Despite its name, Leeds Castle is actually in Kent, not Yorkshire. Originally owned by a Saxon royal family, the castle is set on two islands in a beautiful lake. You can explore the grounds and different landscaped gardens, or get lost in a maze of 2,400 yew trees. See if you can reach the middle, where you’ll discover The Grotto. There is also adventure golf, a Knights’ Stronghold Playground and a Squires’ Court Playground for kids. Travel back in time at the Gatehouse Exhibition to learn more about the history of Leeds Castle.
A visit to a safari park is one of the most exciting things to do in Kent this Easter. Port Lympne is a 600 acre wild animal park and has over 900 animals. You can hop aboard a safari truck and spot giraffes, black rhinos, tigers, lions and leopards. Conservation is at the heart of Port Lympne, so you’ll get to learn about the most endangered animals and how to care for them. There are also daily talks, gorilla feeding and behind the scenes tours of the park.
The White Cliffs of Dover
No list about Kent would be complete without including the White Cliffs of Dover. Stretching for eight miles, the name comes from the colour of the cliff face which is due to the composition of chalk. There are miles of footpaths that you can wander down to enjoy the stunning views. Especially during the spring, the grassland along the cliffs is home to a wealth of wildlife including vibrant wildflowers, birds and butterflies. See if you can spot the two wrecks lurking in the shallows – one of the SS Falcon and the Preußen, a German trade vessel.
Kent has some of the best beaches in the country, and trying out water sports is a great way to explore the coastline. For surfing, Botany Bay is a popular destination, and there are many surf schools in the area. You can also try kitesurfing or windsurfing, and some of the best locations are Whitstable and Minnis Bay. Head to St Margaret’s for some kayaking and canoeing, where you can look up and admire the white cliffs. If you’re a seasoned sailor, then head to Ramsgate Royal Harbour Marina or Dover Marina, both serving as excellent bases for sailing.
A unique attraction that shouldn’t be missed is Chislehurst Caves, a manmade network of tunnels and caverns covering 22 miles. They were originally dug as chalk and flint mines, but were also used during both wars as an ammunition storage and air raid shelter. Perhaps the strangest thing the tunnels were used for was an underground city, and at one point they had 15,000 inhabitants. Today, you can join a 45 minute tour and hear stories about the history of the caves, dating back to the time of the Druids, Romans and Saxons.