It’s spring and we’re in full planning mode, ditching the winter blues and welcoming a new season of adventures! Whether you’re a foodie, a lux lover, a coastal explorer or fancy an escape to the country, we’ve pulled together 10 getaways to tempt you to book up your perfect Kentish retreat...

Great British Life: UK Electric Bike CentreUK Electric Bike Centre (Image: UK Electric Bike Centre)


We’re going green for our next getaway to Frasers of Egerton, an award-winning eco-estate, which holds sustainability at its core. Operating as net carbon neutral and harnessing 55% sustainable energy, a stay here needn’t cost the earth. Choose between the luxurious bedrooms, from the stylish Stags Barn to a converted stable block and even an original ragstone oast house, now that’s a true taste of Kent! Each of the rooms offers a restful break and a chance to enjoy the surrounding countryside.

You won’t have to go very far for dinner as the award-winning restaurant serves up a plethora of fresh, local produce. Enjoy gorgeous views across the open countryside, and choose between the tasting and feasting menus, crafted from local artisan producers, including fresh veg from the kitchen garden. What’s more, the restaurant operates on a pre-ordering basis to ensure food waste remains less than 5%, so you can look forward to your meal of choice all day.

You’ve spent the evening admiring the countryside, well now it’s time to explore it. Just around the corner, UK Electric Bike Centre is in the heart of some of Kent’s most glorious green countryside. Hire one of their e-bikes and you can pedal through the Garden of England to your heart’s content, with a battery that lasts for up to 50 miles – phew! What’s more those batteries are charged via solar panels, making that car-free trip through the countryside even greener. Tour some of Kent’s most beautiful gardens or take a loop around some of our famous vineyards for a visit complete with vines and vino.


Great British Life: Dover CastleDover Castle (Image: English Heritage)


Round up your friends and let’s head over to Dover for our next staycation, or St Margaret’s Bay, to be specific. Keepers Cottages’ Sea Purse sits in one of the most beautiful locations around, resting just metres from the beach, at the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover. Sleeping eight, this house has quite the history, leased by Noel Coward in the 50s, this home played host to Spencer Tracey, Katherine Hepburn and Evelyn Waugh over the years, while Ian Fleming leased the house next door! Expect exquisite décor, a wraparound balcony, and uninterrupted views which can clearly be seen on the pages of James Bond’s Moonraker, Sea Purse is one of our favourite coastal escapes.

For dinner, we’re heading to Britain’s nearest pub to France, The Coastguard. This historic pub has been overlooking The Channel for more than 300 years, and today it celebrates everything this beautiful area has to offer. Settle in for a pint from Faversham-based Shepherd Neame, tuck into fish fresh from Deal and locally sourced meat from Canterbury. Once the weather warms up, we recommend grabbing a table out on the terrace and drinking in those uninterrupted sea views.

Once you’ve tired of sea views and local produce, it’s time to take in some of the local history. Dover Castle is right at the top of the list, with history ranging from the Romans to the Cold War. This icon has been standing at the top of the White Cliffs for centuries, boasting the medieval Great Tower, the tunnels that were at the centre of the planning of the evacuation of Dunkirk and even an underground hospital. If you’ve rounded up a group of super sleuths, we recommend taking on The Bunker Escape Room, a fully immersive escape room inspired by the castle’s Cold War history,

Great British Life: Hever CastleHever Castle (Image: Hever Castle)


When was the last time you took a romantic getaway? Dreamy West Kent is the perfect spot for a loved-up weekend away, starting off with a stay in a bed and breakfast fit for your king or queen. Hever Castle’s beautifully decorated Astor Wing or Anne Boleyn Wing rooms offer five-star luxury and, most importantly, the chance to stay in an actual castle! Of course, Hever is famed as the childhood home of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, so your stay comes complete with tickets to explore the grounds and that fairytale castle.

For dinner, we recommend the nearby Kentish Hare, an award-winning two AA-Rosette, Bib Gourmand awarded gastro pub set in the picturesque village of Bidborough. Local food and drink is at the heart of what owners, the Tanner brothers do, making this cosy pub a Kentish favourite. Sip on wines from the likes of Gusbourne and Simpsons and tuck into local Chart Farm venison and we’d say you’ve got the perfect date night stop.

After an evening of wining and dining, Penshurst Place is the next dreamy destination. Once the property of King Henry VIII, this beautiful 14th century Manor House has gardens to make you swoon, particularly once peony season rolls around! Stroll hand in hand through the parkland, stop and smell the roses in the gardens, and discover the charms of the manor’s State Rooms, which taken a starring role in films including The Other Boleyn Girl, Wolf Hall and The Secret Garden.


