With its breathtaking coastline, medieval architecture, and world-renowned castles, there is an abundance of places to visit in Kent as a tourist.
Nestled in the southeastern corner of England lies this county of picturesque countryside, charming seaside towns, and historic landmarks. Often referred to as the “Garden of England,” Kent is a must-visit destination for those seeking a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. There are many places to visit in Kent that can make your vacation worthwhile.
From the grandeur of Canterbury Cathedral to the rugged cliffs of Dover, and the charming towns and villages that dot the countryside, Kent has something to offer for everyone. Join us as we take you on a journey through the 9 best places to visit in Kent and discover the magic of this stunning county.
Canterbury Cathedral – Places to visit in Kent for religious people
Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most famous and significant religious sites in England. It is located in the historic city of Canterbury, in Kent, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here’s some more information on what to expect when visiting Canterbury Cathedral:
History and Architecture:
The cathedral has a rich history dating back over 1,400 years, and has undergone many changes and renovations over time. Its architecture is amazing, making it one of the top places to visit in Kent.
The present-day cathedral is a stunning example of medieval Gothic architecture, with beautiful stained-glass windows, intricate carvings, and soaring arches. The cathedral is home to many important relics, including the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, the former Archbishop of Canterbury who was martyred in the cathedral in 1170.
Visitors to Canterbury Cathedral can expect a unique and unforgettable experience. The cathedral is a working church, so visitors are asked to be respectful of ongoing services and events. It makes it one of the best places to visit in Kent. The cathedral offers a range of tours, including guided tours, audio tours, and virtual tours, which allow visitors to explore the cathedral at their own pace. In addition to the cathedral itself, there are also several other historic buildings and landmarks to explore, including the ancient ruins of St. Augustine’s Abbey and St. Martin’s Church.
Events and Activities:
Throughout the year, the cathedral hosts a range of events and activities, including concerts, lectures, and special services. Many of these events are free to attend, and offer visitors the chance to experience the cathedral in a unique way. The cathedral also offers a range of educational programs, including workshops and tours for school groups, making it one of the fun places to visit in Kent.
To sum it up, a visit to Canterbury Cathedral is a must for anyone interested in history, architecture, or religion. The cathedral is a stunning example of medieval Gothic architecture, with a rich history and a unique atmosphere that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Whether you choose to take a guided tour, attend a special event, or simply explore the cathedral on your own, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience when you include it in your places to visit in Kent list.
Dover Castle – Iconic places to visit in Kent
Dover Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in England, located in the town of Dover in Kent. The castle has played a crucial role in English history, serving as a defensive stronghold since the 11th century. If you’re planning to visit Dover Castle, you can expect a fascinating experience exploring centuries of history, admiring stunning architecture, and enjoying breathtaking views of the English Channel.
Here are some of the highlights of a visit to Dover Castle among all leading places to visit in Kent
- The Great Tower: The centerpiece of the castle, the Great Tower is a medieval fortress built in the 1180s. You can explore its four levels, including the banquet hall, the king’s chamber, and the rooftop, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the castle and the surrounding countryside, making it one of the top places to visit in Kent.
- The Secret Wartime Tunnels: During World War II, Dover Castle served as an underground command center and hospital for the British military. You can explore the tunnels and learn about the strategies and operations that took place there.
- The Roman Lighthouse: The castle is built on the site of an ancient Roman lighthouse, and you can still see the remains of the original structure today. So, among all places to visit in Kent, it is definitely worth an exploration.
- The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment Museum: This museum showcases the history of the regiment, which has been based at Dover Castle since 1959.
- The Castle Grounds: The castle is surrounded by beautiful grounds, which include a medieval garden, a Roman pharos (lighthouse), and a Saxon church.
- Events and Activities: Throughout the year, Dover Castle hosts a range of events and activities, such as medieval reenactments, jousting tournaments, and ghost tours. If you wish to experience these ghost tours, you must definitely include it in your places to visit in Kent list.
Visiting Dover Castle is a unique experience, and you can expect to learn a great deal about England’s rich history and see some spectacular sights. Whether you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun day out, a visit to Dover Castle is highly recommended. So, you must include it in your places to visit in Kent list.
Whitstable is a charming seaside town located on the north coast of Kent, in the southeast of England. It’s a popular destination for visitors due to its beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and laid-back vibe.
