Kent is stacked full of inspiring afternoons out, day trips and ideas for longer stays. With many borders opening up once more, your family and friends may well be coming to see you in Kent for a much awaited reunion. While you may think you have explored everything in your local area, (and particularly your local park!), there’s still so much on offer to make a trip out special, so find all the memorable places that are right on your doorstep, ready to be explored.
Sitting proudly at the gateway to England from Europe on Dover’s beachfront, the Best Western Dover Marina Hotel and Spa is the ideal base for the local area. Imagine starting your stay by dining at the in-house Marco Pierre White restaurant followed up by a much needed spa treatment. After being set up perfectly for a day of getting out into the local White Cliffs Country natural habitat, venture to the iconic White Cliffs themselves to Samphire Hoe right next to Dover. Coming soon too is a photographic tour of the local area taking in the highlights of Dover and the White Cliffs, but with the area being so picturesque that won’t be too difficult!
Staying in the area, your adventure doesn’t have to just be in Dover’s locale, as the White Cliffs Country stretches right around to Deal and Sandwich, all of which are worth exploring for their quaint streets, independent shops and individual restaurants. In Sandwich you can get out to the English Channel and potentially spot some seals with Captain Colin’s Riverbus, or head to Deal’s Kent MOMI (Museum of the Moving Image) and delve into 350 years of cinema and pre-cinema in this hidden gem – there’s something for even the most demanding family members.
With self-catering locations across east Kent, Keepers Cottages locations are spot on for exploring White Cliffs Country. They offer everything from small fisherman’s cottages to larger detached houses across Deal, Kingsdown and Sandwich. If you have also been keeping an eye on the golf in the summer of 2021, you’ll have seen it in the spotlight thanks to the Open. Following in the footsteps of the best to tee off, the county’s golf courses are some of the finest in the country and there’s no shortage for a round of 18 holes including Princes and Royal St Georges Golf Club!
Staying on the coastline in the south of Kent, the Hythe Imperial Hotel and Spa is a base made for the people who love to get some vitamin sea. Not only are you literally right on the wide-reaching beach of Hythe, the hotel is home to no fewer than 92 stunning rooms with many boasting sea views. On your doorstep your days out can include Folkestone and its old town, the Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for a day of nature or take a trip on through to Dungeness on the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway…
A classic (and not just because of its inception back in 1927) and possibly one of the most recognisable attractions in Kent, the RH&DR is a 13.5-mile steam railway that runs along the south Kent coast from Hythe to Dungeness. Watch the landscape change out of your window as the one-third full-sized steam locomotives haul you and your family to stops such as Dymchurch, with its staple British seaside amusements through to the otherworldly Dungeness and its extraordinary fish and chips restaurants in a setting like no other. If you want the ultimate luxury (or Covid-safe trip), hire out their Heritage Carriages for a trip like no other… You’ll also soon be able to charter a train to your own timetable, with catering for the journey provided – keep an eye on their website for more details on this coming soon.
Being quite literally in the middle of Kent, Frasers of Egerton is a country retreat like no other - home to an award-winning restaurant and a number of unique suites in their Kentish oast house and former stable blocks. With a rich focus on an environmentally sound lifestyle, Frasers will soon offer classes and workshops such as yoga and foraging courses so people can learn where their food is coming from in the settings much of it grows. With the current climate situation, teaching even the youngest members of your family environmentally sound practices has never been more important. There’ll also be ways for people to learn about the local area and its nature with viewing platforms, hides, benches with relevant information on flora and fauna telling the facts of the area.
Staying in the countryside might make you dream of hitting the open lanes and exploring on two wheels, but does the exertion put off some of your family members? Fear not, as the UK Electric Bike Centre has a number of self-guided tours that can be done on their electric bikes. For instance, their Brewery Route tour heads to the Old Dairy brewery in Tenterden from Biddenden, takes in a 1hr 30 minute tour and handily there are panniers provided so your dad or auntie can take home their favourite tipples!
When you think of a family reunion, is there more of an iconic visit than renting a house, enjoying breakfasts and heading out for a day exploring the local area all together topped off by a meal prepped by the designated chef in the household? Luckily, Bloom Stays has a range of places that you can rent with some sleeping over 40 people! Each house is beautifully decorated and has comfort at the heart of its mantra. Accompanied by being in a quintessentially Kentish place such as The Coastguard on Dungeness’ beach, some even have their own private pool – do we need to say more?
Perfectly situated between Ramsgate station and the town centre, Langmead Guest House is a five bedroomed guest house that can be your Kentish home from home. Being on the Viking Coastal Trail in Thanet, its nearest town Ramsgate is full of history with the Royal Harbour and wartime tunnels, not to mention its beautiful wide reaching sandy beaches. Combining the heritage and outdoor beauty in the town and local area with walking, Langmead Guest House have developed therapeutic Nordic Walking in Thanet for their guests which will be ideal for even the older guests in your party. Be sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page for more information, such as rates and tie-ins with other groups including Rotten Ramsgate tours and foraging walks!
No feeling quite beats stumbling upon a hidden gem in the area you are staying and there’s no better place to start than Kent’s hidden gem, Tonbridge & Malling. Spending a night in the Kent countryside at the family run Kits Coty Glamping site is what dreams really are made of - it’s home to woodland cabins through to festival style tents, so the hardest decision will be which one to stay in and which you’ll kindly allow the others in your party to stay in! Keeping the countryside chic, head into friendly West Malling where on Sunday mornings you can pick up your seasonal goods at the wonderous farmers market. Of course, we’re only touching the surface of the area so be sure to read our itinerary here.
With the darker winter days, the nights are ready to be explored for their paranormal activity and not just at Halloween. If you’re keen to delve into the spiritual world of allegedly haunted locations such as our castles and country estates to theatres, True Paranormal Investigations run the events for you, and those sceptical friends. Examples of haunted places the team have visited include Dover Castle and the previously Catholic school St Augustine’s in Westgate. In the near future, TPI will also be developing overnight packages so you don’t need to worry about heading home after your history lesson and potential spooking!
With a rich history, beautiful streets lined with independent businesses and plenty of English seaside charm, Whitstable is a gem in the north of Kent. Celebrating the areas seafaring heritage, Whitstable Maritime is a local charity that in 2019 started a 5km trail taking in the archaeology, geography and social history of the coast. Throughout the foreseeable future, the not-for-profit is setting up an annual programme of activities taking in cycling, running and more. A key aspect of the future of Whitstable Maritime is restoring the oyster yawl Gamecock, with chartering on the books – just imagine truly immersing your family and friends in the history of one of Kent’s most famous exports at sea…
Sitting high on the cliffs between Capel-le-Ferne and Dover is the Battle of Britain Memorial that is dedicated to the “few” who protected the skies above the UK from attack during WWII. On a visit you can explore the expansive Wing and its Scramble Experience, read and pay time to appreciate the names of the aircrew who fought, and potentially find members of your family who were involved in the conflict with their interactive ancestry data. To make your trip even more special and memorable, combine the Scramble Experience with a private tour and cream tea courtesy of Virgin Experiences that can be redeemed in any 12 month period.
If you’re bringing extra family members from across the Channel and they’re making the most of the new restriction-free travel, take advantage of a smooth crossing with Eurotunel Le Shuttle. There are plenty of slots so you can time the 35 minutes from Calais to Folkestone on the south coast for whenever works for you… Your family will be with you before you can even say bonjour!