As the days get lighter, longer and warmer, there’s no better time to focus on your wellbeing – and we’ve got heaps of ideas for activities that’ll allow you to do just that, right here in Kent.


Great British Life: Let the sound wash away stress with a Gong Bath at Flourish Wellness, Kingdom, near Penshurst Let the sound wash away stress with a Gong Bath at Flourish Wellness, Kingdom, near Penshurst (Image: Flourish Wellness)

Take a bath without water

Definitely on our wish list to try this year is a Gong Bath, with events regularly held across the county. We like the idea of sessions with Flourish Wellness at beautiful Kingdom, a wellbeing hub ‘where the young grow up and grown-ups feel young’ set in 13-acres of woodland just outside Penshurst, with the great café here an additional draw. Sound has been used as a healing tool for thousands of years, and today fans say it helps listeners rebalance, emotionally and spiritually as they experience the vibrating waves emanating from gong, chimes and Tibetan bowl. All you need to do is lie comfortably under a blanket, close your eyes and surrender to sensation…

2 Hear music live

Listening to music can help lower your blood pressure and reduce anxiety – or it can stimulate, as anyone who’s danced the night away at a rock concert knows! There are so many great venues county-wide, from pubs to concert halls, with great music for all tastes, but we especially appreciate the award-winning Forum in Tunbridge Wells, which celebrated its 30th birthday last year. Not only does it have a reputation for star-spotting (Oasis and Adele performed here pre-fame), it’s renowned for its friendliness and inclusivity. Classical more your thing? Find out what, where and when the county’s Kent Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing at


Great British Life: Take a look at Antony Gormley's Another Time in the waves at Margate Take a look at Antony Gormley's Another Time in the waves at Margate (Image: Thierry Bal)

3 Art for art’s sake 

Gain a whole new perspective on life – sometimes literally – by getting involved with art in your area. Your nearest library or museum will have a wealth of exhibitions to enjoy – at Margate’s outstanding Turner gallery, for instance, you could check out Anthony Gormley’s sculpture in the waves or pay a visit to Beyond Form: Lines of Abstraction, 1950 – 1970, which examines the work of 50 women artists, including big names such as Louise Bourgeois and Eva Hesse. Alternatively, you could check out your local adult education centre at for a local art appreciation class, or join one of The Arts Society’s 18 branches across the county, each of which offers a great range of talks and events. Discover The Wheel of the Year, a celebration of eight festivals rooted in the seasonal rhythms of nature and honoured over hundreds of years by many European and Slavic countries at a study day in Ashford, or in April you could hear all about the amazing life of American art patron Peggy Guggenheim in Gravesend.;

4 Sweat it out!

The benefits of seawater swimming are well known, but add a seaside sauna into the mix so that you get to experience hot as well as cold and you’re talking a double bubble of health-giving treats. We’re lucky to have Folkestone Sea Sauna, the Steam Punk Sauna on Dover Esplande, and Sea Scrub’s wood-fired barrel sauna in Margate with, as we write, a second state-of-the-art electric sauna set to join it here. Sea Scrub says this will offer a ‘next level sauna experience’- the bluetooth speakers and a wonderful view of the sea don’t hurt either – oh, and there are cold-plunge whisky barrels to immerse yourself in, too, plus special events such as Full-Moon and Star-Gazing saunas. Another Sea Scrub Sauna is due to open any minute in Whitstable, between the Lifeboat station and the harbour. Prices from £15 for an hour.

5 Wellbeing walks 

We have of course got some of England’s finest walking country here in Kent, but sometimes – if you’ve not walked for a while for any reason - you might want a gentle incentive to get you out there again, with friendly, like-minded people and with an expert organisation at the helm. Enter The Ramblers Association Wellbeing Walks. They run throughout the county, they’re free, gentle and are for everyone – the group stays together, so no one needs worry about getting left out. If you use a wheelchair or have mobility issues, just drop the organisation an email or give them a call and they’ll find a walk that’s right for you. Choose from parkland to coastal routes to the historically managed farmland and woodland of the Kentish Weald.

