Collars & Leashes

Secret Kent: 40 beautiful hidden gems it’s essential to discover in 2022


As we wave goodbye to the gray skies of winter and welcome the hotter months of spring and summer season, our minds shortly flip to days out. You are positive to have a lot of favorite spots within the nation that by no means appear to disappoint and can go to again and again.

Nonetheless, you might be unaware of the numerous different hidden-gems the Backyard of England has to supply which could take that journey out from good to wonderful. From strolling with elephants to beautiful underground caves or consuming dinner at a restaurant inside somebody’s lounge, there’s a lot to discover.

So, with the thermometer creeping again up and spots of sunshine breaking by as soon as extra, now we have rounded up the 40 finest Kent hidden-gems effectively value a go to. Be sure you have your calendar and planner on the prepared.

READ MORE: The very best pubs in Kent you merely should go to in 2022

Kent’s elephant stroll

The elephants will be seen taking part in from the path

A hidden off street path in Kent reveals a world of beautiful wildlife because it guides walkers previous the enclosures of untamed elephants. Walkers will discover a small opening for a footpath close to the junction between Bekesbourne Hill and Bekesbourne Lane, not removed from Howletts.

It isn’t the simplest pathway to seek out however persevere and you will be glad you probably did. The virtually narnia -like path will ultimately open up and take you over two footbridges which supply spectacular views of each the park and the countryside.

However maybe probably the most thrilling a part of the journey is when the trail runs parallel with the elephant and rhino enclosures. That is with out paying an entry price into the park close to Canterbury.

Discover extra data on the stroll right here.

Reculver Towers Outflow

The couple are celebrating at a beautiful venue in Reculver

Lovely Reculver

On the north Kent coast is an uncovered stretch of seashore and cliff the place a pleasant stroll will lead you all the best way to the well-known fishing city of Whitstable in a single route, and to Birchington-on-Sea within the different. For guests the principle attraction of Reculver is the dual towers of the ruined twelfth century monastic church that when stood there.

However look a bit nearer and the outflow of water on one aspect of the towers is each photographer’s dream, particularly at dawn and sundown. The adjoining, and now dried up, River Wantsum was initially as much as two miles huge and separated the mainland of Kent and the Isle of Thanet, offering a serious transport route from the English Channel to the Thames estuary.

Now, just some metres huge, the channel will be seen inland as you stroll alongside the ocean in direction of Birchington, within the background of the magnificent cascading water of the outflow.

Margate Caves

Exploring contained in the hidden Margate Caves earlier than they reopen to the general public

The Margate Caves had been first dug out in some unspecified time in the future within the late seventeenth or early 18th century, however the actual date is just not recognized. The caves had been rediscovered fully by chance, following the development of Northumberland Home in Northdown Highway.

They had been reopened to the general public after the conflict, and had been once more used as air raid shelters within the Second World Warfare till the vicarage and church had been destroyed by bombing in 1943. They had been deserted till 1958, when the caves had been as soon as once more opened as a vacationer attraction, however sadly they needed to shut in 2004 as a consequence of well being and security issues.

Now, folks can lastly discover the caves for themselves in 2019, after they reopened as soon as once more this 12 months.

Huckleberry Woods, Faversham

Contained in the miniature farmyard in Kent the place you’ll be able to stroll micro pigs

This Kent farm specialising in miniature animal adventures is among the solely locations within the nation the place you’ll be able to really stroll a micro pig. Huckleberry Woods, close to Faversham, gives a singular place to unwind amongst quite a lot of ‘mini’ animals, together with miniature Mediterranean donkeys, child alpacas, bantam chickens and, after all, micro pigs.

The farm, simply off Decrease Highway, was opened by husband and spouse crew Belinda and Invoice Neal in 2017.

Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells

The steam practice will take its company by the Kent countryside

The Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells is vastly widespread amongst youngsters and adults alike. Steam and heritage diesel locomotives journey by the Weald to Eridge with many nice occasions held all year long.

