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Off-season breaks and days out

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Ellie Graham
9th January 2024

As we get back into the swing of our everyday routine (someone remind us how to send an email!?), we can’t help but reminisce about the holidays. Days spent seeing friends, exploring the local area, and ending it tucked up with a blanket, warm drink in hand, and memories made. While we’re slowly shaking ourselves back into reality, we thought we’d hang onto that feeling of adventure a little bit longer and share some of our favourite spots for days out during the quieter off season. And if you really need that extra bit of relaxation, why not treat yourself to a short break so that you, family, and friends can make the most of those hidden treasures across the county?

For the Foodies

Dr Forager

For a great day out in the beautiful Kent, get back to basics and learn how to work with nature to produce some tasty, nutritious food. Join Dr Forager (Hannah Scott (PhD)) for a two-hour foraging walk, followed by a cooking demonstration and warm lunch cooked from the foraged food. This informative course is great for everyone interested in the outdoors, and is the perfect way to spend a quiet day. Check back in to see dates for 2024. 

Corkk

If you find yourself in Canterbury this off-season, we know a place that will tick all your boxes – incredible Kentish wine, delicious food pairings, and an ideally relaxed atmosphere. Voted one of the hippest bars in the UK by The Times, and winner of Decanter’s Best Independent Retailer, England and Wales 2023, you’ll have to see for yourself what makes wine bar and restaurant Corkk quite so special.  

Wine Tours of Kent

Join Wine Tours of Kent for an unforgettable journey any time of year. With cosy indoor tasting rooms and winery tours in the colder months, they’ve got you covered (literally!) for year-round adventures. Sit back and relax with your day out on a Kent Wine Tour, discovering the magic of the county’s wine in every season.

Balfour Winery

Pair together Balfour Winery’s Head Chef Dan Austin with Head Winemaker Fergus Elias, and what do you get? An all-new restaurant within the Tonbridge estate that holds English wine and local produce at his core. Your tastebuds will thank you when you visit Balfour, sampling some of the deliciously unique food and wine pairings from their range of local and seasonal inspired menus.

Kent Cookery School

The Kent Cookery School is a place of knowledge, excitement, and commitment to good food. If you’re looking to expand your grasp of the culinary world, look no further – with private classes and group bookings, there are endless options depending on ability, interest, and price range. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, want to know more about plant based cooking, fancy making some pasta with the little ones, or just like to eat good food, book in today!

Quex Barn

If you ever find yourself in the beautiful seaside town of Birchington-on-Sea, be sure to check out the host of wonderful local produce at Quex Barn. With freshly prepared local meats, fish, cheeses, and locally grown veg, there’s a great selection to choose from. Settle down in their fantastic restaurant and sample all of the local deliciousness or grab yourself a freshly made pizza and head on down to the seaside for the afternoon. 

Sparkling Tasting Flight at Gusbourne

Time, patience, quality, and care are all at the heart of Gusbourne’s wines. Set in the beautiful Kentish countryside, you can taste for yourself just how special some of their creations are in their Sparkling Tasting Flight. Bring along friends to this unforgettable experience for a one hour informal yet informative tasting of their Brut Reserve, Rosé, Blanc de Blancs, and Blanc de Noirs. Bask in the wonderful views, taste some local breads and cheeses and, if the weather’s on your side, go for a self-guided tour (or perhaps amble!) around the beautiful estate afterwards.

Curious Brewery Tour

Having been brewing since 2011, we think it’s safe to say that Curious Brewery knows a thing or two about beer and cider! So why not see for yourself what makes them award winning and join in on a tour of their state-of-the-art brewery? Explore the brewery hall, set in the heart of Ashford, followed by a portfolio tasting of four of their exquisite beers/ciders. If you’re really feeling ready to treat yourself, go ahead and enjoy a three-course meal for two in their award-winning restaurant afterwards. 

NorthDown Brewery

Having won two “Taste of Kent Awards”, we think that the North Down Brewery are a sure bet for finding some tasty beers when in Margate. Drawn to the area for its vibrance, welcoming community, and rich history, founders Jonny and Kate Spanjar have been brewing the best, high-quality beers since 2018. Pop in to sample their selection of brilliant beers – from hazy pale ales to flavourful IPAs.

For the Outdoors Lovers

Betteshanger Park

Adventure is calling! And it can all be found at Betteshanger Park – a 250-acre country park sat between Deal and Sandwich with all the outdoor fun you could dream of. With activities such as cycling, fossiling, geocaching, and archery, there’s something for the whole group to enjoy, before settling down in onsite restaurant The Lamp Room for a hearty, lovingly made meal.  

