Visiting London and looking to escape the city for a day? We’ve got you covered. These 10 days out in Kent are the perfect ideas for a fun-filled day with family and friends. Whether you’re into winery tours or looking to visit some of England’s finest castles and quaint old villages or maybe a safari in the English countryside might interest you? Read on to discover the best ways to spend a memorable day in Kent.
After having spent the last 2.5 years of my life in Ashford, Kent, I’ve been able to slowly tick all of these awesome experiences off my bucket list. Kent is full of exciting history, it’s home to some of England’s oldest towns and churches, it’s known as the ‘Garden of England’ (thanks to King Henry VIII who first used the phrase) and it has a stunning coastline – the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.
There is truly so much beauty to be discovered in this part of England and it’s all conveniently located within close proximity to London by train! I’ve put together a list of some of my all-time favourite day trips from London to Kent. These fun days out in Kent are all easily accessible if you’re traveling from London or anywhere in the Southeast area.
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The 10 Most Epic Days Out In Kent
One of England’s oldest towns, the history of Canterbury dates all the way back to the Roman times in the 1st century AD when a fortified Roman town was built in the area. Recent discoveries have found ancient artefacts from old buildings which are now on display at the Roman Museum in Canterbury.
Today, Canterbury’s town centre is full of picturesque streets lined with historic buildings from the Tudor era. It’s easy to spend a day getting lost down the charming cobbled lanes and finding endless beautiful old pubs just calling you in off the street.
Being only 15 minutes by train from Ashford, I spent my fair share of time exploring this lovely town, each time finding a different old pub or another unique angle to photograph. It’s no surprise that visiting Canterbury is my favourite of all the days out in Kent!
Highlights of Canterbury
River Cruise – One of the most popular things to do on a day trip to Canterbury is taking a historic river cruise along the canals that run through the town. Escape the busy town centre and learn all about the history of Canterbury from an experienced local guide. You’ll get a unique angle of some of the town’s most iconic old buildings while enjoying a relaxing 40 minute journey through time.
Hours of Operation: River cruises run throughout the high season from April 1st to November 7th from 10am – 5pm daily. You can find the staff located on Kings Bridge on the high street next to the Old Weaver’s House. They operate on a first come first serve basis so you can either show up on the day or book your river cruise ticket in advance. If you wish to find more information about prices and booking ahead, click here.
Canterbury Cathedral – Dating back to the year 597 when St. Augustine first landed on the shores of England as a missionary sent from Rome, Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most iconic Cathedrals in England! The history of this magnificent old church is so fascinating and the inside of the building is truly an impressive sight.
During your visit you’ll wander passed the Shrine of Thomas Becket, stroll through the Romanesque crypt, explore the beautiful Cathedral gardens and admire the medieval stained-glass windows.
The Cathedral has gone through many changes over the centuries and as of today it has been under renovation since I first arrived in England in 2017. Scaffolding surrounds the church, sadly ruining any photographs from the outside but don’t worry! This does not prevent tourists from visiting the inside.
Opening Hours and Tickets: The cathedral is open daily, click here for visiting times. Canterbury Cathedral tickets cost £12.50 per adult and £8.50 per child.
Historic Pubs – My favourite thing to do when visiting Canterbury is checking out all the epic old pubs the town has to offer. There really is no shortage and each old pub is just as quaint as the next! Coming from Canada, old English pubs really are a novelty for me that never wore off.
The Parrot – Hidden away down a cute side street, The Parrot is the oldest pub in Canterbury dating back to the year 1370! Stepping into this historic building really feels like you’re taking a step back in time. It’s the perfect place to stop for lunch to break up your busy day trip.
They’ve got a lovely patio at the back which is great for sipping pints on a sunny summer’s afternoon. If you visit during winter, there’s a fireplace and a cozy interior to escape from the cold.
Some other old pubs worth checking out are: The Bishops Finger, The Old Buttermarket, The Dolphin, The Shakespeare.
