With a temperate, maritime climate and large amounts of sunshine, Kent is one of the best places to spend the summer holidays. It has an exciting mix of activities, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, or adrenaline-fuelled or relaxing. Here is our guide to the best things to do this summer in Kent.
Dover Castle is one of the largest castles in England. Founded in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, the castle has some remarkable defences. There are so many things to discover to keep you entertained for hours. A good place to start is the Great Tower, decked out with luxurious decor to what it would’ve looked like in medieval times. The castle also has a more modern history, with an underground hospital used to treat WW2 casualties. To give you a better picture of what it was like back then, there are audio effects which include a story of an injured pilot fighting for his life. Head further beneath the castle to the wartime tunnels and see footage from the Dunkirk evacuation. If all the war talk is getting you excited, have a go at solving puzzles in the Cold War themed escape rooms.
If you can’t get enough of castles, we’ve got another one for you. Pevensey Castle is a former Roman Saxon Shore fort and medieval castle, built around 290 AD. It’s thought that the fort was built to guard the coast against Saxon pirates. After the Romans left, the castle was used b y the Normans, before being used again in the Second World War by the Home Guard, British and Canadian Armies and the United States Army Air Corps. Today, you can take a tour of the castle to discover the intriguing events that happened over 16 centuries. You can head down into the dungeons and check out the museum which is full of artefacts like jewellery, household items and weapons which were excavated from the site.
Watersports is one of the best summer holiday activities in Kent. The county is home to some of the best beaches in the UK, and the best way to admire the views is from the sea. If you want to try out surfing, head to Botany Bay and Sunny Sands. There are plenty of surf schools in the area which offer different types of courses. Want to take surfing to the next level? Kitesurfing and windsurfing are also popular sports, and the best locations are Whitstable, Minnis Bay and Romney Marsh. For something a little more slow-paced, kayaking and canoeing at St Margaret’s Beach is one of the most scenic spots – don’t forget to look up and admire the magnificent white cliffs. Seasoned sailors have a choice of some excellent marinas, including Ramsgate Royal Harbour Marina and Dover Marina. These are both great bases for sailing.
If you can’t make it to Africa this summer, don’t worry – the next best thing is right here in Kent. Port Lympne is a wild animal park spread over a massive 600 acres. There are over 900 animals to see, including giraffes, black rhinos, tigers, lions and leopards. Buckle up in a safari truck and admire these magnificent creatures up close. Your guides will tell you all about the conservation work the park carries out, and how you can care for endangered animals. But that’s not it – there are also daily talks, gorilla feeding and behind the scenes tours of the park.
Botany Bay is one of the most photogenic spots in Kent. Surrounded by imposing white cliffs and towering chalk stacks, the bay is a fab spot for fossil hunting, exploring rock pools and chilling on the sand. It’s also safe to swim in, and you’ll find seasonal lifeguards on duty. Feeling a little peckish? There is a kiosk on the beach which sells light snacks and refreshments, but we recommend walking up above the bay to the Botany Bay Hotel. The hotel has a restaurant and cafe with dazzling views out to sea.
The Kent countryside is made for horse riding. All across the county you’ll find bridleways and routes which are suitable for all levels of riders. One of the most popular areas is the scenic Lower Hardres in the Kent Downs. The bridleways in the area go through woodland and parkland which are teeming with wildlife. For more beautiful scenery, Bedgebury Forest is a great place to ride. This woodland area is full of high-reaching trees and wildlife. If it’s your first time on horseback and you need a few lessons, stables such as Wellgrove Farm Stables, Ten Oaks Equestrian Centre and Bursted Manor are highly rated.
Goodnestone Park Gardens
What would a summer holiday be without a visit to a garden? Although there are numerous gardens in Kent, Goodnestone Park Gardens has been described by different writers as “the very heart of rural England”, “one of the loveliest gardens in Kent” and “a haven of beautiful tranquility hidden away in south east Kent”. Spread across 14 acres, the garden has many charming features including water features and ancient, twisted trees. Make your way around the different areas, including the Walled Garden, the Woodland Garden, the Parterre and Terraces, the Arboretum and Gravel Garden, the Kitchen Garden and the Nursery.