Kearsney Abbey, Dover

The falls at Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens

Kearsney Abbey and the close by Russell Gardens are stunning and widespread places on the outskirts of Dover. The gardens are laid out as casual parkland round two decorative lakes, with the River Dour flowing by.

There are many alternatives to calm down watching the wildlife on the lakes, or to get pleasure from a household picnic within the gardens. The decrease lake is used for mannequin boating. And there are a number of small waterfalls contained in the parks which make for the proper picture alternative, together with the beautiful woods, quaint bridges and wildlife.

Biddenden Vineyards

The shop at Biddenden Vineyard

The store at Biddenden Winery

Go to Kent’s unique winery within the picturesque village of Biddenden. To start with, the lands had been dwelling to a 40 acre apple orchard. However apple costs declined within the Sixties and so in 1969, one third of an acre of vines had been planted.

There are alternatives to go on free self-guided excursions, or open and personal excursions, costing £10 and £25 respectively. Wine tasting can also be on provide and it’s straightforward to lose time of their on web site store.

The Micro Museum, Ramsgate

Uniquely showcasing classic dwelling computer systems, video games, toys and extra, this museum’s assortment spans from the Nineteen Forties to the early twenty first century. The museum additionally means that you can play its traditional video games assortment.

You may as well take part in its participating quiz, targeted on the historical past of inventors of the digital age.

Madeira Stroll waterfall, Ramsgate

The Madeira Stroll waterfall pictured in working order

There’s one thing in regards to the sound and sight of speeding water that calms you down and helps reset a buzzing thoughts. Whether or not it is the repetitive sound of waves lapping the shore, or the continual cascades of a waterfall, you do not have to get into the water for it to cleanse you.

Whereas Kent is basically flat and chalky there are a handful of waterfalls tucked away inside our county’s borders, showcasing the spectacle of cascading water. And maybe probably the most spectacular is one hidden away in Thanet.

Although Madeira Stroll is well-known amongst those that stay on the isle the presence of the beautiful synthetic waterfall comes as a shock to a whole lot of guests.

Canine Collar Museum

Inside Leeds Citadel is an uncommon exhibition showcasing almost 100 canine collars from the fifteenth century. Canine collars haven’t solely served their conventional goal of performance, however had been additionally essential vogue statements in remodeling canines into man’s finest buddy.

From the sooner centuries when thick iron collars cladded with spikes had been obligatory for defense, to the 18th century after they turned extremely ornamental, usually barque leather-based embellished with metalwork and velvet.

Chartwell Home, Westerham

Chartwell Home

This was the home of considered one of Britain’s biggest politicians, Sir Winston Churchill, and it’s crammed with snippets from all features of his spectacular life. As Churchill was an avid novice painter, you’ll be able to view his assortment of over 500 canvasses.

There are additionally loads of trails to discover within the lush estates at Chartwell.

Diggerland, Strood

Diggerland is a popular attraction for children

Diggerland is a well-liked attraction for youngsters

This theme park permits youngsters and adults alike to journey, drive and function actual diggers, dumpers and different full-size equipment. Sure, we’re being severe.

You may benefit from the wonderful views on the Skyshuttle, journey off-road on the Groundshuttle, or have enjoyable on the Dodgems and Go-Karts.

Brogdale Nationwide Fruit Assortment

Dwelling to greater than 4000 types of fruit, together with apples, cherries and plums, is Brogdale Farm. There are each guided strolling and tractor trailer excursions to take you across the orchards.

They host quite a lot of occasions throughout the 12 months, however the spotlight has received to be the annual Cider Pageant the place there’s greater than 60 ciders to style.

Minster Leas Seaside, Sheerness

Minster Leas Beach

Minster Leas Seaside

Whereas it will not be at all times be superbly sandy, Minster Leas Seaside is a stunning tranquil place to calm down and benefit from the views. A grassy space with park benches slopes right down to a protracted, shingle seashore. And when the tide is out, a great expanse of sand is revealed with some patches of mud.

