Kent's place as the Garden of England stems back over 400 years. The title is believed to date back to Henry VIII's time when he is said to have greatly enjoyed a dish of Kent cherries. Henry was certainly fond of fruit and was personally responsible for many orchards being established in Kent, whose blossoms still contribute to the garden like aspect of the county. Today, Kent’s gardens are not only amongst the most popular attractions in Kent, but are also amongst some of the most renowned gardens in England.
One of England’s oldest Cathedrals, Canterbury Cathedral is the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and one of the great holy places of Christendom. The Cathedral's history goes back to 597AD when St Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great as a missionary, established his seat (or 'Cathedra') in Canterbury. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral and ever since, the Cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims, as told famously in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
Immortalised by Vera Lynn in the World War II song “They’ll be bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover”, there can be no doubt that the White Cliffs of Dover are one of Britain’s most spectacular natural features. The internationally famous Cliffs have been a sign of hope and freedom for centuries and today millions of people wonder at them when crossing the English Channel. Thousands more also enjoy their special appeal by taking one of the clifftop paths, offering views of the French coast and savouring the rare flora and fauna that can only be found across the chalk grassland.
Set in a spectacular location high above the famous White Cliffs, Dover Castle commands the shortest sea crossing between England and the Continent and boasts an immensely eventful history. Visitors to the Castle today can step inside the Great Tower and be immersed in the medieval world of King Henry ll’s Royal Court or re-live the turbulent war years through a tour of the Secret Wartime Tunnels.
Leeds Castle, one of the most romantic and historic buildings in England, has been home to royalty, lords and ladies for almost 900 years. Visitors to the castle today can wander through the castle rooms, visit the internationally acclaimed aviary, enjoy the tranquility of the gardens or attend one of the immensely popular summer concerts.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a unique, award winning maritime heritage destination with stunning Georgian and Victorian architecture, and exciting galleries and attractions brought to life by costumed guides. Visitors to the site can explore over 400 years of maritime history from the recently opened No.1 Smithery, a cultural venue for maritime collections, to the three historic warships of HMS Gannet, HMS Cavalier and HMS Ocelot.
13th Century Hever Castle was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Set in magnificent gardens, the castle has a homely atmosphere and houses historic 16th century Tudor portraits, furniture and tapestries. Other artefacts include two Books of Hours (prayer books), both signed and inscribed by Anne Boleyn.
Internationally renowned Sissinghurst Castle Garden was built and developed by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Sir Harold Nicolson around the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion. The gardens comprise of small enclosed compartments, bursting with colour throughout the seasons. The new vegetable garden supplies fresh vegetables and fruit to the garden’s restaurant. The surrounding Wealden landscape, along with the property's accompanying farm, were central to Vita and Harold's love and overall vision for Sissinghurst.
The North Downs Way is the premier route in the South East running for 153 miles commencing at the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The historical route follows much of the Pilgrims Way – the legendary route used by pilgrims on their way from Winchester to Canterbury to pray at the shrine of St Thomas Becket.
Built in 1887, Royal St Georges was intended to serve the needs of London golfers who were only able to play golf on often crowded and unkept courses in the area. Named St. Georges, the club was to become the English rival to Scotland’s St. Andrews. In 2011, the Open Championship returns to Royal St. Georges for the 14th time.
Kent is full of distinctive, contrasting attractions: from the romantic castles and historic houses full of treasures, to secret gardens and wartime adventures, but like any other region Kent has it’s fair share of world renowned iconic attractions.