One of the highlights of a visit to Whitstable is the seafood. If you love seafood, it is one of the top places to visit in Kent. The town is famous for its oysters, and you’ll find many seafood restaurants and oyster bars serving up delicious dishes using fresh, locally caught seafood. Some of the best places to try include the Whitstable Oyster Company, The Lobster Shack, and The Crab and Winkle.
Whitstable has a lovely beach, which is a great place to relax, take a stroll, or try your hand at watersports. The town has a range of watersports facilities, including windsurfing, sailing, and paddleboarding. There are also several walking and cycling trails in the area, including the Oyster Bay Trail, which takes you along the coast and through the town, making it one of the most enjoyable places to visit in Kent.
One of the most iconic sights in Whitstable is the colorful beach huts, which are a popular spot for taking photos. The huts line the beachfront and come in a range of colors and styles, adding to the town’s unique character.
If you’re interested in history, then the Whitstable Museum and Gallery is a must-visit attraction among several places to visit in Kent. The museum is located in a restored 19th-century building and showcases the town’s history and heritage through a range of exhibits and artifacts.
Overall, a visit to Whitstable promises to be a unique and enjoyable experience, with plenty to see and do, delicious food to try, and a laid-back seaside atmosphere.
The White Cliffs of Dover – Scenic places to visit in Kent
The White Cliffs of Dover are one of the most iconic natural landmarks in England and are located on the southeast coast of Kent. These towering chalk cliffs stretch for approximately 10 miles and rise up to 350 feet above the English Channel, offering stunning views of the sea and the surrounding countryside.
Here’s what you can expect when visiting The White Cliffs of Dover among other places to visit in Kent.
- Scenic Walks: Walking along the cliffs is a popular activity, and there are several trails that offer stunning views of the coastline. The most popular trail is the South Foreland Walk, which is a 4-mile route that takes you past the historic South Foreland Lighthouse, which is open to visitors. Other trails include the Dover to St Margaret’s Bay Walk, the Langdon Cliffs Walk, and the Fan Bay Deep Shelter Walk, which takes you through underground tunnels and caves. So, it is one of the most enjoyable places to visit in Kent.
- Views and Wildlife: The views from the cliffs are simply breathtaking, with panoramic vistas of the English Channel and the French coastline visible on a clear day. The cliffs are also home to a variety of wildlife, including birds such as the peregrine falcon and the kestrel, as well as rare plants such as the early spider orchid. If you love wildlife, it is one of the best places to visit in Kent.
- History and Culture: The White Cliffs of Dover have played an important role in England’s history, serving as a symbol of the country’s strength and resilience during times of war. During your visit, you can explore the historic Dover Castle, which played a crucial role in the defense of the country during World War II. The castle offers guided tours and interactive exhibits, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives of those who lived and worked there.
- Visitor Facilities: There are several visitor facilities at The White Cliffs of Dover, including car parks, cafes, and gift shops. There is also a visitor center that offers information on the history and geology of the cliffs, as well as details on walking routes and other activities.
In summary, visiting The White Cliffs of Dover is a unique and unforgettable experience, offering stunning views, fascinating history, and the chance to explore one of England’s most iconic landmarks. Undoubtedly, it is one of the top places to visit in Kent.
Whether you choose to take a leisurely stroll along the cliffs or explore the historic castle, you’re sure to leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden – Beautiful places to visit in Kent
Sissinghurst Castle Garden is a world-renowned garden located in the Weald of Kent, about 12 miles south of Maidstone. The garden was created in the 1930s by the writer and poet Vita Sackville-West and her husband, the diplomat and author Harold Nicolson. It is now owned and maintained by the National Trust, and is one of the most popular gardens in the UK, attracting over 200,000 visitors per year. With such a large number of people exploring this garden, it is one of the top places to visit in Kent.
The garden is famous for its romantic planting, stunning views, and intimate garden “rooms.” The design is based on the principle of garden “rooms,” with each area of the garden separated by hedges or walls, creating a sense of intimacy and privacy. The garden is divided into several different areas, each with its own unique character and style.
One of the most famous parts of the garden is the White Garden, which features a collection of white flowers and foliage, including roses, lilies, and snowdrops. This area is especially beautiful in the spring, when the bulbs and blossom are in full bloom.
Another popular area is the Rose Garden, which is filled with over 200 varieties of roses, including climbing and rambling varieties. So, if you love roses, it is one of the top places to visit in Kent. This area is particularly stunning in June, when the roses are in full bloom and the fragrance is at its most intense.
