With fields of green, vineyards, villages and market towns, West Kent is the perfect weekend break for when you just need a country escape. Better yet with a whole host of accommodation, food and drink options and days out that place sustainability at their heart, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be helping to do your bit for the planet, including this pretty spectacular corner of the world.
Stretching from Surrey all the way over to Dover, the North Downs Way offers a walking experience like none other across our beautiful county. All throughout Maidstone, you can explore the area through many circular routes, seeing bountiful flora and fauna along your way. With views over the Weald and the Thames estuary, you’re going to want to pack your camera for this one! Plan your walk and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the Kentish countryside.
Believe it or not, sometimes shopping can be an environmentally conscious activity…Ashford Designer Outlet has welcomed Bond Street to Your Street, the boutique that’s all about shaking up the fashion industry. With a store full of pre-loved designer items at your fingertips, a shopping experience here is all about slowing down fashion and promoting sustainable shopping habits. And it doesn’t hurt that those designer items have been cleaned and authenticated by the pros, helping you save the pennies and make a big difference to the planet.
Not got enough of those long walks throughout the county? Step back in time on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of St Augustine from Rochester Cathedral, past medieval Aylesford Priory and Canterbury Cathedral and Abbey, ending at the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate. Enjoy a taster with short group trails, but plan for the future to do the full week-long trail!
Based in Biddenden UK Electric Bike Centre just so happens to be in the heart of some of Kent’s most glorious green countryside. Hire one of their e-bikes and you can pedal through the Garden of England to your heart’s content, with a battery that lasts for up to 70 miles – phew! What’s more those batteries are charged via solar panels, making that car-free trip through the countryside even greener. Tour some of Kent’s most beautiful gardens or take a loop around some of our famous vineyards for a visit complete with vines and vino.
12,000 trees make up Bedgebury Pinetum’s incredible collection of conifers, making it an important habitat for flora and fauna great and small. Pay this Forestry Commission site a visit and you’ll even be able to do your bit, discovering and recording wildlife using the iNaturalist app to help the team protect and provide habitats throughout the forest. Seasoned naturalist or enthusiastic amateur, you’ll be guaranteed an adventure here.
Three decades and 300 acres of wood and grassland have helped Moat Farm to become an absolute haven for wildlife, and visitors looking for an escape from the hubbub. Wild and natural, Moat Farm is home to many rare and endangered species thanks to the careful conservation that has gone into this beautiful location. Head into the wilderness with a conservation safari in search of Tamworth pigs, orchids, owls and Romney sheep before rounding off the day with your very own campfire with the family, surrounded by nature.
When it comes to locally grown produce, it’s safe to say that Kent is the place to be (they don’t call us the Garden of England for nothing!), and the team over at Curious Brewery knows it. Among their amazing selection of brews, our current favourite has got to be the Pilsner, made using only Kent-grown ingredients, and it sure does show. With delightful notes of citrus, orange, and lemon, with a dash of that classic Kent Challenger hop bitterness, this is one to be enjoyed on those warm days we’re starting to see. New to the brewery, you can now also dine on a delicious, handmade pizza – with veggie, vegan, and gluten free options, you’re set for the perfect dinner spot.
Oh boy, you’re in for a treat with this one. This award-winning restaurant offers a countryside location, the freshest seasonal produce and a menu that truly makes the very best of Kent’s finest ingredients. Whether you choose to settle on the terrace with panoramic views of the open countryside, or cosy up in the oak framed barn, Frasers has got to be on the foodie hitlist. Sustainability is of course at the heart of it all, with local artisan producers, suppliers and minimal food miles all earning this fantastic foodie find a place on our list.
When it comes to sustainable wine making, it’s safe to say that Gusbourne know a thing or two. As a founding member of the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain, you can enjoy sampling their amazing selection of wines that have been grown with care and appreciation. Optimising soil health, reducing pesticide use, promoting biodiversity, and reducing energy input are just a few of the values at the heart of what they do. Head along to their gorgeous vineyard in the heart of Ashford and see for yourself the effects of all this hard work in one of their tours and tastings.
Designer shopping, electric-powered cycle tours through the countryside…we’re all about that taste of luxury over in West Kent and nothing adds that taste of luxury like a visit to Balfour Winery's state-of-the-art tasting room. Those rolling vineyards sit within an immaculate Gold Accredited estate, where conservation sits at the heart. Take the tour and you’ll learn about the numerous beehives, wildlife meadows and oak woodlands that play host to fallow deer, buzzards and barn owls, and an estate that strives to preserve its habitats and species. Inside, you’ll of course find sensational sustainable wines, that form part of the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain scheme, perfect for sipping on and raising a toast to this incredible corner of the world.
In south-west Kent lies the Romney Marsh, famous for its non-human inhabitants – sheep! In 2008, Romney Marsh Wools was set up to produce things such as the classic throws to soap and caps, all made here in the UK fully or partly using the renewable source that is sheep’s wool. To really make the most of the cosy benefits of wool, a night at the Romney Marsh Shepherd Huts under the wide-open skies sounds rather nice!
If an eco-friendly hideaway in the countryside sounds like your dream break, we hear you. With their gorgeous yurts Bloomsburys Biddenden’s glamping in the great outdoors is the ultimate way to relax in nature. With solar-powered toilet and shower facilities, hot tubs, underfloor heating and therapeutic massages all on site, this glamping trip combines low impact sustainability with that taste of comfort and luxury. And for the ultimate treat, we recommend gathering around the campfire for drinks and s’mores to help restore some zen.
Unspoiled countryside – tick. An escape from the daily grind – tick. Environmentally friendly accommodation – tick. Whether you’re gathering up the friends and family, or are looking for a romantic retreat, Bore Place’s range of cute cottages, stables and manor house(!) offer comfort, dog friendly, family friendly, spacious living for a home away from home that just so happens to come complete with wide open skies, rolling countryside, wildlife, and activities including bat walks, wild swimming and much much more. Plus with a Green Tourism Gold Award and efforts to make this a carbon neutral site, you can rest assured this team has a real commitment to sustainability.
We’re guessing you’ve got the message by now – being more sustainable doesn’t mean compromising on luxury, so allow us to introduce you to Bourne Valley. This cosy glamping retreat sits in the Weald of Kent Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so it’s no wonder these guys want to do everything they can to protect this pretty corner of the world. Stay in their beautiful bell tent and you’ll have the chance to reconnect with nature in ultimate comfort with Egyptian cotton bedding, hot showers, fluffy towels, your very own fire pit, and your choice of locally sourced foodie treats to cap off the day. Better still, this site is completely off the grid, so you can say goodbye to those never-ending Teams notifications (please say it's not just us) and truly embrace the digital detox.
You don't need us to tell you that the most sustainable form of transport has got to be public transport. With high speed links from London, and train stations throughout Kent, let Southeastern trains take the strain on your next trip. Once you're here, Stagecoach offers great local links, getting you from A to B more sustainably.