Sitting demurely in London’s backyard, Kent is justly described the garden of England. This neatly manicured landscape of lush farmland, cultivated country estates, fruitful orchards, and carefully nurtured tourist attractions seems to mirror its own glorious public gardens on a grand scale. It’s also the beer garden of England, producing the world-renowned Kent hops and some of the country’s finest ales. Here too are long coastal stretches dotted with old-fashioned beach resorts, spellbinding Canterbury crowned by its fascinating cathedral, and the port of Dover which is close enough to France to smell the garlic or hop over on a day trip to taste it.
With history along every lane, an old alehouse on every corner and a captivating World Heritage–listed cathedral plump in its heart, Canterbury is one of southern England’s top attractions. Its narrow medieval alleyways and precarious timber-beamed buildings are a joy to explore, as are its riverside gardens and ancient city walls. Yet Canterbury is no mere showpiece to times past, but a spirited and lively place with a large student contingent and a wide choice of contemporary bars, restaurants and arts. But book ahead for the best hotels and eateries: pilgrims may no longer flock here in their thousands but there’s a year-round flood of tourists to replace them.
Kent destination guides
Leeds Castle Private Viewing, Canterbury and Greenwich Day Trip from London
Leave the hurly-burly of London for the day and tour the highlights of Kent. You'll have an exclusive private viewing of Leeds Castle, dubbed the loveliest castle in the world. You'll also tour the famous cathedral city of Canterbury, see the White Cliffs of Dover, visit historic Greenwich, then cruise back to London in the early evening.
Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and Dover
London is fabulous, of course, but you don’t want to leave without exploring the English countryside for at least one day. Head southwest of London to the picturesque, historic sites of Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and Dover. On your way, you’ll drive through Greenwich, home of the Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian, where the world’s time is set.