The Nuttery is a more wild and natural area of the garden, filled with hazelnuts, holly, and other native trees and shrubs. This area is especially beautiful in the autumn, when the leaves change color and the ground is covered in a carpet of fallen leaves.
The garden also features a number of stunning vistas and viewpoints, including the Tower Lawn, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, and the Moat Walk, which follows the path of an old moat and offers stunning views of the garden and the castle. It is one of the most serene places to visit in Kent.
If you are planning to visit Sissinghurst Castle Garden, you can expect a truly magical experience. The garden is beautifully maintained, with a tranquil and serene atmosphere that makes it a perfect place to relax and unwind. There are plenty of places to visit in Kent to sit and enjoy the scenery, and the National Trust offers guided tours and events throughout the year, including talks, workshops, and garden tours. Be sure to bring your camera, as there are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the garden!
Hever Castle – Places to visit in Kent for history buffs
Hever Castle is a historic castle located in the village of Hever in Kent, England. It is famous for its connections to the Tudor dynasty, especially Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. If you are planning to visit Hever Castle, here’s what you can expect from your experience:
- The Castle: Hever Castle dates back to the 13th century, but it was transformed into a Tudor-style castle in the early 20th century. You can explore the castle’s interiors, including the Great Hall, which features antique furniture and Tudor portraits. You can also see Anne Boleyn’s prayer books and letters on display.
- The Gardens: The castle is surrounded by 125 acres of beautiful gardens, which include a rose garden, an Italian garden, and a lake. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kent for people who love gorgeous flowers. The gardens are known for their stunning floral displays, and you can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and admire the scenery.
- The Maze: One of the highlights of Hever Castle is the yew maze, which was planted in 1904. The maze is a great activity for families, and you can try to navigate your way to the center and back out again.
- The Lake: The castle’s lake is a tranquil spot where you can relax and take in the views. You can hire a rowing boat or pedalo and explore the lake at your own pace. If you’d like to row a boat, include this destination in your places to visit in Kent list.
- The Children’s Adventure Playground: If you are visiting Hever Castle with children, they will love the adventure playground, which includes a wooden castle, a maze, a sandpit, and a zip wire.
Overall, a visit to Hever Castle is a unique and fascinating experience, offering a glimpse into the Tudor era and the lives of the royal family. With its beautiful gardens, historic interiors, and family-friendly activities, Hever Castle is a must-visit destination in Kent.
Rochester – Charming places to visit in Kent
Rochester is a charming town in Kent, located on the River Medway. It is known for its rich history, picturesque streets, and stunning medieval cathedral. So, it is a must-visit among all places to visit in Kent. Here’s a detailed overview of what you can expect from your visit to Rochester.
- History and Culture: Rochester has a long and fascinating history, and there are many cultural attractions to explore. The town’s most famous landmark is Rochester Cathedral, which was founded in the 7th century and is one of the oldest in England. Other notable historic sites include the ruins of Rochester Castle, the Guildhall Museum, and the Dickensian-style streets of the town center. The town also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including the popular Dickens Festival in June and the Sweeps Festival in May. If you would like to witness any of these festivals, you can explore such places to visit in Kent.
- Architecture: Rochester’s historic architecture is one of its biggest draws. You can wander the narrow streets and discover a range of beautiful buildings, including the 17th-century Restoration House, the Elizabethan Eastgate House, and the Georgian Watts Charity Building. The town also boasts a number of stunning churches, including St. Margaret’s Church, which has a 12th-century tower and a 13th-century chancel.
- Shopping and Dining: It is one of the top places to visit in Kent for people who love shopping. Rochester has a vibrant shopping and dining scene, with a variety of independent shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The town’s High Street is a great place to start, with a mix of traditional and modern stores. There are also plenty of cafes, pubs, and restaurants serving up delicious food, from hearty British pub grub to international cuisine.
- Festivals and Events: Rochester is known for its lively festivals and events, which take place throughout the year. The Dickens Festival, which celebrates the town’s most famous resident, is a must-see, with costumed characters, parades, and street performances. The Sweeps Festival is another popular event, which celebrates the town’s chimney sweeps and features live music, dancing, and entertainment.
- Outdoor Activities: If you’re looking to get outdoors, Rochester has plenty of options. You can take a stroll along the River Medway, which offers stunning views of the town and surrounding countryside. There are also several parks and gardens to explore, including the beautiful gardens at Restoration House.
