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24 of the best walks in Kent that you should take in 2024

The Reculver tower and a waterfall
The Reculver tower and a waterfall

As a fresh new year unfolds, there’s an unmistakable allure to lacing up those walking boots and stepping into the promise of fresh adventures. Here in the Garden of England, where each season paints the local landscape with its own vibrant colours, we invite you to embrace a new resolution for 2024: to explore our county’s breathtaking vistas by foot.

With each turn of the calendar, let our compilation of 24 breathtaking walks be your compass, guiding you through the changing tapestry of Kent's beauty to discover its seasonal secrets. Here’s to a year of discovering the wonders of the Garden of England, one step at a time…

SPRING STROLLS

Great British Life: Panoramic shot of the waterfall on the River Stour near Canterbury (Getty)Panoramic shot of the waterfall on the River Stour near Canterbury (Getty)

Walk amongst the bluebells in Dering Woods

Explore the enchanting Dering Woods, a nature lover's dream during the spring months. This ancient, semi-natural slice of woodland spans almost 310 acres, seamlessly connecting the boundaries of Pluckley, Smarden, and Edgerton. Wander through its undulating landscape adorned with a mesmerising carpet of bluebells. After your woodland adventure, retreat to The Smarden Bell, a charming nearby pub where hearty meals and a cosy ambiance await.

Route to follow: woodlandtrust.org.uk/media/50524/dering-wood-walking-map-the-woodland-trust.pdf

Canterbury riverside stroll

Canterbury's rich history unfolds along the River Stour. This circular 3.2km route circling the city centre offers views of all Canterbury’s iconic landmarks, including the Cathedral and the mediaeval Westgate Tower. Stop into Cafe des Amis at the bottom of the high street for a delightful Mexican meal with views out to Westgate Tower and the River Stour, capturing the essence of Canterbury's charm. This picturesque route seamlessly blends history with natural beauty, creating a perfect spring stroll.

Route to follow: alltrails.com/en-gb/trail/england/kent/canterbury-inner-ring-circular

Up on the North Downs

Discover the historic village of Wye, and a particularly scenic stretch of the North Downs Way, when embarking on this 5-mile circular hike. Pass through scenic woodlands, catch views of the iconic Wye Crown, and stop in for a midpoint refuel at The New Flying Horses pub, set right in the heart of the village. Whilst its mix of picturesque village and wide-open vistas can be appreciated year-round, we can’t help but feel this route will be best enjoyed at the start of spring, just as the countryside begins to burst back into life and colour.

Route to follow: Wye & North Downs Circular map on the AllTrails app.

Sissinghurst in bloom

Sissinghurst Castle Garden bursts into a kaleidoscope of colours during spring. Designed by Vita Sackville-West, these glorious gardens are a masterpiece of horticultural artistry. Take time to explore the White Garden and the Rose Garden, each a fragrant delight. After your stroll, indulge in a visit to The Milk House, a charming pub in Sissinghurst village known for its local cuisine and rustic atmosphere.

Route to follow: nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/sissinghurst-castle-garden/sissinghurst-castle-garden-and-estate-walk

Revel in Rochester’s amazing architecture

Spark curiosity as you discover some of Kent’s best-kept secrets and hidden gems on this architecturally focussed route. Delve deep into Rochester’s rich history, explore castles and cathedrals just a stone’s throw from one another, and peruse a range of boutique shops, too. Rochester high street is heavy with refreshment options, offering weary walkers everything from a quick caffeine fix to a memorable meal. We recommend The Cheese Room Deli & Cafe for irresistible cheese choices, wines, and charcuterie boards. Take our word for it, if it was good enough for Dickens, this spot is worth a venture this spring!

Route to follow: Rochester Architecture Walking Tour map on the AllTrails app.

Rural ramble in the High Weald

A bustling high-street, peaceful woodland, a historic windmill standing proud, and more picture-perfect homes than you might believe possible; yes, this particular 4.5km course offers an impressive quota of ‘I Spy’ sights for ramblers to uncover during a serene spring stroll. Situated in the heart of the high street, we highly recommend settling down for coffee and cake at Arthur’s Coffee House upon completion of this route. It’s only right to reward your efforts, right?

Route to follow: Cranbrook North Circular map on the AllTrails app.

SUMMER SAUNTERS

Great British Life: Isolated wooden path on Dungeness beach (Getty)Isolated wooden path on Dungeness beach (Getty)

Coastal Path at White Cliffs

The White Cliffs of Dover present a stunning coastal walk, with breathtaking views of the English Channel. The path takes you along iconic chalk cliffs, offering a chance to appreciate the region's rich maritime history. After your coastal adventure, unwind at The Coastguard. This pub, nestled nearby at St Margaret’s Bay beneath the cliff edge, serves fresh seafood and offers panoramic views across The Channel.

