Best for: A stroll through an endless garden.
Welcome to the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Home to over seven centuries of English history, just the words ‘Hever Castle’ are enough to conjure up images of proudly polished knights, extravagant jousting tournaments and generations of British royals fighting over the throne. Hever Castle is home to one of the country’s most impressive collections of Tudor antiquities, from furniture to tapestries to perfectly preserved paintings.
However, while this iconic castle has loads to offer inside, its brightest gem may lie beyond historic walls. Surrounding Hever Castle are over 125 acres of stunning grounds. Kept incredible all year-round, you’ll find a magical display of seasonal colour and creativity in the gardens. Why not spend a day wandering where a young Anne Boleyn once frolicked, before heading inside, to enjoy the castle’s impressive array of food and drink?
Do just about anything at Mote Park
Best for: An incredible selection of activities.
Welcoming over a million visitors each year, Mote Park is one of Maidstone’s most popular tourist attractions. Spread across a whopping 440 acres (30 of which are occupied by its incredible lake) this great green space was once home to Kent’s most prestigious aristocracy. Now open to the public, it’s officially ranked as the third-best park in Britain.
While one could easily spend a pleasant afternoon, simply wandering across its gently rolling hills, Mote Park is best known for its almost unfair array of activities and amenities. The park is home to practically everything, including a BMX track, skate park, squash club, leisure centre, golf course, miniature railway, sailing clubs and even a disused tether car racing track. In mid-2019, the park unveiled the newly-built Moat Park Play Area, and for the end of the day, when you need refuelling, there’s a cosy cafeteria.
See incredible creativity at Canterbury Cathedral
Best for: One of the world’s most important buildings.
No list of the best things to do in Kent could be complete without mentioning Canterbury Cathedral. Back in the Middle Ages, Canterbury was such a prominent part of the Anglican community that it was actually a pilgrimage site. Today, the cathedral that gives Canterbury its status is regarded as the Mother Church of the Worldwide Anglican Communion and the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Even beyond its unique place in England’s religious history, Canterbury Cathedral is home to some of the most elegant architecture inside the British Isles, with award-winning stone-carvings, stained-glass and spectacular vaulted ceilings. Recognised as a World Heritage Site of outstanding international importance, the cathedral describes itself as “a place for pilgrims to come and find encouragement for their own lives”.