Cyclopark

Whether you’re a cycling pro or beginner, everyone can enjoy a day out riding with Cyclopark. Experience the outdoors through their exciting trails – mountains, roads, dirt tracks galore! Hire a bike for the day and cycle to your heart’s content, and be sure to stop off at Park Eat, where you can enjoy a bite to eat and a drink to get you re-energised.  

Col’s Kent Bike Tours

If you still haven’t got your cycling fix, explore the beautiful Kent with Col’s Kent Bike Tours. People of all cycling abilities can explore the wonder of the county and all that it has to offer. From iconic sights to hidden gems, this is an unforgettable experience for the history buffs, the seaside strollers, the culture lovers, and everyone in between.

Walking in Tunbridge Wells

Right now is the perfect time to be getting out and about in the beautiful Tunbridge Wells. With so many woodlands and winding streets, you’re all set for a day of slow ambles and mindful moments. The Circular Walk has 27.5 miles of wonder to be explored, with plenty of sights, nature and (most importantly) spots for food and drink along the way. Head out this year and enjoy the outdoors.

Nordic walking  

If you want to add something new to your walk, then try out the Nordic Walking Experience! An enhanced walking technique that uses poles to work your upper body and legs, you’ll be sure to feel great in your body and mind and have knowledge to take with you for a lifetime.

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

With such thriving wildlife, you’ll want to set aside some time to visit the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, where you’ll not only get to witness the astounding birds that live here, but also enjoy open days and talks held throughout the year.

Credit: @uksunworshiper

Isle of Thanet Coastline

This is the perfect time of year for all you seaside lovers out there to get in those calmer and quieter walks along the coastline. For those breath-taking skies, stunning seascapes, and revitalising fresh air, be sure to head along the Thanet coastline. From Pegwell Bay in the south to Minnis Bay in the north, take some time for yourself and explore the beauty of the sea.   

Captcha Code

By now, everyone has heard of escape rooms. At The Escapement, they've taken it one step further to give you an even bigger challenge in their adventure ‘The Captcha Code’. Combining the well-known escape room with the much loved treasure hunt, this puzzle sees you and friends as undercover agents in the beautiful seaside town of Broadstairs. Except it’s not chips and sun you’re looking for – it’s hidden locations, local business allies and deep historical mysteries!

Spa Valley Railway

For an unforgettable experience, take a ride on one of Spa Valley Railway’s amazing steam trains. With stunning views of the Kentish countryside and surrounding area, this is definitely something for the bucket list. Plus, during the quieter days during the off-season, you and the family can experience the train like never before.

Samphire Hoe

Continue your outdoors adventure and get a little closer to the coast with a visit to Samphire Hoe. Originally made from the material dug to create the Channel Tunnel, this stunning location allows for an afternoon of getting up close to the flora and fauna of the area. Grab your camera as you head out on a day filled with wildflowers, birds, and (most importantly) peace and quiet.

For the History Buffs

Sandwich Guildhall Museum

Fancy a day of learning while out in Kent? The county is steeped in history, and one of the best places you can learn about it is in the Sandwich Guildhall Museum. Here, unveil the story of the town from Mesolithic times to the modern day. Plus, with displays of an original Magna Carta, you’re in for an unforgettable time in Sandwich.

Battle of Britain Memorial Trust

A remarkable place of pilgrimage and history, the clifftop home of the Battle of Britain Memorial is a must visit with family and friends. While there is plenty to see and do in The Wing, the exterior features are particularly moving during quiet autumn days and beyond.

Canterbury Cathedral

The wonder, history, and culture of Canterbury Cathedral is breath taking year-round – but it’s pretty hard to beat a quiet day’s stroll around the beautiful grounds and the magnificent 1400-year-old building. Come along this year during the week and choose from one of the three ‘Inside Story’ guided tours, or a range of other daily mini talks. Whether you want to learn about Thomas Becket, stained glass windows, or explore the grounds, everyone can enjoy their day out at Canterbury Cathedral.

Sissinghurst Castle

This year, discover the story of Vita Sackville-West and her life at Sissinghurst Castle. Famous novelist, poet, and gardener, Vita and her husband, Harold Nicolson, bought the castle in 1930, and lived there during the Second World War. Now open once again, the Elizabethan Tower of the castle showcases the life and story of Victoria in the spot where she wrote many of her well known books.

Scotney Castle

While the castle is beautiful at all times of year, we can safely say that the coming months make us have heart eyes for Scotney Castle. As the snow melts and the flowers begin to grow, we’re looking forward to walks around the grounds full of blooming daffodils, green hills, and blue skies. Cameras at the ready!

