Ria Carpenter
17th August 2020

After spending the last few months staring at the same four walls, we’re all itching to escape the living room and indulge in some kind of normality- a tent in the garden just doesn’t have the same effect, does it? Packing up the car and escaping to somewhere far, far away (although very desirablemay seem a little daunting right now. Luckily for us, Kent has all you need to really get away from it all, to start reconnecting with your nearest and dearest and to remain safe and smiling during your trip. With our rolling countryside, glorious greens as far as the eye can see, unspoiled landscapes and hidden gems, leave the passports at home and take a second to slip into neutral. The frets and worries are certain to drift away in the Secret Garden of England... 

Before setting sail on your adventure, make sure you Know Before You Go and check our partner websites before you visit, as many of our attractions and accommodation require booking in advance. Why not take a look at our guidance on how to best Respect, Protect and Enjoy our beautiful Kent attractions and landscapes to ensure everyone can remain a happy camper during your retreat? So, get those bags packed, leave the passports firmly in the draw, and get ready to really get away from it all in Kent...

Dip your toes in regal Ramsgate 

If ambling around independent shops, dining alfresco in quaint cafes, and admiring exciting art galleries are on your holiday bucket list, then get those bags packed and the checkboxes ticked! Ramsgate and its Royal Harbour (the only one in the UK don’t you know) await. With its golden sand, waterside bars, and bustling restaurants, this little slice of the East Kent Coast truly reaches the epitome of cosmopolitan. Once you’ve indulged in Ramsgate’s regal lifestyle, don those history hard hats and step down to Ramsgate Tunnels, the UK’s largest network of underground wartime tunnels. Turn the page on the fascinating story of how thousands took shelter here during the war and bring the most important part of Ramsgate’s history back to life.

The worst kept secret at Ightham Mote 

Shhhh, don’t let this one slip out. It’s well known across Kent that Ightham Mote is one of our most-favoured hidden gems. Lose yourself in this romantic, moated manor house, described by David Starkey as 'one of the most beautiful and interesting of English country houses'. Watch as the stress and worries of the last few months drift away as you unwind in the picturesque grounds. With 700 years of history, a picturesque courtyard and a Tudor painted ceiling waiting to be discovered, there’s no better place to get away from it all than amidst the fairytale palace of Ightham Mote. We won’t tell if you don’t... 

Ightham Mote is Good To Go. Please remember to book ahead. Enjoy fantastic savings at Ightham Mote with the Kent Pass.

Blooming marvelous adventures 

We’re all in desperate need of brightening our calendars, and the 11 acres of glorious gardens at Penshurst Place are certain to add a splash of colour. Stroll through the array of garden ‘rooms’ indulged by aromatic perfumes, and admire the adorning collection of flourishing borders and beds. As you wander through the grounds, keep a lookout for the concealed entrances hidden between the hedges which offer an idyllic spot to sit back, and soak in the tranquility of your surroundings. For those looking to really s t r e t c h out, the 2,500 acres of parkland that border the estate aren't to be missed. Whether on foot or two wheels, the open meadows, riverside paths, and enclosed woodlands offer the perfect measure of calm...

Penshurst Place is Good To Go. Please book a slot in advance.

Retreat, relax and rest in charming Canterbury 

Calling all the stargazers, the luxurious lazers, the snug snoozers, and the royal resters! Wherever you prefer to close your eyes, Canterbury will have you covered. Lovers of the great outdoors will adore the cosy, eco-friendly lodges of Great Field Farm, or the tranquil, uninterrupted views of the North Kent Downs at Palace Farm Campsite. Looking for something a little more lavish? Rest in a bed fit for a queen at the beautiful, Grade 1 listed Broome Park Hotel, or roam free around the creeky halls, rolling hills and mysterious mazes of 12th Century Howfield Manor (our inner Professor Plum is screaming right now)... 

A room with a view 

Are your Instagram feeds in desperate need of some sparkle? Spend the night in Canterbury Cathedral Lodge and leave with not only a heap of life-long memories, but a camera roll full of FOMO-inducing shots. As the name suggests, the lodge is idyllically located in the private grounds of Canterbury Cathedral, with the iconic structure viewed right from your bedroom window. We mean, it doesn’t get much better really does it? So if you really want to get away from it all this summer, Canterbury Cathedral Lodge truly is the ultimate secret escape. Well, until you get home and post it all over social media that is... 

Canterbury Cathedral Lodge is Good To Go

Discover your new favourite at the White Cliffs 

Ahh, the great outdoors- how weve missed you! It’s time to dust off the cobwebs from those hiking boots and step along England’s Coastal Path. Traveling from the idyllic Cinque Port town of Sandwichthrough Deal’s mazy smuggler lanes, before finally uncovering the rich heritage of delightful Dover, the trail is the perfect way to unearth the White Cliffs Country’s hidden gems dotted along the way! Whether you take a deep breath of fresh coastal air, watching as the boats go by at Sandwich Quayside, indulge in a delectable meal with sensational seaside views at Deal Pier Kitchen, sip on a tempting tipple whilst soaking up the sun at the Zetland Arms or stumble upon the fascinating story of the South Foreland Lighthouse, you're sure to discover your new favourite spot in the White Cliffs Country! 

A seaside stay

After your days walking the coastal paths and running on the beaches, you'll want somewhere comfortable, accessible and, most importantly, safe to rest your head. Look to the Leaf Hotel Dover for a secluded night away close to Deal and Dover, and ideal for exploring the picturesque surrounding of Bridge and Chilham. If you want to close to all the action, Best Western's Dover Marina and Clifton Hotels are waterfront hotels in Dover and Folkestone, offering coastal views within a short walking distance of the town centres. 

