20 fun things to do in Kent – the Garden of England

Knole Park

I’m lucky enough to be able to call Kent home – in fact, I’ve lived here for nearly 30 years! I may be biased, but this county nestled south of London has remarkable landscapes, incredible opportunities, bustling small varied businesses, and people who know how to make life great!

From iconic coastal vistas to little known gems, we are awash with places to visit in Kent. It’s no mistake that there are many reasons why it is called ‘The Garden of England’.

Grab a cuppa and read on to discover a unique insider’s guide to things to do in Kent. 

Just a little note though… Kent is actually one of the largest counties in the country! As such, it’s bursting with things to do, places to see, and experiences to have.

So I can’t possibly fit everything in here but this list is a great starting point.

Let’s dive into 20 of the best things to do in Kent – from a local.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Go for a hike around Botany Bay

Address: Marine Dr, Cliftonville, Broadstairs CT10 3LG

Best for: Coastal hiking trails

What’s remarkable about Botany Bay is that so few Kent residents seem to know that this incredible spot exists in their county.

The landscape here is truly remarkable with orangey sands juxtaposed with chalk cliffs and stacks. 

Botany Bay in Kent

Park up on the cliff and make your way down for a wonderful experience exploring amidst thoughts of smugglers and pirates.

I’d recommend going for a wander and checking out what’s hiding in the rock pools. But be sure to check the tides, because it’s possible to get slightly cut off!

At the end of your adventure, try the delicious fare at The Botany Bay Hotel.

2. Spend the day at historic Hever Castle

Address: Hever Rd, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG

Best for: Tudor history

Opening times:


Castle & GardensGardens OnlyCastle & Gardens OnlineGardens Only Online
Child (5-17)£13.10£11.95£11.80£10.75
Family Ticket£61.10£52.20£55.00£47.00

From one side of Kent to the other, right up against Kent’s western border you’ll find Hever Castle.

The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, expect lots of Tudor history! However, this is also a compact and beautiful UK castle, with incredible grounds.

Hever Castle

I have very fond childhood memories of getting lost in the yew maze! You can also watch jousting tournaments in the summer, row on the outstandingly beautiful lake, watch an outdoor theatre performance, or dodge the water jets in the water maze.

The views out over the lake are mesmerising, and the gardeners here are clearly both dedicated and talented.

All in all, Hever Castle is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kent.

3. Get the adrenaline pumping with a Dover Sea Safari

Address: Dover Sea Sports Centre, Esplanade, Dover, Kent CT17 9FS

Best for: An exhilarating excursion

Back down to the coast, but at a more southerly point, I really recommend doing a Dover Sea Safari.

Combining mighty good fun with the iconic white cliffs (as well as the potential for a bobbing seal coming to say hello), this is an exhilarating and enjoyable excursion.

If you’re after a spot of adrenalin then opt for the speedboat option. However, if a more sedate experience is your thing then their cruising yacht is an equally fabulous experience.

4. Immerse yourself in the history of Dover Castle

Address: Castle Hill Rd., Dover CT16 1HU

Best for: WW2 history

Opening times: Daily 10:00 – 17:00


  • Adult: From £23.60
  • Child (5-17): From £14.50
  • Concession: From £20.90
  • Family (2 adults, 3 children): From £61.70
  • Family (1 adult, 3 children): From £38.10

While you’re in the Dover area, I simply can’t rate Dover Castle highly enough.

Dover Castle

Owned by English Heritage I am always completely bowled over by the variety of history on show here. Spanning 900 years, you can literally take a tour through time.

It’s impossible to pick out just one part of Dover Castle that makes it worth a visit, but don’t neglect to explore the cliff tunnels which were used as a headquarters and a hospital in WW2.

Looking out over the sea, you should also be able to spot France on a clear day!

Book your Dover Castle admission ticket.

5. Go on safari at Port Lympne Animal Reserve

Address: Aldington Rd, Lympne, Hythe CT21 4LR

Best for: Animal lovers

Run by the Aspinall Foundation, Port Lympne Animal Reserve is one of Kent’s highlights. Enjoy an authentic safari through the reserve and get up close to an incredible array of animals.

Laugh at the monkeys and bears who are extremely cheeky, or be amazed at the grace of the splendid giraffes ambling past.

With rhinos, tigers and lions, there’s something to get everyone enthusiastic.

What’s more, Port Lympne isn’t just one of the best Kent places to visit – you can stay here too. Trust me when I say, it’s an experience like no other.

