Locals, you might think you it all when it comes to the must-see spots on your doorstep! But with new experiences popping up every day in our gorgeous Garden of England, it might surprise you what new adventures you’ll be able to have without travelling afar. How about an evening trekking to world-famous castles for exclusive out-of-hours tours? What about Dickens’ characters leaping to life to entertain you in the streets? From riding down the rivers on a cruise, beer trails through historic quarters and walking the micropigs in the forest (yes, that’s right… micropigs!), if you think you know Kent… think again!
Dover Castle is one of Kent’s most iconic attractions and has been a landmark in the English history books from Tudor strongholds to the D-Day landings, and we’ll be surprised if you’ve never visited this spectacular gem. But now thanks to the Friends of Dover, you’ll be able to experience an exclusive tour of the Knights Tower out of hours. The history of the castle comes more alive in this after dark experience – the perfect adventure for kids to inspire and educate all in one day!
Kent’s food and drink prowess is obviously well known (we’re the Garden of England, after all!) but how well do you know Dover’s foodie credentials? Take a wander around this famous spot on a walking tour and discover the food and wine history in Kent and the White Cliffs Country area with Dover Tales. Find out why our famous white cliffs lend us the ideal conditions to make us a revered wine region, and finish off your walk with a tasting a the new Vinoteq wine bar in Dover.
What isn’t there to do in Kent’s county town? From big-brand retail therapy, museums and galleries where there’s always something to explore – they’ve exhibited everything from a 2700-year old Egyptian mummy to life size Stormtrooper figurines - to a plethora of delightful cafes and trendy new restaurants ready for evenings out. Explore the quieter side of their lush landscape in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and traditional Kentish hop gardens, or whizz round treetop walkways and fly over valleys on a zipwire at Go Ape Leeds Castle – when we say there’s something for everyone, we really mean it in Maidstone!
With the plethora of local breweries and distilleries, you’ll want a night close by to rest your head after a night in Maidstone – luckily Larkfield Priory Hotel are now offering genius 'gin and dine' experiences in collaboration with nearby Anno Distillery. Their on-site restaurant, Zion’s, showcases a British and European-inspired menu and their chefs are dedicated to crafting every dish from fresh, seasonal ingredients to surprise and delight their diners. Pair it with a local tipple, and we’ve got the perfect evening ahead…
Luscious walled gardens nestled next to wild flowers, serene waters of a lily pond and Italian columns like a slice of Rome in Kent… where is this paradise in the heart of Kent? Godinton House is a hidden gem close to the centre of buzzing Ashford town that you might not have experienced in all your years in Kent. A stunning yet relaxed manor house is available for visits all year round, but their glorious garden is the star of the show here. Perhaps only second to our personal favourite attraction on site… some of the best cake we’ve ever had the pleasure of eating was from their delightful café! And you know food is the way to our hearts in Kent…
History meets culture in vibrant Gravesham, with some of the most revered historical links our county has to offer! Home to some of Dickens’ most famous works, architectural gems like Cobham Hall sit close to ancient forests and quaint, picturesque villages. Get your history fix with a meander around Gravesham’s historic quarter, spot the famous Cold War Bunker and marvel at the magnificent Gurdwara – Europe’s largest and finest Sikh place of worship. You can see it all while enjoying their new beer trail, which takes you round Gravesham’s sites with a pint in hand!
The borough of Swale boasts stunning coastline, serene countryside and sweet market towns, so however you like to spend your weekends, there’s a something to discover in Swale. The Isle of Sheppey means stunning Blue Flag beaches with golden sands and Turner sunsets, while Georgian buildings and the green hillside of the Kent Downs await in peaceful Sittingbourne. Elmley Nature Reserve is the only nature reserve in the UK you can actually spend the night in – and their gorgeous shepherd huts make for the perfect local escape.
Coastline, lighthouses and the White Cliffs of Dover - Capture Kent's photography walks in Dover offer some of the best and most iconic Kent views. While walks through Chatham Maritime offer up a chance to capture industrial heritage, magnificent architecture and Chatham's waterfront. For seaside nostalgia, we recommend their walk along the Margate coast, packed with views, history and stories of one of Kent's seaside favourites. Whichever walk you choose, experts Andrew Dennis and Benjamin Bowles will pass on plenty of skills and knowledge to enrich your photography, before ending with a relaxed a relaxed light lunch and drink.
Take your creative pursuits off solid land and on to the historic lightship of LV21, which has been transformed into a floating art space and performance facility. Their list of exhibitions, one-off events are ever-changing, so this is definitely one to watch so you don’t miss out. From artists exhibitions like textile artist Cas Holmes to musical events and celebrations of history like ‘Windrush and Beyond’, you’ll be surprised at what goes on in this unassuming ship!
In case you haven’t guessed already, North Kent is renowned for its nautical links, so it seems only right to set sail on your very own voyage. Climb aboard one of Jetstream’s cruises and you’ll have the choice of a wildlife spotting, history-fuelled sail around the shores of the Isle of Sheppey from Queenborough, or the chance to set off from Sun Pier in Chatham and discover the eerie World War II Maunsel Forts standing guard of the Medway Estuary.
Home to some of the country’s most prolific novelists and artists such as Charles Dickens and Billy Childish, Medway truly is the epitome of avant-garde art and creativity. Offering an experiential taste of Medway’s past and present, there’s no better place to explore the town’s creative flare than with Medway Art Tours. With a range of exclusive, interactive cultural experiences, be led by your very own costumed guide, immerse yourself in the hidden delights of the town, and unveil the secret histories of the area’s fascinating past-we’ve got great expectations for this one!
You know the Disney story, but do you know the real history? The legend of the real Pocahontas comes to life in Gravesham’s St Georges’ Church. Pocahontas’ legend ends here in Kent in late November 1616, when she planned to return home to Virginia after living in England. After they set sail from London, Pocahontas felt ill and was brought ashore at Gravesend, where she was laid to rest at St George’s Church. Uncover the wider twists and turns to this sad but fascinating tale of the Native American princess in one of St George’s Church’ captivating lectures.
Behind its impressive medieval façade, this Tudor Castle hides the eye-watering collection of the gifted Denys Eyre Bower. Among the artefacts, you’ll find Ancient Egyptian treasures, Samurai armour and Stuart paintings, a further tour of the castle and the gardens will reveal tales of scandal, imprisonment and the stories of those from the upstairs and downstairs.
Adorable micro pigs, miniature donkey’s, teddy bear sheep and alpaca walking adventures… is it too cute to be true? Not at Huckleberry Woods, a small, family-run rustic farm in the heart of Kent’s countryside specialising in micro-animals! Say hi to the furry friends, explore the orchard on a treasure hunt experience, swing in the apple trees and stop for a cupcake or two at their sweet summerhouse café. It’s a mini adventure, but a big day out…