6 of the most romantic places to visit in Kent
- Credit: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com
Treat your loved one to the gift of time together this year. Whether it’s a special day out, a romantic meal for two or an unforgettable overnight stay, here are a few suggestions to delight your other half
1. Leeds Castle
It’s been dubbed ‘the loveliest castle in the world’ so we could hardly miss it off this list. This fairytale castle is great place to escape from reality for a day. Outdoors you can take a long walk through the parkland and grounds, book a Segway tour, take part in some falconry, explore the treetops with Go Ape! and have lunch in the café. And that’s before you’ve even set foot in the castle. With a history stretching back almost 900 years, it’s a stunning property which blends medieval parts with the state rooms used to entertain the rich and famous in the 20th century. If you’re really trying to impress your loved one, there’s a range of overnight accommodation too.
Here are more romantic ways to spend your time in Kent...
A visit to any of our county’s National Trust properties is a perfect way to spend some quality time together but our top choice for romance would probably be Chartwell. It’s hard not to feel a little emotional at the family home of Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine. At this time of year, bundle up in warm clothes and stroll in the grounds - offering superb views across the Weald of Kent. By the lakes, and obscured from view until you’re almost upon it, you’ll find a life size bronze sculpture of the famous couple enjoying this place together. The house itself is closed for its winter deep clean until 24 February but an exhibition focusing on the life of Clementine is open until 18 February and the usual café and gift shop are available after your walk.
Reopening after its winter closure on 10 February, a day out at The Historic Dockyard Chatham is bound to be a memorable one. With 400 years of maritime heritage, there’s a real sense of our county’s connection with history here and plenty to excite lovers of all things nautical. A chance to climb aboard the beautiful Victorian naval sloop, HMS Gannet, is too good to be missed, and when you’re finished playing pirates there’s a Second World War destroyer and a 1960’s submarine to explore as well. Stop for lunch at the dockyard’s new restaurant, the Mess Deck, and then move on to a tour of the Victorian ropery.
4. Chapel Down
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If you don’t have the budget for that dream trip around California’s Wine Country, consider looking closer to home. In Kent we’re lucky enough to have several vineyards, many of which run tastings and tours. One of the most popular must be Chapel Down, England’s leading wine producer. Its winery and visitor centre in Tenterden offers vineyard talks and tours, as well as tastings and a lovely shop selling all sorts of local food and drink. Upstairs is The Swan restaurant run by the award-winning I’ll Be Mother group and mentioned in the Michelin Guide. Gift vouchers for wine experiences are available and you can even lease your loved one their own vine.
For animal lovers, there are several zoos and animal conservation centres in Kent where you could spend the day together. One of our favourites is Wingham Wildlife Park. Since the park was taken over by its current owners in 2008, it has not only expanded but much more emphasis has been put on conservation, with an active breeding programme for several endangered species. At this quieter time of year, it’s easy to feel like you’re having a personal tour of the park and there are a number of animal encounter experience vouchers available to buy for that special someone.
It doesn’t get much more romantic than a vintage steam engine. There are a few heritage railways running in Kent but our pick for a Valentine’s treat has to be Kent & East Sussex Railway. Leaving from its historic station in Tenterden, diesel and steam engines take visitors through the pretty Kent countryside and into Sussex. Several stops are made along the line but for the full experience ride to its end at Bodiam and hop off for afternoon tea and a stroll around the National Trust’s impressive Bodiam Castle. Gift vouchers and railway experiences are available as a special gift too.