Classic Canterbury Walking Tour – Familiarize yourself with Canterbury by taking a small group walking tour. This popular 1.5 hr guided tour will bring you on a journey through Canterbury’s 2,000 years of history. An experienced local guide will walk you through the highlights of the town, stopping at the most popular attractions and a few hidden gems along the way.
The tour passes by the medieval Westgate, the Marlowe Theatre, the Christ Church Gate, St. Thomas of Canterbury Church and many more fascinating historic landmarks. This tour operates at several times every weekend and caps numbers at 10 people per tour. Note that entrance to attractions is not included in the ticket price.
Getting from London to Canterbury
Train – The train to Canterbury runs daily and departs from London’s St. Pancras Station. The journey takes one hour. Click here to view train times and purchase tickets.
Car – The drive from London to Canterbury takes on average 1.5 hours depending on traffic conditions. For full driving directions click here.
The Best Canterbury Tour – If you love the idea of not stressing about train times or being stuck in traffic behind the wheel, an organized tour might be just the thing for you. This highly rated tour of Kent will depart London in the morning and set out to explore the beautiful White Cliffs of Dover.
After a scenic coastal stroll, the tour carries on to Canterbury and begins with a guided walking tour of the town. The tour allows for a total of 2.5 hours to spend in Canterbury. It includes time to visit the Cathedral, explore the town at your own leisure and stop for lunch before heading back to London.
Canterbury has an endless amount of awesome sights to see, if you fancy spending the night instead of making the trek back to London in the evening, find the best hotels in Canterbury by clicking the link below.
Dover has been the gateway from the continent of Europe to England since the beginning of time. Due to its location on the English Channel, Dover has been a major port and played a significant role as defence throughout England’s history in the wars and invasions.
From the year 55 AD when Julius Caesar first arrived in Dover to the 11th century invasions of William the Conqueror, all the way up to Hitler’s planned invasions of Britain in World War II; Dover has always been a target.
Nowadays, Dover is the busiest ferry terminal in the world as well as being one of the most important ports in Britain for freight items such as fresh produce. It attracts tourists from far and wide to witness the beauty of its White Cliffs and its beautifully preserved 11th century hilltop castle.
Visiting Dover is an exciting and fun day out in Kent. I recommend starting your day at the White Cliffs of Dover and then making your way to Dover Castle in the afternoon. It is possible to fit both attractions into one day trip as this is what we did when we visited.
Highlights of Dover
White Cliffs of Dover – When you hear of Dover, it’s the striking white cliffs that most likely come to mind and for good reason. There aren’t many other places in this world that you can find such a magnificent sight of chalky white cliffs against a blue ocean backdrop with bright green grass; it’s like a painting!
Enjoy a scenic coastal walk on the path that runs along the cliffs starting from the Visitor’s Centre. Take in the spectacular views as you follow the edge of the cliffs, on a clear day you can even see France in the distance.
You have the option to walk 2 miles along the path until you reach the 19th century South Foreland Lighthouse and a tea house. But it’s not necessary to go that far to catch the best views of the cliffs.
The Visitor’s Centre at the beginning of the walk also sells teas, coffee and food in case you’ve walked up an appetite by the time you finish the hike.
Click here for a downloadable map that will help guide you along the cliffs!
Dover Castle – One of the most impressive and largest castles in all of England, Dover Castle’s history extends back to the year 1066 when William the Conqueror settled in the area and built the first castle. In 1180s, King Henry II expanded and remodelled the existing castle to the building that still stands today, over 800 years later.
Due to its strategic location, the castle’s main purpose was to serve as defence. It truly stood the test of time having been held under 2 sieges during the medieval years and surviving through 2 world wars in its later years.
Visiting Dover Castle can easily take up to 4 hours as there really is so much to see. Explore the inside of the Great Tower and admire the fully furnished medieval chambers. Panoramic views from the top are sure to impress.
Descend into the medieval tunnels beneath the castle that were once used for defence during the sieges. Make sure to check out the underground hospital that was used for injured troops during World War II.
Dover Castle frequently holds fun events throughout the year. When we visited in the summer, we were excited to find a jousting tournament taking place on the castle grounds. Click here to find an event that might interest you.
