Spark your imagination with a trip to East Kent this summer. Feel the sand between your toes, the wind in your hair and with an ice cream in hand, set out to explore the stunning East Kent coastline with its trendy seaside towns, incredible food and eclectic vibe. When you’re ready for a change of scenery, head to Canterbury, the jewel in Kent’s crown and discover the stories and secrets of this incredible ancient city. With one foot in the past and one in the present, East Kent is an exciting and vibrant destination that everyone will enjoy.
Where the sea meets the sky, where the old meets the new and where anything is made possible...
Less than an hour from London with Southeastern’s train links lies the perfect cultural getaway, Canterbury. Complete with medieval streets, excellent food and drink and a whole heap of history to sink your teeth into, this beautiful walled city is a must see on your East Kent adventure. Appreciate the breathtaking architecture of the city’s historic landmarks such as the iconic 11th century Canterbury Cathedral, St.Augustine's Abbey and St.Martin's church with Canterbury Walking Tours. Or if you prefer, why not paddle around the beautiful area by river boat with the award-winning Canterbury Historic River Tours? In the evenings, be sure to watch one of Canterbury’s theatrical treats at the bold and modern Marlowe Theatre, then, try a flavour of East Kent at one of the city’s delicious restaurants including historic Shepherd Neame pub, The Parrot.
The East Kent art scene is thriving, making it a truly exciting time to visit the area. A huge driver of the burst in artistic culture is the Turner Contemporary in Margate, one of the main sources of endless artistic inspiration. This internationally-renowned gallery displays contemporary and historical art in a striking, seafront building designed by award-winning architect Sir David Chipperfield. Turner Contemporary presents a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions, events and learning opportunities, so there’s always something fresh to discover. The gallery was recently selected to host the 2019 Turner Prize, one of the most recognisable awards for the visual arts. Four popular British artists are shortlisted for the award based on success with a particular piece/exhibition held during the year. The work by the selected shortlisted artists will feature in an exhibition at the gallery and the ceremony will be announced live on BBC on the 3rd December 2019.
Don’t miss the Folkestone Artworks on your visit, a collection of outstanding works originally commissioned by Creative Folkestone for the Folkestone Triennial. Grab your guides from the Quarterhouse and embark on a walking tour of the popular seaside town, as the artworks are now on permanent display in public spaces and form the best collection of contemporary art in an urban environment in the UK.
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! East Kent’s seaside towns are certainly having their moment - it’s time for Shoreditch to move over, with a new hipster destination on the scene. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the trendy seaside towns lining the East Kent Coastline, all enjoying a huge renaissance with that sought-after retro feel.
Head to bohemian Whitstable for oysters, shingle beaches and independent shopping or cycle the Crab and Winkle Way for glorious views and seaside air. For a coastal town with bags of character, check out Herne Bay's Victorian bandstand, seafront gardens and family-fun on the pier. For creatives, Margate is a must see - infused with imaginative energy and bursting at the seams with retro fun, including the re-imagined and nostalgic Dreamland theme park. Margate is also home to one of the UK's smallest pubs The Little Prince, the Stagecoach open top bus which takes you all around the area and Old Kent Market, a lovingly restored cinema which now holds a whole host of tempting stalls selling food and crafts.
Nearby Ramsgate is a wonderful blend of maritime heritage and architectural finery with Georgian and Regency squares and cosmopolitan pizzazz. For history, character and the most beautiful beaches and bays, head to Broadstairs, discover the town’s Dickens links, vintage finds and 46 store shopping centre, Westwood Cross. For a touch of retail therapy, Deal is definitely worth the punt, with an award-winning high street, mazy smugglers' lanes and independent stores, this picturesque coastal town offers the perfect savvy shopping experience. Deal is also boasting in heritage with not one but two castles, standing guard of the Kent Coast you will discover Deal Castle, and only just around the corner, the beautiful Walmer Castle.
A visit to the original Cinque Ports, Sandwich and Romney Marsh is a must on your trip, not only a favourite for their beautiful beaches, but also for their unique and entertaining attractions. Stroll back in time along the medieval streets of Sandwich and unveil the fascinating history of this quaint coastal town. Boasting some of the best-preserved, half-timbered houses, a walk along the 'Town Trail' is definitely worth the punt. Soak up the medieval atmosphere, walk along the winding streets, admire the archaic town walls and look at the fascinating architecture of this characterful area .
