This is a guest post:
An Ode to Kent
A trip to London is all well and good if you have the budget, time to take in all the sites, and patience to deal with hoards of other tourists. An easier option when taking a break in the UK might be to head a little further south east to the Garden of England, Kent.
Bordering London and looking out over France (you can see France on a clear day in Folkestone), Kent is the oldest county in England and boy does it have a lot to show for it.
With castles that date back twenty centuries, one of the country’s most famous cathedrals, and the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, Kent is home to some of the most striking sights the UK has to offer. No wonder then that over the years it’s played home to famous Brits including Dickens, Austen, Chaucer and Churchill – well, a holiday home.
If you fancy following in Churchill’s footsteps (writer, prime minister, Nobel prize winner – probably not a bad idea) and making Kent your holiday destination of choice take a look at this short guide to make the most of your stay:
The Canterbury Tales
School children around the country will tell you that a trip to Kent isn’t complete without a day spent taking in the recreation of Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales. Accompany Geoffrey Chaucer, and his medieval pilgrims on their journey to the shrine of St Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral and watch classic tales of life, love and laughter come to life.
Castles and cathedrals
Be sure to take a trip to Canterbury Cathedral which dates back to 596AD and was the site of Archbishop Thomas Becket’s murder in 1170. Since then it has attracted thousands of visitors and pilgrims (like Chaucer’s). Dover Castle, aka the ‘Key to England’ is another ‘must-see’. Situated on top of the White Cliffs it has guarded the English shores from invasion for 20 centuries despite invaders believing that by unlocking the castle they could push open the door to the rest of the country.
If you’ve got your passport with you why not hop on a train or ferry, cross the channel and spend a day in France. Visit towns like Calais, Lille and Dunkirk – the setting of a major evacuation of allied troops during the second world war mentioned in Churchill’s infamous ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ speech. Stock up on French wine and cheese, enjoy local delicacies and be back in time for bed – crossing the channel only takes an hour and a half.
From wide open sandy beaches to charming seaside towns, the Kent coastline has a lot to offer. Camber Sands – once a favourite of smugglers – is the best for sunbathing (British weather permitting) but if you only have time to visit one, Deal is believed by historians to be where Julius Caesar first set foot on British soil. These days this vast shingle beach is most famous for Saturday morning’s Deal Market, where visitors can find retro delights, and the Victorian Pier.
There are a lot of sights to see in England’s oldest county, so when your feet get tired, why not book some time out at a spa? Spa days in Kent are the perfect way to end a relaxing break. Unsurprisingly, the Garden of England is decorated with a number of lavish country mansions and manors equipped with all you need for a day of pampering before heading back to everyday life.
This guest post was written Marianne Gray, the chief editor of Wahanda.