I’ve stayed here twice now and each time had the most unforgettable time. There are lots of choices for accommodation, but my favourites include the Leopard Creek Wigwam and Giraffe Lodge.

There are also the Lion and Tiger Lodges where you have a floor to ceiling large window to view the tiger area.

These are definitely ones for a special occasion though, as this once-in-a-lifetime experience is excruciatingly expensive.

When you stay you get a golf buggy for exploring the site, which is perfect given its scale and hills!

6. Pay a visit to Canterbury Cathedral

Address: Cathedral House, 11 The Precincts, Canterbury CT1 2EH

Best for: An iconic cathedral

Oh how I love Canterbury! With medieval history bubbling up from everywhere you look, unique boutique shops and a university-city vibe, Canterbury can keep you busy and immersed for days. 

Canterbury Cathedral is of course one of the most interesting places to visit in Kent with its 1400 years of history.

It’s also breathtakingly beautiful and majestic – a good destination for a romantic UK city break.

Westgate Gardens in Canterbury

Don’t miss stopping by the immaculately beautiful Westgate Gardens. Pause for a picnic or go for a relaxing punt down the river – the perfect summer activity in Kent!

Book a guided walking tour of the city to make sure you see all the best bits.

7. Indulge in a lavender massage at Castle Farm

Address: Redmans Ln, Sevenoaks TN14 7UB

Best for: Utter relaxation

Lavender season: From about late June to late July

This is an entirely seasonal experience, but it’s so wonderful that I thought it was worth a mention here.

When considering the best things to do in Kent in July, having a massage in the lavender fields at Castle Farm is an absolute must. 

Castle Farm

I’ve probably got you hooked at the idea of an aromatherapy massage, but what’s so incredible is that you are literally in the lavender field for your massage. A sublimely blissful experience!

If you don’t fancy a massage, a visit to Castle Farm is one of the best things to do in the Sevenoaks area.

8. Have fun with friends at Prison Island in Maidstone

Address: 60-61 High St, Maidstone ME14 1SR

Best for: Fun with friends

Prison Island in Maidstone is completely different from anything else I’ve listed so far.

Basically, you rock up with your favourite people and get involved in trying to escape from various different ‘prison cells’ using your brain or your brawn!

Each cell is its own unique challenge and takes just 1-5 minutes to solve, and there are around 25 to do. It’s definitely one of the most fun things to do in Kent. 

If you don’t fancy that, there is also adventure golf, AR darts and shuffle boarding – perfect for a group of friends.

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9. Experience the eerie landscapes of Dungeness

Best for: An eerie but beautiful setting

For an otherworldly landscape, pay a visit to Dungeness on the Kent coast.

A strange and eerie place, it’s home to a sprawling shingle beach littered with abandoned boats, rusty machinery, and discarded fishing nets. All in the shadow of the nuclear power station that looms in the background.

It’s as if the place was abandoned in a hurry and you can’t quite shake the feeling that you’ve landed yourself in a post-apocalyptic movie!

Look out for Prospect Cottage or head to the top of the Grade II listed Old Lighthouse. It’s also a great place for photography and bird-watching. 

I’d recommend going for a coastal walk in the area, and stopping for a bite to eat at The Pilot Inn or the Snack Shack if you’re visiting during the summer months.

Fun fact: Dungeness is Britain’s only desert!

10. Revel in the nostalgia at Dreamland in Margate

Address: 49-51, Marine Terrace, Margate CT9 1XJ

Best for: Retro funfair

Opening times:

  • Summer holidays: Daily 10:00 – 17:00
  • Until 31st October: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00
  • 1st November to 1st March: Wednesday to Saturday, 10:00 – 17:00

Lose yourself in the vintage magic of Dreamland in Margate – a retro funfair by the sea.

Dreamland Margate

Ride on the scenic railway, one of the UK’s oldest rollercoasters, and whirl around on the classic waltzers.

On top of that, enjoy contemporary live music events and exciting food stalls that cater to every palate.

Dreamland is all about fun – pure and simple. From roller discos to live gigs to hair-rising rides, they’ve got it all.

Dreamland is definitely a bit quirky, but that’s what I love about it, and it offers a slight twist on your usual theme park or seaside resort.

Discover more of the best coastal towns in Kent.

12. Explore the charming seaside town of Whitstable

Best for: Oyster lovers

Also on the coast, but an entirely different experience to Dreamland, is the beautiful small fishing town of Whitstable.