Great British Life: Bullseye! Axe-throwing in Lamberhurst Bullseye! Axe-throwing in Lamberhurst (Image: IM Porter)

6 Something to throw… 

We weren’t sure axe-throwing would be for us but – now tried and tested – we can confirm that it’s truly something different, a chance to bond with a team and is good fun, too. Our team of four was taken through a safety briefing and shown various techniques for throwing short-handled axes, where the emphasis is on skill not strength (they’re not that heavy!), ending with a competition between our quartet. Our session took place outdoors at Kent Axe Throwing Centre in Lamberhurst (; minimum age 12 and children must be accompanied by an adult), but you could try Battle Masters in Gravesend (from age 10 if accompanied by an adult) or in Margate for over 18s, too. From £25 per person for an hour.

Great British Life: Champing at ancient Patrixbourne Church is an option on a walk with the British Pilgrimage TrustChamping at ancient Patrixbourne Church is an option on a walk with the British Pilgrimage Trust (Image: British Pilgrimage Trust)

7 A Pilgrimage with a difference 

‘Bring your own beliefs’ says The British Pilgrimage Trust, an organisation that provides free access to some 250 pilgrim routes across Britain for people of all faiths and none, with access to low-cost pilgrim hostel accommodation as an additional option. It also offers a range of exciting events and guided walks throughout the country, with several in Kent. We enjoyed a brilliant day walking from Patrixbourne (where there’s the opportunity to ‘champ’ – or camp in a church – too) to Canterbury Cathedral last year, taking in sacred wells, ancient trees and with a bit of bare-foot walking and singing en route thrown in for good measure. As part of a lively group led by the excellent Dawn Champion, the day certainly improved our sense of wellbeing! From £50.

8 Animal magic 

Back in 2019, a team from Washington State University found that there were huge reductions in the stress hormone cortisol from just 10 minutes of interaction with a cat or dog. Haven’t got a pet yourself? Head for a Cat Café, such as Kent’s very first example, The Cosy Cat Café in Herne Bay (, Paws in Tonbridge (, or Canterbury Tails in the cathedral city (, and enjoy a cuppa and a slice of cake while surrounded with friendly moggies. If dogs are more your thing, consider signing up for, which could see you helping a dog-owner by spending time with their pet when they’re unable to.

9 Conquer that 5K 

Keen to experience life outdoors at a faster pace and build up some stamina at the same time? The couch25K app, as endorsed by the NHS, is well worth downloading If you want people around you, Park Run is a free, weekly, community 5K event that takes place at 9am every Saturday morning, at multiple locations across Kent and you don’t have to run to take part either– you can walk, jog or even volunteer as a marshall – it really is the taking part that counts. If you could do with some coaching, try, which has groups across the county led by experienced trainers, with the aim of getting you running 5K in as little as 10 weeks if you’ve never run before. It’s not free, but there are membership packages depending on your age and circumstances, from an initial payment of £14.99 and then £19.99 (£11.99, then £16 for over 65s).

10 Volunteer 

Kent’s Lord-Lieutenant, Lady Colgrain, is a keen supporter of volunteering as a means of improving skills and giving us a sense of purpose – and the chance, of course, to make a difference, too. There are hundreds of different roles to choose from, volunteering is as flexible and fun as you want it to be, so there really is an opportunity for everyone. Working with Kent Volunteer partnership, the Lord-Lieutenant’s office supports an online volunteering hub that allows people to post details of, and to search for, roles close to home, from helping with sports coaching to litter-picking to writing to a lonely older person. Well worth checking it out to see if there’s something that appeals to you.

