You can’t visit Kent without taking in a castle or two. Dating back to the 13th century, Hever Castle served as Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. Today it features manicured Italian gardens, a striking moat and peaceful lake area, while inside the fortress you’ll find beautifully preserved rooms.
Nicknamed ‘England in Stone,’ Canterbury Cathedral is a treasure trove of English history, and often serves as the starting point for most cottage holidays in Kent. Forming part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside St Martin’s Church (the oldest church in England) and St Augustine’s Abbey, this is a pivotal spot when mapping Britain’s religious past.
Looking for something a little different from the average historical visit? Try The Escape Room Experience, held in Dover Castle’s bunker, which sees you plunged into a thrilling Cold War re-enactment.
Once you’re out of there, it’s time to explore the natural landscape – after all, Kent has not one but two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB): the High Weald and the Kent Downs. The White Cliffs of Dover also serve as home to Britain’s iconic port, so a visit here allows you to learn more about its fascinating military history – plus take on one of the UK’s most scenic cliff walks.
Due to Kent’s flourishing natural landscape, it’s unsurprising you’ll find seasonal produce produce prepared into sumptuous cuisine across the county. Oysters are particularly popular when visiting Whitstable, a fishing town on the northern coastline. This local delicacy now forms part of the Whitstable Dredgerman’s Breakfast – a thick toasted sandwich that’s filled with freshly caught oysters and fried bacon.
Looking to stay on the carb train? It’s time to try huffkins. Kent’s answer to a signature bread roll, this baked good is characterized by its small indentation in the middle, which is made by the baker’s thumb and sometimes filled with jam or whipped cream. For those who prefer something savoury, you’ll also find them sandwiched with bacon.
Then it’s time to find a sweet treat, and once again you’ll be spoilt for choice. The Canterbury Tart has a grated apple and lemon filling that’s then topped with more sliced apples, while the Folkestone Pudding Pie sees raisins, sultanas and spices added to an unusual rice pudding filling. This is then layered on top of pie crust for an intriguing but ultimately delicious result.
When it’s time to wash it all down, there’s plenty of options available owing to Kent’s hop-growing history. Many of Kent’s top ales are produced in Shepherd Neame Brewery – England’s oldest brewery, which is found in Faversham and dates back to 1698. Prefer gin? There’s a dedicated festival to the spirit held in July.