Great British Life: Scotney Castle Scotney Castle (Image: National Trust/John Miller)


We like to think we’ve wowed you with our accommodation options, so we’ll finish off with a bang at Scotney Castle. Yes, you can stay on site at Scotney Castle! Scotney West Lodge is a pretty two-bedroom house right at the entrance of the iconic estate. With your very own private gardens, log burner, sitting room and interiors inspired by the manor house, you’d best have your cameras ready for a stay here. Set in the 780-acre estate, it would be rude not to head up the drive to the 14th century moated castle and sprawling Victorian country manor house to enjoy the views and some beautiful country walks.

Stretch your legs even more with a visit to Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, the award-winning, world-leading collection of conifers, now that’s some accreditations! Walk amongst 12,000 specimens of trees, pack up a picnic and enjoy views across the rolling hills and valleys of the High Weald. Of course, this globally important pinetum is great for weekend wanders, but if you fancy a few more thrills, the miles of mountain biking trails are fantastic for cyclists.

We’re keeping things rural with our next stop, Water Lane, a picture-perfect restaurant in the heart of a Victorian walled gardens. Behind an iconic green door, you’ll find a restaurant that’s good for both you and the planet. Guided by the seasons, their menu is packed with fantastically flavourful dishes, whether you’re in the mood for mutton kofta with yoghurt and mint, or your belly’s craving a berry and almond tart. While here, be sure to stop off at their shop and pick up an ethically sourced gift for friends back home (or just another treat for yourself, we won’t judge!).


Great British Life: Simpsons Wine EstateSimpsons Wine Estate (Image: Simpsons)


Being the Garden of England, it’s fair to say that exceptional food and drink has been at the heart of most of our getaways, but the next break really takes it to the next level. The Pig at Bridge Place boasts jaw-dropping rooms in a jaw-dropping building. Here you’ll find plenty of period features, a history that includes Led Zeppelin, beautiful sweeping staircases and panelled rooms. Tuck into your very own midnight treat of locally sourced snacks in your room, or head down to the restaurant for Garden of England – sourced food served at its best, or wood-fired treats from the garden kitchen in the walled garden.

The next night, the Michelin Starred Bridge Arms is just a stone’s throw away. Step into this character-filled 16th century pub and you’ll not only be wowed by the original fireplaces and features, but you’ll be bowled over by the menu, which honours its Kentish location. Produce is sourced from the doorstep, focusing on seasonal specials uniquely cooked over charcoal produced from the local Kentish woodland. With a four-course tasting menu and daily changing dishes, this rural favourite is a gem.

A foodie trip in Kent has got to include a vineyard visit, so where better than nearby Simpsons Wine Estate? Enjoy a tour and tasting and visit the Boot Hill Vineyard, see the world-class winery and retreat to the Glass House Tasting Room for a guided tasting of their award-winning still and sparkling wines.

We’ve got a final couple of foodie finds left to show you, with a visit to the city of Canterbury. Resting just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, specialist wine shop and bar, Corkk is the perfect place to celebrate English Wine. Sip and sample with their enomatic machines and tuck into tasty bar snacks, while hearing all about their wine making process from their in-house experts. Next it’s off to The Foundry Brew Pub, a craft brewery, distillery, restaurant and bar serving up handcrafted drinks from their very own brewer and distiller. Whether you choose one of their nine handcrafted spirits or one of their lagers, ales and ciders, you’ll be in for an evening worth raising a glass to!


Great British Life: Leeds CastleLeeds Castle (Image: Leeds Castle/Scott Wright)


When you think of historic places to stay in Kent, Leeds Castle has got to be up there, and our next spot to stay does historic with a twist. Leeds Castle’s Lakeside Lodges are their newest accommodation, offering premium design, views of the Great Water and the perfect spot for a little relaxation. Each lodge has been designed in meticulous detail, but it’s the views that are the true star of the show. Your stay comes complete with tickets to the castle and gardens, so enjoy strolling the 500 acres and exploring the lavish 1930s castle interiors.

For dinner head over to the oak-beamed Castle View Restaurant and soak in views of the castle, freshly made seasonal dishes and a taste of what life was like as a guest of Lady Baillie.

We’re keeping things historical with our next location, Maidstone Distillery. Spirits were first crafted in Maidstone in 1785, so it’s safe to say Maidstone Distillery is built on a rich heritage, crafted by a young George Bishop, who led the charge in professional English gin distilling. Maidstone Distillery honours George with their George Bishop Gin, not to mention a whole host of other beautifully crafted spirits. Sample a glass or two or take the tour to discover the history that has gone into crafting these exceptional drinks.


