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How to spend a day in Canterbury or Tunbridge Wells

Bore Place - credit Bore Place
Bore Place - credit Bore Place

From produce made right on our doorstep to one-of-a-kind experiences, 2024 is all about enjoying the places of Kent

Great British Life: The Marlowe Theatre - credit The Marlowe TheatreThe Marlowe Theatre - credit The Marlowe Theatre

Canterbury

To kick off the list, we thought we’d start with Canterbury, a place where pride and comfort is woven into all parts of everyday life. Towering over the city centre is Canterbury Cathedral – a perfect backdrop to cobbled streets, medieval buildings, and the ebb and flow of excited crowds. With events year-round, like exclusive tours of the gardens or glimpses into the library archives, you can witness first-hand how England’s oldest cathedral impacted those who lived, worshipped, and passed through here.

A few doors down from the cathedral, you’ll find Corkk, the perfect spot to nestle down for the afternoon to get a true taste of the area. Their Master of Wine carefully selects the finest range of English wines, ready to serve to passers-by in the comfortable and stylish bar. Don’t just take our word for it either – as winner of the Decanter Specialist Retailer in England and Wales, you’re in safe hands as you settle down, people-watching through the wide windows and sample crisp, fruity, dry, full-bodied (and most certainly delicious!) produce from our wonderful county.

In need of some evening entertainment? Finish off your day out in Canterbury with a show at The Marlowe, with a selection of shows that will tick the boxes of everyone in your party. Laugh out loud with your favourite comedians, get stuck into stories unfolding on stage, or listen to music from the greats. All this excitement calls for a nearby place to lay your head for the night – luckily, just minutes away is ABode, where the pillows are freshly fluffed and all the food, drink, and self-care you’ll need is right at your fingertips.

Waking up refreshed and ready for the day ahead, it wouldn’t be a visit to Canterbury without a trip along the River Stour, taking the afternoon with Canoe Wild to enjoy scenic landscapes and wonderful wildlife of the county’s outdoors. Join the team as one of their experts takes you on a guided paddle, finishing your getaway in style as you mosey on down the river – now, how about that for some R&R?

canterbury-cathedral.org/

corkk.co.uk/

marlowetheatre.com/

abodecanterbury.co.uk/

canoewild.co.uk/

Great British Life: Betteshanger mountain biking - credit Betteshanger ParkBetteshanger mountain biking - credit Betteshanger Park

East Kent

Much like snowflakes, fingerprints, and stars, no two places in Kent are the same, and we’re heading to the county’s east coast to prove it. With Updown Farmhouse as your home-away-from-home, you’ll feel the cosiness and comfort of the county in its very essence in Deal’s 17th century former farmstead. Rooms that fit your every need and lovingly homemade, hyper-seasonal meals, cooked over wood in the open kitchen…what more could you want? Bring family, friends, and even pups along as you take a break in the stunning seven acres of house, woodland, and gardens.

Just minutes from the calm and quiet of Updown, watch your day transform as you head to Betteshanger Park, boasting an amazing range of activities and experiences. Whether you want to take a stroll through nature, go for a cycle ride with friends, or take up a bit of archery, they’ve got you covered. And if the skies aren’t quite screaming “day of outdoors activities”, a trip closer to the coast will bring you to Deal Castle (one of three English Heritage sites in the area, with Dover and Walmer Castles nearby), where today you can still roam the underground tunnels and spy spectacular sea views from the castle.

