The South East/Kent Holiday Home Guide: How to Find Your New Home

There are so many holiday parks in and around Kent that host a range of static caravans to buy and rent. It’s easy to see it is a popular destination to own a holiday lodge. From seaside resorts and outdoor sports to fun-filled attractions and historic sights, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Located in South East England, Kent borders Greater London, Surrey and East Sussex. Thought to be the oldest county in England, it is sometimes referred to as the ‘Garden of England.’ It’s blessed with beautiful countryside, breathtaking coastline and a colourful history and heritage. Places of interest include Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Ramsgate.

 

article breaker 1

 

Things to do in Kent

Attractions

The White Cliffs of Dover

Take a trip to see the iconic White Cliffs of Dover. The dramatic chalky coastline offers plenty to explore and keep you entertained. Take a peaceful stroll along the footpaths and enjoy serene views that stretch out as far as the eye can see. Or, you can learn how The White Cliffs of Dover played a part in the First World War. Visit Fan Bay Deep Shelter and discover the network of tunnels that were used as part of Britain’s defences. Tours of the tunnels take place every thirty minutes and hard hats and head torches are provided. Of course, if you’re claustrophobic, a tour of underground tunnels might not be for you. In which case, you should visit the South Foreland Lighthouse. This Victorian lighthouse is a famous landmark of the White Cliffs and is certainly worth seeing.

Accessible by car, train, bus, ferry and by foot

Canterbury Cathedral

You can’t visit Kent and not go to Canterbury and you can’t visit Canterbury without exploring the cathedral. Dating back to 597, the gothic-style cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop. Admire the stained glass windows and intricate architecture of one of the most famous Christian structures in the world. The standard entry fee for adults is £12.50 and £8.50 for children. Check the visiting times before you go as they can vary depending on the day of the week.

Accessible by car, train and bus

Port Lympne Animal Reserve

Step into Africa and Asia from the heart of Kent. Experience a luxury safari where lions, gorillas and primates roam free. A visit to Port Lympne Animal Reserve is certainly a memorable one. This awe-inspiring nature reserve is more than just a day trip. You can book an overnight stay at the hotel or one of the many camping or glamping experiences. Don’t worry if an overnight stay doesn’t fit in with your plans. You can buy park tickets and see all of the animals in a day. Standard entry for an adult is £25 and £21 for a child.    

Accessible by car

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is fun for the whole family as there’s plenty to keep all visitors entertained. Explore inside the castle where you can discover its rich history and learn all about the people who once lived there. Take a stroll around the extensive grounds and relax in the well-kept gardens. There’s even the opportunity to see some falconry at the Bird of Prey Centre. Watch one of the many displays throughout the day or book your very own falconry experience. Perhaps you’re looking for an adventure that will get your heart pounding? Test your nerves and try Go Ape, an aerial assault course that will have you swinging through the trees. If heights aren’t your thing, why not try a Segway tour? You’ll be zooming around the castle grounds in no time at all! There’s plenty more to see and do at Leeds Castle, from the adventure playground to the museum. There are toilets, places to purchase food and drink and transportation options in and around the castle grounds. The attraction is wheelchair accessible and offers onsite parking.   

Accessible by car and coach tour

The Canterbury Tales Attraction

If you’re a bit of a literature buff then you’ll enjoy a trip to The Canterbury Tales. Step back in time and watch Chaucer's stories come to life. The experience is delivered through a mixture of guided tours, interactive elements and engaging storytelling, it is a good way to keep yourself entertained on a rainy day. Ticket prices are £10.95 for an adult and £8.95 for a child. We recommend that you allow one hour for your visit. However, if it’s a sunny day you might want to combine your Chaucer tour with a river cruise! While there is no cafe at the attraction, it is situated right in the heart of Canterbury- so there are plenty of choices.

Accessible by car, train and bus

Walking Routes in Kent

There are plenty of suitable walking routes in and around Kent. Whether you’re wanting to enjoy a short stroll or you want to make a day of it, there’s plenty to choose from.

Great Stour Way

Length: 3 miles

Time: 1 hour

Rating: Suitable for most

Joining Canterbury to Chartham this popular multi-user route follows the banks of the River Stour. Also a well-used cycle route, the surfaced path passes through well-known heritage sites such as Milton church and Chartham paper mill. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to spotting wildlife, (look out for kingfishers). While the walk is mainly flat, those with pushchairs or wheelchairs should be aware that there are a number of cattle grids and kissing gates to contend with.

