Date night plans
19th July 2021
Fairy tale castles, winding streets, rose-filled gardens and romantic retreats…call us biased, but we happen to think our county has some perfect date night locations. Whether you feel as though you’ve spent rather a lot of time at home with your partner lately and are searching for a date night backdrop that isn’t your own dining room, or you’re looking for a location to woo someone special, we’re here to help.
Yes, these romantic settings are a far cry from a voucher deal, or a meal kit dinner turned argument. Instead, we’re sharing wildlife parks by night, sparkling wine tasting in vineyards and dinner for two with a sea view. Trust us, you’ll be whisked off your feet with these ideas.
Dine with a view
There’s a reason J.M.W Turner was drawn to Margate – those sunsets are SENSATIONAL! Before strolling the beach to watch those colourful skies, we recommend heading to the Turner Contemporary restaurant. Run by local restauranteurs, Barletta, this eatery offers coastal views paired with a delicious seasonal menu and a curated cocktail and wine selection. In search of a pastoral paradise with your meal? Frasers in Egerton is an idyllic rural retreat in the heart of the Kent countryside. With a 2 AA Rosette award-winning restaurant and brand new Garden Bar, you’ll be in for plenty of delectable food and drink for the perfect dinner for two, but if you really want to indulge, their luxury 5 star rooms make for a real romantic break.
A picnic by sunset - it doesn’t get much more romance novel-worthy than that. Pitch up at White Horse Wood Country Park in Maidstone and you’ll be treated to breath-taking views across the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural beauty and the medieval ruins of Thurnham Castle. For riverside romance, the Kentish Lady boat trips offer the chance to glide through the Kent countryside along the River Medway, sailing as far as the pretty village of Teston from Maidstone. After a day exploring, we recommend checking into the Hilton Maidstone for a little poolside relaxation and comfortable overnight stay.
The Isle of Thanet
You remember we mentioned those marvellous Margate skies? We recommend soaking up the sunset scenes with fish and chips on the steps of Margate beach and watching the sun set over the harbour, before strolling the shore to Minnis Bay and enjoying those brilliant orange skies. Or for the ultimate treat, why not indulge in a scrumptious homemade sunset hamper from Tiffin Events? For the competitive couple, we suggest a little puzzle solving with an escape room, the perfect chance to work together, find the clues and maybe even put that new relationship to the test!
Yes, yes, a meal for two in a lovely restaurant is an excellent choice for a date, but sometimes you’ve got to get a little more imaginative, so this summer you’ll find us heading to The Wildwood Trust for our next date night. With adult-only summer evening sessions every Friday and Saturday, an evening visit to Wildwood offers animal lovers the chance to see those twilight loving creatures, before indulging in a BBQ and drinks in the beer garden. For an even more unusual dining location, Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway is offering fish and chip suppers and drinks aboard the historic train, before steaming through the countryside between New Romney and Dungeness. Now how’s that for a takeaway with a difference? Plus, with the coastal gem of the Hythe Imperial Hotel just a short drive away, we recommend making a break of it with a sea-view-filled staycation and a glass or two in their Moet and Chandon Champagne Bar!
After a year of no events to look forward to, you’ll find us soaking up the atmosphere at a whole host of festivals across Kent this summer. But the real gem in the Kent festivals calendar for a romantic evening out has got to be the Leeds Castle Concert. Fairy tale castle, open-air live music from the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a prepared picnic for two, candelabras and fireworks – believe us when we say this has all the makings of a great love story. After music and more, we recommend heading up the road for a restful stay at The Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, which is just minutes away.
Ah, ever since Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard graced the screen in Brief Encounter, railways have had a certain romantic air about them. While we won’t tell you Victoria at rush hour holds quite that same appeal, we can guarantee afternoon tea in your very own compartment aboard the Spa Valley Railway will recapture that old school glamour. Hop off the train in Tunbridge Wells and head to the Pantiles promenade for dinner and drinks at Thackeray’s or Hotel du Vin. Or, for lakeside strolls visit Bewl Water, before settling in for dinner at the Bistro.
Gin lovers will be guided from grain to glass on a hands-on gin distillery experience at Maidstone Distillery. Learn the art of spirit making on your very own copper pot still and delve into the process behind perfecting your very own recipe. What’s more, with Maidstone Distillery’s award-winning sustainability pledge which includes running on 100% green energy, going for a drink will never have felt more virtuous. For even more high spirits, take your other half to the historic Foundry in Canterbury, where they distil local favourite, Canterbury Gin, along with a range of deliciously brewed beers.
