Stately Homes and Houses

Astounding stately homes and country houses abound in Kent. As well as the residences of Sir Winston Churchill and Charles Darwin, you'll also find a few lesser-known treasures which have their own surprises in store.

Step into a beautiful depiction of the Tudor era at Penshurst Place. This fortified manor house - home of Viscount De L'Isle - exudes 650 years of history from its ancient wood panels and heraldic crests. The 11-acre walled garden is laid out as it would have been in Elizabethan times, giving you a true feeling of the days gone by.

Get a glimpse inside the home - and mind - of one of England's greatest scientists, Charles Darwin, at Down House. See the study where he wrote The Origin of Species, and a replica of his cabin on HMS Beagle. After, take a trip to the hot-house where you can encounter his famous carnivorous plants.

The grand house at Quex Park remains a family home to this day, but welcomes visitors to explore its fascinating rooms of incredible dioramas of exotic animals and artifacts. The grounds are perfect for a quintessential English picnic, with plant stalls, teas rooms and the summer maize maze.

Lullingstone Roman Villa is one of the best preserved heritage sites of its kind in England, with its bright mosaics, maze of ruined rooms and crumbling skeletons vividly bring the times of the Romans to life.

With 365 ornate rooms and a 1000-acre, deer-dotted park, Knole  is one of England's most impressive estates. The state rooms groan with silver, Stuart furniture, and paintings by Gainsborough and Van Dyck.

Sir Winston Churchill's former country retreat, Chartwell, showcases the politician's own paintings, family photos, books and memorabilia, while the terrace delivers delightful views of the Weald of Kent. While nearby Quebec House takes you back to the 18th century childhood home of General James Wolfe.

Captivating, water-fringed Ightham Mote is the most complete medieval country house in England. A tour reveals a painted Tudor ceiling, a tranquil lake, tower-views - and the only Grade I listed dog kennel in England!

Finally, Godinton House's history spans the eras, from its medieval hall to a Jacobean exterior and a Georgian dining room.