While Canterbury gave you wine, Deal brings beer! After your day of adventures (whether that’s the adrenaline fuelled or historic kind), treat yourself with a trip to Time and Tide Brewing, and you’ll be welcomed with friendly faces and fantastic beer. Brewed onsite, get a look into how they make their craft, a chat with any of the team bringing to life the passion and creativity that goes into the brewing process. In keeping with the made-on-site theme, their next-door pizzeria will blow your mind, the fullness of the sauce, fluffiness of the dough, and rich flavours throughout providing the perfect accompaniment to your glass of beer. Bon appetite indeed!

updownfarmhouse.com/

betteshanger-park.co.uk/

english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/deal-castle/

timeandtidebrewing.co.uk/

 

Great British Life: Jenny Huddart, head gardener at The Small Holding - credit Key QuillJenny Huddart, head gardener at The Small Holding - credit Key Quill

Tunbridge Wells

Heading west now across two awe-inspiring Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we arrive in Tunbridge Wells for our next getaway and, in keeping with the surrounding landscape, we’re going rural for this trip. Of all the places in Kent to soak up the outdoors, Tunbridge Wells’ impressive green scenery, dotted with iconic heritage sites and earth-conscious eateries, is the ideal place to do so.

Speaking of heritage sites, why not begin with a visit to one of the two National Trust properties here? Whether it be Scotney Castle, with its stunning country house, romantic garden, and 14th century moat, or Sissinghurst Castle, fascinating in its rich history and world famous for its gardens, you can find walks in and around both. The trails that surround the castles offer incredibly unique views, letting you see the estates in a whole new light, giving the Kent countryside that splash of character and charm that stays with you forever.

Rediscover the connection between land and table at Green Michelin star-awarded The Small Holding. Here, organic farming, local growing, and seasonal eating are at the core of what brothers Will and Matt Devlin set out in 2018 and continue to do today. While here, you can taste the true meaning of farm to table, as their team of gardeners, farmers, and chefs works together to bring you a dining experience like none other.

The cherry on top of your rural getaway comes at Caracol Camping, nestled within the natural beauty of the High Weald and an absolute oasis of peace and quiet. Now’s the perfect chance for you to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by getting outside for the night. With 8 fully furnished bell tents, equipped with all the facilities you could ask for, this is a must visit for any nature lover that has a penchant for the finer things in life.

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/scotney-castle

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/sissinghurst-castle-garden

smallholdingrestaurant.com/

caracolcamping.co.uk/

Great British Life: Tonbridge Castle- credit Tonbridge CastleTonbridge Castle- credit Tonbridge Castle

West Kent

Last, and certainly not least, is an area of Kent that never fails to amaze us as it brings to life the traditions of the county to mix them seamlessly with modern innovations. Across Sevenoaks and Tonbridge & Malling, you’ll find a fantastic array of food, drink, days out, and experiences, all driven by sustainability, community, and creativity.

Start your day at Tonbridge Castle, dating back 950 years and acting as a proud landmark for the market town of Tonbridge, overlooking breath-taking views across its winding streets and independent shops. There’s so much history to be discovered right on your doorstep, so be transported to a medieval world, where you can uncover stories of kings, archbishops and tyrants that have marked its past.

If there’s a history buff in the group, National Trust’s Chartwell, once home to Winston Churchill, sees a new photography showcase arriving in 2024 to mark the year of his 150th birthday. Alongside the stories told throughout the house and its grounds, the exhibition adds a new layer of intrigue, showing the many weird and wonderful birthday cakes he received throughout his life.

Once you’ve got a taste of times gone by, bring yourself to the present flavours of Kent with a visit to Squerryes Estate They’ve been in the game for over 300 years, taking the life of the area and bottling it up into crisp, vintage sparkling wines. A visit to the vineyard will leave you feeling refreshed and content, having spent the day on a tour of the estate, and even treating yourself to a bite to eat at the farm to fork restaurant on site.

Spend the night in peace at Bore Place, a stunning 500-acre regenerative estate through which you can spend the day wandering, soaking in the surrounding Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and discovering the secrets of the landscape that’s been farmed and worked for over 1,000 years. Their onsite cottages are waiting for you to tuck up into, waking up to food grown right on site and refreshing views, having slept well knowing your retreat contributes to fantastic conservation work (after all, they didn’t get their Gold Award in Green Tourism for nothing!).

tonbridgecastle.org/

nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/chartwell

squerryes.co.uk/

boreplace.org/



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