Tickets: £20.90/Adult, £12.50/Child. Save time and purchase your ticket online before visiting.
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm daily
Getting from London to Dover
Train – Trains depart daily from London’s St. Pancras Station. The high-speed rail service takes just over an hour to get from London to Dover. Click here to search train times and buy your tickets.
Car – The drive from London should take just under 2 hours depending on traffic conditions. For full driving directions click here.
The Best Dover Tour – Enjoy a fully organized day trip to Dover, leaving London in the morning and stopping first at the Canterbury Cathedral. Afterwards, you will continue to the White Cliffs of Dover where you will take a coastal walk and admire the gorgeous cliffs and the epic views over the English Channel. The tour continues on to Dover Castle where you will spend the rest of the day diving into centuries of English history.
This guided tour includes entrance to the Canterbury Cathedral, a visit to The White Cliffs and entrance to Dover Castle as well as round-trip transportation by a luxury coach.
If you don’t feel like rushing back to London after a long day of explorations, check out some of Dover’s finest accommodation options below.
Kent Winery Tour
Wine touring in the English countryside isn’t often an activity that comes to mind. If you’re a wine lover, this is the perfect option for a fun-filled day out with friends! Spend a relaxing day sipping award-winning English wines surrounded by stunning countryside views.
The tour departs at 9am from London Bridge Station. This wine tour is led by experienced guides who will teach you all about the history of English wine throughout the day. The journey to Kent will take you through some picturesque landscapes and cute little villages.
The first stop of the day will take you on a guided tour through the Chapel Down winery where you will learn all about the traditional process of making sparkling wine. This will be followed by a tasting session and the chance to relax with a drink of choice.
The tour will then continue on to a traditional, award winning English pub where you will stop for a classic pub lunch including wine. Your lunch is included in the price of the tour ticket.
The final stop of the day will bring you to the Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard, where you will tour the beautiful grounds and learn the history behind the wine making process. There will be a guided tasting where you can sample all the estate’s delicious wines and then have time to relax and socialize. The tour lasts about 8 hours long and returns you to London Bridge Station at the end of the day.
Hever Castle & Gardens
Another one of my top picks for fun days out in Kent is the stunning Hever Castle and Gardens. This 13th century double-moated Tudor style castle is famously known as Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. It’s located near Edenbridge, Kent which is a convenient 40 minute journey from London by train.
Hever Castle has been home to over 13 different families since it was first built in the year 1270. Initially built as a defensive medieval castle, it became home to one of the most powerful families in England during the 15th and 16th centuries, the Boleyns. It is said that King Henry VIII stayed at Hever Castle a number of times during his courtship with Anne Boleyn.
A visit to Hever Castle can take up to 4 hours in total, there is a lot to see here!
Highlights of Hever Castle
Hever Castle – The castle’s beautifully decorated interior is fully furnished with tapestries, antiques and a large collection of Tudor portraits. It’s easy to spend up to an hour inside the castle admiring the fine details and absorbing all the fascinating Tudor history. You’ll even find life sized statues of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
Tickets – £17.75/adult, £9.95/child; Includes entry to both castle and gardens.
Opening Hours – 10:30am–4:30pm daily. Hours may vary depending on seasons, click here for more details.
Hever Gardens – Hever Castle is surrounded by a series of majestic gardens featuring sculptures, ponds, fountains, grottoes and even a man-made lake! These gardens were originally built between 1904 and 1908 by William Waldorf Astor who bought the castle in 1903. Before this, only a small garden existed around the castle walls.
You will have the option of exploring a number of elaborate gardens on your day trip to Hever Castle. The Italian Garden features impressive sculptures inspired by the Trevi Fountain in Rome as well as a lake. The Rose Garden is a classic English garden featuring over 4,000 roses in a variety of different colours.
The Tudor Gardens are a series of simple gardens consistent to the Tudor time period and arranged as they might have been during the time the Boleyns lived at Hever Castle. The Blue Garden, like its name suggests, features a lovely selection of pretty blue flowers among a rock garden.