You can indulge in some of the freshest seafood here (the town is particularly famous for its oysters).

Wander through its narrow lanes lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and, of course, oyster bars.

Whitstable Beach Huts

There’s a real arts culture to Whitstable and it feels like every time you turn a corner you find another interesting sight.

Walk along the shingle beach or head to the bustling harbour, where you can see fishermen bring in their daily catch.

And, if you’re there during the annual Oyster Festival, join in the festivities that celebrate Whitstable’s rich maritime heritage and its status as an oyster-producing powerhouse.

Whitstable is definitely one for your UK bucket list and it’s also a great UK foodie break.

13. Visit The Historic Dockyard in Chatham

Address: Main Gate Rd, Chatham ME4 4TZ

Best for: Naval history

Opening times:

  • February to March: Daily 10:00 – 16:00
  • April to October: Daily 10:00 – 17:00
  • October to November: 10:00 – 16:00
  • December to January: Closed

If you’re a fan of naval history then you will be completely in your element at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham. However, don’t think it’s just for naval buffs. There’s so much to do and see here. 

Historic Dockyard Chatham

Three ships really absorb your attention, each very different: a Cold War submarine (HMS Ocelot), a WW2 Destroyer (HMS Cavalier) and a Victorian Sloop (HMS Gannet).

You can wander aboard each of them and feel yourself transported in time. However, at the Dockyard there’s also something for Call the Midwife fans.

Many of the dock views in the TV series (and more!) have been filmed here. So, you can spot the sights and even go on a themed tour

It’s also where they filmed other popular period dramas, such as Mr Selfridge – I know this because I was a regular extra in the show, back in my university days!

14. Marvel at the splendour of Leeds Castle

Address: Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL

Best for: History meets adventure

Opening times:

  • The Castle: Daily 10:30 – 17:30
  • Grounds and Gardens: Daily 10:00 – 18:00

Another castle to make my list is Leeds Castle. It’s such a quintessential part of Kent that I can’t leave it out!

I adore Leeds Castle for many reasons, but up there is the fact that it’s incredibly picturesque and lends itself to stunningly beautiful photos which change throughout the seasons.

I can see why it’s got the moniker ‘the loveliest castle in the world’.

Leeds Castle

Wander through its rich history that spans over 900 years, exploring rooms that echo tales of kings, queens, and many notable figures.

Outside, traverse the sprawling 500 acres of parkland, lush gardens, and even tackle the maze that leads to a secret grotto.

There is a lot for kids to explore with fantastically themed playgrounds and adventure golf, while the land train and boat add to the experience (and make it easier to get around).

If you’re feeling adventurous, take to the skies in a hot air balloon ride from the castle grounds, offering panoramic views of the Kentish countryside.

Or if you want to indulge your inner adrenaline junkie then there is a Go Ape high ropes course right here too.

Book your Leeds Castle admission with the Ultimate Explorer ticket.

15. Alpaca Annie

Address: Haguelands Farm, Burmarsh Rd, Romney Marsh TN29 0JR

Best for: A unique experience

For a delightfully unique experience, you can trek with alpacas at Alpaca Annie. It’s difficult to convey just how wonderful this experience is.

The alpacas are incredibly docile and friendly, and provide plenty of entertainment.

What’s really lovely about this alpaca trek is that you get to do it in the Romney Marsh habitat, which is another unique Kentish landscape.

Alpaca Annie is also close to the golden beaches of Camber Sands.

It’s also very close to Greatstone Beach which is gloriously beautiful, as well as the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

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16. Go wine tasting

Best for: Wine lovers

I can’t list things to do in Kent without picking out at least one vineyard and winery, but it’s a tough choice!

Chapel Down Winery, in Tenterden, is very much in the heart of the ‘garden’ of England. You’ll spot iconic oast houses galore as you make your way there. 


From a walk through the vineyard and tasting afterwards through to their deluxe experience, which includes a delicious three course meal. You can expect to have a luxury experience here. 

I’d also really recommend Mount Vineyard in Shoreham – they do excellent wine tastings and serve the most mouth-watering pizzas in a really beautiful setting.

17. The Spa Valley Railway

Address: West Station, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5QY

Best for: Railway enthusiasts

Enjoying a ride on the Spa Valley Railway is like stepping back in time to a slower and more relaxed way of life.

You’ll travel through some of the finest and most quintessentially ‘Kentish’ landscape from Tunbridge Wells (pop into the Pantiles for a chance to explore this royal spa town) to High Rocks, Groombridge and Eridge.