Between Little Oyster and Shingle Financial institution there’s a designated bathing space, though there is no such thing as a lifeguard service. The seashore is well-maintained and has gained quite a lot of awards, together with a Blue Flag award this 12 months.

Citadel Farm, Sevenoaks

Citadel Farm Lavender Shoreham, Sevenoaks

You don’t must journey to the south of France to benefit from the sight of sweeping carpets of lavender. The truth is there’s a spot simply exterior Sevenoaks the place you’ll be able to take a tour of fields crammed with the aromatic flowers on an idyllic summer season day trip.

Nestled within the north Kent countryside is a bit piece of Provence. A patchwork of purple covers the land from late June till the tip of July because the lavender fields at Citadel Farm within the village of Shoreham burst into bloom.

You may take a guided tour by its rows of purple flowers and immerse your self within the vibrant haze of color and its wonderful scent. Citadel Farm is the biggest lavender farm within the UK and has been in the identical household for greater than a century and over a number of generations.

Avenue artwork by Catman, Whitstable

Kent’s very personal Banksy. Catman is a avenue artist who studied at The College of Artistic Arts in Rochester and Canterbury.

Catman’s latest avenue piece, Wasted Time, was painted on the aspect of the Pilgrims Hospice charity store in Whitstable, to coincide with Sir David Attenborough’s birthday. He additionally completes commissioned items and has just lately remodeled The Prince Albert in Whitstable, for Star Pubs and Bars.

Wander round Whitstable and attempt to spot as a lot of his works as you’ll be able to.

Shakespeare Seaside, Dover

This seashore is hidden on the backside of 100 steps and has solely just lately reopened after the seashore’s seawall was nearly fully destroyed in a storm in 2015. It’s situated inside the bay and is dwelling to deep rock swimming pools, which will be accessed at low tide.

The massive open areas on the seashore make it a perfect place to stroll your canines.

Chislehurst Caves

Chislehurst Caves

Beneath your toes in Chislehurst is a labyrinth protecting some 22 miles of synthetic tunnels. In an effort to construct the town of London, these had been dug for chalk, which is utilized in lime burning and brick-making.

The caves had been additionally used to collect flint, to fireside tinderboxes and flintlock weapons. Curiously, throughout World Warfare I the caves functioned as an ammunition storage dump and in World Warfare II an air raid shelter for some 15,000 inhabitants, who every needed to pay a penny to enter.

Elsewhere, Margate

Elsewhere co-owner Alex Barron, 27, with his daughter and fellow bosses Ciaran Cliffe and Sammy Clarke, both 30

Elsewhere co-owner Alex Barron, 27, together with his daughter and fellow bosses Ciaran Cliffe and Sammy Clarke, each 30

This document store hosts weekly stay music exhibits with all types of acts, from native upcoming artists to touring bands. Often, some notable names additionally stumble into this venue to carry out intimate gigs, together with UK primary artist John Newman.

When KentLive requested Sammy Clarke, one of many three co-owners, what to anticipate in the event you go to Elsewhere, he mentioned: “Numerous smiley face and enjoyable, vibrant characters. And nice lights – it appears cosmic. Everybody can get pleasure from themselves no matter music style.”

Kings Wooden Sculpture Path, Ashford

Contained in the 1500 acres of the Kings Wooden is a two and a half hour path which leads you previous a collection of handmade sculptures. These sculptures started to appear from 1994, after the Stour Valley Artistic Partnership commissioned artists to fill the forest with these aesthetically pleasing works.

The sculptures mix into the woodland as they’re all made out of pure supplies discovered within the instant space. Traditionally the woodland was well-known for internet hosting royal hunts and a sizeable herd of fallow deer nonetheless name Kings Wooden their dwelling.

