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Holly Loftus
24th April 2024

The month of May is National Walking Month, which out of many celebration and awareness events that are celebrated (we’re looking at you National Chocolate Day), is one of the healthiest – we can’t think of much better than getting out in the fresh air on a gentle or brisk stroll in the spring air. To bring together everything that this month celebrates, we’ve put together some of the best walks and places to wander in Kent, from wellbeing walks to monster 20+ mile routes! 

Art along the North Downs Way

As the green starts appearing on our trees this May, take a wander along the North Downs Way. Not only is it a stunning landscape and a superb place to walk between villages, there are also stunning sculptures which make up a piece of the GREAT ARTdoors, which is an open-air gallery across the 153 miles. Start the journey to seeing some of these artworks by walking from Wye to Chilham, with a route guide available here. On this section, you will see ‘Coppice Oratory’ By Tchonova + La Roi, a  sculpture that is made from coppiced chestnut directly from the forest woodland. Further on your way to Canterbury, and near the village of Chilham sits 'Feel Our Voice' by Kezia Cole, which enables light to filter through the piece and creates a visual ripple as the visitor walks past. Plus, if you've walked the 7~ miles to Chilham, there's a nice reward in a village pub - The Woolpack Hotel, or a Kentish wine tasting room in the Tudor Peacock

Betteshanger Country Park

Sitting just outside of Deal is Betteshanger Country Park, a former colliery site, which offers 250 acres of land where you can follow footpaths and trails throughout grassland and woodland. One of their most popular routes is the our picturesque blue lake, where you'll spot all sorts of wildlife, such as dragonflies. Atop the park, you can get panoramic views towards the Cinque Ports town of Sandwich and beyond to Ramsgate. Heading south, you can venture on footpaths out toward Deal - which might just be warm enough for a sea dip in May! 

Shepherd Neame pub walks

There’s nothing quite like finishing off a countryside ramble in a pub garden, either grabbing a quick refresher or putting back on those calories burned. With Kent’s most famous brewer having a selection of pub walks to choose from, each starting and ending up at one of their country pubs, you can stride out on your Sunday wanders safe in the knowledge that you'll have a pint and bite waiting when you get back. 

Tunbridge Wells circular

The Royal Spa town is well worth a walk around regardless, with its rolling hills and beautiful historic centre - seek some countryside solace at The Commons. However if you’re looking for an out of town experience, then head out on the (only if wish to make it as long) 27.5 mile route. From stops such as Groombridge Place to sites painted by JMW Turner. With this varied and beautiful walk you may just end up walking further than expected! If you need a little more inspiration, take a look at some additional, possibly shorter routes at Visit Tunbridge Wells


Sitting on the coastline, and with the Downs on its doorstep, the town in south east Kent is the perfect base for Walking Month, but if you're more inclined for the easier strolls, head out on the UK’s largest outdoor exhibition of contemporary art - Folkestone Artworks. Not only is it the place to spot some of the country's and worlds top artists it also happens to be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Head over to their website and download the map to find 74 sites. 

If you're looking to venture further, walk along the coastline between Folkestone and Hythe, and wander the Hythe Royal Military Canal, a peaceful journey by lapping water under trees. For a little fuel up before heading back to Folkestone, visit the Lazy Shack which serves fresh local produce, ranging from lobster and scrumptious breakfasts. 

Just inland, between Canterbury and Hythe is the Elham Valley, one of the county's most picturesque pieces of hilly countryside. There is s 22.5 mile route which sees you walking from Hythe through the Valley to Canterbury, but if you don't feel like taking the full journey, stop at the The King's Arms at Elham which has had a recent revamp! 

Bedgebury Pinetum

Surrounding yourself with trees to relax whilst you walk is a fast track way to recharging those batteries. At Bedgebury National Pinetum, their beautiful landscape is ideal for beginners as well as being home to longer trails for the seasoned walker. Immersed in the noises of nature too, there'll be a natural soundtrack to your stroll during early summer with all sorts of birds and insects. Picnics are encouraged at Bedgebury, so plant yourself on a fallen log among the shade of the giant redwoods along Dallimore Valley. What's better is that this particular trail is all-ability accessible, and if needed, people with limited mobility can book Bedgebury's all-terrain vehicle for free.

