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Ellie Graham
3rd July 2023

Along the edge of Kent’s east coast, looking out over breath-taking seascapes and packed with endless excitement, we have a feeling you’re about to find your next ideal getaway. Home to bucket-list spots, picturesque landscapes, amazing food and drink, and dreamy places to stay, is White Cliffs Country, where it’s in their nature to give you an adventure that you’ll never forget.

There’s something about the cocktail of landscapes here – magnificent seas to abundant countryside, thriving towns to quaint villages - that ticks about every box you could think of when planning a trip. So, when you come to White Cliffs Country, you could be taking a photography course along the White Cliffs of Dover in the day, and that same evening be sipping on some craft beer made right before your eyes!

Tempted? Read on and join us on our tour through some of the best spots, all here in one place.

Call of the wild

Tell anyone you’re taking a trip to Dover, and we bet the first thing they’ll ask is, “Are you going to see the White Cliffs of Dover?”. And it’s got to be said that any trip to the area would be incomplete without a visit (they don’t call it White Cliffs Country for nothing!). This iconic landmark, known best for its geographical and historical significance, is the place to go for those Instagrammable views and some moments of mindfulness as you take in its grandeur. Once you’ve hopped off the train at Dover Priory, take the 30-minute walk along the beautiful coastline, soaking up those amazing views and refreshing sea air, before reaching the magnificent cliffs.

Remember we mentioned its historical significance? Well, take a step back in time, pop on the helmets and see for yourself as you go underground in National Trust's Fan Bay Deep Shelter, having sat beneath the cliffs since the Second World War. Built as a safe accommodation for soldiers, the site still stands and you can delve into the history for a true look at life during the war.

Go back even further in time (this time high above ground!) to the South Foreland Lighthouse, a stunning building from the Victorian era. To make the most of the lighthouse and the cliffs, we recommend putting on your photographer hats and joining in on a Capture Kent walk where, you guessed it, you get to capture Kent through the lens! Take a walk up the cliffs with the group, learning from the master as you go and snapping beautiful shots of the area, before stopping off at the Lighthouse’s Mrs Knott’s Tea Room for a cream tea. Now that’s a picture-perfect day.

Let’s get a little closer to the sea now and head down to Samphire Hoe, a 30-hectare nature reserve sat at the foot of Shakespeare Cliff. The land has been given back to wildlife, with over 200 species of birds, 200 species of plant, grazing livestock, and countless other flora and fauna in the area. All you nature lovers out there, we hope you remember those photography lesson tips, as you’re going to want to capture your day out at Dover’s most beautifully biodiverse spot.

No doubt that all this looking at the sea will have built up an appetite and you’re now itching to get out on the water yourself…luckily, Dover Sea Safari can take you there. Hop on and enjoy the ride out as your expert tour guide takes you through the waters, exploring not only the White Cliffs themselves, but going further north to see the charming towns of Walmer, Deal, Kingsdown and St Margarets.

Or, if you want an extra special ride, why not book yourself in for a Seal Safari (as seen on TV!), another wonderful boat ride just up the coast in Pegwell Bay and Sandwich Bay, where you can get a look at these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. And, speaking of Sandwich Bay, there’s even more aqua adventure to be had with the Sandwich River Runner. Take a close look at the seals, venture along the magnificent coastline, or even travel the Roman route up the River Stour to newly renovated Richborough Roman Fort.

Time for adventure

So, you’ve experienced just a small slice of the coastline here, now it’s time to head further inland and keep the adventures going. Let’s start off with Whitemills Wake & Aqua Park in Sandwich, because there’s no such thing as too much time in the water when you’re on a getaway. For some unforgettable fun that’ll get your heart pumping and your body moving, have a go on the inflatables, where you can slip, slide, and bounce away at your own speed (we won’t judge if you end up in the water more than you do on the inflatables!). And if you want to up the ante and try your hand at wakeboarding, book yourself in for a session and get out on the water for the thrill of a lifetime.

Let’s leave behind the swimming goggles and get those backpacks on, now heading over to Betteshanger Country Park, a 250 acre park just outside the colourful town of Deal, boasting an amazing range of activities and experiences. Whether you want to take a stroll through nature, go for a cycle ride with friends, or take up a bit of archery (did someone say hen-do bucket list?), they’ve got you covered. What’s better, once those legs are tired out and you hear those rumbles coming from your belly, the rustic and cosy The Lamp Room awaits. Curated by one of Kent’s top chefs, you’re spoilt for choice with their eclectic menu, where you can find avocadoes on toast for breakfast, local delights and vegan treats for a hearty lunch, or something a little more sophisticated in an afternoon tea (pinkies up!).

We’ve given you water, we’ve given you earth, now how about some air - with birdies, eagles, and albatrosses! That’s right, the golfers amongst you will love us for this one…dotted across White Cliffs Country, you’ll find some amazing greens where you can enjoy an afternoon of putting with friends. Walmer & Kingsdown Golf Course, known as the Club on the Cliffs, has got to be up there amongst the best in the area, with stunning sea views from every hole, making it one of the only golf courses in the whole of the country where you can see another country (bonjour, France!).

With three other greens in the area (Royal Cinque Ports, Prince’s, and Royal St George's), you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a spot. Maybe you want to play a round of golf while you’re on holiday, but the people you’re with aren’t as keen on the green as you are? You’re in luck…the Roman Landings Adventure Golf is close enough to golf for you to get your fix, and fun enough for everyone to join in!

Tastebud delights

After countless adventures and unforgettable moments throughout White Cliffs Country, you just can’t leave before sampling some of their locally grown, lovingly made produce. Let’s start with Barnsole Vineyard, where all you wine enthusiasts can test your tastebuds and get to know some of the best Kentish wines in the area. Choose from red, white, or sparkling, as you swish, gargle, and test the wonderful flavours of the area. And if the sommelier in you is looking for something a little extra, why not head to Dover’s wine bar and venue, Vinoteq? What might be the area’s best kept secret, you can find yourself getting lost in live music in their Cellar, where the latest and greatest music talent perform throughout the week.   

And what about the beer lovers out there? Fear not, as Sandwich’s very own Time & Tide, with nine years’ experience in the brewing business, are here to bring you some of the best craft in the area. Warm, passionate, and lively, the atmosphere of their taproom is reflected in their drinks, so pop down on a weekend throughout summer with friends and family to sample both. Give your drink a side of amazing live music and head to The Lighthouse in Deal – run by a music-loving family (and it sure does show), you can enjoy performances from all genres as you settle down for the evening and relax in the characterful seaside town.

Stay the night

There’s been stunning landscapes, unforgettable adventures, and amazing food and drink…so what does that leave us with? A place to rest your head for the night…and our first pick has got to be Greenhill Glamping in the Kent Downs AONB – relax in your own cosy shepherd’s wagon, fit with all the amenities you could ask for, plus a firepit for that all important marshmallow roasting and stunning views of the countryside to wake up to. Having won the Beautiful South’s Gold Award for Glamping Business of the Year, you’ve got to trust that a night’s stay here will leave you feeling rested and restored.

Or why not take your night’s rest at Updown, a beautiful 17th century farmhouse on the outskirts of Deal that combines styles of the quaint Kentish countryside with elements of modernity for that ultimate relaxing stay. Spend the night in one of their homely rooms, unwinding in the library, sipping on a handmade cocktail, and of course, dining in their fantastic restaurant.

So, take your pick and plan your next adventure in White Cliffs Country. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you can rest assured that it’s in the nature of the people here to make your stay one you’ll never forget.