Romantic days out in Kent: 6 of the best
PUBLISHED: 12:50 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:50 13 February 2017
©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
We have selected six romantic days out in Norfolk, so bring along your beau
Tour Kent’s wine country
Who needs Loire and Napa when we have The Weald? The area is ideal for producing grapes and you can tour the vineyards, see how their wine is produced and sample some yourself. Chapel Down, in Tenterden, is the largest producer of British wine, with others nearby including Biddenden Vineyards and Hush Heath in Staplehurst. You can also visit Tenterden’s Dairy Brewery, if beer is more your thing. And to make a day of it, why not book a meal at The Swan restaurant above Chapel Down’s excellent visitor centre. The local council has even put together a helpful wine tour route.
Take the trail at Ightham Mote
This hidden gem of a National Trust property has a long history. Having been home to knights and royal courtiers over the years, the moated manor house gardens and its glorious grounds are the perfect place for a romantic walk. Although the house is closed until 4 March, there is a lovely Valentine’s Day trail planned for this year – with the aim of finding doves dotted around the garden – and the usual gift shop and café are open to revive yourselves in after.
All aboard a steam train
There’s no denying the romance of steam engines and although we can’t offer the Orient Express, Kent does have some excellent heritage railways to indulge your love of these vintage locomotives.
Choose from the Spa Valley Railway, which runs from Tunbridge Wells out to Groombridge and Eridge, the Kent and East Sussex Railway, which travels from Tenterden to Northiam and Bodiam, or the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, with smaller replicas of full-size engines running through the Romney Marsh to Dungeness.
Romantic tea at Sissinghurst Castle
Sissinghurst Castle is a National Trust property boasting both world-renowned gardens and a link to one of Kent’s most famous literary figures. Bought in 1930 by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson, it became both her writing retreat and her beloved garden project.
Visit Sissinghurst this Valentine’s Days and as well as a stroll around Vita’s gardens, you can enjoy some peace in the cosy café, along with one of the Trust’s special Valentine’s teas. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Delve into Dover Castle
It has the most commanding location in the country and Dover Castle is often considered our finest fortress. In the care of English Heritage, this vast and ancient castle is a must for lovers of history.
From its earliest days as an Iron Age hill fort, the site has been used to watch over the shortest crossing point from England to the continent. In fact the lighthouse the Romans built here in the first century AD is one of the best preserved in the world. During the Second World War the tunnels beneath the castle were famously used as the command centre for naval operations in the Channel.
Share Churchill’s views
The family home of Sir Winston Churchill and his beloved wife Clementine, Chartwell in Westerham is set within beautiful, rolling grounds. Attracted by the incredible view the house affords, Churchill bought the place in 1922 and lived there until a year before his death in 1964. The house, closed until 25 February for its winter conservation work, still contains many of his possessions but it is the 80 acres of woodland and farmland people come here to enjoy at this time of year. The exhibition is also open, as well as the shop and café.