Canterbury is a historic city in Kent, England, famous for its magnificent cathedral, cobbled streets, and charming riverside. If you’re planning to visit Canterbury, you’re in for a treat! Here’s what you can expect from your experience:
- Canterbury Cathedral – The cathedral is the main attraction in Canterbury and is a must-visit. It’s one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral has a long and fascinating history, and you can take a guided tour to learn more about it. The cathedral also has a beautiful choir that sings regularly, and you can attend a service to experience the stunning acoustics.
- History and Culture – Canterbury has a rich history and culture, and you can explore it by visiting other attractions such as the Roman Museum, the Canterbury Heritage Museum, the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, and St. Augustine’s Abbey.
- Charming Streets – Canterbury has many picturesque, cobbled streets with charming architecture and quaint shops. Stroll through the historic streets and enjoy the unique atmosphere.
- Riverside – Canterbury has a beautiful riverside that’s perfect for a relaxing walk or a picnic. The river is home to many species of birds and wildlife, and you can also take a boat tour to see the city from a different perspective.
- Food and Drink – Canterbury has a great selection of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Try the local cuisine, including Kentish ale, cider, and the famous Kentish cream tea.
- Festivals and Events – Canterbury hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, including the Canterbury Festival, the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival, and the Canterbury Christmas Market.
Ashford Designer Outlet
Ashford Designer Outlet is a shopping center located in the town of Ashford in Kent, England. It is one of the largest outlet centers in the UK, and a popular destination for shoppers looking for designer brands at discounted prices.
The outlet center features over 80 stores, including high-end fashion brands like Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as sportswear brands like Adidas, Nike, and Puma. There are also stores selling homeware, cosmetics, and gifts, and a range of restaurants and cafes. It is among the top places to visit in Kent.
Ashford Designer Outlet has a spacious, modern design with plenty of natural light and open-air walkways, making it a pleasant place to shop and stroll. The center is well laid out, with clear signage and maps, and staff are friendly and helpful.
One of the main advantages of shopping at Ashford Designer Outlet is the savings you can make. Many of the stores offer discounts of up to 60% off the original retail price, and there are also seasonal sales and promotions. It’s a great place to find designer pieces at a fraction of the cost.
Overall, your experience at Ashford Designer Outlet is likely to be a positive one if you include it in your top places to visit in Kent list whether you’re a serious shopper or just looking for a fun day out. There is plenty to see and do, and the discounts on offer make it a great value destination. Just be prepared for crowds on busy days, particularly at weekends and during peak holiday periods.
It’s a wrap!
To conclude, Kent is a county that truly offers something for everyone, from historic castles and cathedrals to stunning gardens, picturesque seaside towns, and bustling shopping destinations. With so many incredible places to visit in Kent, it’s no wonder that this charming corner of England is such a popular destination for tourists from around the world. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a shopaholic, Kent has something to offer, and we hope that this guide has inspired you to explore all the amazing places to visit in Kent and discover the beauty and charm of this wonderful county for yourself. Also check out top things to do in Portsmouth.
What is Kent famous for?
Kent is known for its beautiful countryside, historic castles and cathedrals, picturesque seaside towns, and delicious food and drink, including oysters, beer, and wine.
What is the best time to visit Kent?
The best time to visit Kent is in the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm and sunny, and many of the outdoor attractions and festivals are in full swing. However, Kent is beautiful year-round, and each season offers its own unique charms.
What are the top attractions in Kent?
Some of the top attractions in Kent include Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds Castle, Dover Castle, Whitstable, the White Cliffs of Dover, Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Hever Castle, Rochester, Canterbury, and Ashford Designer Outlet.
How do I get to Kent?
Kent is easily accessible from London by train or car, and there are several airports nearby, including London Gatwick, London Heathrow, and London City Airport.
What are some traditional foods in Kent?
Kent is famous for its oysters, which are traditionally served with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar. Other traditional foods in Kent include Gypsy Tart, a sweet pastry made with evaporated milk and muscovado sugar, and Kentish Huffkins, a type of bread roll flavored with nutmeg and allspice.
What is the history of Kent?
Kent has a rich and varied history, with evidence of human settlement dating back to the Stone Age. The county played an important role in Roman Britain, and many of the historic sites, such as Canterbury Cathedral and Dover Castle, have played a crucial role in the country's defense over the centuries.
What are some outdoor activities to do in Kent?
Kent offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking in the countryside, cycling along the coast, boating on the rivers and lakes, and visiting the numerous parks and gardens, such as Bedgebury National Pinetum and Bewl Water.