If you wish to see the flowers in full bloom, you must visit during the spring and summer months but no matter what time of year you choose, these gardens are simply stunning. We visited in February and thoroughly enjoyed our time wandering around the gardens, admiring the beautiful scenery.
King Henry VIII Pub – Once you’ve enjoyed your day at the castle and gardens, head straight over to the historic King Henry VIII Pub which is conveniently located at the entrance to the castle grounds. A pub has stood in that location since 1597!
This quintessential Tudor style pub is the perfect place to unwind and sample from a range of Kentish ales along with traditional English pub meals. Warm up indoors by the fire if you visit during the winter or sit out in the beer garden on a sunny afternoon during the summer.
Luxury B&B – For a unique and memorable experience, you have the option to spend a night inside Hever Castle! The bed and breakfast is located in the Astor Wing and Anne Boleyn Wing of the castle which is separate from the visitor’s section. Breakfast and lunch are served at the Moat Restaurant and access to the castle and gardens is included in the bed and breakfast rate.
With an excellent rating of 9.5 on Booking.com, this is truly an experience you will never forget!
Getting From London to Hever Castle
Train – Trains to Hever Castle depart regularly from London’s Victoria Station. The journey usually requires switching trains at East Croyden before getting off at Hever Station.
If you choose to travel by train, note that it does involve 20 minutes of walking to the castle once you reach Hever Station. Click here to see the train schedule and purchase tickets.
Alternatively, you can take the Southeastern train to Edenbridge Station which also requires switching trains at Oxted and then take a taxi for a few miles to the castle.
Car – Driving from London to Hever Castle will take 1 hour and 15 minutes on average travelling via the M25. Click here for driving directions.
One of England’s most beautiful and famous castles, built on an island in the middle of a lake surrounded by the peaceful nature of the English countryside. The setting of Leeds Castle could not be more picturesque, it’s a true fairy tale castle! A visit to Leeds Castle makes an awesome day out in Kent for the whole family or a perfect romantic getaway for two.
A castle has existed in that spot since the year 1119 (this year, Leeds Castle celebrates its 900th anniversary!). Over the years it has been a Norman fortress, a Tudor Palace that was once home to King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, the residence of 6 of England’s Queens and more recently, a private home to a wealthy heiress.
Nowadays it is open to the public and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Discover over 900 years of English history at the spectacular Leeds Castle!
Highlights of Leeds Castle
The Gatehouse Exhibition – Located inside the castle’s Gatehouse, this exhibition will take you through the complete history of Leeds Castle. Learn how the castle has changed over the centuries and explore the beautifully furnished rooms full of antiques and ancient paintings.
Dog Collar Museum – A beautiful collection of historic dog collars dating from the 15th – 19th centuries. Over 130 collars are on display making it the largest collection of ancient dog collars in the world!
Punting – Admire the castle from a different perspective and enjoy a guided tour in traditional punting style around the moat. This activity runs daily from April – September, weekends only in October. Price: £7 each.
Maze & Grotto – Enjoy getting lost in the epic maze of 2,400 yew trees and try to find your way to the centre where you’ll descend into an underground grotto full of mythical creatures that leads you back to reality.
Birds of Prey Centre – Home to a variety of bird species on display near the maze. From April to September there are daily shows featuring Hawks, Falcons and Owls. From October to March they run from 2pm only on weekends and school holidays.
Stable Courtyard – What could be more romantic than spending a night in a castle this beautiful? This luxury accommodation experience also includes free entry to Leeds Castle! Surrounded by picturesque gardens and beautiful countryside, this is the perfect idea for a romantic weekend escape.
Click here for more information and to book your stay at the Stable Courtyard. If there is no availability check out the Leeds Castle Holiday Cottages. Note – these accommodations are very popular and are often booked out many months in advance!
Tickets – £26/adult, child/£17.50
Opening Hours – 10.30am – 4.00pm October to March, 10.30am – 5.30pm April to September
Getting From London to Leeds Castle
Train – The quickest way to travel to Leeds Castle from London via train is to take the Southeastern line from London Victoria Station to Bearsted Station. Click here to see the train schedule and book your tickets online.