Take a little tyhme 

Escape the four walls and retreat to Mount Ephraim Gardens' ten acres of breathtaking Edwardiagrounds, beautifully backdropped by Swale’s sweeping countryside. Admire the beauty that radiates from the glorious garden, whilst soaking in the postcard-perfect views of the Swale and Thames Estuaries. No sun? No problem! With the plethora of beautiful blooms that diffuse alluring aromas and intoxicating colour all year round, no matter the weather or season, Mount Ephraim Gardens is sure to bring its own distinctive pleasures! 

Enjoy fantastic savings at Mount Ephriam with the Kent Pass.

Escape and rejuvenate  

There really is no better way to unwind than by relaxing the mind, body, and soul with a trip to one of Tunbridge Wells’ spas. Do as much, or as little as you please, and if you choose the latter we won’t judge! Take your foot off the accelerator when you retreat to Knowle Grange and immerse yourself in the serene and peaceful surroundings. In desperate need of a pick me up? The Body Glow package comes complete with a 60-minute body massage, followed by a 30-minute Indian Head Massage, so you can be sure to leave with a warm glow. 

Wanders in the woodland 

Nestled within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cobham Wood and Mausoleum is one of the few remaining ancient wood pastures in the UK. With the mix of unspoiled open spaces, sweeping grassland and mature trees, there’s more than enough space to keep visitors safe and smiling during your adventure here. Standing tall on the highest point of the park is the beautiful 18th-century Mausoleum, which featured in the BBC's Restoration programme in 2003. After exploring the glorious greenery of Cobham Wood, fill those rumbling stomachs with a hearty lunch at The Leather BottleWith a range of delicious dishes on offer, from traditional pub grub to tasty international plates, prepare for those tastebuds to be truly tantalised! 

Live in luxury 

Retreat from the hustle and unwind in the Kentish countryside where you will discover the romantic country house of Chilston Park Hotel. Previously home to distinguished politicians, writers, Lords and Viscounts, this elegant estate holds a spellbinding timeless beauty which encapsulates the style of past guests and residents. Enjoy a ravishingly regal stay as you soak in the delicately exquisite décorlovingly landscaped gardens, and the mix of eloquent classic bright modern furnishings.

Get lost in glorious gardens

Twelve acres of parkland and gardens await at Godinton House and Gardens, in the heart of the Kent countryside. Surrounding the impressive Jacobean manor house, the gardens are laid out into beautifully designed rooms, with favourites including the walled garden, rose garden and elegant Italian garden. Pick your way through wild flowers and roses, and you'll discover hidden sculptures amongst the gardens. Dotted with impressive great oaks, there's also plenty of secluded spots where you can sit, listen to birdsong and soak up the Kent good life. 

Please pre-book garden visits.

© Mobile Food Guide

Immerse yourself in the seasons 

Enjoy fantastic food in a picturesque countryside location at The Dove, Dargate. Since taking the helm back in 2018, business partners William Shenow-Brady and Sophie Webb have established The Dove as one of Kent’s leading gastropubs. The pub can trace its origins back to the early 17th century, then a very basic affair, although the current building dates from 1872. It has recently undergone a stylish and sympathetic renovation. Voted Shepherd Neame's 'Best Food Pub' 2019, their award-winning menu changes frequently to reflect the seasonal produce available, sourced locally wherever possible.

Retreat to nature 

Nothing captures the imagination like a forest, get away from it all and escape from the real world by exploring the national forest to your heart’s content. Bedgebury National Pinetum is the place to go. This summer your family can create their own adventures at Bedgebury! The forest has miles of family cycling and mountain-biking, walking, and running trails. The forest provides a beautiful setting for peaceful walks and picnics, a place truly out of fantasy.

Freedom in Folkestone 

Sometimes to truly get away from the pressures in modern-day life, all you need is wide open spaces, fresh air, and nature. Head to Lower Leas Coastal Park, you can walk through the pine avenues, gardens and flowers which are blooming all year. If you want something more remote, head to the Folkestone Downs, home of the Folkestone Warren. With spectacular views and fascinating wildlife, there is no better place to stretch your legs and clear your head.

Happiness in Hythe 

If you want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in Nature and history, then you need to head to Hyne! Walk along the Royal Military Canal, first created as a major military defence against Napoleon between 1804 and 1809, its now a tranquil haven for wildlife. Or get re-energized at the Hythe Imperial Spa, enjoy a stroll along the sea front, fill your lungs with fresh sea air, then come and awaken your senses.

Beautiful Belmont views

Whilst the beautiful Georgian house remains closed, Belmont House Gardens enjoys commanding views of the rolling Kent countryside whilst you explore the luscious terrain, ensuring splendid views as far as the eye can see. A fusion of modern and traditional gardening, the gardens include a walled garden, pinetum, wooded areas, formal lawns and a large kitchen garden. Colourful, peaceful and serene – the gardens are truly a feast for the eyes in every season. Make a day of it and head to their tearoom for a takeaway service of sandwiches and cakes. The gardens are back open daily from 10am-6pm, but key workers can enter from 9am.

Belmont House remains closed but their gardens and tearoom are open. Please remember to book ahead.

Marvelling in Medway

Getting away from it all doesn’t need to be expensive – or cost anything at all! To hear sweet birdsong and marvel at some spectacular views, the Norths Down Way can offer you miles of stunning nature reserves like Nashenden Down, Bluebell Hill and Ranscombe Farm. Head out for a ramble in the countryside and spot some rare wild flower species, or to see something truly special, bird-watching enthusiasts should head to Northward Hill for everything from herons to harriers.