11 Don’t miss the dawn chorus 

Getting up early, sensing the sun rise and hearing birds wake up and call to one another is a magical springtime activity - their sound is most striking at this time of year as they’re working their hardest to attract new mates and defend their breeding territories. Head on your own for great views from One Tree Hill, near Sevenoaks, or if you prefer a group activity join a walk at Bore Place near Chiddingstone on 14 April, where, for £10, expert guide Tom Forward will help you identify and learn the different songs of resident birds. Alternatively head off to Bromley on May 8 for a walk with Peter Smart of RSPB Bromley Local Group at the National Trust’s Petts Wood and Hawkwood Our favourite dawn chorus experience, though, has to be that offered by Tonbridge River Trips, on which wildlife expert Simon Ginnaw points out the sights and sounds of birdlife as you glide out on the Medway’s waters towards Penshurst. Various dates, from £25.

12 Go potty 

It’s clay, not tantrums, that gets thrown on Channel 4’s Great Pottery Throw Down programme, which we’ll take as an indication of just how relaxing the craft can be. After all, how can a person not feel a better connection to life itself when handling such an earthy substance? As a hobby, potting is these days so popular that you’ll find daytime and evening classes available at venues throughout the county – though you’ll probably need to book well in advance to secure a place. Try The Ceramics Studio near Tonbridge or Aylesford School of Ceramics at the wonderful pottery at Aylesford Priory – itself full of beautiful ceramics: And for reasonably priced classes further afield, don’t forget Kent Adult Education classes.


Great British Life: Nurseries and gardens may welcome some volunteer help - Water Lane in Hawkhurst certainly does Nurseries and gardens may welcome some volunteer help - Water Lane in Hawkhurst certainly does (Image: Maria Bell)

13 Head for the garden

Kent Community Garden at the University of Kent in Canterbury provides opportunities for students, staff and the community to engage with wellbeing activities via nature, all while making new friends, learning about biodiversity and food production, and building up skills and confidence into the bargain. It’s just those sort of benefits that every garden can offer, so if you can’t get to Canterbury or you don’t have a garden yourself, see if any of the larger gardens or nurseries in your area could do with voluntary help – try our friends at Water Lane nursery and restaurant and the Hands of Hope charity, both in Hawkhurst, for instance - or the brilliant Spadework charity, near West Malling ( to discover how you can help out with its horticultural- and arts and crafts-based work 

14 The joy of dance 

Dancing’s good for you – physically and mentally – so what are you waiting for?! There’s a class for every sort of interest, every level of experience and every age group, from line dancing to ballroom, tots’ ballet to tea dances organised by If you’d like to incorporate dance into your fitness regime, offers classes at venues including Sevenoaks and Thamesmead. Here, ballroom and Latin dance combine to keep you moving, and membership includes access to pep talks and meal-planning advice. All too structured? Follow singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s example and never forget the power of the humble Kitchen Disco to energise and uplift! Just download ten minutes of your favourite dance tunes and get bopping!


Great British Life: Truly switch off with Hannah Terry at Wild Woodland Retreat in ElhamTruly switch off with Hannah Terry at Wild Woodland Retreat in Elham (Image: Wild Woodland Retreat)

15 Disconnect 

Many of us have a sense that, for our own wellbeing, less time in the virtual world and more in reality would be a good thing, but it can be hard to wean ourselves off technology, given the staple it’s become in our daily lives. Kick start your resolve to spend more time away from you home with a weekend away off-grid. At Petts Bottom, Canterbury, you’ll find two fully-insulated cabins for two, each with a fireplace, electricity and hot shower. Surrounded by 10 acres of countryside, we’re assured that during your time there, ‘you’ll see no one and hear no one’. Alternatively, you could head for a digital detox retreat at Hawes Farm near Elham, where host Hannah Terry– an expert having herself managed to greatly reduce her own digital connectivity for health reasons - offers wellbeing therapies including Chakradance and Quigong, an ancient Chinese exercise system, plus the chance to meet animals including funny and friendly goats Custard, Mustard, Carrot and Parsnip, with daily walks, cuddles and grooming all options.