From there you can catch a shuttle service to Leeds Castle that runs daily from April to September. A private shuttle service is available on demand during the winter months, click here for more details.
Car – The driving route from London to Leeds Castle will take on average 1.5 hours. Click here for full driving directions or put the postcode ME17 1RG into your Sat Nav.
The Best Leeds Castle Tour – This popular full day tour from London begins at Leeds Castle first thing in the morning before the castle is opened up to the public. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to take great photos without hordes of other tourists to complete with. You will also have time to explore the castle grounds and take in the serene views over the lake.
The day trip will continue through the Kent countryside toward Dover where you will get to admire breath-taking views of the iconic White Cliffs as well as views of the dominating Dover Castle nearby. The afternoon will take you to Canterbury where you will take a guided tour of the Canterbury Cathedral followed by a chance to explore the ancient cobbled streets of the town.
After that, you will take a guided tour through the lovely gardens and parks of Greenwich and see the famous Cutty Sark. End the day with a Thames River cruise which sails past many iconic sites and finishes up at the center of London.
Bodiam Castle isn’t technically in Kent, but it’s so close it might as well be! It’s located on the border of East Sussex and Kent and can be reached from London in a day. I’ve decided to include it because it was one most beautiful and less touristy castles that we’ve visited in England.
Everyone knows Leeds Castle and Dover Castle but have you even heard of Bodiam Castle?! Call me crazy but I personally hadn’t until I moved to England. This hidden gem is tucked away in a lovely rural setting, surrounded by a large moat.
There’s just something about this place that transports you back in time. I could just picture the knights in shining armour galloping out of the woods at any given moment.
Highlights of Bodiam Castle
Bodiam Castle – The castle was built in 1385 by Edward Dalyngrigge, one of King Edward VIII’s knights. The purpose of the castle was to protect the area from potential French invasions during the The Hundred Years War.
Sadly, the interior of the castle was neglected and fell to ruins during the 17th and 18th centuries. You can still explore the inside and see the layout of where each room would have been.
Make sure to climb the medieval spiral staircase up the towers where a panoramic view over the countryside awaits at the top.
Events at Bodiam Castle – Bodiam Castle frequently holds fun events throughout the year. Why not try your hand at ancient archery for £3? Or maybe take the kids to see Santa at the castle? There are many seasonal events that take place year-round at Bodiam Castle and make the perfect day out in Kent. Click here to find an event that might interest you.
Steam Train – Take a ride through the Kent countryside on the gorgeous old Victorian steam train that runs between the towns of Bodiam and Tenterden. Trains depart from the station located conveniently just outside of the castle grounds. Click here for information on timetables, tickets and availability.
Bodiam Castle Opening Hours – 11am – 5pm daily
Bodiam Castle Tickets – £10.80 per adult, £5.40 per child. Tickets can be purchased on site.
Getting From London to Bodiam Castle
Train – Travelling to Bodiam Castle via train will involve a few extra steps however it is still possible to do. Board the Southeastern train from the London Bridge Station to Battle Station.
From there, you can catch a taxi from the taxi rank just outside of the station. The ride is about 15 minutes from the train station to Bodiam Castle. Click here to see train times and purchase your tickets.
Car – Driving is definitely the most convenient way to go and should take about 1.5 hours through the pretty countryside. There is plenty of parking available at the castle for a fee. Find Google Maps directions here.
Rich in history, the lovely town of Rochester sits peacefully on the River Medway protected by its well-preserved imposing Norman fortress that has stood the test of time. The town dates back to the days of the Norman invasions in the 11th century when Rochester Castle was first built.
Rochester Cathedral is also a fine example of Norman and early Gothic architecture and happens to be the 2nd oldest cathedral in Britain. You can also expect to find many Charles Dickens references around the town as this is one of Rochester’s most famous connections. Dickens spent part of his life in the area and makes references to Rochester in some of his work.
Rochester is easily accessible from London by train in under 1 hour making it another excellent choice when it comes to days out in Kent. There are plenty of fascinating historic sites to explore and an incredibly picturesque High Street lined with beautiful buildings, old pubs, antique shops and cute cafes.
