Escape London: Things to Do & Places to Stay in Kent
With all the airline chaos, you might be thinking about holidaying closer to home this summer. Kent, the garden of England, has a wealth of things to do and see for families, friends and couples alike, and here are some of the county's top attractions and places to stay...
Lead Image: The White Cliffs of Dover (Getty)
Things to Do in Kent
1 Rare Breeds Centre, Ashford
With 100 acres and three play parks including the mysterious marsh outdoor activity trail, the Rare Breeds Centre has something for all the family. A woodland walk with a wildflower meadow, a butterfly tunnel which is currently awash with fluttering wings and tropical plants, trailer rides and pig racing at weekends and holidays, you will have a fantastic time on the farm. There are three food venues as well, with burgers, chips, great local coffee and ice creams will keep you cool in the shade and a shop with fun toys to take home. Booking ahead advised.
Address: Woodchurch, Ashford TN26 3RJ
2 Terlingham Vineyard, Hawkinge
A family-run vineyard making natural, award-winning wines and gin, Terlingham Vineyard is only 10 minutes from Folkstone West train station. Wine tastings are on offer all year, where you can sample the delicious wines and gin, as well as learn about natural farming practices that encourage wild flora, insects, bees and bugs as well as traditional wine making methods.
Address: Terlingham Lane, Hawkinge CT18 7AE
3 Chartwell, Westerham
Looking out over the Weald of Kent, Sir Winston Churchill’s hillside home offers a unique glimpse into his life not only as a statesman and politician, but also as a husband, father, writer, and painter. Surrounded by gardens, lakes, and woodland, Chartwell remains an ode to the Churchills’ love of landscape and nature. On the highlight tour this summer, delve beyond the Studio and into the story of Churchill the Artist.
Address: Mapleton Road, Westerham TN16 1PS
4 Emmetts Garden, Sevenoaks
An Edwardian plantsman’s paradise, Emmetts Garden is home to botanical specimens from all over the world, featuring a romantic rose garden and surrounded by woodland walks. Join us this summer for a trip to the theatre with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men and their production of William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’.
Address: Ide Hill, Sevenoaks, TN14 6BA
5 Balfour Winery, Staplehurst
Balfour Winery, in Staplehurst is a family run winery situated on 400-acres of land, known as Hush Heath Estate, home to some of England’s most vibrant flora and fauna. Stroll through beautiful vineyards, wildflower meadows and ancient oak woodlands on a free self-guided stroll or join an expert-led tour experience. Sample wines in a self-tutored tasting or on a Cellar Door Tasting Masterclass for a fun and relaxing experience overlooking the vineyard. Enjoy all this alongside delicious sharing platters that include a selection of charcuterie, seafood, cheese and vegetables.
Address: Five Oak Lane, Staplehurst TN12 0HT
6 Hever Castle, Hever
Only 30 miles from central London but a world away, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle, is set in 150 acres of stunning grounds in the Weald of Kent. From hands on activities to falconry displays and jousting, a summer visit offers a fun day out whatever your age. Young visitors can learn the tricks of the trade from resident sorcerers, or hunt for shields and dragon eggs, as well as experience falconry or a jousting tournament or have a splash around in the water maze. You can also take a wander in the award-winning gardens which include the Italian Garden overlooking the picturesque lake.
Address: Hever TN8 7NG
7 Copper Rivet Distillery, Chatham
Copper Rivet Distillery and Pumproom restaurant, is housed in a beautiful Victorian pumphouse at Kent’s Chatham Dockyard. Since opening in 2016, the Copper Rivet Distillery has been crafting gin, vodka and whisky from scratch in bespoke stills, using only grain farmed within 20 miles. Take a distillery tour to experience the ‘farm to glass’ distillation process first hand, with plenty of opportunity to sample the exceptional artisan spirits. Follow this up with a casual fine-dining meal at the Pumproom restaurant.
Address: Pump House no. 5, Chatham Dockyard, Leviathan Way, Chatham ME4 4LP
Phone: For tours 01634 931 122; for the restaurant 01634 931 121
8 Wingham Wildlife Park, Wingham
Nestled in the Kentish countryside, Wingham Wildlife Park is home to lions, flamingos, parrots, meerkats, red pandas and moon bears among many other wondrous creatures. Alongside these beautiful animals, WWP also has indoor and outdoor play areas, catering facilities, picnic areas, a gift shop, free parking, museum, a dinosaur exhibit, crazy golf and battery go karts, making for a fun packed day out for the family. Wheelchair accessible.
Address: Rusham Road, Wingham CT3 1JL
Places to Stay in Kent
1 Marquis of Granby, Dover
This beautifully refurbished and award-winning boutique pub and hotel is situated in one of Kent’s most picturesque areas, with the White Cliffs of Dover only a stones throw away. It is also perfectly positioned for those travelling to the continent, with the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Dover, both only a 15 minute drive away. The AA Rosette awarded pub was a finalist in the Taste of Kent Awards, and its kitchen serves up a diverse selection of meals including some Kent pub classics.
Address: Alkham Valley Road, Alkham Dover CT15 7DF
Phone: 01304 873410
2 The Dog at Wingham, Wingham
The award-wining Dog at Wingham is a boutique pub and restaurant in the centre of a picturesque village in the heart of Kent's wine region, surrounded by walks and things to do. Just a few miles from the historic city of Canterbury, the coastal towns of Whitstable, Herne Bay, Dover, Deal, Sandwich, Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate are all in easy reach. The family-run hotel has beautiful, individually designed rooms, a Top 50 Gastropubs restaurant, and a superb selection of local gins and wines. Naturally, The Dog is pet friendly.
Address: Canterbury Road, Wingham, near Canterbury CT3 1BB
Phone: 01227 720339
3 The View Hotel Folkestone
The View Hotel Folkestone is a four-star boutique hotel that is unrivalled in its location. Found on the famous Leas in Folkestone, the building has been beautifully restored to its former glory and is now a polished contemporary venue, complete with excellent food and drink options and spectacular panoramic views over the English Channel and of the town's stunning seafront. The hotel also has easy access to Folkestone’s charming town centre and all it has to offer.
Address: The Leas, Folkestone, CT20 2EF
4 The Relish, Folkestone
Folkestone’s first contemporary guest accommodation, The Relish is centrally located in the fashionable west-end. The hotel is a stone's throw from some of the best restaurants in town, and not far from the sea, the famous Leas, and the Lower Leas Coastal Park with picnic areas, great beaches, cliff-top walks as well. The hotel's contemporary interiors are havens of comfort, privacy and elegance, and come with a homely touch - a slice of homemade cake on arrive and fresh tea and coffee throughout your stay.
Address: 4 Augusta Gardens, Folkestone CT20 2RR
5 Frasers of Egerton, Egerton
An award-winning eco-estate surrounded by stunning countryside, vineyards, walking trails, castles and an abundance of nature, this boutique venue and 300-acre farm has impressive green credentials - operating on 80 per cent renewable energy for example. Only an hour out of London, it offers the perfect getaway for multi-generational family staycations, parties and other celebrations, as well as corporate events. Sympathetically converted farm buildings house a choice of ten stylishly-furnished bedrooms, while a seasonal menu celebrates the very best local produce, fresh from the kitchen garden or local artisan suppliers.
Address: Coldharbour Farm, Barham's Mill Road, Egerton TN27 9DD