Get ready to discover Kent this weekend
There’s only one high-speed train line in the UK and it will whisk you to beautiful Kent in under an hour and a half. It’s ideal for day trips from London. But when you’ve cantered around Canterbury, meandered through Margate and discovered all there is to see in Dover, you might start to think you’ve seen it all – but you haven’t!
If you’re in need of some inspiration, then take a look at these hidden gems and get ready to discover Kent this weekend…
For foodie friends? Try Whitstable
Ok, so London may be all about quirky foodie festivals and innovative restaurants, but when you’ve had a enough of mac and cheese toasties and fusion fried something-or-others then Whitstable and it’s incredible fresh food and local larder could be for you.
The seaside town is known as a good coastal escape but only those in the know will venture to enjoy its great restaurants. The real gem of Whitstable is, however, it’s Oyster Festival in July that celebrates Whitstable’s most delicious export.
The harbour market should be your first stop when you arrive to marvel as all the fresh seafood. As tempting as it would be to stock up, just remember you’ve got a train ride home… so wait to buy your supper on the way home. If eating is what you’re after, then visit one of the town’s popular fish restaurants. Here’s a secret, they’re just as good as London’s!
Just think, you can eat some amazing food, without the lengthy queues of top London restaurants… count us in. A trip to The Whitstable Oyster Company is a must and for delish oysters served with a side of awesome Insta-opportunities, Wheelers Oyster Bar’s pastel façade is the ultimate spot for kitschy seaside décor and incredibly good food.
Get there: Trains run throughout the day from Kings Cross St Pancras to Whitstable.
For a fun-filled family day? Try Ashford
The beautiful landscape in and around Ashford make it a great, if slightly underrated, choice for a family day out in Kent. Hire bikes and get out and explore this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Pilgrim Cycle Trail offers a variety of routes across Kent, but the Ashford to the Valley of the Great Stour is definitely one of the best. Families might not be able to attempt the full route, but following part of it will allow you to come across some impressive views in and around Ashford.
The #lush #green english #countryside @naturalengland The #stodmarsh along the #greatstourriver Perfect escape from #london for a #countrygirl like me!!! 50 minutes on a fast @southeastern train from #stratfordinternational to #canterbury. #berrypicking and #hiking in a windy, sunny #september afternoon
The Ashford Heritage Trail is also a great way to explore the area; the hour long walk will let you see the town’s best Edwardian buildings and sites and is a good way to get an overview of the town.
To keep the kids entertained, the Rare Breeds Centre is a great choice. Children can get up close to a variety of farm animals, plus there are tractor rides around the park, falconry displays and a pretty garden where tortoises, rabbits and chickens roam free.
Get there: Trains run throughout the day from Kings Cross St Pancras to Ashford International.
For the fresh sea air? Try Broadstairs
Beautiful Broadstairs is a town in the bottom east corner of Kent, boasting seven sandy beaches and a reliable surf, it will satisfy your cravings for the traditional British seaside.
For the history Buff you will find the Dickens House Museum and nearby Bleak House where Dicken’s holidayed, the whole area celebrates with a festival in June where the town of Broadstairs is filled with people in costume and street performance. This year will be the festival’s 80th anniversary and even includes a gin-tasting event!
Broadstairs has a trendy culture of arts, crafts and pop-ups with a renowoned food festival celebrating the best of local produce. It also fosters a lively folk scene which comes into its own during Broadstairs Folk Week, with music sessions cropping up all over the town, and beaches!
For the great outdoors? Try Gravesend
The pretty town of Gravesend is a wonderful day trip from London, with a surprising amount of things to do for couples looking to make the most of the great outdoors.
The nearby Shorne Wood Country Park (that can be reached from Gravesend by bus) offers 300 acres of picturesque forest, wetlands and meadows to explore. Its meandering trails lead to pretty gardens and peaceful fishing lakes with incredible country views.
Back in Gravesend, there are plenty of interesting things to see on a day trip. The charming riverside town’s pretty streets are great for wandering around to spot sailing barges and paddle steamers. The Gravesend Cold War Bunker is one of the town’s main highlights if you want to inject some history in to your trip, along with the New Fort Tavern, an 18th century fort (that hosts a brilliant 1940’s fancy dress festival in September.)
For a dose of culture, be sure to check out the Gurdwara, Europe’s largest Sikh place of worship. Guided tours can be arranged to explore its elaborate interiors. When evening roles around there is a great choice of date night dining options – the town’s large Sikh populate means that it has an excellent selection of curry houses that are definitely worth checking out.
Get there: Trains run throughout the day from Kings Cross St Pancras to Gravesend.