Highlights of Rochester
Rochester Castle – Dating back to the year 1088, this impressive piece of Norman architecture has survived through sieges, wars, and invasions – it’s a true wonder this castle is still standing in once piece! That’s what makes Rochester Castle so unique and impressive.
Strategically positioned on the shores of the River Medway, Rochester Castle has protected this important river crossing throughout the centuries. The 12th century castle keep that dominates the skyline is the tallest of its kind to survive in Britain and a remarkable model of medieval architecture.
While there is no museum at the site of the castle, audio guides are available to hire for £1.
Tickets – £6.40/adult, £4.00/child – tickets can be purchased on site.
Opening Times – 10am – 4pm daily
Rochester Cathedral – Just across the street from the castle, make your way over to the beautiful Rochester Cathedral. This massive cathedral dates back to the 7th century however the building that stands today is mostly from the 12th and 13th centuries.
You can still see remains of the original Norman structure blended seamlessly with the Gothic style architecture of the rest of the cathedral.
Rochester High Street – Take a leisurely wander down the High Street of Rochester and admire the historic buildings as you make your way along. Buildings range from the Tudor time period to the 18th century. Full of character and vibrant colours, this quintessential English High Street is truly a postcard perfect scene!
Rochester Guildhall Museum – Along the High Street you’ll come across the Guildhall Museum which takes you through the history of the Medway area covering the Roman times, the medieval period, through to the Victorian era.
This gorgeous 17th century building which is an attraction in itself features stunning interiors of detailed ceilings, chandeliers and historic paintings. Inside you can see Roman artefacts, a model of Rochester Castle during a siege, a room dedicated to Charles Dickens, a model of a 19th century prison ship and much more!
Getting From London to Rochester
Train – Direct trains from London’s St. Pancras Station to Rochester depart regularly. You’ll want to catch the Southeastern service that runs toward Broadstairs and get off at Rochester which takes 1 hour total. Click here for timetables and tickets.
Car – The drive from London to Rochester is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take longer than 1.5 hours but obviously depends on current traffic conditions. Driving directions can be found here.
Wye is a pretty little countryside village nestled among the rolling hills of the Kent Downs. The village itself is only small but the natural beauty that surrounds it is what makes this place the perfect escape for those seeking some peace and quiet from the city.
Wye is located on the outskirts of Ashford and only 6 minutes away from the town by train. Over the years that we’ve spent living in Ashford, we’ve always enjoyed visiting Wye to go for walks in the hills and check out the cute pubs around the town.
Highlights of Wye
Wye Hikes – Whether you’re after a short or long hike, Wye has an option for everyone! The following hikes/viewpoints are easy to get to following footpaths with signage pointing you in the right directions. I’ve also added links to maps with more detailed directions!
Long Hike – Devils Kneading Trough: A popular spot in the Kent Downs with spectacular views over the countryside and even the coastline. This dramatic valley is often described as the most beautiful spot in Kent.
There is a circular 5-mile hike that starts and finishes at St Gregory Church in Wye’s town centre. The hike takes 2.5 hours and it passes through the Devils Kneading Trough viewpoint as well as the Wye Memorial Crown viewpoint. For a complete route with detailed directions click here!
Short Hike – Wye Memorial Crown: If you’ve ever passed through Wye on the train, you might have noticed the massive white crown on the hillside above the village. To celebrate the coronation of King Edward II in 1902, students from a local agricultural college decided to carve the giant crown into the hillside using barrels of chalk, which to this day is a really impressive sight!
The hike up to the crown is 1.4 miles from the town centre and only takes 35 mins. There are signs directing you along the path but full directions can also be found here on Google maps. You can also check out this website for an overview of the hike and more directions on how to get there.
Panoramic views of Wye surrounded by a patchwork of green fields will reward you once you reach the top. Take note of the hollowed-out pits in the hill above the crown, this is thought to be a 1000-year-old iron mine.