One other Time Sculpture, Margate

Crafter of the iron sculpture, Anthony Gormley explains: “the work is designed to be positioned inside the move of lived time.” This charming piece of art work is positioned on Fulsam Rock, close to the Turner Modern in Margate and solely turns into seen about 3 hours earlier than low tide. So suits the title of “hidden” gem reasonably precisely.

Gormley has been creating sculptures from his personal physique since 1981 and others will be found close by in Folkestone.

Lympne Loop strolling path

The Lympne Loop is arguably probably the most fascinating walks Kent has to supply

This 4km rural loop passes the historic Lympne Citadel and the Port Lympne Reserve’s in depth grounds. As among the path borders on the animal enclosures, you might have the opportunity spot giraffes, zebras and even ostriches wandering about.

That is with out paying an entry price into the reserve itself on the Aldington Highway web site. The little recognized route is free and makes an ideal stroll all 12 months spherical – however remember to deliver your wellies on a wet day because the paths flip to slush.

Down Home, Orpington

Dwelling of world-renowned scientist Charles Darwin, you’ll be able to stand within the examine the place he wrote ‘On the Origin of Species’. You may as well discover the estates hothouse with its carnivorous vegetation and orchids, or just wander across the in depth gardens.

River Stour, Fordwich

Fordwich only has a population of 381 people, according to the latest census

Fordwich is blessed with beautiful environment

The River Stour at Fordwich is among the excellent secret spots for wild swimming. Swimmers can enter from a mooring platform between benches and the Fordwich Arms pub.

Swimming in rivers is just not advisable for inexperienced swimmers or youngsters. However sturdy swimmers will have the ability to swim upstream underneath the bridge and a bit method up earlier than floating again down.

The water is beautiful and clear and with goggles, swimmers will have the ability to see a number of totally different sorts of fish within the river. Currents can fluctuate, surfaces are sometimes rocky and slippery, and rivers aren’t monitored by lifeguards.

Bedgebury Nationwide Pinetum, Goudhurst

Bedgebury Nationwide Pinetum is a superb day trip

Okay, this will not be “hidden” as such however it’s definitely an underrated gem. Excellent for bike rides, horse driving and picnics, th e stunning forest is surrounded by lakes.

It is the proper household day trip.

Crab and Winkle Method, Whitstable

The Crab and Winkle Way

The Crab and Winkle Method

This sensible cycle journey from Canterbury to Whitstable takes you alongside a disused railway line by the traditional woodland of Blean Woods. There are some hills however the views over Whitstable from the very best level make them fully value it.

The Large Cat Sanctuary, Smarden

A rare white lioness, of which there are many at the sanctuary

A uncommon white lioness, of which there are numerous on the sanctuary

With solely 5 uncommon open days listed yearly, this gem is particularly hidden. The unique animal park often opens its doorways so help the conservation of their lions tigers an, cheetahs and snow leopards.

Ramsgate Tunnels

Ramsgate Tunnels

Ramsgate Tunnels

This unimaginable community of tunnels shaped an underground metropolis under Thanet the place households lived for months at a time with out seeing the sunshine of day. The hidden metropolis was so everlasting it had avenue indicators, canteens outlets, live shows and even a hospital.

A guided stroll round these historic tunnels is a should in Kent.

Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

Families enjoying the train ride on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

Households having fun with the practice journey on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

The place else can you’re taking within the sights of the Kentish countryside while sitting on a miniature steam practice? Journey proper throughout the Romney Marsh from Hythe to Dungeness, and actually have a nosy into folks’s backgardens as you go.

The Shell Grotto, Margate

The Shell Grotto in Margate was discovered in 1835

The Shell Grotto in Margate was found in 1835

Beneath the earth, in a quiet residential avenue in Margate, lies an underground chamber that captures the hearts and imaginations of legions of holiday makers yearly. The partitions of the Shell Grotto are lined with thousands and thousands of shells, all painstakingly specified by intricate patterns, swirls and even photos of birds, hearts and girls.

However maybe probably the most fascinating factor about The Shell Grotto is that no person actually is aware of why it is there!