Route to follow: explorekent.org/activities/south-foreland-lighthouse-walk/

Gardens of Hever Castle

Hever Castle's gardens are a summer delight. With a 38-acre setting, the grounds include a lake, Italian Garden, and a Tudor Garden. After exploring the castle, head to The Henry VIII Inn, located just over the road in Hever village, for a refreshing drink or a hearty meal in a historic setting. It's the perfect conclusion to a day of wandering through the castle's storied past and vibrant gardens.

Route to follow: hevercastle.co.uk/visit/things-to-do/hever-lake/lake-walk/

Dungeness Nature Reserve

Dungeness, a unique coastal landscape, combines shingle beaches with diverse wildlife. The Nature Reserve, a haven for birdwatchers, features expansive views of the marshes. The Fish Hut, a quirky beachside eatery, is the ideal spot to savour freshly caught fish and seafood, adding a culinary dimension to your coastal exploration.

Route to follow: RSPB Dungeness Nature Reserve Circular map on the AllTrails app.

Herne Bay Pier to Reculver Towers

This historical coastal walk unveils Herne Bay’s Victorian pier and leads to the ancient Reculver Towers. The 3-mile linear route offers a mix of coastal views and cultural intrigue. Conclude your seaside adventure at HatHats Coffee located in Reculver, a popular spot to relax with a hot (or cold!) drink, indulge with a delicious slice of freshly baked cake, and perhaps catch a stunning sunset, too.

Route to follow: .gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/routeslinkswalks/herne-bay-to-reculver-walking-route

Leeds Castle Parkland

The serene parkland surrounding Leeds Castle provides a peaceful summer escape. With its pristine gardens and a tranquil lake, the castle offers a quintessential English landscape, perfect for exploring with all the family. Complete your visit with a stop at The Oak on the Green, a traditional pub in Bearsted, where you can enjoy classic British dishes and a selection of local ales.

Route to follow: leeds-castle.com/attraction/circular-walking-routes/

Lullingstone Park and Roman Villa

Lullingstone Park, with its Roman Villa ruins, offers a brilliant blend of history and natural beauty. While embarking on this route, you’ll pass by Lullingstone Roman Villa and Lullingstone Castle, while taking in magnificent views of the Darent Valley. Meet some of the park’s most spectacular trees including the many chestnuts and hornbeams, and some of the most notable oak trees in England. Cap off your day at The Castle Inn, a charming pub in the nearby village of Eynsford, serving hearty meals and a wide selection of drinks.

Route to follow (the 4-mile Lullingstone Loop route): kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/3572/Map-of-Lullingstone-Country-Park.pdf

AUTUMN ADVENTURES

Great British Life: Deer at Knole House - credit GettyDeer at Knole House - credit Getty

Knole Park deer encounter

Knole Park, with its mediaeval deer park, becomes a spectacle of nature during the autumn months. The majestic deer roam freely, creating a truly special and serene ambiance. The leaves are turning, and autumn has arrived, which can only mean one thing… It's the start of cosy pub season! Where better to head post-park ramble than The Oak Tavern & Taphouse, located right in the heart of Sevenoaks?

Route to follow: explorekent.org/activities/knole/

River Medway and Teston Bridge Country Park

Autumn paints the River Medway with warm hues, creating a scenic backdrop for this riverside stroll. Teston Bridge Country Park offers a peaceful retreat with views of the river and surrounding woodlands. Enjoy the open grassland and mix of riverside vegetation as you embark along this 3-mile route. Conclude your walk with a visit to The Tickled Trout, a nearby riverside pub serving classic British dishes and offering a relaxing atmosphere.

Route to follow: explorekent.org/activities/teston-river-walk/

Chartwell Estate ramble

Chartwell, the former home of Winston Churchill, shines bright with autumn’s incredible kaleidoscope of colours. The estate's glorious gardens, terraced lawns, and lakes provide a captivating backdrop for a crisp autumn stroll with loved ones. After exploring what the estate has to offer, head straight to Chartwell’s on-site Landemare Café, which serves a selection of light lunches, one pot meals, cakes, bakes, and hot drinks to warm you up before concluding your visit.

Route to follow: nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/kent/chartwell

Great Chart circular pub walk

The pretty village of Great Chart forms the ideal backdrop to this rural circuit, which allows you to take in the glorious grounds of Godinton House by part of the Greensand Way. Leading through agricultural land, past railways, and over streams, before arriving back at the Swan & Dog pub in the heart of the village, wayfarers will indulge in a real taste of the Kent countryside here. On completion of this route, settle into this 16th Century building where you’ll enjoy a menu bursting with local ingredients, alongside a great selection of interesting ales, lagers, and wines.

