Kent: The Garden of England
July 9, 2016
by Beckie Hambrook
Kent, also known as the Garden of England is where I grew up and features some of the most beautiful places in the country. Not many appreciate the area they live in however the scenic countryside and fresh, clean air is something to be proud of. In this travel guide I will talk about some of my favourite places in my local area. I have chosen the places that are closer to home as I know these inside and out and have some great tips.
Those reading from the United Kingdom shall probably know what i’m going to say, however those planning a trip from abroad, might not. Everywhere here has very unpredictable weather, unlike Europe and far away lands, the season definitely does not predict the weather. Our summer time is from June till September whilst our winter goes on from October and what feels like, right through till May (Spring is apparently, somewhere in between). Our Summer time can be hot (20c mark) however can be rainy, or cloudy. Our winter time can predict snow (-3c mark) or rain, or fog. But no matter what the weather, somehow this part of the country still looks pretty. Unusual, right?
This subject takes me onto clothing, now you can literally wear whatever you want. However, just like the locals, you will never be able to get it right in tune with what the weathers like due to it being so unpredictable. Just be prepared. Even if its just keeping an umbrella in your bag alongside a pair of sunglasses.
I have chosen to list my top five sightseeing places in the area. I have created an additional section below for days out, which may consist of zoos and country parks for example.
- Canterbury Cathedral – A place you may have visited before if you’ve been to the area. It is often in the top 10 of places to see in every tourists book. The stunning architecture and history of the Cathedral makes it one worth visiting. Pilgrims have been visiting the site since the middle ages and is the main base for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Being one of the oldest Christian structures in England the Cathedral is part of a World Heritage Site. If you would like to see the Cathedral in more detail, there is a charge to enter. Adults £12, Children under 18 £8, Concessions £10.50. More information can be found on the website.
- Dover Castle – Tourists often forget about visiting Dover Castle. The Castle, which is the largest in England, holds great significance in our history. The English Heritage site features war time tunnels you can explore which were used as shelters and artillery operation rooms for the soldiers. Built in the 12th Century, you can visit the site throughout the week and is free to English Heritage members. Adults cost £18.30, Children aged 5-15 £11, Concessions £16.50.
- Leeds Castle – Possibly one of the most beautiful castles we have. The site is immensely popular with events like New Years Fireworks and weddings, as well as those coming to explore the history. Leeds Castle was once the residence of Henry VIII first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Now used as more of a leisure site, the Castle grounds features a fun maze for families as well as a golf course. Adults cost £24.50 to enter, Children aged 4-15 £16.50, Concessions £21.50.
Howletts and Port Lympne Animal Park – These two wildlife parks featured on the outskirts of Canterbury and in a rural town in Lympne are a part of the Aspinall Foundation who’s aims are to help reintroduce breeds of wild animals, including the Western Lowland Gorilla and Black Rhino. Port Lympne animal park in particular features stunning views over the country side as well as being a fun day out for all of the family.
(View from Port Lympne Wild Animal Park)
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway – This unique railway station has been running for 88 years. Stretching 13 miles, the miniature locomotives tour the best views the local coastal area has to offer. The location is in the name, literally. There are 4 stations you can pick the steam and diesel trains up from so you can choose where your interests lie. There are opportunities for people to drive the train (needs to be prebooked) as well as opportunities to get married here! The railway comes fitted with cafes, a model railway exhibition and a small playground for the little ones.
Canterbury Tales – A unique experience in the heart of Canterbury City, Canterbury Tales gives you an interactive tour of the journey of Pilgrims in Canterbury and you get to see great reenactments. Even the staff are dressed for the part. This attraction is so popular, I recommend you book in advance, even the locals love it!
There are loads of transport options available here in Kent. It does depend on you want to do and the budget you have.
We have some great train services direct to London for people that would rather avoid the cost of staying in Central London, but still want to see the sites. The train from Ashford International to St Pancras takes just 34 minutes and runs frequently. However, this train doesn’t come particularly cheap, it can cost anything between £26 to £70 per person for a return ticket. There is a cheaper alternative to get to London if needed, there is an option for a National Express coach where you can arrange a pick up from many stops around the county and will take you into London Victoria Coach Station. The cheaper price does come at a cost, however. It takes on average 2 1/2 hours from the furthest point due to the amount of stops along the way. However, this at most costs £24 for a return ticket.
To get around the county, I recommend bus or taxi. Taxi is definitely the more expensive option, and I would say the best thing to do is shop around for the best price. Grab a few numbers and compare, you will find you may save a lot of money. We offer Stagecoach bus services around the county. Although slightly longer, it will save you a lot of money and you do get to see some lovely sites along the way.
Kent has so much more to offer than the few things I have mentioned. I am so proud of the area I live in, although it can be a costly place in comparison to other countries, we boast so much more, whether its lovely views or some exciting attractions.