Take a virtual tour of Kent’s amazing attractions
PUBLISHED: 14:17 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:40 11 May 2020
Explore the beautiful county of Kent, the Garden of England, with this virtual day out in the county
• Starting in the west of Kent, in the Sevenoaks district, our virtual tour begins at Hever Castle. It was built in the 13th century and was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, future wife of King Henry VIII.
This castle wouldn’t be out of place in a fairytale with its moat and ivy-clad stone walls, not to mention its stunning gardens and surroundings.
When the castle is open, visitors can enjoy the lavish interiors and large collection of Tudor paintings.
• Head north and just before you reach Westerham, you’ll find Chartwell, the family home of another of Kent’s famous historical inhabitants, Sir Winston Churchill.
Churchill lived with his wife, Clementine, in the splendid red brick house for forty years. It is surrounded by gorgeous gardens as the former prime minister loved the outdoors so much.
Explore Churchill’s imposing study, packed with books and his enormous desk, or visit his art studio where an impressive display of his works is on show.
• The Kent & East Sussex Railway sees historical locomotives traversing the Kent countryside. Visitors can enjoy vintage train rides, some even have the option for dining.
The trainline is 10.5 miles long spanning from the market town of Tenterden to Bodiam Castle in East Sussex and takes in lots of picturesque scenery along the way.
Events include vintage 40s days, afternoon tea train rides and much more. Keep an eye out on the website and social media for details when the trainline can reopen post-lockdown.
• Head to the coast and the truly unique landscape of Dungeness, the coastal headland formed of a large flint shingle beach, wet grassland, wildflower meadows and a huge variety of wildlife.
Bird watchers will be in their element at the Dungeness Nature Reserve. Spot bitterns, grebes, smews, wheaters and ringed plovers along with a large array of insects and a host of other wildlife.
Prospect Cottage is the iconic black and yellow home of the late film director, writer and artist Derek Jarman. The house itself and its unusual gardens are quite a sight to behold. There was a successful crowd-funding campaign this year to keep the house from being sold to private buyers and stay as an artist’s residency and hopefully open for visits by the public.
• Now we head to Margate on the Isle of Thanet, Kent’s easternmost tip, to see the lights and colours of Dreamland.
This theme park and seaside funfair has had a tumultuous history. It started life in 1920, the area having been used as a funfair since the 1880s, with the building of its wooden rollercoaster which is now Grade II* listed.
The park was sold in 1981 and the park’s name was changed to the Bembom Brothers White Knuckle Theme Park but returned to Dreamland in 1990. The park went downhill and closed in 2003, changed hands again and was subjected to arson attacks among other things. But a public campaign to restore the park resulted in its opening back up in 2015 and then with another refresh in 2017.
The latest bad news for the park has come since the lockdown after the park has had to make 52 workers redundant and announced that it won’t be reopening in the summer of 2020. Keep an eye on the website for updates.
• Wandering eastwards along the coast will take us to the seaside town of Broadstairs and the iconic chalk stacks at Botany Bay. You can even take a pretty coastal walk from Margate as it is a gentle six-mile stroll. Explore the stacks with the map below.
The Blue Flag awarded beach is great to explore rock pools and budding geologists can go fossil hunting.
Once you’ve had your fill admiring Botany Bay, check out our guide to some of Kent’s many other beautiful beaches.
• Possibly the most recognisable attraction on the list, but always breathtaking no matter how many times you visit (or e-visit), is the White Cliffs of Dover. Feel on top of the world as you gaze over the English Channel and, on a clear day, to France.
The chalk cliffs hold a special place in the hearts of many Britons as a sign of wartime victory, sung about by wartime songstress Dame Vera Lynn in her song (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover, which was made famous in 1942 as a hopeful ballad during the dark days of the Second World War.
• For animal lovers, nothing beats exploring a farm with cute barnyard animals frolicking everywhere. Kent Life (not to be confused with us!) is the mini village near Maidstone comprised of beautiful old farm buildings, play barn, museum chapel, even a big top and surrounding yard. Visitors can feed goats and observe the cutest newly born piglets, enjoy tea and cakes in the onsite tearoom and much more.
Events are held throughout the year including vintage days such as last year’s home front Christmas.
There’s plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals from cute lambs and piglets to feeding hay to the goats.