Kent, in south-east England, is the most populated county in the UK. Perhaps most famous for the white cliffs of Dover, Kent has always been the gateway to Britain. This historical county can trace its name as far back as the 4th century BC when it was called ‘Cantium’, from the Celtic word for ‘coastal land’. Take a trip to the white cliffs today and you’ll find a visitor’s centre accompanying some dramatic cliff top walks.
Proud of its history, Kent has some fascinating castles, homes and gardens to visit during the half term break. Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s childhood home, hosts events throughout the year, including jousting tournaments. Deal Castle, overlooking the sea at Dover, is a fantastic example of a well-armed fortress. Tonbridge Castle includes some exciting inter-active displays and hosts a medieval annual fair.
Probably the most visited of all castles in Kent is Dover Castle. Dover Castle takes you on a journey through history no other castle can. Originally an iron age hill fort and strengthened by William The Conqueror in 1066, Dover Castle also played its part in the Dunkirk evacuation and housed an underground hospital during the Second World War. A day out at Dover Castle presents a packed itinerary and visitors should allow around five hours to do it justice. Dover Castle does get busy in the half term dates, but this historic castle is well worth a visit.
The National Trust’s Sissinghurst Castle and Garden, near Cranbrook, Kent, is the famous garden of writer Vita Sackville-West.
A selection of Tudor and Victorian houses and some beautiful gardens can also be found in Kent, proving the county still deserves its affectionate title of ‘The Garden of England’. These include Broadview Gardens and Marle Place Gardens, both near Tonbridge Castle and both featuring acres of beautiful landscaping.
This area of England has been the home of some influential and talented individuals. Kent celebrates its connections with historical figures by opening up their homes to the public, along with museums and exhibitions. These include Chartwell, which was the home of Winston Churchill for forty years, Geoffrey Chaucer’s house in Canterbury, Charles Dickens’ home in Rochester and Charles Darwin’s house in Orpington.
Kent is rich in history and its buildings and landscape tell important stories, but Kent holidays also offer some surprises. This coastal county is home to a small handful of vineyards. Producing award winning wines, these vineyards run free wine tasting sessions and are an unusual and unexpected excursion in the UK.
With miles of historic landscape and buildings, Kent holidays are the perfect way to spend the half term break. Add to this the varied seaside destinations and you have everything you need for the UK school holidays.
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Margate and Ramsgate offer traditional seaside fun with ice-cream, sandcastles and Punch and Judy shows. Other seaside towns like Whitstable are quieter and attract artists and those wanting a more laid back atmosphere. Within easy reach of London and brimming with things to see and do, it’s no surprise Kent has so many people wishing to make this their home.
Please leave a comment below and let us know about your memories of holidays in Kent, a very popular destination right on the doorstep of East London. Well, after a short trip across the river!