Spotlight on Amanda Cottrell, Louise Jameson, Cheryl Baker, Felicity Aston and Tom Hart-Dyke

Kent Life asked some of our favourite famous faces in Kent about their most romantic or favourite spots in the county, and why they are so special to them

Kent Life asked some of our favourite famous faces in Kent about their most romantic or favourite spots in the county, and why they are so special to themWords by Sarah Sturt pictures pictures by Manu Palomeque

AMANDA COTTRELL, OBE ChallockChairman of Visit Kent and awarded an OBE in the 2011 Queen’s Honours List. Congratulations Amanda!

Kent has long been the gateway to these British Isles, and to stand at Capel-le-Ferne with the wind in your hair, looking out over the ever-changing patterns of the English Channel and the distant coast of France beyond is both profoundly romantic and tinged with sadness. For there, alone and unbearably poignant, is the stone effigy of a young airman; for ever watching, for ever waiting for those who fought and died to come home to Kent. There is great romance in the then as well as the now. The beginning, not the end. Help, I have made myself cry!

LOUISE JAMESON Tunbridge WellsActor, drama teacher and director

It’s a very simple spot I love...In Rusthall, the walk from St Paul’s Church to The Beacon, when the sun is setting, there is a bench facing directly to the west and catches the splendid and wonderful colours that only the Kent sky has to offer. And of course there is a delicious glass of wine waiting for you at the end of the walk once the sun has set.

CHERYL BAKER IghthamSinger and TV presenter

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I have had a love affair with Kent ever since I was a small child. I remember vividly sitting on a Greygreen Coach headed for Leysdowne on Sea. Crossing the bridge onto the Isle of Sheppey was the most exciting and magical moment of the year for me other than Christmas Day. The sight of the brightly coloured chalets, the smell of the sea, swirly ice cream and cockles brings back the happiest memories of my childhood.  Since then my love of Kent has expanded greatly. I consider myself so lucky to live in such a beautiful county with such easy access to London, France and airports to take me further afield, but Kent is where my heart remains.

TOM HART-DYKELullingstonePlant hunter and Kent Life blogger

For Valentine’s Day there are so many places in Kent that I would visit with my special lady friend. But my favourite hotspot has to be Sandwich Bay. Despite the month of February potentially being very chilly billy, you simply can’t beat a passive, thought-provoking, barefoot stroll on this delightfully time-warping, pebble-rich coast. It’s a must. Holding hands with your girlfriend as you aimlessly wander this stretch of beautiful Kentish coastline is such a refreshing and reflective experience. Your ears are overcome by the calming waves subtly crashing down and over the smooth pebbles with the climax of the bubbling and sizzling froth painting patterns on the shoreline. Even in February you cockles are warmed!After at least an hour’s barefooted meandering along the beach it’s off to the nearby Five Bell’s Pub for a sumptuous lunch. The standard of service and quality of the food stuffs beats any pub in Kent. Tremendous! I have also made return trips to this picturesque region of Kent in high summer where the largest colony of the endangered Lizard Orchid in Britain is to be found. Kent is a magical place, so diverse and it’s a pleasure to have grown up and lived in this glorious county.

FELICITY ASTONBirchington Explorer, speaker and author, taking part in the International Scott Centenary Expedition this year

I’ve been lucky enough to see spectacular sunsets all over the world, but I still think that the sunsets close to my home near Minnis Bay, when looking out to sea, are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, especially with Reculver on the horizon. The coast around East Kent is really wild, stormy and dramatic so a winter walk by the sea at sunset is my ideal romantic outing – particularly if it is rounded off with a bottle of warming red wine by an open fire. A great spot for a romantic tipple by the sea after a windswept walk on the beach is The Sportsman in Seasalter, which also does amazing food, or the Lighthouse Bar at the end of the Harbour Arm in Margate with its lovely views. Perfect for getting cosy!

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