Staycation in West Kent
With wide open landscapes, local produce to tickle all types of taste buds, stunning stately homes, and glorious gardens a-plenty; take a deep breath and feel your mind still on an escape to wonderful West Kent.
Dotted with towns rich in heraldry and nostalgia such as Tenterden, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, and Maidstone, sink into the tranquility, calm and history of this beautiful part of the Garden of England as we guide you through some of the area's spectacular staycation spots.
Please be sure to follow government guidelines when visiting, always check the website for the latest opening and booking information and take a look at our top tips to #RespectProtectEnjoy Kent.
Travel through 14th century history, relish the great outdoors and sink into tranquillity at picturesque Penshurst Place and Gardens. With 48 acres of glorious grounds waiting to be explored and an abundance of historic beauty and grandeur to discover, Penshurst Place offers the perfect peaceful escape. Ponder around the romantic garden, admire the spectacle of colour and take in the bursting borders, before strolling through the historic halls of this elegant stately home.
The largest stretch of open water in the South East, beautiful Bewl Water is set within an area of outstanding natural beauty, right in the heart of the High Weald. For those looking for healthy outdoor activities for all ages and abilities, Bewl Water boasts a fantastic range of leisure and recreational activities, including walking, cycling, fishing, and boating. Fuel up at The Waterfront Cafe before striding out on a scenic ramble around the reservoir. Alternatively, if you're feeling brave, make a splash and put your Total Wipeout skills to the test on Bewl's floating, inflatable Aqua Park.
Looking to get away from it all and escape from the real world for just a few quiet hours? Home to a world-leading collection of conifers, Bedgebury National Pinetum provides a serene setting for peaceful walks and picnics with loved ones on your next staycation. With miles of cycling and mountain-biking, walking, and running trails, as well as Go Ape tree top adventure (not forgetting an adventure play trail), pack a bag and prepare to make lasting memories with the family at beloved Bedgebury this summer.
Spa Valley Railway
Taking the notion of a tasting tour on the move, the brilliant Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells has teamed up with Kent’s premium gin makers Anno Distillery to give visitors a gin tasting experience to remember (or not remember, maybe!) Board the steam train into the heritage 1960s carriages from Tunbridge Wells Station before setting off through the High Weald, sipping a range of refreshing gins and trying tasty canapés as you soak up the scenery. This is one stylish way to experience West Kent, and we're all aboard with the concept...
Godinton House & 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 among 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.
Set in landscaped gardens beside the River Medway, Tonbridge Castle is reputedly one of the finest examples of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, and dates from the 11th century. Explore the castle to find about its dramatic 900-year history and the people who have lived there, including Thomas Beckett. Step inside the impressive 13th-century gatehouse to discover what life was like for past inhabitants with an audio tour and recreation of medieval life.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a gin connoisseur? In the heart of Kent’s county town, step through the doors of Maidstone Distillery to experience the art of distilling in a fun and exciting way. Join a guided tour and delve into centuries of history, the distilling process and a chance to see the still up close, all before taking on a tutored tasting and learning the stories behind their incredible drinks. What's more, true gin buffs can even get stuck in with their very own gin-making experience. Now, that’s the spirit!
Situated just two miles outside of Royal Tunbridge Wells, head straight to Salomons Estate; a stunning Victorian mansion, set within 36 acres of rolling gardens, parkland and woods. Here, you're invited to indulge in a delicious dinner with friends or take in the beautiful views over Sunday lunch. From traditional pub classics to more exotic dishes, Salomons team of talented chefs will provide a seasonally changing menu using only the finest and locally sourced ingredients! Join them for a relaxed and friendly dining experience with a difference!
Feed your appetite in Ashford
We have to admit, Ashford's menu of exciting new eateries has us feeling a little spoilt for choice, so we're giving you not one but two tantalizing recommendations for this foodie hotspot. Passionate about creating delicious, freshly made pasta dishes and authentic pizzas, brand-new restaurant Unita 4 is a must-visit for any Italian food fans. Alternatively, pop across the road and pull up a pew at dynamic, outdoor food & drink destination, The Coachworks. Here you can enjoy a refreshing pint from Boutelliers whilst eating a delicious pizza from Il Pakkero, mouth-watering American BBQ from Streetking Smoke Shack or Mexican inspired dishes from California Cravings. Who's stomach is rumbling now?
