On Countryfile this Sunday: Kent
Leeds Castle, Photograph: ©Shutterstock
1. Why not enjoy the coastal scenery of Whitstable with their Kitesurfing School? Due to its consistent, steady wind and shallow water, Whitstable is a great place to learn, and the school provides day courses for beginners through to advanced kitesurfers. They also provide group lessons.
2. For a combination of beautiful woodlands and riveting thrills, Go Ape is a treetop obstacle course with zip slides, rope bridges, Tarzan swings and crossings. It is located around Leeds Castle in the trees of Bedgebury Forest, and is an adventure for all the family!
3. The experience the thrill of real outdoor racing, head to Buckmore Park Karting, where F1 sensation Lewis Hamilton was discovered in 1996. Suitable for adults and children alike, it makes a perfect day out for thrill-seeking families.
The White Cliffs of Dover, Photograph: ©Shutterstock
GARDENS AND NATURE RESERVES
1. The Blean is an area of ancient woodland that lies between Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable and Faversham, and holds 120 miles of footpaths. Renowned for its accessibility and few busy roads, the area is perfect for a car-free excursion into the countryside. The woodland ambience provides a changing variety of experiences through the seasons, each of which bring a different character to the area.
2. Near the village of Yalding, five acres of countryside are home to Yalding Gardens, founded in the early 1990s and run by a team of organic gardeners. The gardens trace horticultural history through sixteen different displays, including a 13th century apothecary's garden, a Victorian greenhouse and an educational garden for beginners. There is also a local produce farm shop and organic café on site, using fresh ingredients from the garden.
3. Take a refreshing walk along the White Cliffs of Dover, overlooking the busy and historical English Channel. Parts of the area are owned by the National Trust, with widespread wildlife such as the lady orchid, green hellebore and the dormouse. The distinctive white lighthouse at South Foreland was built in 1843, to mark the dangerous offshore banks of the Goodwin Sands.
Kent Apples, Photograph: ©Shutterstock
1. A visit to Kent wouldn’t be complete without a taste of English apple juices and ciders at Biddenden Vineyards. It is Kent’s oldest commercial vineyard, and is famous for its Biddenden Cider and Biddenden Farm Pressed Apple Juice. Best of all, the vineyard is open throughout the year, and admission and tastings are free of charge!
2. The magnificent, 12th century Dover Castle was once thought to be the ‘Key to England’: if you could penetrate it, then the whole of England could be captured! Today, visitors can unlock the world of WW2 secret wartime tunnels, where the evacuation of Dunkirk was masterminded, and the recently transformed Great Tower tells the elaborate story of King Henry II and his court.
3. Grab a lantern and head for Chislehurst Caves in Bromley, where miles of mysterious, dark passageways will lead you back in time. A guide will take you on a lamp-lit tour and tell tales of Druids, Romans and Saxons, as you see a famous shelter of the Second World War, the Caves Church, Druid Altar and Haunted Pool!
Ducks, Photograph: ©Shutterstock
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
1. Now a world heritage site, Canterbury is famous for its architecture, history and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The ‘city’ is best navigated by foot, but alternatively you may like to relax with a boat trip along the River Stour. The clear waters offer a home to ducks, swans, fish and other wildlife, while the river bank is populated by bending willows and wild flowers.
2. Situated on the south bank of the River Thames, Gravesend is an historic town with outstanding countryside and beautiful villages on the slopes of the North Downs. Visit the home of Charles Dickens at Higham, the Chantry Heritage Centre or the final resting place of Pocahontas.
3. Visit the ancient town of Sandwich, home to some of the best-preserved medieval houses in Britain. Some traditions have remained unchanged over time, as they even still ring the curfew bell from St Peter’s Church every evening. Enjoy a tranquil walk along the riverside, or follow the historic town trail to learn more about its rich heritage.