Route to follow: shepherdneame.co.uk/sites/default/files/iat_pub_walk_-_swan_and_dog_a3_v4.pdf

Scotney Castle loop

With its charming country house, romantic garden, 14th century moated castle and beautiful wooded estate, Scotney Castle makes a truly idyllic pit-stop for ramblers during the autumn. As the temperature falls, and row-upon-row of amber, gold, and russet leaves cling to the trees above, you’ll be reminded of just how glorious the Garden of England looks this season when embarking on this 4-mile loop. Perfectly placed at the start and end of this walk, The Chequers is a newly renovated 15th century inn sitting in the heart of Lamberhurst village. Offering log fires, squishy armchairs, and a menu of fabulous food and drink, walkers are welcomed to rest, relax, and refuel the right way here…

Route to follow: Lamberhurst/Scotney Castle Loop map on the AllTrails app.

Bedgebury National Pinetum

Bedgebury's expansive arboretum becomes a canvas of autumnal hues, showcasing a stunning display of colours from various tree species towards the end of the year. Wander through the pinetum and enjoy the seasonal transformation. Cap off your visit with a stop at The Goudhurst Inn, a pub in the nearby village, offering a warm atmosphere and a diverse menu.

Route to follow: forestryengland.uk/walkingatbedgebury

WINTER WALKS

Great British Life: Samphire Hoe - credit Visit KentSamphire Hoe - credit Visit Kent

Snowy ramble at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve has the potential to transform into a winter wonderland when the temperature drops, with snow-covered landscapes creating a picturesque setting for a seasonal ramble. This pioneering nature reserve covers 73 hectares and comprises five lakes surrounded by wonderful woodland. Head straight into Sevenoaks high street post-walk and delight in a wide range of cosy cafes to warm up over a hot drink (or two!) We recommend Life On High for a cup of specialty coffee, accompanied by a healthy, hearty lunch.

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve Circular map on the AllTrails app.

Whitstable Harbour and Oyster Beds

Whitstable's charm endures in winter, with the harbour and oyster beds providing a spectacularly scenic coastal walk. After your seaside exploration, warm up at The Old Neptune, a pub on the beach, known for its maritime charm and selection of drinks, creating the perfect winter seaside retreat.

Route to follow: whitstablemaritime.org.uk/oyster-walk/

High Halden Hike

This 4-mile countryside circuit leads ardent amblers to the delightful village of High Halden, conveniently located right between the towns of Ashford and Tenterden. With a charming church, wonderful woodland, stretches of wide-open farmland, and quiet country lanes, this rural route offers the perfect backdrop for a bracing winter walk. When embarking on a village route, it’s only right to end up at the village pub for a post-walk pint (or cup of tea!) Luckily, High Halden’s local watering hole, the Chequers on the Green, is ideally situated right in the heart of the village, and right by the end of this circuit.

Route to follow: Walk number 15 - High Halden - from the walking guidebook ‘Kent year round walks’

Ramsgate To Broadstairs Coastal Route

While the Isle of Thanet has long proven itself to be a popular destination for sun lovers, seeking the perfect summer escape beside the seaside, let it be known that this stretch of east Kent’s coastline can be just as spectacular on a cold winter's day. Boasting miles of shoreline views, stride out on this charming cliff-top route which encompasses both the maritime heritage of Ramsgate, and the picture-perfect bays at Broadstairs. On arrival in Broadstairs, head straight to Jetty, which offers stunning sea views over Broadstairs and Viking Bay with locally sourced fresh food and drink, in a relaxed atmosphere.

Route to follow: explorekent.org/activities/ramsgate-to-broadstairs-walk-sea-it-all/

A Jaunt To The ‘Jewel Of The Weald’

Known as the 'Jewel of the Weald', the charming town of Tenterden offers the best of all worlds; fascinating history, independent shopping and tempting eateries at every corner. Walkers of all ages and abilities will be able to appreciate this 5km rural route which weaves around this handsome high street. From coffee, breakfasts, and indulgent treats at Morretto’s in Sayers Lane to pizza and pints at The White Lion, there’s something to satisfy any appetite in this Wealden hotspot.

Route to follow: Tenterden Station Circular (Rail Trail #5) map from Kent & East Sussex Railway https://kesr.org.uk/walks/

Samphire Hoe

Discover fascinating wildlife, rare plants, the spectacular landscape of the White Cliffs, and stunning views over the English Channel. Samphire Hoe, the official nature reserve of Eurotunnel, sits between the well-known coastal towns of Folkestone and Dover, and is an incredible spot for both wildlife to thrive, and people to enjoy. See out the year in style, with this bracing winter walk, situated right at the foot of Kent’s iconic White Cliffs. You may wish to pick up a hot drink from Samphire Hoe’s very own tea kiosk upon arrival to keep your hands warm while embarking on this walk, or perhaps reward yourself with a tea or coffee upon completion!

Route to follow: Samphire Hoe Country Park Circular Walk route on the AllTrails app.



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