Best walks in Kent
From Dover's staggering White Cliffs and the bustling seaside towns of the east coast, to the peaceful banks of the Medway River and the ancient remains of Coldrum Long Barrow, Kent has many landscapes worth exploring – discover them on foot with our favourite county walks
One of England's so-called home counties, Kent shares its borders with Greater London – as well as Surrey, East Sussex and Essex – making it a popular spot for city dwellers and tourists to visit. So, where are the best places to go walking?
Kent is famous for its iconic White Cliffs of Dover, and while these sublime rock faces are certainly worth exploring, there are many other parts of the county that shouldn't be missed.
We've selected a few of our favourite walking routes to offer a little inspiration, so pull on your boots, tie your laces and get walking.
Best walks in Kent
Dover to Deal
9.9 miles/15.9km | 5 hours | moderate
A bright August afternoon, 55BC. Shingle crunches beneath sandals as Julius Caesar’s scouts slip from their boats and head up the beach. This was a reconnaissance mission, to decide if England was worth invading; they concluded it wasn’t. Or at least, not yet – 12 years later they returned, this time with a good deal more conviction and legions.
The Kent coast has been England’s front line for millennia, and as this straightforward 10-mile walk takes you over the cliff tops and beaches between Dover and Deal, its past unfolds, revealing a fear of attack that stretches from the Iron Age to the Second World War.
3.4 miles/5.4km | 2 hours | easy–moderate
This short circular walk begins in Marlpit Hill on the northern edge of Edenbridge, Kent. Once at the heart of the medieval Wealden iron industry, the area is now tranquil farmland.
Discover babbling brooks, tributaries of the River Eden, ancient woods, winter wildfowl in the colder months and the site of a Saxon manor.
Upnor and Medway River
5.1 miles/8.3km | 3 hours | moderate
If you’re after the pristine and pretty, then this isn’t the walk for you. Boat yards and warehouses flank the waterside, and near Hoo St Werburgh the cube of the decommissioned Kingsnorth power station looms on the horizon. Nevertheless, with its shipwrecks, forts and secret beach, this part of the Kent coast feels fantastically off the beaten track. London may be a stone’s throw away, yet sometimes the only sound here is the river on the shore.
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With the pleasant, weather-boarded houses of cobbled Upper Upnor High Street behind you, follow the signs for the Saxon Shore Way as it skirts the brick wall of Upnor Castle (closed in winter). Built on the orders of Elizabeth I to defend Chatham Dockyard, this impressive fortress was also painted by JMW Turner.
Ramsgate to Margate
8 miles/12.7km | 5 hours | moderate
Ramsgate is, literally, the gateway to Thanet, the outcrop of upper chalk where the North Downs finally meet the North Sea.
It has slightly fewer rams roaming the streets than yesteryear and is now dominated by its 19th-century architecture (check out the Granville Hotel, St Augustine’s Church and others by Pugin) and its continuing fishing industry.
An eight-mile coastal walk runs between Ramsgate and its maritime neighbour, Margate, where art and seaside snacks await.
1.5 miles/2.4km | 1 hour | easy
When American millionaire William Waldorf Astor bought the property in July 1903, he reimagined the grounds of his ‘Tudor village’ as a series of beautiful gardens and walks, including a 38-acre lake that took 800 men to excavate. Created to bring joy to visitors and boost biodiversity at the same time, Hever’s meadows are similarly polychromatic, focusing on pollinator-friendly species that bring long-lasting colour.
Follow ‘Lake Walk’ (around one hour) to stumble upon a swaying waterside rainbow of wildflowers and herbs, such as calendula, cornflower, cosmos and corn poppy. Pause at the grotto-like Anne of Cleves Bower House. Its formerly bramble-covered ruins were revealed by Hever Castle Golf Club’s head greenkeeper Rob Peers when he began leading the meadow project in 2018. Picnic beside pockets of crown daisy, larkspur, sweet William, mallow and perennial flax.