Great British Life: Challenge yourself at Go Ape! at Bedgebury or Leeds CastleChallenge yourself at Go Ape! at Bedgebury or Leeds Castle (Image: Hamish Frost)

16 Scare yourself (but in a good way) 

As ‘Marmite’ activities go, the idea of hurling yourself into potential oblivion from a zip wire might be one you dismiss immediately with a shudder. Think, though, of the adrenalin you’ll release and the sense of achievement at having ‘felt the fear and done it anyway’ once you’ve safely got your feet back on the ground. England’s longest zipwire is right here in Kent, at Hangloose Adventure Bluewater – positioned right over a cliff edge, you’ll soar 724 metres above the ground, travelling at 60mph. And possibly the really good news? The trip only lasts 45 seconds. Alternatively, head for a Go Ape centre in Kent, high in the trees, at either Bedgebury, or Leeds Castle, with the latter boasting five of the best zip wires in Kent - two of which are over 250m long! Just bring your own courage.;

17 Lose yourself in a book 

Reading is a great way to lose yourself for a while and if you want to read with a group of people, you’ll almost certainly find that your local Kent library has its own book group. Don’t forget, too, that if you hear about a book that’s not available at the library, you can reserve it for a small few (usually £1), or you can suggest an acquisition if there’s a newly-published book you want to read. Generally, the library team will get it for, saving you the cost of buying it yourself, and meaning others will be able to enjoy it afterwards. And if you’d like to enjoy a different sort of book group, take inspiration from Silent Book Club, in its own words, ‘a global community of readers and introverts, with more than 500 chapters in 50 countries around the world led by local volunteers. SBC members gather in public at bars, cafes, bookstores, libraries, and online to read together in quiet camaraderie.’ In Folkestone there’s already a Chapter (or ‘group’ – but Chapter’s a much more appropriate name in this context, surely) – perhaps this is the year you’ll feel inspired to start one up in your own Kent village or town.

18 Sing 

Express yourself, improve your lung function, meet others and have fun: join a choir! At, which has groups across the UK, you don’t have to audition to join and you don’t have to be able to read music either. For something truly Kentish, though, if you’re in Romney consider the fabulous Run by experienced musician Carly Bryant, it’s a rock n roll choir with over 400 members who meet in seven different locations across the marsh, from Hythe to Rye. Says Carly, ‘There are no auditions - this is a choir for all abilities from ages 16 up. We have a lot of fun but also strive for ambitious arrangements, and that's why we call ourselves "the flock that rocks".’

19 Spa break 

If you fancy a spa break as a way to recharge and refresh, we’re spoiled for choice here in the county. We especially like the sound of the Tor Spa Retreat in Ickham, near Canterbury, which offers spa days and Ayureveda Retreat packages. Ayureveda is an ancient holistic health approach from India that has been practised for 5,000 years, and at Tor you can just lie back and enjoy treatments that include a traditional Sivalepam ritual. Combining a creamy exfoliating scrub, aromatic steam, deep cleansing mask and a relaxing massage of the back, neck, shoulders, scalp and feet, it sounds like a wonderful pick-me-up to us. Then relax with books, vegetarian lunch and a herbal tea or, if the weather’s warm enough, sun yourself on the decking by the spa’s pretty lake.

Great British Life: Look at a Kent oast house with fresh eyes as you become a tourist in your own countyLook at a Kent oast house with fresh eyes as you become a tourist in your own county (Image: Getty)

20 Be a tourist in your own home 

If you’re feeling as if you need a break from it all but perhaps a little jaded with your own suroundings and with neither time nor resources to head off somewhere else, you might need to rethink your approach to your home turf. Act like a tourist and break out of your usual routine! Head for that pub or café you’ve never tried before, visit an iconic Kent place that’s previously passed you by, Dover's white cliffs, for instance, or one of our historic oast houses (you'll find the last coal-fired oast house in the county at our name-sake Kent Life Heritage Park – and if your local park happens to have a boating lake, hire yourself a pedalo - something you might not have done since your last holiday, or even childhood! See our feature, too, on page xxx for news of Kent’s Big Weekend – details of how you can get your hands on tickets to outstanding destinations throughout the county, all for free!