They offer various dining experiences and there’s something so wonderful about enjoying a classic afternoon tea whilst wending your way through the countryside. 

18. The Big Cat Sanctuary

Address: Headcorn Rd, Smarden, Ashford TN27 8PJ

Best for: Seeing big cats

The Big Cat Sanctuary is something Kent should be immensely proud of having on its turf.

This charity is doing incredible things for conservation around the world. You may be familiar with it from the BBC’s Big Cat Diaries. 

The Sanctuary isn’t somewhere you just turn up at, except on Open Days. However, I really urge you to book an experience here for something that will take your breath away.

You can also do photography workshops here, where you have the opportunity to capture the beauty of the animals, as well as overnight safari experiences too.

For something more relaxing, stop by for a Paul Hollywood afternoon tea in the conservatory.

19. Go scrambling at High Rocks

Address: High Rocks Ln, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9JJ

Best for: A bit of adventure

Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday, from 10:15


  • Adults: £5
  • Children under 13: £3

While you’re in the area with the Spa Valley Railway, make sure you take the chance to visit High Rocks.

This is actually a national monument – the landscape here will bowl you over. You probably won’t have seen anything quite like it.

Your ticket allows a two hour wander around the The High Rocks. Note that rock climbing is by appointment and pre-booking only and costs £12 per day for over 18s only.

Keep a hold of little hands while exploring, and be prepared for some vertigo challenge!

Good to know: Check opening times before you visit, as The Rocks are sometimes closed to the public.

20. Knole Park in Sevenoaks

Address: Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 0RP

Best for: Beautiful scenery

Opening times:

  • House & café: Daily 10:00-16:00
  • Park: Dawn until dusk
  • Note that opening times can vary dependent on season

Last but by no means least I can heartily recommend a trip to Knole Park in Sevenoaks. This deer park is enormous, covering a staggering 383.4 hectares.

Knole Park

It’s largely managed by The National Trust, along with Knole House (also worth a visit!) and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Knole Park really comes alive at different times of the year.

A picnic amongst the hazy summer grasses watching a nearby cricket game is just as sublime as wrapping up warm in autumn and walking amongst the ochres and russets of the trees. 

You can also explore the house itself, meandering through the showrooms and visiting the Gatehouse Tower.

21. Stay amidst wilderness at Elmley Nature Reserve

Address: Kingshill Farm, Isle of Sheppey, Kent ME12 3RW

Best for: A peaceful retreat

Imagine waking up to a serene panorama of wetlands, birdlife, and the distant call of wild creatures. At Elmley Nature Reserve, you get just that!

Opt for an overnight stay in one of their unique accommodations – from stylish shepherd’s huts to costy bell tents.

This 3,300-acre reserve on the Isle of Sheppey provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Besides the rich birdlife (think avocets, lapwings, and barn owls), you might also spot hares, water voles, and if you’re lucky, the short-eared owl in its natural habitat.

22. Go beer tasting with a Shepherd Neame Brewery Tour

Address: 11 Court St, Faversham ME13 7AX

Best for: Beer lovers

Are you a beer enthusiast or merely curious about the brewing process? A visit to Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame in Faversham, is one of the best things to do in Kent.

Established in 1698, this brewery combines ancient traditions with modern brewing techniques.

Embark on a guided tour, where you’ll learn about the intriguing history of the brewery, witness the traditional mash tuns, and experience the aroma of the hops in the old kilns.

And of course, the tour culminates in a tasting session where you can sample some of the brewery’s classic and contemporary brews.

23. Groombridge Place

Groombridge Place used to be a fun family-friendly destination with its Enchanted Forest and giant swing.

However, it’s currently closed for refurbishment as it’s being converted into the latest addition to the Pig Hotel family.

I’ve kept it on this list because it will undoubtedly be a delightful place to go for lunch or an overnight stay.

I’m a big fan of The Pig Hotels so I am personally very excited for another Kent location! It’s due to open in 2025 so stay tuned.

For now, you can visit The Pig Hotel at Bridge near Canterbury.

There are so many things to do in Kent that I’m sure I’ll be back again with more another time. However, for now, I hope this article whets your appetite!

Find more UK inspiration in my UK bucket list post, discover the best coastal towns in Kent, or read my guide to the best things to do in Eastbourne in nearby East Sussex.

Let me know your favourite Kent spots in the comments or ask away if you have any questions.

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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