St Gregory and St Martin’s Church – The history of Wye extends way back to the Roman times and a church has stood in the same spot since the days of the Norman invasions. In the 15th century, the church was totally rebuilt by the Archbishop of Canterbury and then later turned into a college to train priests.
Tickled Trout Pub – There is no better place to relax post hike than the Tickled Trout! Once you finish your hike and return to town, you’ll most likely have worked up an appetite. Head straight over to this quaint old pub on the river’s edge for some lunch and a few pints.
There has been a pub in this spot for over 400 years! We have eaten here many times and the food is always delicious and the old-world atmosphere is so charming. There is a patio next to the river which is the perfect spot for sipping pints in the sun on a warm summer’s day. If you visit during winter, the fire inside the pub will warm you up.
Other Wye Pubs – Inside the town centre there are a few other nice old pubs worth checking out if you have time. The Flying Horse is a popular traditional inn and pub in a 17th century building with a lovely outdoor seating area. On top of the delicious food, they also offer highly rated accommodation. Click here to check out their beautiful rooms if you’re interested in staying the night!
The Kings Head is another pub in town worth stopping at for drinks and snacks. The cosy interior is a great place to relax and taste from a large selection of wines, beers and spirits.
Getting From London to Wye
Train – To get from London to Wye you will have to catch the Southeasten train from St. Pancras Station to Ashford. From there, get on the train toward Canterbury West and get off at Wye. The journey will be about 1 hour in total, click here for timetables and tickets.
Car – The drive should take around 1.5 hour depending on traffic. Find full driving directions here.
Port Lympne Safari Park
A safari in the English countryside? Yes, you read that right! The Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve is a wildlife park located just under 2 hours south of London. This is not just another zoo. You will be taken on an adventure through the park in a safari truck to see over 700 endangered animal species including bears, rhinos, lions, tigers, and gorillas! (Plus many, many more!)
Visiting Port Lympne Safari Park is such a unique and great experience and it makes a fantastic idea for fun-filled family days out in Kent.
Tickets – £23.50/adult or book online and pay £20/adult
Opening Hours – Open daily from 9:30am – 6:30pm
Highlights of Port Lympne Safari Park
Safari Park – An authentic safari experience will take you through the 600-acre park where you can enjoy watching the animals roam freely throughout the peaceful countryside setting. Among the animals you will get to see Kent’s only giraffes as well as the largest herd of black rhino in the UK!
Tickets purchased help to fund the care of the animals at the park as well as contribute to conservation projects worldwide. Click here to find out more about how your visit helps.
Dinosaur Forest – Make sure to check out Europe’s largest collection of life-sized dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Forest. The Dinosaurs are brought to life by using a virtual reality app which is sure to be a huge highlight for kids.
Accommodation – Port Lympne Safari Park offers a variety of unique lodging options which make an awesome idea for a short break. Choose from staying in a tree house with epic views, the lion lodge where you can wake up to a lion at your window or the bubble which has transparent walls and gives you a 180-degree view over the park! Click here for more information and view more accommodation options.
Getting From London to Port Lympne Safari Park
Train – Take the train from London’s St Pancras Station toward Margate and get off at Ashford. From Ashford’s domestic side of the train station, catch the number 10 bus that runs toward Folkestone. Get off at the Industrial Estate stop which is a 10 minute walk from the reserve. Click here for timetables and tickets.
Car – Port Lympne lies on the B2067 and is a few minutes’ drive past Ashford. Enter CT21 4LR into your Sat Nav or click here for Google Maps directions.
Ashford is a fast growing town situated in the heart of Kent surrounded by beautiful countryside and pretty villages. While Ashford doesn’t draw crowds of tourists like Canterbury or Dover, there are plenty of reasons to check out this little town, one being that it’s only 38 minutes from London by train!
Ashford has been my home base for the past 2.5 years and during that time I’ve had my fair share of locals ask me with a confused look on their faces “what brings a Canadian to Ashford of all places?” It’s true, Ashford isn’t the most picturesque town in England but I’ve come to appreciate it for its great location, interesting history, and the lovely nature and landscapes that surround it.
Read on to discover the highlights and some of my favourite things to do in Ashford that you can’t miss when visiting the town!
