Fill your lungs with a deep breath of fresh air, feel your mind still in the lush countryside and wide open spaces of West Kent and sink into the tranquillity, calm and history of this beautiful part of the Garden of England.
Where rolling hills are lined by the sunset, where memories are made and where your new adventure begins…
The region’s rolling hills are dotted with towns rich in heraldry and nostalgia such as Tenterden, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge all waiting to be discovered. The beautiful area is ripe with tasty and local produce too, including some of England’s most vibrant vineyards. Idyllic countryside meets rustic orchards and hop gardens, all delicately tied by romantic villages and must-see heritage sites.
The West Kent region is famous for its award-winning sparkling wine, so why not take a tour of one of the many beautiful vineyards and explore the sun-kissed vines before sampling some delightful English Wine? The Wine Garden is home to numerous excellent wineries across Kent but head to Chapel Down, Hush Heath Estate and Squerryes which are all in easy reach and offer fascinating tours and tastings, alfresco terrace dining and stunning scenery. Stroll the vines, sit back, take a sip, and relax!
Stroll around the home of enlightened traditionalists at the glorious Gusbourne Estate sitting comfortably between the old and the new of wine making. Immerse yourself in tranquillity and escape to the rolling countryside with a refreshing glass of the vineyard's finest wine in hand. Take a tutored tour through the 60 hectares of sun-kissed vines, discover the vineyards critical success and history at The Nest, learn the secrets behind production in the winery and tantalise your taste buds with the fabulous flavour of Gusbourne’s signature wine in the tasting room.
Find heraldry and history a-plenty across the region which boasts some of the most impressive castles in Britain. At the heart of the Garden of England lies Kent’s county town, Maidstone, home to captivating Leeds Castle. Widely known as “The loveliest castle in the world.”, a stroll round its opulent rooms will reveal the fascinating stories of six English Queens. The glorious surrounding parkland holds a hedge maze, falconry demonstrations and the adrenaline-fuelled treetop walkways of Go Ape, just perfect for a family fun day out.
Enchantingly beautiful, 13th Century Hever Castle lies in Edenbridge, childhood home to Anne Boleyn, this fairy-tale fortress also boasts glorious gardens, two romantic moats and luxurious accommodation. Also in the area you will discover picture-perfect Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens, an inspiration to gardeners world-wide. Take a stroll around years of fascinating English history at Tonbridge castle, from 1066 to the modern day, this beautiful building has stood tall in the heart of the area for 150 years. Learn the stories of magnificent medieval madness, corrupt Kings and brutal battles that have occurred in the watchful eye of the fortress over the centuries.
Kent does not disappoint when it comes to food, boasting some of the finest restaurants and mouth-watering cuisine in the world. With a huge range of fresh, home-grown produce, eating local has never tasted so good. Be spoilt for choice with Michelin-star dining at The West House in Biddenden, delicious traditional dining at The Milk House in Sissinghurst, gastro-pub excellence in the award-winning Goudhurst Inn or fine dining at Chapel Down’s on-site restaurant at The Swan. Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame also has a huge range of excellent pubs and accommodation across the region including the characterful Five Bells near Sevenoaks and the homely Foresters Arms in Tonbridge.
Discover the taste of Kent with a visit to The Kent County Show, a three-day showcase for farming, countryside and rural life. Celebrating quintessentially Kentish produce with displays, entertainment and exhibitions, this festival offers the perfect family fun-fuelled day out. Children can meet their farmyard friends, enjoy sheep sheering demonstrations and judge livestock competitions, whilst the older adventurers can indulge in some of the fresh and local produce, relax with a tipple of choice whilst watching the entertainment or go on a savvy shopping spree to bring the taste of the Garden home. With so much to see and do at The Kent County Show, you would be mad to miss out!
Across the region, the rolling hills and picturesque countryside are dotted with a number of historic towns to explore. The quaint spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells offers a quintessentially Kentish town at its best and is perfect for an afternoon browsing the chic independent shops of the colonnaded Pantiles and High Street. In Maidstone town centre head to Maidstone Museum which is home to the excellent Ancient Lives exhibition, delving into the lives of the Egyptians and Greeks. Visitors can indulge in big-brand retail therapy at the Fremlin Walk shopping centre, take in a show at the Hazlitt Arts Centre or sail along The River Medway on The Kentish Lady. Also worth a stop is Tenterden, known as the Jewel of the Weald- a magnificent market town, with a pretty tree-lined green and a wealth of independent shops and architectural rarities to enjoy.
Gorgeous homes, irresistible gardens, Roman remains and picturesque landscapes. If it’s a stately home you’re after, then West Kent does not disappoint. One of Britain’s most impressive homes is in the heart of Sevenoaks- the vast and enchanting National Trust property of Knole. Dating from the 1450s, visit and you’ll wander through exquisite galleries, past shimmering silver, atmospheric portraits and fine fabrics. While you’re in the area, head to nearby National Trust run properties at Chartwell, the much-loved family home of Winston Churchill; Quebec House, residence of 18th Century soldier General James Wolfe; and Emmetts Garden, with its profusion of shrubs and bluebells in Spring. Stroll around Westerham Walk for the ‘Beating the Bounds’ community event and immerse yourself in Kent culture. Wander through the woodland, take in the rolling hills and in the afternoon join the community for entertainment, refreshments and food on the green.
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. The 11 acres of Elizabethan walled gardens are divided into 11 separate sections by miles of yew hedging. Each display showcases a different planting scheme, colour and layout to give a succession of colour as the seasons change. Ponder around the romantic garden, admire the spectacle of colour and take in the bursting borders, then stroll through the historic halls of the elegant stately home. Boasting 60 ft high chestnut beamed ceilings, furnishings laced in gold and grand displays in abundance, this beautiful home offers the epitome of elegance to its visitors.
Rolling hills, sun drenched Vineyards, ripe orchard and lush idyllic landscapes, get back to nature and explore one of the many walking routes and forest strolls in the area, taking in the outstanding countryside of the region. At Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, explore one of the world’s best collection of conifers, head out for a walk or a mountain bike ride, or fly through the treetops on the Go-Ape high ropes adventure trail. For more outdoor family fun a visit to nearby Bewl Water offers fishing, water sports and cycling aplenty. Head to Mote Park and monkey around at the brand new adventure playground, perfect for adrenaline junkies, pack a picnic, stretch those legs and explore the 50 acres of parkland at Cobtree Manor or for a portion of fresh air and a healthy dose of competition, take a swing at the London Golf Club, offering a diverse, challenging and memorable game to players.