We’re proud as punch that we get to claim the Garden of England as ‘home’… and quite right too! With coast, countryside, and city all at the tips of our fingers, we’re quite simply spoilt for spots to show off to visiting friends and family when they pop to our slice of the South for a long overdue catch-up. If, like us, you’ve previously found yourself questioning “where to begin!?” the minute a stopover from your loved ones is popped in the diary, we think you’re going to like this next round-up.
Yes, we’ve put our heads together, dug deep, and we think (in fact we’re pretty confident) that we’ve come up with a selection of exciting experiences on your doorstep that you’ll definitely want to share with your guests next time they’re in town. From adrenaline-fuelled axe-throwing to tipples on a train, get ready to be the host (or hostess) with the most…
Oh, and just before we let you loose on our list of recommendations, we should make you aware that the travel experts at Lonely Planet have recently announced ‘Kent’s Heritage Coast’ as #4 in their global round-up of ‘Best in Travel’ regions for 2022. So, now your guests won’t just have to take your word for it!
Now, where better to be-gin than a North Kent favourite that offers high-spirited fun, and delectable riverside dining? Round up your loved ones and enjoy a slice of marina life at the charming Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham. Set in the magnificent Victorian Pump House No. 5, meet the team to learn how they make and produce their range of spirits, see first-hand the distilling process in action, and experiment with flavour profiling in their laboratory, before savouring some of the distillery’s spirits for yourself. And, before you all head home with a bottle of Dockyard Gin tucked under your arms, why not indulge in an array of seasonal dishes and local produce at one of Kent’s newest restaurants, Copper Rivet’s Pumproom?
What’s a fail-safe recipe for the perfect reunion with friends and family from further-afield? We reckon fabulous food, delicious drinks, and a superb setting just about does it! From cosy countryside bolt holes to chic city centre venues, Shepherd Neame have the perfect pubs to host your next get-together. What's more, why not take guests outside to explore Kent's beautiful coast and countryside with the help of Shepherd Neame's new Pub Walk guides? There are five walks to try, all between four and six miles in length, which take in a wide variety of terrains and environments, along with some of our county’s most beautiful scenery.
Get ready to brandish your local “did you know” insight over a glass of local fizz. There’s quite simply no better way to showcase the Garden of England than by sharing a bottle of Kentish Chapel Down with friends and family. A winery so exquisite and highly regarded, that it was deemed good enough to be served at Harry & Meghan’s wedding, don’t you know! And, if this tipple gets the royal seal of approval from your guests, why not make their stay even more standout with a tour and tasting at the Chapel Down Winery, set just outside of tranquil Tenterden?
There are few ways more sophisticated to showcase your home county than our next suggestion. Climb aboard the Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells and set off on a relaxing journey that’ll see you soaking up the scenery of the High Weald, while you enjoy a range of refreshing local gins and tasty canapés. Teaming up with Kent’s premium distillers Anno Distillery, Spa Valley Railway’s ‘Kent Gin Train’ is the South East’s original gin tasting experience on a train, making it a truly unmissable day trip for G&T lovers!
So, you’ve done dinner, checked out our castles and cathedrals, and now you’re looking for a day of fun that’ll stand out in their memories long after they’ve waved goodbye to the Garden of England? Throw away (literally) any existing ideas you have that you feel may not quite be a bullseye for all, in favour of an adrenaline-fuelled afternoon of axe throwing with Battle Masters at The Panic Room in Gravesend. Yes, you heard that right. Urban Axe Throwing is an exciting new take on an old tradition - perfect for enjoying as part of a group - meaning this day out in North Kent is bound to be bang on target for you and your visitors!
Got a guest who fancies themselves as a bit of a sommelier, and also takes an ardent interest in sustainable practices? Where better to whisk them off to for a tour and tasting than wonderful Westwell Wine Estate, nestled just beneath the Pilgrims Way on the North Downs? Join a guided tour of this exciting estate where you’ll learn all about Westwell’s approach to sustainable viticulture and winemaking. During the colder, winter months Westwell’s team will be bringing you inside the winery where you’ll be able to taste through this vintage’s wines as they progress - direct from tank.
Canterbury city centre is always a winner with visiting friends and family. From its classically cobbled streets and timber framed buildings to sensational shopping and buzzy bars, there’s always something to entertain! To ensure you showcase as much of this Kentish gem as possible, we recommend taking a punt on a trip down the River Stour, courtesy of Canterbury Historic River Tours. Enjoy a unique view as you cruise through the heart of the city from the comfort of your boat - complete with engaging commentary. What’s more, the brilliant Historic River Tours team have launched a brand-new walking tour for those colder months. So, you can enjoy all the secrets of the city, from drier (slightly warmer) land!
Once you’ve wined and dined your cherished companions at some of your favourite foodie spots, what’s stopping you from getting competitive in the kitchen and showcasing the real flavour of Kent by putting your cookery credentials to the test? Celebrated Kent seafood venue Hantverk & Found, along with their neighbours Bottega Caruso, are joining together (along with a wealth of other culinary experts from Margate) to offer informal cookery classes and demos. Keep an eye out for dates over the coming months – this is set to be a delicious experience you and your temporary tenants won’t forget in a hurry!
For a day trip that ticks the boxes for culture, coastline, and cuisine all in one you needn’t look much further than fabulous Folkestone! Culture vulture visitors will want to make a beeline straight for a wander around the Folkestone Artworks. Here, discover the UK’s largest urban contemporary art exhibition, scattered in scenic and surprising locations across the town. Once you’ve been well and truly inspired, you’ll need to find somewhere special to refuel, and where better than Folkestone Harbour Arm? With a whole host of venues serving everything from Champagne and craft beer to Greek mezze and hand-stretched pizzas, Folkestone Harbour Arm is the perfect spot to pitch up with friends for a spot of sea view dining.