Widely acclaimed as 'the loveliest castle in the world' you may be thinking that you've already enjoyed the full Leeds Castle experience, but did you know that an equally lovely dining adventure awaits you within the oak-beamed setting of the site's Castle View Restaurant? Indulge in an evening where you'll enjoy unrivaled views of the Castle lit up spectacularly at night, accompanied by a menu which uses only the finest local and seasonal ingredients, featuring delicious daily specials. Truly a banquet fit for a King or Queen!
Hush Heath Estate
The West Kent region is famous for its award-winning sparkling wine, so why not take a tour of one of our many beautiful vineyards, and walk the sun-kissed vines before sampling some delightful English wine? We recommend enjoying a tour and tutored tasting at scenic Hush Heath Estate. Set in rolling countryside, this 400-acre estate comprises vineyards, orchards and ancient woodland. Your tour will show you the scope of the grounds before taking you into the winery to see how their still and sparkling wine is produced, including Hush Heath's award-winning Balfour Brut Rose. And of course, no visit would be complete without a little tasting to end the day, right?
Stay the night
Mercure Maidstone Great Danes
Set within scenic countryside just a stone's throw away from Leeds Castle, enjoy a marvellous overnight stay at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel. Unleash your competitive side with a game of tennis or golf, hit the health club or gym, or make a splash in the hotel's refreshing 16 metre indoor swimming pool. And, when you're ready to recharge those batteries, head up to your very own home away from home for a well-deserved night's sleep ahead of another action-packed day on your West Kent adventure.
Oldbury Woods Camping & Caravanning Club
After an adventure-filled day exploring what West Kent has to offer, head to Oldbury Hill for a rejuvenating retreat. This gorgeous site sits quietly within Styants Wood, opposite an Iron Age fort in the gorgeous Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From here, you’re a short drive from the National Trust’s Knole country house; Chartwell - the family home of Winston Churchill; Penshurst Palace and Gardens; the beautiful Emmetts Garden; and Hever Castle and Gardens. Who says the staycation fun needs to stop when the sun goes down?
Chilston Park Hotel
Previously home to distinguished politicians, writers, Lords and Viscounts, enjoy a deluxe stay at a gorgeous 17th Century manor house. From delicately exquisite décor to the vast relaxing gardens, live out your fantasies in style with a mix of eloquent classic and bright modern rooms at this charming hotel. Set in the fresh West Kent countryside, this country house has timeless beauty. With its double AA rosette awarded cuisine and magnificent exterior, Chilston Park Hotel oozes luxury from the inside out, perfect for a delightfully relaxed stay.
One Warwick Park
Composed of thirty nine rooms and suites and a range of entertainment spaces, One Warwick Park brings a luxury guest experience to the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. Situated right next to the famous Pantiles and only a few minutes from the train station, the hotel is perfectly located for enjoying all the activities that this beautiful Kentish town and its surrounding countryside has to offer. Expect a personalised welcome, knowledgeable and well-presented staff, a range of options for dining and unwinding in our restaurants and bars, multi-purpose event spaces for weddings and conferences, a unique underground art gallery and bedrooms where relaxation and style are the priorities. Ready, set, relax...
Let your very own fairy tale play out as you live like royalty at the Hever Castle Luxury B&B. Nestled in the glorious Kent countryside, this indulgent and luxurious Tudor-style hotel boasts sumptuous fabrics, rich panelled walls, beautiful roll-top baths and crisp linens. Spend your days delving into 700 years of Hever history at the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, taking in the magnificent moats, challenging mazes and award-winning gardens, before heading back to the hotel for an evening of luxury and elegance. Swoon!
Getting here, and getting around
As restrictions start to lift and the government’s plans to ease out of lockdown come into effect, Arriva are here to support our local communities. Plan your journey, track your bus in real-time, buy, store and activate tickets all in on one handy app. Search Arriva UK Bus app in your app store which is free to download or visit www.arrivabus.co.uk/app. You can also plan your journey, buy tickets and check out the latest news and offers online at www.arrivabus.co.uk. All Arriva buses are COVID-19 secure, to find out more please visit www.arrivabus.co.uk/help/coronavirus
As our worlds begin to open up again, Southeastern Railway are looking forward to welcoming you back on board their trains. Whether you’re continuing to travel for work, starting to think about returning to the office, planning to meet friends and family or are looking forward to visiting one of the wonderful destinations in Kent, Southeastern are there to help and support you every step of the way. Travel looks a little different from before and Southeastern want to reassure you that they are doing everything they can to help make you feel more comfortable, such as cleaning trains more frequently with anti-viral products, regularly wiping high touch areas and supplying hand sanitiser points at busy stations. So whenever you are ready and when it feels right for you, whatever journey you are taking, Southeastern want you to feel you can travel safely and with confidence.