You don't have to be an experienced rambler to enjoy the benefits of walking - just a simple stroll in the great outdoors can reduce stress, aid a good night's rest and help create a positive mental health space, which is something we all need to prioritise right now. Though it might look less than inviting on a gloomy day, these sprawling, quiet walking routes will help you dust off the cobwebs and give you a breath of fresh air - and of course, we hope the stunning Kent terrain you encounter will help put a spring in your step.
Getting into nature is the ultimate medicine for that winter darkness and chill, so over in Medway you'll be right at home with their outdoor spaces. For instance, take Capstone Farm Country Park which offers plenty of winter activities to brush off the cold - walking, running, cycling throughout former farmland on the North Downs. Over in Nashenden Down, you'll have 55 hectares of former arable land that is now bustling with nature, wild flowers and grazing animals, which can all be taken in by a 3.5km marked circular walk, reached by the North Downs Way footpath. For even more ideas, head over to Visit Medway's dedicated winter walking page.
The extraordinary nature reserve of Samphire Hoe is the perfect place for a stroll with an invigorating sea breeze - not to mention a great vantage point for marveling at the world-famous White Cliffs of Dover.
With Samphire Hoe approximately taking in 2km, you might want something a little longer in the area. Our suggestion? Take a walk along the iconic White Cliffs of Dover on King Charles III England Coast Path, a piece of the National Trail totalling almost 2,800 miles being established around the entire English coastline. The White Cliffs of Dover have been described as one of the top 10 places to walk in the country and visitors can enjoy an exhilarating walk, taking in stunning views of the English Channel. If you continue it a little further beyond the National Trust Lighthouse, venture onward to Kingsdown, passing through St Margaret's Bay where The Coastguard makes for a very welcome stop!
Head over to the White Cliffs Country website to get some more inspiration of walks in the area here.
We've given you the area's best walks, but how about somewhere to stop and rest after them?
Handily, there are stops with sea views, wood burners (yes please after getting chilly on the coast!) and pet friendly, which means you can bring your four legged pal along with you for these wanders too.
We're in Kent - we have to mention the Downs National Landscape! Being an imposing backdrop whether you are in the south near Dover or north towards Medway, they are perfect for a challenging or steadier walk. A walk on the Downs can be started and finished anywhere you like with a venture along the North Downs Way National Trail, but the views from the Devils Kneading Trough are certainly to be admired if you'd like a starter! Here's a handy link for some walking trails courtesy of Kent Downs National Landscape.
Whether it's beautifully frosted in winter, or covered in vibrant red ivy in autumn, Hever Castle is one of our favourites spots for strolls on chilly days. With a general closure of the castle over the colder months of the winter, the stunning castle exterior can be enjoyed from the luscious gardens, where you can explore the winter foliage and head for a walk around the Italian-inspired Loggia and lake. From February 7th the wider castle opens once more to visitors, so you can drop into warmth, and history!
Circling around the beautiful estate of the 14th century Scotney Castle, the Scotney Parkland Trail is the perfect walk to discover the little stream that feeds the moat, beautiful woodland and panoramic views of the castle and its parkland. The total distance is just under 2 miles, so definitely manageable for a shorter afternoon stroll. If you still have a little energy left, head across to nearby Bewl Water, where you can walk the total lakeside distance of 13 miles or split it into shorter, more manageable sections!
Explore more of the High Weald and marvel at acres of open countryside when you take a walk in Tunbridge Wells. Visit Tunbridge Wells has put together an ideal page full of walks for the area, including The Cranbrook Walk, The Goudhurst Walk and The Forest Way which sits on a disused railway line that ran from Groombridge to Forest Row passing through stunning Wealden countryside that of course offers some wonderful viewpoints of the surrounding hills.
The rugged coastline of The Isle of Thanet offers spectacular views into chalk bays and far reaching seascapes. If you fancy scratching under the surface of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate pick up a self-guided leaflet from Margate's Tourism Information Centre to see and discover intriguing tales. For those with a little more time and energy - there's the Pilgrimage journey, quite literally! The Way of St Augustine can be done in two days and covers around 17 miles, from the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate to Eastbridge Hospital in Canterbury.
If you feel the motivation to head out even further and wider into the county, Explore Kent can help! Head over to their page and discover a plethora of new routes for you to try, including those with no stiles to navigate, ones which top over 100 miles for the ultimate adventurers and others with natural art trails among woodland!
With miles of countryside and rural villages surrounding Maidstone, it’s no surprise this spot has some excellent walking routes. Follow the 2.5 mile route along the River Medway from Wateringbury to Yalding and you’ll have two pubs to choose from, The Railway at Wateringbury and the Boathouse at Yalding, perfect for a tipple and a bite to warm yourself up after your stroll. Along the top of the North Downs, White Horse Wood Country Park is the start of plenty of trails, with routes to Thurnham Castle, The Pilgrims Way and the Black Horse all within reach.
For a true walking break, a stay at Romney Marsh Shepherds Huts is a must. Wake up to beautiful wide-reaching views on the farm, with paths heading out into the countryside. Discover wildlife on the farm, spot swans and stroll the fields and spy those famous Romney Marsh sheep, before discovering historic sites and landmarks in the beautiful Romney Marsh. Once you’ve got in the miles, return to you cosy shepherd’s hut for hot chocolate and the chance to snuggle up by the fire pit.
A walk and a delicious local wine to sample along the way? Sounds like our perfect afternoon! Take the Saxon Shore Way through Romney Marsh and Folkestone, through two National Landscapes and several nature reserves along the way. Bird watchers, keep a look out for waders, grebes and peregrines, and wine lovers, keep a look out for signs for beautiful Gusbourne. Running right through the vineyard, your trail will lead you to the winery, where a glass of their finest in The Nest makes for the perfect welcoming pit-stop.
With café culture and a Royal Harbour at its heart, not to mention those views, Ramsgate is the perfect spot to start out on your winter wanders. Active Ramsgate’s seven walks cover all manner of rambles, from six-mile linear walks along chalk-lined clifftops, to three mile circulars which take in the town’s incredible architectural splendour. Each walk finishes or begins in the picturesque town, so you can treat yourself to cake, coffee and coastal views. Plus, with the likes of the long distance Augustine Camino and England Coast Path on the doorstep, true adventurers can get out on the trails and go the distance.