Great British Life: The Historic Dockyard ChathamThe Historic Dockyard Chatham (Image: The Historic Dockyard Chatham)


Bloom Stays’ The Dairy in Ulcombe is the perfect cottage for a family break, offering peace and tranquillity, surrounded by countryside. While you’ll get to enjoy the wood burning stove, solid oak floors and gorgeous vaulted ceilings, the little ones will love playing in the garden. With a big family kitchen to cook up a storm in, you really won’t need to leave, but if you fancy ditching the pots and pans, the local pub is just a 15 minute walk away.

The next day The Historic Dockyard Chatham has got to be on your days out list, as one of the ultimate family friendly spots! Covering 400 years of sea-faring history and packed with adventures to entertain the little sailors, there’s plenty to keep the family entertained. Climb aboard the WWII Destroyer, peer through the periscope of a Cold War Submarine, visit the award-winning Command of the Oceans gallery, and get hands on at the historic Ropery. What’s more, with special events throughout the year, there’s so much more to discover.

After a full-on day, food beckons, so head to nearby Shepherd Neame’s Pier Five for gourmet burgers, hand-stretched pizzas and waterside views.


Great British Life:  Folkestone Harbour Arm Folkestone Harbour Arm (Image: Visit Kent Folkestone Harbour Arm)


We’re checking in for our first getaway, a retreat to Folkestone. The View Hotel is our first port of call, offering sensational views and boutique bedrooms, this 4-star hotel is perfectly placed along the Leas. Settle into one of their luxurious rooms, drink in those panoramic views and prepare for a great night’s sleep – it’s true what they say about sea air, you know.

If you can tear yourself away from your relaxing room, a walk down to Folkestone Harbour Arm has got to be high on the list. Sit on the Arm and enjoy unparalleled views out to sea, grab a bite from one of the many, many street food stalls, or settle in for an outdoor screening in The Goods Yard. For drinks, we recommend Brewing Brothers (their pizzas are incredible) or raising a glass at The Lighthouse Champagne Bar & Tasting Rooms.

The next day, head to The Battle of Britain Memorial, and learn about the sacrifices of The Few in their interactive Scramble Experience. The Memorial itself provides a moving commemoration of The Battle of Britain, while The Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall lists each of the aircrew known to have flown in The Battle. Afterwards, we recommend heading up to the Cockpit Café where you’ll find coffee, cake and incredible views across The Channel.


Great British Life: Boys HallBoys Hall (Image: Boys Hall)


With so many manor houses and castles in Kent, it’s no surprise we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to luxury breaks, and Boys Hall in Ashford is no exception. This 17th century manor has been lovingly refurbished, with each bedroom individually styled and packed with character. Whether you choose to cosy up in one of the intimate bedrooms or luxe out in a super suite, you’ll be treated to a super king bed, fluffy towels and plenty of individual personal touches, not to mention some sensational views out to the gardens.

Come dinner time, you need only wander downstairs to the beautiful oak-framed restaurant, which truly showcases some of the best local produce around. Packed with produce from small, local suppliers, rest assured this ever-changing menu showcases the freshest, seasonal ingredients. Come summertime, relax on the sunny terrace, overlooking the gardens, before retiring to the cosy pub for after dinner drinks.

The luxury treats continue as we head over to the nearby Ashford Designer Outlet, just minutes away. Offering 100 designer brands for up to 60% less, you’ll want to carve out the day for this one. Peruse brands ranging from Tommy Hilfiger, Coach and Calvin Klein to Sweaty Betty, Under Armour and The North Face, before grabbing a bite just a stone’s throw from the Insta-worthy Living Wall at the likes of Five Guys, Wagamama and Comptoir Lebanais.


Great British Life: Belmont House and Gardens Belmont House and Gardens (Image: Josh Carter)


We don’t know about you, but we reckon no break is complete without our four-legged friends. Crow Cottage on the Belmont Estate is the very picture of a chocolate box retreat, surrounded by gardens, near to two village pubs, and ready to welcome your pooch. Relax around the wood burner, enjoy sun downers in the garden, or put your feet up with your furry friend in the conservatory.

Tear yourself away from your cosy bolthole and you’ll have the Belmont Gardens to explore, all as part of your stay. Better yet, your furry friend is welcome to explore the gardens on a lead, so you and Rover can enjoy the beautiful walled gardens and pinetum together.

For dinner we recommend heading to the nearby dog friendly Ferry House Inn, an award-winning two AA Rosette restaurant that celebrates the best of culinary Kent and the best of home-grown produce. Pull up a chair and tuck into family-farmed beef and game, and plot to plate fruit and veg, all set in the 16th century country restaurant. Winners of two Taste of Kent awards, it should come as no surprise that their ethos is that local is best, so be sure to take a wander around their bountiful Kitchen Garden before your meal.