Please sign in to post.

Kent - Things to do and see

I think I would like to spend a night in Maidstone and explore Kent for two days of my trip. In addition to Leeds Castle, Bodiam Castle and Sissinghurst Gardens... what else is great about Kent. What are your favorite seaside villages, gardens, or activities. I will probably rent a car in Maidstone to avoid the London traffic. Thank you for your feedback.

Posted by
409 posts

By all means, stay at Thurnham Keep, a fabulous B&B in Maidstone. While there, we attended a classical music concert at Leeds Castle; day-tripped to Canterbury, Dover, and Rye; and rented segways at the castle and toured the grounds. We had a hot air balloon trip scheduled but it was cancelled due to bad weather.

Posted by
2933 posts

There is a lot to see, more than two days' worth. There is Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Hever, with beautiful gardens. Chartwell, country home and gardens of Winston Churchill, in Westerham. The flower garden here is said to have been Churchill's inspiration for some of his paintings. I especially enjoyed seeing some of those paintings displayed in his studio there.

On the coast Dover Medieval Castle is fabulous. Maybe the most beautiful photo I took in England; Dover Castle, overlooking the sea. Also has a Roman lighthouse on the grounds (AD43 or so) and tunnels dug in WW2, as it overlooks the English Channel. The famous white cliffs of Dover. Also on the coast, two forts built by Henry the 8th, Deal Castle and Walmer Castle. Built to watch for invasion by Spanish or French ships. One could spend a week in Kent (we did) and never run out of historic sights and gardens to see.

Posted by
1426 posts

Absolutely spend more time in Kent if you can - there are so many things there. A couple not mentioned: Royal Tunbridge Wells - wonderful little town. Also Rochester - this is Dickins country and sometimes there are reenactments. When we were there 2 years ago, there was a falcon show at the cathedral plus jousting. Also visit Battle and Eastborne (beautiful Victorian pier). I love Kent!

Posted by
1426 posts

Actually the falcon show and jousting was at the castle, not the cathedral (in Rochester).

Posted by
395 posts

I really liked Chartwell. But, loved Tudeley Church with its Marc Chagell stained glass windows. Tenterden also interesting.

Posted by
34 posts

Thank you everyone for all the great replies. Clearly I am going to have to add another day for Kent.

Dover, Rye, Hever Castle, Rochester, Eastborne all seem wonderful. So many places, so little time.

Posted by
2023 posts

We were recently in Kent(Sept) and did not get as far south as you are planning. Stayed at Sissinghurst B&B and while the castle was not outstanding, the gardens were very nice. Chartwell was at the top of our list so that was our first stop after getting a car at Gatwick. Bateman Cottage, home of Kipling, is a must and again the gardens there are beautiful. Knole is an interesting stop and also in the area you may see oast houses-there was a B&B in one of them but we were happy that we chose Sissinghurst. What we encountered was slow driving between points of interest. Our GPS took us on some very narrow roads at times. Most villages were very congested -I guess these villages are sort of suburbs of London -rush hour traffic at times. We did cover a lot in two and a half days but another day would have been great. Another priority was seeing Highclere so we had to limit our time in Kent. We got National Trust passes which covered many of the sights so you should check into that.

Posted by
56 posts

Not my area now but used to live there...Dover castle a must. Leeds castle, chart well, Romney hythe dymchurch Martello towers, there are some lovely old fishing villages...are you driving..? Get the Phillips navigator map NOT the terrible rubbish maps in service stations this map gives tons of tourist info and speed camera positions. Next get a good sat nav with speed camera locations on it.
Hope that helps any questions mail me! Happy to help

Posted by
221 posts

I absolutely adore Ightham Mote and would go there, Knole, and Hever Castle tomorrow if I could.