Botany Bay, Broadstairs

There are no official facilities at Botany Bay except a cafe, a hotel and a couple of small kiosks

There are not any official services at Botany Bay besides a restaurant, a lodge and a few small kiosks

With its unimaginable smugglers caves and huge, quiet expanses of soppy sand, Botany Bay is an unlikely discover. Hidden behind residential streets on the best way to Broadstairs, it’s a lot much less apparent and widespread than it is busy neighbour Joss Bay.

The truth is, the unspoiled bay has white chalk stacks and cliffs surrounding it and is accessible solely through both steps or a really steep slope.

Westgate Gardens, Canterbury

Westgate Gardens is located along the River Stour

Westgate Gardens is situated alongside the River Stour

Among the many hustle and bustle of Canterbury’s outlets and eating places, it is easy to overlook the picturesque Westgate Gardens on the sting of the town. Merely calm down amongst the flower-decked river banks while having a spot of lunch, or be chauffeured alongside the River Stour with a punt journey.

Emmetts Backyard, close to Sevenoaks

Emmetts Garden offers panoramic views over the unspoilt Weald

Emmetts Backyard gives panoramic views over the unspoilt Weald

This Edwardian property is stuffed with allure. The nineteenth century backyard gives many unique and uncommon timber and spectacular exhibits of spring flowers and shrubs.

The unique backyard can also be famed for its vibrant autumn color – see the intense crimson of the Winged Spindle and golden leaves on the Japanese Maple.

Alpaca Annie, Romney Marsh

Enjoy a trekking experience with Alpaca Annie

Take pleasure in a trekking expertise with Alpaca Annie

Take an alpaca for a trek throughout the dykes and farmland of the Romney Marsh. The alpacas are used to make knitwear, however guests may also meet the South American creatures the place you’ll be able to feed, stroll with them and have your picture taken.

The Enchanted Forest, Groombridge

The Secret Garden at Groombridge Place

The Secret Backyard at Groombridge Place

Have a day to recollect among the many timber within the gardens at Groombridge Place in Tunbridge Wells. The Gardens embody a proper Knot and Oriental Backyard, a Secret Backyard, the white rose backyard and the splendidly named Drunken Backyard, a favorite of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Journey on foot or by canal boat to find water swimming pools, rope swings, picket bridges and a maze – and even look out for peacocks roaming free.

Bleak Home, Broadstairs

Bleak House was the holiday home where Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield

Bleak Home was the vacation dwelling the place Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield

This multi-million grade II listed summer season home was the place Charles Dickens wrote the larger a part of David Copperfield. The venue presently operates efficiently as a Go to England accredited 5 star Mattress & Breakfast and Wedding ceremony Venue.

Hornby Customer Centre, Margate

Popular attraction: the Hornby visitor centre on the Westwood Industrial Estate in Margate

Well-liked attraction: the Hornby customer centre on the Westwood Industrial Property in Margate

You may go on a journey by the historical past of Britain’s finest cherished toys at Hornby Customer Centre in Margate. That includes uncommon merchandise from the Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi archives, it is a spot like no different.

Spitfire and Hurricane Museum, Manston

Take it all in at the RAF Manston Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Museum

Take all of it in on the RAF Manston Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Museum

The Spitfire and Hurricane Museum is a singular web site which not solely shows the 2 iconic conflict planes themselves but in addition holds host of objects an artefacts which assist inform the story of life in and round Ramsgate throughout WWII.

It hosts the Allied Crew Memorial Backyard and even has a Spitfire simulator which opened to the general public in 2017.

Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne

The Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne won the prestigious 'Hidden Gem' award last week (November 24)

The Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne

The very good Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne gained the celebrated hidden gem award in November 2017. Whereas it could be proudly well-known among the many east Kent coast, some persons are not conscious of the memorial atop the well-known White Cliffs.

Anybody with an curiosity in our nation’s historical past and remembering the fallen ought to definitely pay a go to. The Memorial is free to go to and open all year long to these on foot.

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