If you are looking to really help your mental and physical wellbeing, take a Rambler wellbeing walk, which is a nice way to unwind and meet local people on a 90 minute wander through the forest, all at your own pace. 

Countryside and ice cream

There’s a perfect combination in a countryside walk and ice cream. Around Solley’s farm yard, you can head out on a trail which gives visitors the chance to learn more about the nature that inspires their ice cream through to how their working farm is utilised all year round. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, then there are plenty of routes across the rolling country and through the small villages. Once you’ve either tackled a 2km, or even a 7km route, you can restock on the calories you’ve burned by stopping at the ice cream parlour – what’s not to like! 

Photo: Explore Kent

The King Charles III England Coast Path

With more favourable weather in Kent during May, the coast becomes an even more reliable option for a wander. The King Charles III England’s Coastal Path, is a new walking route that follows the entire coast of England, soon to be when completed, the largest coastal path in the world! Now, before you begin your adventure, you must check out the interactive map to view what sections of the trail are open in the South East, and so fair you can find Folkestone, Ramsgate and Whitstable on the map.

Penshurst Place

As spring approaches, warmer days arrive and the scent of freshly cut grass fills the air, getting out for a walk is the best kind of day! Whether it's a relaxed Sunday stroll, a mid-week walk or family day out, a parkland walk on the Penshurst Place Estate is perfect for any occasion. Explore the scenic routes of the Kent countryside whilst admiring the views of Penshurst Place and Gardens nestled in the heart of the village of Penshurst. Even better, the circular walk around the parkland starts and finishes at the Porcupine Pantry Café, and with free parking available in the adjacent visitor car park, this is an ideal spot to don your boots and get outdoors!

Chiddingstone Castle

If you've headed here from Penshurst Place or not, with 35 acres of Kentish countryside, Chiddingstone Castle is another of Kent's iconic spots to truly relish in springtime. A simple wander around the grounds means you'll take in views of the Kent Weald, with the imposing castle backing your garden views. Yet, if you're after something a little more bracing, take a 4 mile trail around the local area spotting locations such as Ide Hill and Greensand Ridge, or perhaps you'd be daring enough to do the 11 miles back again to Penshurst Place! 

Thanet's walking trails

Gentle strolls await in Thanet, as the home of the sandy beaches and quaint seaside towns has plenty of trails to discover. You may have heard of the iconic Viking Coastal Trail to the Turner and Dickens walk, but there are even more to ramble on. If you fancy scratching under the surface of Margate, a self-guided town route is for you – covering the Surfboat Memorial to the Tudor House. To get to nearby Broadstairs, take the JMW Turner and Charles Dickens' walk, which will see you pass the likes of Drapers Mill on an ancient footpath. In Ramsgate you can soak in the architectural delights left by AWN Pugin in Ramsgate by following in his footsteps

Tansy in the Wild

Continuing the forest exploration, consider a gentle and incredibly calming afternoon or day with Tansy in the Wild, who leads a wide variety of unique workshops & day-long retreats that are predominantly around Forest Bathing, which is sure to immerse you in the beauty and tranquility of our green planet. Your time with Tansy will take you on a peaceful wander through trees and nature, before exploring the likes of Qigong. Explore all of Tansy's events here, or take a 1-2-1 wellbeing walk for instance. 


With no less than 11 acres of stunning woodland to wander and get those steps racked up, Reuthe's, The Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks will spark wonder in spring. With specialist plants such as suitably flowering rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias your walk won't feel difficult at all - and don't worry if you stop to take pictures, that'll still count toward the goal! Equally, if you cover all 11 acres you might need some fuel, so head to their Basecamp Café which is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. 


National Trust walks

Did you know that some of your favourite Kent attractions such as Ightham Mote and Chartwell have acres of walks just waiting to be trodden? The National Trust have helpfully put together a list of their properties that feature both short and longer walking routes. For instance, Scotney Castle have guided walks led by volunteers that take in the hidden gems of the estate, and towards Sevenoaks, you can take in magnificent viewpoints on a walk circling Emmetts Garden. 