Highlights of Ashford
Designer Outlet – For those who love to shop, there is no better place to spend a day than the Ashford Designer Outlet! This newly expanded outdoor shopping centre has over 70 designer stores where you can snag some bargains on brands like Calvin Klein, Armani, Adidas, Coach, Diesel and so much more.
You can also find some great restaurants throughout the shopping complex including Wagamama, Five Guys, Pizza Express, Starbucks among others.
The Curious Brewery – Conveniently located next to the Ashford International train station, the Curious Brewery is the newest addition to Ashford’s pub scene. Produced by the Chapel Down winemakers, the premium beers and ciders made on site are truly unique!
Take a tour of the brewery or stop in here for a delicious lunch and a relaxed afternoon of socializing. The food here is amazing, the drinks are great and it’s the perfect atmosphere to catch up with friends or spend an afternoon out with family.
Swan & Dog Pub – This lovely countryside pub is located on the outskirts of Ashford in the small village of Great Chart. The timber framed building dates back to the 16th century and I always love how stepping inside this pub transports you back in time.
The old-world atmosphere and the delicious food they serve makes it a great place to go for a traditional English pub lunch.
Godinton House & Gardens – A gorgeous 17th century red brick manor surrounded by the stunning countryside of Great Chart. Take a guided tour to view the interior of this well-preserved mansion and admire the collection of antiques and original furnishings that are on display throughout the house.
The majestic gardens that surround the old manor are another reason to visit the Godinton House. Explore the 12 acres of stunning gardens featuring sculpted hedges, fountains, ponds, a rose garden and more.
A tearoom is open on site during the summer months of April – October serving teas, coffees, cakes and refreshments.
Click here to find more information about opening hours and tours of Godinton House.
Tickets – £7 gardens only, £12 house and gardens
Ashford Museum – Delve into Ashford’s fascinating history at the Ashford Museum. Located in the church yard near the town centre, this volunteer run museum showcases the complete history of the Ashford area dating as far back as the pre-historic times!
Inside this Grade II listed 17th century building you can expect to learn about Ashford’s history as a market down during the medieval times, smugglers in the Ashford area during the 18th century, and Ashford during the world wars among many other exhibits. I found this museum to be interesting and very well put together considering entrance is free.
Donations are welcomed as it is run by volunteers.
*Note* This museum is only open for limited hours during the summer months.
Opening Times – April to 28th October: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am until 2pm
Getting From London to Ashford
Train – Take the Southeastern train service that runs from St. Pancras Station in London toward Margate or Sandwich via Ashford. This high-speed train takes only 37 minutes. You can search for times and train tickets by clicking here.
Car – The best way to reach Ashford by car is via the M20. The total driving time should take around 1h 45m give or take depending on traffic conditions. Click here to view driving directions on Google Maps.
The Best Day Tours in Kent
Throughout the article, I mentioned a few highly rated tours in Kent that depart from London stopping at Canterbury, Leeds Castle, Dover and more. For convenience I will share them again below including a few additional ones that might be of interest.
Click the widgets below to find more information about each day trip.
I hope this article has given you a nice introduction to some of the wonderful places to visit in Kent. The Southeast is such a beautiful part of England and although I only lived there for 2.5 years, that time will stay with me for the rest of my life.
The things I’ve come to know and love about Kent are the things I will miss the most when we leave England shortly; the endless patchwork of green fields that can be seen from any train journey, the quaint villages and ancient pubs, the half-timbered Tudor buildings and epic castles that were once home to England’s greatest Kings and Queens.
I left a piece of my heart in Kent, that’s for sure. And with that, I leave this article as my final farewell to the place I once called home. England, I’ll be back again one day♥
Read More About England Travel
- Day Trip to Canterbury from London – Complete 1 Day Itinerary
- The Top 10 Cotswolds Tours from London
- The Perfect Day Trip to Dover – Full Day Itinerary
- Top 10 Things to do in Ashford
- 20 Most Beautiful Villages in England
- An Amazing One Week Road Trip from London Itinerary
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