By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Along with a wealth of breathtaking gardens surrounding stunning properties, Kent’s natural beauty provides postcard-worthy backdrops for endless outdoor adventures.
Isle of Thanet
Home to Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate at the northeastern edge of the county, the Isle of Thanet is synonymous with seaside bliss. Seven Blue Flag stretches of sand await your wiggling toes and cosmopolitan Ramsgate is the spot for sailing fans. You’ll launch straight from the sandy beach to set sail. On your return, enjoy all the traditional seaside fun like ice creams, arcades and oceanfront restaurants. The bustling Royal Harbour is just a short stroll away.
Start your day in Broadstairs at the Visitor Information Kiosk for a guided Broadstairs Heritage Walk, available between Easter and September. You’ll stroll along the beachfront promenade and harbour with stories of smugglers, soldiers and famous writers. Take the kids for rides at the horseshoe-shaped Viking Bay and hunt for fossils in the shimmering, low tide rock pools at Botany Bay. Keen to catch a wave? Joss Bay offers a surf school to get you up and riding.
Home to Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate at the northeastern edge of the county, the Isle of Thanet is synonymous with seaside bliss
From the 18-hole Strokes Adventure Golf to fish and chips in the sand, historic Margate offers outdoor adventures to suit everyone. A stop at Dreamland Margate is a must. The vintage, all-you-can-treat amusement park by the sea has entertained visitors since 1920. Get a bird’s eye view on the Big Wheel and try not to scream on the Scenic Railway, the UK’s oldest roller coaster.
Canterbury is an ideal base if you love to blend history-hopping and nightlife with time spent in the great outdoors. Wildlife fans flock to Howletts Wild Animal Park in Bekesbourne. Get up close to the UK’s largest herd of African elephants and tackle the Treetop Challenge across log bridges and zip wires. Then, there’s the Wingham Wildlife Park where you’ll meet the beautiful red panda and see life-like dinosaurs.
Feel like stretching your legs? Head out on the Barham and Adisham Walk on a circular route that joins the North Downs Way. It’s just a short drive from town to the Blean Woods National Nature Reserve for an escape into nature. Expect carpets of bluebells in spring as you explore via walking, cycling and horse riding trails.
If it’s gardens that inspire you, find serenity at the Franciscan Gardens among wildflowers and heritage fruit trees. It’s easy to spend a whole day at the Westgate Parks, after walking through the iconic Westgate Towers at the entrance. You’ll explore the four areas of Westgate Gardens, Tannery Field, Toddler’s Cove and Bingley Island Local Nature Reserve, with the River Great Stour running through the centre.
It’s nothing but an outdoorsy delight to explore the parks and countryside of Tunbridge Wells. To see the world’s finest collection of conifers, pack a picnic for a visit to Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest in Goudhurst. Use pedal-power to explore across a 10-kilometre family cycle route and challenge yourself to the high-rope obstacle course at Go Ape.
There’s plenty to keep all ages happy at Dunorlan Park. Landscaped in the 1860s, the Grade 2-listed park is adorned with ornamental fountains, a boating lake and a water garden. Open spaces ensure the kids work off some energy and they’ll love feeding the ducks. Fancy a spot of croquet? Spread out over three croquet lawns at Calverley Grounds, a landscaped park with an Italianate garden and panoramic views of the Tunbridge Wells skyline.
Get set to inspire your green thumb around Sevenoaks. Sitting on one of the highest spots in Kent, the National Trust-owned Emmetts Garden is a haven for leisurely strolling. The Edwardian estate was once owned by Frederic Lubbock and brims with exotic trees and dazzling autumn colours. Meander among Magnolias, Azaleas and Rhododendrons at Great Comp Garden, with seven acres of woodland walks that hide atmospheric ruins.
Children love the adventure playground with a tricky hedge maze at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens. Discover more than 12 acres of woodland paths and manicured gardens, including the Walled Garden and Edwardian Rock Garden. Home to the same family since the 15th century, Lullingstone Castle & the World Garden showcases botanical wonders. You’ll see the globe’s rarest Gum Tree and an example of the Dinosaur Tree.
Top 10 reasons to visit Kent
Great days out for culture vultures in Kent