Ride along Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway for a unique experience that stands as one of Kent's top tourist attractions. Hop on and discover years of steam railway heritage whilst admiring Kent's picturesque countryside. Nearby you will find Port Lympne, set over 600 acres, this animal park is home to the UK’s most authentic safari experience and a range of exotic species- The perfect way to release your wild side.
Travel to the past at one of East Kent’s coastal castles, which are sights to behold and steeped in history. Known as the Key to England, Dover Castle has always been in our nation's first line of defence, guarding our shores from invasion for 20 centuries. Head into the dazzling medieval royal palace in the Great Tower, and immerse yourself into the King's court life. An action-packed family day out complete with secret passageways, winding tunnels, ghost stories, exhibitions and lots of great on-site facilities.
Originally a Tudor fortress, nearby Walmer Castle became the residence of many famous names from the Duke of Wellington to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In the castle grounds, discover eight acres of award-winning gardens and woodland and a brand new natural play trail. After a day of exploring, relax at the new Glasshouse Café, and enjoy afternoon tea in the beautiful setting of the kitchen garden. After unravelling the wonderful history of Deal, only a short drive away lies Richborough Roman Fort in Sandwich. This Saxon shore fortress is perhaps one of the most significant Roman sites in the whole of the UK as it witnessed the beginning to almost the end of Roman rule here. Catch a boat to reach the fort, explore the huge stone walls and take a look around the fascinating museum, a brilliant day out to experience life as a Roman soldier.
Dedicated to those who fought in the skies to protect England from being invaded during World War II, the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne offers a fascinating look into life during the 1940s. The Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall lists the names of all those who took part in the Battle of Britain, nearby replica Hurricane and Spitfire planes stand as a token to the iconic machines that were flown to victory. Visit the first floor cafe after you've finished exploring and take a bite whilst looking out to the stunning views of The Channel.
Drift off in the sun to the soothing sound of the waves, indulge in barefoot beachcombing, build a striking sandcastle, sample a tasty locally-made ice cream and revive on one of East Kent's beautiful beaches. With more Blue Flag shores than any other county in England, the variety of coastal environments to enjoy is staggering. Circle the impressive chalk stacks at Botany Bay, witness the famous Margate sea and sky-scapes or drink in the wide-horizons at Dungeness, the UK’s only desert.
A magnet for water activity enthusiasts, a first-class destination for family holidays and the idyllic spot for lazy beach breaks, East Kent has your summer sorted. Learn to surf in Thanet, kite-surf in Dymchurch, jet-ski in Margate, or sail in Whitstable and after an action-packed day on the sands, indulge in the abundance of foodie seaside treats on offer. Enjoy Michelin-star dining at Seasalter’s famous gastro bar-The Sportsman or bite into one of the many restaurants available across the region which serve locally sourced ingredients, Kent wines and Shepherd Neame ales to get the full flavour of East Kent.
East Kent is the perfect springboard for exploration with its fantastic Southeastern train links across Kent and beyond. Head inland from the stunning coastline and delight at the quintessentially English villages dotted amongst the Kentish countryside. Why not take a trip to beautiful Barham and visit Simpsons Wine Estate to sample their award-winning sparkling wines? Fordwich outside of Canterbury is home to another Michelin-star restaurant, the Fordwich Arms and is well worth a visit. There’s also incredible high speed Southeastern links to London, and international links to Europe so when you’ve enjoyed everything that Kent has to offer, you can head off on your next adventure!
Try your hand at some golf at one of the many clubs situated around East Kent, bound to putt you in the spirit. Home to Royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, one of several courses in the south east to host The Open Championship, Royal Cinque Ports which is regarded as one of the finest in the world, Canterbury Golf club- designed by one of golf's greatest course architects, Harry Colt and Littlestone Golf Club, a unique course in Romney Marsh, there's plenty of courses to choose from in this area. If you fancy putting a hole in one overlooking panoramic views of Deal's seafront then try Walmer & Kingsdown Golf Club, if you prefer to watch the sunset meet Sandwich's shores then Princes Golf Club is definitely worth taking a swing at or maybe Broadstairs is your cup of tee, if so, North Foreland Club is the one for you!