Oyster Bay Trail

Length: 5 miles

Time: 2 hours

Rating: Suitable for most

Follow the Oyster Bay Trail from the quaint fishing town of Whitstable to the seaside resort of Herne Bay. This coastal walk will take you along the promenade where you can admire the wildlife, shingle beaches and colourful beach huts. It’s a 5-mile walk from Whitstable to Herne Bay. It’s a flat walk, so many people are comfortable walking 5 miles back to Whitstable. If this is a little bit too far, you can always catch a train.

Clowes Wood Easy Access Trail

Length: 3 miles

Time: 1 hour

Rating: Suitable for all

This popular family trail will guide you through woodland, heathland and meadow. The area is also a nature reserve so look out for different species of birds and also badgers, foxes, otters and even red squirrels! Most of the walk follows a hard surface although there are sections of grassy surfaces. These spots can become muddy in wet weather so if you have a pushchair or wheelchair with you, just be mindful of this.  

Knole Park

Length: 4.5 miles

Time: 2 hours

Rating: Suitable for all

Explore Kent’s remaining deer park! This circular walk begins from the front of Knole House and will take you across grassland and defined paths within the 1000 acres of land surrounding the estate. Enjoy spotting the wild deer on this National Trust walk and take plenty of photos. This popular route is for all abilities.  

Ightham Mote circular walk to Wilmot Hill

Length: 4.5 miles

Time: 2 hours

Rating: Suitable for all

This National Trust route starts at Ightham Mote estate and will take you on an adventure through Scathes Wood, Greensand Way, Wilmot Hill and Broadhoath Wood. The route is steep in places but suitable for most people and offers picturesque views of the Kentish countryside.

 

article breaker 2

 

Food & Drink to try in Kent

There’s plenty of bold flavours to try in Kent. When you explore the quaint towns and villages you’ll find plenty of hidden cafes, country pubs and all-round excellent grub. As you’re near the coast you must sample the fish and chips. Head to The Smokehouse in Folkestone if you want to try a traditional chippy with a twist. If you want to stick to tradition, you’re spoilt for choice, although our favourite is Aqua 43 on Albion Street in Broadstairs.

Whitstable Oysters

If you’re heading to Kent and dining out then you’re guaranteed to come across oysters on the menu. The town of Whitstable has long been renowned for oysters, a reputation that is a big part of its culture and history. Native oysters have been cultivated here since Roman times and are sold far and wide. You can try Whitstable oysters for yourself. If you’re in the town, head to the seafront and you’ll find Whitstable Oyster Co. where you can purchase fresh seafood to try.

Gypsy Tart

There are plenty of independent cafes in Kent that take pride in serving delicious sweet treats. The chances are that if you treat yourself to a cake stop, you’ll probably come across gypsy tart on the menu. This dessert is made with evaporated milk and muscovado sugar and is encased in shortcrust pastry. Gypsy tart originates from South East Kent and is most associated with school dinners.

Kentish Cherry Batter Pudding

Cherry batter pudding has long been associated with the County of Kent. It consists of batter, juicy cherries and a dusting of sugar. While there is no evidence that the original recipe originates from Kent, the county used to have an abundance of cherry orchards. With fresh fruit growing on the doorstep, it is likely that Kent’s cherry batter pudding was the best.

Canterbury Tart

Grated apple, lemon filling and pastry casing topped with thinly cut apple slices. Oh, and a dusting of icing sugar! It’s not clear if the apple tart did, in fact, originate from Canterbury. However, some say that the dessert is inspired by the first mention of apple pie, which is cited in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Huffkins

It seems that Kent withdrew from the UK wide debate over barms, baps, rolls or whatever else you might call them. Instead, Kent invented huffkins. Huffkins are soft rolls which use a small amount of lard in the slow-rise dough. Once baked, they are wrapped in a cloth to stop the crust from hardening. Keep your eye open at breakfast time for bacon filled huffkins.

 

article breaker 4

 

The Best Beaches and Seaside Resorts

Perhaps you want a static caravan that is close to a good beach. A place where you can enjoy coastal walks or relax in sunny weather. In that case, Kent is the perfect place to buy a luxury holiday lodge. There are plenty of seaside days out to enjoy in the area because there are lots of great beaches in Kent. Here are some favourite seaside spots:

Botany Bay, Thanet

Discover smugglers caves, white chalk cliffs and long stretches of soft sand at Botany Bay. It’s less well-known than the neighbouring Joss Bay, which means it’s a little more unspoilt. Hidden behind residential streets on the way to Broadstairs, this quiet beach spot holds a Blue Flag award. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or read a book. If you have young children with you, the low tide means there’s plenty of room to play in the sand. There are toilets situated near the seafront but they are only available for use in the summer months. You’ll also find a kiosk selling small snacks and hot and cold drinks. Deck chairs are also available for hire.   