Hike South East

Get those walking boots on, it’s time to hike with Hike South East! Choose from a selection of guided walks along the beautiful countryside of the South East including areas of outstanding natural beauty!

‘Toys and Mariners Hills’ is a 9 mile hike from the village of Westerham through the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to Toys Hill and Mariners Hill. Oh yes, you’ll be sure to spot some stunning view along the way and you’ll also pass the historic Chartwell!

The ‘Via Francigena: Canterbury to Shepherdswell’ is a 12 mile hike, pilgrimage route from Canterbury Cathedral along the North Downs Way, finishing at Shepherdswell before catching the train back to Canterbury. Along the way you’ll visit the beautiful Norman church of St Mary and hear all about the pilgrimages and Anglo-Saxon culture.

South Foreland Walk

Begin your journey at Walmer Station, or near Walmer Castle & Gardens, and take in the historic castle built in 1540. From there, admire all of the countryside views and walk onward to the Zetland Arms on the beach in Kingsdown. After a refresh, continue on toward the South Foreland lighthouse along the cliff top paths, and stopping at the peaceful village of St Margaret's Bay, which has another pub stop in the Coastguard and the stunning 6 acres of gardens at the Pines Garden, set behind the White Cliffs. Your last stop after going up and down on the undulating cliffs is the South Foreland Lighthouse atop the cliffs, with its visitor centre and tea rooms and unrivalled views of the busy English Channel and the French Coast - this was the location for the first international wireless transmission by Marconi in 1898 and for good reason!   


Country Parks and Reserves galore in Medway! 

The Medway area in the north of Kent is a haven for getting outdoors with landscapes and feature that will glisten in the summertime. For instance, there is Capstone Farm Country Park that has opportunities for walking over former farmland on the North Downs, alive with woodland, meadows and old orchards. For those seeking wide views, venture to Nashenden Down which has 55 hectares of land that is full of wild flowers and grazing animals, and handily it has a 3.5km circular walk - all signposted!

Discover more Medway meanders here

Keepers Cottages

You didn’t think we’d miss helping you out on where to rest those legs and relax after your hike did you? Because of course Keepers Cottages have lots of amazing cottages that make the perfect base for your hiking trip!

Meggett Cottage - Located in the Alkham Valley, this cottage on a working farm has ample opportunities to amble - from the National Landscape area to nearby Folkestone as we've already mentioned! 

Reed Loft - Located in Kingston, this spectacular property has access to an indoor pool and sauna for ultimate relaxation after walks, plus the neighboring villages all have great pubs so you can feast to fuel your next day out. 

The Modern Cottage - Located in the beautiful seaside town of Whitstable, this historic property with underfloor heating and other high standard features is the perfect base for the Crab and Winkle Way!


University of Kent

Looking to find your perfect base to retreat back to whilst on your walking holiday? We’ve got just the thing. Just steps away from the Kent Downs, and you’ll find the University of Kent, a 4.5 start campus accommodation conveniently located just a 30-minute walk from the heart of Canterbury. With stunning views that overlook the famous Canterbury Cathedral and with the local area consisting of beautiful walks such as the River Stour which leads to Chartham or the Crab and Winkle Way, this might just sound like your ideal spring walking break!

Training your way around

And no, we don’t mean training for these routes! If you need to travel to these starting points, or stop earlier than you predicted then there will be a train nearby to take you home! Be sure to find your nearest station at Southeastern’s website.

Stagecoach's buses will take you to these starting and end points

A good number of these routes are handily served by Stagecoach East Kent's routes, including those harder to reach stops such as the middle of the Elham Valley, so to ensure you carry on reducing your carbon footprint and get home safely while doing so, plan your journey here

Kent Connected

As much as we love travelling across Kent, there's also a cost to that if we go by individual cars, which doesn't apply here if you're using your two feet, but it does if you need to get to that starting point! With Kent County Council's Kent Connected, you can handily plan your route and show you how much CO2 and calories you'll burn travelling certain ways. For example, taking Southeastern's train route from Margate to Canterbury takes a little less time compared to driving, and emits 70% less pollution than driving!