Wine and dine
Ah, a real classic date, but in Kent we like to do things a little differently! Take on the Gusbourne Discovery Tour and you’ll be swept away among the vines. Wander the beautiful countryside and learn all about the grapes that make Gusbourne’s sensational wines, before enjoying a delicious locally produced spread that perfectly complements a glass or two of the vineyard’s finest. You’ll no doubt have heard of Chapel Down and their exceptional wines, so we don’t need to tell you that a tour and tasting at this beautiful vineyard should be top of your list, but did you also know Chapel Down is home to the two AA Rosette Swan Restaurant? After your tour, head up to the terrace to enjoy modern British cuisine at its finest.
A tipple for two
Home to the Wine Garden of England, Kent certainly has some impressive vineyards to choose from. Take the Full Estate Tour and Tasting at Hush Heath and learn the story of this 400 acre estate, from pasture to vineyard. With ancient woodland, orchards and those beautiful vines, a tour here is a perfect retreat into nature, before heading back to the tasting room for a tasting and lesson on the world of wine making. Summer evenings were made for soaking up views in vineyards, so allow Simpsons to inspire your next Friday date night on a Sunset Session Tour. Wander the Roman Road Vineyard, hear about wine-making in the state-of-the-art winery, before finishing with a flourish of food fresh from Macknade, and tastings of Simpsons’ latest releases.
Dinner and a movie – we love that classic combination, so you’ll find us heading to Westwood Cross for our next relaxed Saturday night out. Choose from Bella Italia, Frankie and Benny’s, Ask Italian or Nando’s for tastes from around the world. After your romantic meal, why not get cosy and snuggle down to watch the latest romcom or action movie at The Vue and celebrate being able to finally watch the action on the big screen!
Street food dining
Look, we love sharing a meal together, but let’s be honest, there are times when you just fancy a taco and your partner is dreaming of a burger. Enter the Macknade Food Village in Faversham. With street food on offer from around the world, you can stroll from Italy to Mexico in a matter of minutes, share street food tapas- style and enjoy local craft brews and cocktails in the sunshine. With that in mind, it’s of no surprise that we are also BIG fans of The Coachworks Ashford. With wood-fired pizzas, cocktails, burritos, BBQ and more to tuck into, all under the twinkling lights of The Yard, we can’t think of a better spot to enjoy a bit of quality time with your partner in crime.
A mystery in the making
Did someone say partner in crime? Sherlock Holmes needs your help! Clue-seeking couples, have we got your attention? Partner up, bring along a few friends and take on the brand new outdoor detective experience in Canterbury and crack clues, conundrums and codes in this Sherlock-inspired challenge. With key evidence to find and content from the BBC show’s cast to help you along the way, it’s time to don the deer stalker and help one the world’s greatest detectives. After all that excitement in our historic city, you’ll have earned an overnight stay, so book up a night at the luxurious ABode right in the heart of the action.
Foodies, it's time to your roll up your sleeves and get stuck in the the Couples Cooking course at Kent Cookery School. With the chance to cook together and craft a delicious two course meal to enjoy in the candlelit pantry, this has to be the perfect food-filled date night. Or, for those missing the tastes of Spain, the Tapas & Prosecco course is just the thing for the Spanish food lover in your life. Learn to cook four popular Tapas dishes to recreate at home, before tucking in with a glass of Prosecco.
Ah, trust us there's nothing like an argument over parking to start a date off on the wrong foot, so why not ditch the car and make the most of Arriva's Duo Day Tickets this summer? Available for use all day for two people travelling together, you can easily purchase yours on the Arriva app, online or on the bus so your journey couldn't be easier.
Visiting the Garden of England couldn’t be easier by train – just sit back, relax and enjoy the Kent countryside as you travel. Just a short hop on the train and you can explore the beautiful Kent countryside, historic buildings and stunning coastal views – not forgetting plenty of pit-stops for an ice cream! Plus, with Southeastern's list of favourite spots for a relaxing stroll that are all just a hop away on the train, we recommend lacing up your walking boots and discovering Kent's countryside, from coast to rural locations for a real local escape.
For low-cost travel around Kent, try Stagecoach’s bus services. Stagecoach makes it easy to get to and from main towns and attractions including the iconic Canterbury Cathedral, blue flag beaches in Thanet, several nature reserves and the historical Dover Castle on the White Cliffs of Dover.