St Mildreds Bay, Margate

If you’re looking for a seaside with a more facilities, St Mildred Bay is worth a visit. This cliff-lined beach comes with a promenade and tidal pool. You’ll find St Mildreds Bay in Westgate on Sea close to Margate. There are tennis courts and mini golf available near the beachfront. You’ll find a choice of pubs and restaurants nearby along with toilet facilities, parking and disabled access to the beach. You can also pick up the Viking Coastal Trail and venture into the busy town of Margate.

Viking Bay, Broadstairs

For fun in the sun, head to Viking Bay! This popular beach spot has a Blue Flag award and offers excellent facilities. In the summer months you’ll find a small range of children’s rides available. There’s also a surfing school and body boarding if you’re looking to try a water based activity. If you just want to take it easy there’s deckchair hire too, so you can soak up the sun. There are toilets, shops and parking readily available at the beachfront. If you’re visiting with someone who has limited mobility there is a lift down to the beach between the months of April and September.

Tankerton Beach, Whitstable

Walk down the sand dunes and grassy slopes to Tankerton Beach. Backed by a promenade, the old-fashioned shingle beach is usually empty of crowds. Don’t let the fact that it is a shingle beach put you off. Tankerton has a traditional seaside charm to it and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. While it doesn’t have a pier or donkey rides, it does offer a picturesque place to relax. You’ll find a little cafe serving teas and coffees along the front along with the Neptune pub.

Joss Bay, Broadstairs

Joss Bay is a popular spot. This beautiful beach in Kent is always busy in the summer months. With golden sands, clean water, rock pools and lots of activities, it’s easy to see why this sandy cove pulls in the crowds. As well as a children’s play area there are watersports available at a very reasonable cost. Popular with families, Joss Bay has good facilities. There is a pay and display car park right next to the beach, toilets on the front and plenty of places to buy food and drink.

 

article breaker 3

 

5 Facts about Kent

1. Believe it or not, Kent is the biggest producer of hazelnuts in the UK

Cobnuts, which are a type of hazelnut, are harvested in mid August

2. Pocahontas is buried somewhere in Gravesend

You won’t find her gravestone, but you will find a memorial statue of her at St. George’s church.

3. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn went to Sheerness on their honeymoon

If only the ‘honeymoon’ period lasted a bit longer…

4. Rochester held city status from 1211-1998

Rochester lost its city status due to an administrative error and it has never been reinstated

5. Julius Caesar liked the people of Kent

He once said: “Of all the British tribes, by far the most civilised are they who dwell in Kent.”

 

article breaker 5

 

How to get to Kent

By Car

The best way to travel to Kent from anywhere in the UK is to head towards London. You need to pick up the M25.

If you’re approaching Kent from the North or East, you will cross Dartford Bridge. Be aware that the bridge has a toll charge, for cars a one-off crossing is £2.50. Once you’ve crossed Dartford Bridge follow signs for the M2 or journey further down to pick up the M20.

If you’re approaching Kent from the South or West, once you’ve joined the M25, continue to the M26 and connect with the M20.

By Train

If you’re travelling to Kent by train, chances are that you’ll have to catch a connecting train in London. London Bridge, Charing Cross, London Waterloo East, Victoria and St Pancras International all operate Southeastern services connecting Kent to the capital city.

By Air

The nearest major airports closest to Kent are London Gatwick and Heathrow. From here, it’s about an hour to drive to the centre of Kent.

Getting around

By Train

Southeastern is Kent’s only rail provider and runs services across 180 stations. Southeastern operates the UK’s only high speed train, running from St Pancras International. It stops at numerous locations in Kent including Canterbury, Folkestone, Medway, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Dover.

By Bus

The bus service in Kent is operated by Stagecoach and Arriva. Arriva routes cover Gravesend, Isle of Sheppey, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Medway. Stagecoach is the primary service provider in the east and south of the county. There are 55 bus routes running across Ashford, Canterbury, the Dover & Deal area, Faversham, the Folkestone & Hythe area, Herne Bay, Thanet and Whitstable.

By Bike

Two-wheeled adventures are popular in Kent as the county has many cycling routes. There are plenty of places to hire bikes too, such as Canterbury Cycle Hire, Whitstable Cycle Hire and Cycle-Ops in Tonbridge.