One for the rainy days

Margate Caves

Take the kids out for the day as you venture underground and discover centuries’ worth of history. Beneath the streets of this east Kent seaside town, adventure awaits in the Margate Caves. Get lost in the artefacts and journey of the caves – from Iron Age settlement to its time as a mine, all the way to present day, what will you discover on your visit?

Turner Contemporary

Open year-round, the Turner is a must-see when visiting Margate, with plenty of contemporary art on show in their open and airy space. With views overlooking the sea, those which inspired J.M.W. Turner himself, you’re sure to find some inspiration here amidst the creativity of the coast. And with the café by day, restaurant by night Louie on Sea arriving in 2024, there’s even more reason to add the gallery to your Thanet bucket list.

The Panic Room  

Fancy a mid-week mystery? The Panic Room in Gravesend is the place to go this year to work your mind. Fully immersive and engaging, there’s nothing quite like an escape room, and this is the perfect place to get your thrill fix. Whether you’re coming with friends, family, or co-workers, there’s a room for everyone.

Mug & Meeple Café  

For a day of gaming with friends, come along to the Mug and Meeple Café in Gravesend. Enjoy a drink, a chat with friends and, most importantly, have a go on one of their many board games. With a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, you can settle down here for the day and enter lands of fantasy, mystery, and adventure.

Ashford Designer Outlet

For some midweek deals, head on over to Ashford Designer Outlet, where you can browse through over 100 designer stores, with savings of up to 60% on your favourite brands. Grab a bite to eat, treat yourself to that jumper you’ve always wanted, and even bring your pup along to the dog friendly stores, all while avoiding that weekend rush!

Turn your day exploration into an overnight staycation

Updown Farm

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.

The Marquis of Granby

On the outskirts of Dover, you’ll find the beautiful village of Alkham, offering an idyllic countryside retreat straight from a postcard. End your days of walking the North Downs AONB with an overnight stay at The Marquis of Grandby, a charming and welcoming hotel and restaurant that will make you feel at home right away. Allow the luxury boutique style accommodation and locally sourced, lovingly made meals on offer to whisk you away to a world of utter relaxation.

Feel at home in Folkestone

Folkestone is ready and waiting to bring you, family, and friends the break of a lifetime. You’ll find the F51 Skate Park for some adrenaline, the cosy and inviting Radnor Arms for an afternoon drink, and finally the Harbour Arm to get a bite to eat and to take in those breathtaking sea views. It’s hard to know where to start on the Arm, but we recommend Barney and the Pizza for a delicious slice of artisan hand-fired pizza. And once again, Keepers Cottages are here with a place to rest your head for the evening, whether it’s the refreshing coastal Folkestone Terrace, or cosy home-away-from-home in The Courtyard.

Cosy in Canterbury

Make the most of your trip to Canterbury and experience all that it has to offer, including a visit to the iconic Canterbury Cathedral, a walk along the Old City Wall, a fantastic river boat tour of the city, and a show at The Marlowe Theatre to finish it all off. With so much excitement, Keepers Cottages are bringing you the best places to rest your head for the night – will it be the countryside dream of The Sycamores, or indoor-pool relax-to-the-max Reed Loft? You decide the location, and they’ll do the rest…

Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve

Set on 600-acres of beautiful Kentish countryside, Port Lympne’s accommodation ranges from charming cottages and timber wigwams to luxury immersive lodges, all overlooking the amazing wild animals on the grounds. Stay overnight, explore the grounds and its 900 rare and endangered animals. A safari staycation like no other, this is the perfect place for you and your loved ones to create memories that’ll last forever.

Romney Marsh Shepherd Huts

There’s nothing to transport you to that holiday feeling like a cosy stay in the countryside, and the shepherd huts at Romney Marsh are perfect for just that. With sweeping views across the marsh, an outdoor fire pit for roasting marshmallows, and an indoor wood burner for those blusterier evenings, you’re sorted for your stay. Explore the surrounding area and all it has to offer before coming back to your hut, tucking up by the fire, and basking in the peace and quiet of the countryside.

Caracol Camping

Fancy something a bit more outdoorsy? At Caracol Camping, nestled in an AONB in the High Weald area of Kent and Sussex, you can get that much needed midweek breath of fresh air. An oasis of peace and calm, there are eight tents, all equipped with a BBQ and firepit – who’s ready for dinner?

Southeastern App

With the new app from Southeastern, booking your travel has never been easier. Book tickets in advance before travelling, get live updates of your journey, and see how busy your train is, all on one accessible app. Plus, with no booking fees, you’ll be doing your bit for the planet and your wallet. 

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