With beautiful coastline, countryside and fascinating historical attractions, Kent has so much to offer. To make the most of the county, here are some of the best bank holiday May activities in Kent.
Hever Castle & Gardens
Hever Castle was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Take advantage of the audio guides and private guided tours to journey through 700 years of history. Wander through the house and marvel at the grand furniture, tapestries, antiques and Tudor portraits. There is a permanent exhibition in the Long Gallery showing the story of the Wars of the Roses to the Reformation. Discover the gardens, filled with charming features like the Pompeian Wall, the giant topiary chess set and the yew maze. Head to the 38 acre lake and relax at The Loggia and Japanese Tea House.
If it happens to rain on May bank holiday in Kent, head indoors to Turner Contemporary. Located in the seaside town of Margate, this art gallery is named after the painter J. M. W. Turner who went to school in the town. The gallery has a range of exhibitions, tours, family workshops, performances and film screenings to enjoy. You may recognise the Turner Contemporary from the new £20 note, which features the art gallery’s iconic building and Margate lighthouse.
One of the most photographed bays in Kent, Botany Bay is surrounded by white cliffs and impressive chalk stacks. When the tide is out, the beach is great for fossil hunting and exploring rock pools. The bay is safe to swim in and there are seasonal lifeguards on duty. Above the bay you’ll find Botany Bay Hotel with a restaurant and cafe boasting stunning ocean views. There is also a kiosk on the beach selling refreshments and snacks.
This open air museum near Maidstone is a fun day out for the whole family. The 28 acre site is teeming with attractions. The Vintage Village shows you what life was like during the Second World War, complete with an Anderson Shelter. Step back in time to the 1950s at the Sandling Farmhouse, or the Victorian era Petts Farmhouse. Kent Life is also a working farm, with plenty of traditional farm animals as well as alpacas and rabbits. The Kent Owl Academy has 12 different species, with the additional pair of meerkats.
Deep under the streets of the seaside town of Ramsgate lie the country’s largest network of civilian wartime tunnels. It was used to shelter 60,000 people during air raids in the Second World War. As Ramsgate was demolished during the war, people made the tunnels their home, and in 1940 over 300 families were living permanently underground. You can take a guided tour which starts in a 150 year old Victorian railway tunnel. A short film gives you an insight into the history of the tunnels and how they were built. There are authentic stage sets in the tunnels where you can listen to stories from past residents, as well as a small museum with displays and memorabilia from the tunnels’ past.