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Our guide to luxury Kent holidays

From the hop fields and abundant orchards of the east to the trendy vineyards and white cliffs of the south, the "Garden of England" calls to the weekend adventurer. This is the Unique guide to luxury Kent holidays.

Hailed as England’s oldest county, Kent wears its maritime-meets-architectural heritage on its sleeve. Here, the iconic chalk cliffs of Dover stand sentinel; a geographical marvel, and a symbol of home, hope, and freedom. The mediaeval city of Canterbury brings towering spires, timber-framed houses, and cobbled lanes to the countryside mix, weaving 16th-century pie makers and jolly emporiums through the county like a Chaucer tale. What's more, the landscape is dotted with castles; from Hever Castle, the former home of Anne Boleyn, to Leeds Castle, oft crowned "the loveliest in the world."

Follow the salt trails to the coastal towns of Whitstable and Margate, where centuries-old seafood restaurants and family-run shacks a stroll from shingle beaches celebrate the North Sea’s bounty. Home to the world's leading English winemaker, Chapel Down, the county welcomes bon vivants for tours, tastings, and vineyard picnics. Of course, you’ll need somewhere to call home; so will it be an artist’s retreat in Brookland or a listed cottage — complete with a wood-fired hot tub — a stone’s throw from Deal? Find tips on what to see, do, and where to eat in our guide to luxury Kent holidays.

Locations in Kent

Seek sylvan days among the ancient oak canopies and marshlands of High Weald and Brookland, hole up in the charming coastal town of Deal, or spend a port-sipping evening in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Canterbury.

Collections in Kent

Whether you´re hoping to ride the waves in 60s marvel Joss Bay, or seeking a romantic escape par deux (and the dog) in Romney Marsh, our curated collections add secret gardens and starlit hot tubs to sweeten the deal.

Things to do in Kent

Find the best of the Great British seaside in Broadstairs, where waterfolk can get about surfing lessons and scouring the shore for nostalgic ´99 flakes, whilst antiquarians hunt for hidden treasure at the atmospheric Deal Market.

Things to see in Kent

Play peek-a-boo with the pandas at Howletts Conservation Park, peruse Penshurst Place (Henry VIII´s former palatial pad), or go in search of blue-tailed damselflies and tufted vetch at the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Where to eat in Kent

Francophiles will be well fed at Frog and Scot, while Whitstable is the place for freshly-shucked oysters steps from the shoreline. There´s plenty of olde-worlde inns, too, where chalkboard menus and sleeping labs are de rigueur.

Journals about Kent

Pour a fresh pot and pinpoint staycation stops with this wistful recounting of a weekend in Whitstable, read all about the coveted cabins crowned Britain´s best, or wake up to smell the roses in this ode to the Garden of England.

Places to visit from London

Places to visit from London

We’ve curated a list of the best places to visit from London – from Kent´s coast to the Cotswolds´ countryside – and covered everything to see and do when you get there.

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Meet the storybook homes

Meet the storybook homes

Here they are. With turrets and follies and islands and eiderdowns, the storybook homes welcome you not just to walk through their front doors — but to fall down the rabbit hole to a life of fairytale proportions.

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Channel 4’s Extraordinary Escapes

Channel 4’s Extraordinary Escapes

Sandi Toksvig returns with a star-studded line-up of celebrity friends to showcase the very best homes across Britain and Ireland, with a few Unique Homestays visited en route.

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The best surfing beaches in the UK and Ireland

The best surfing beaches in the UK and Ireland

Surfing nirvana needn´t be confined to far-flung places. Whether a seasoned boarder or a born-again “grommet”, surf trips on home soil know how to pack a punch (and stay under the radar).

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Kent FAQ´s

Looking for advice on reaching the gateway from London? Want to know the best beaches in the county? If you have a Kent-specific query, you might find the answer here. For everything else, visit our general FAQs.

Why is Kent called the ‘Garden of England’?

Fertile farmland, cultivated country estates, grand palatial gardens; Kent has been affectionately known as ‘The Garden of England’ for hundreds of years because of its fresh produce. Hop gardens in iconic coastal houses are used for beer and acres of luscious orchards and prestigious strawberry fields (supplying Wimbledon every year) coat the landscape. Kent is well known for its locally-sourced food, with Whitstable oysters, Dover sole and Romney Marsh lamb regularly on menus. Born foodies, beware, what to eat for starter, main and dessert is likely to be your biggest conundrum.

How far is Kent from London?

Kent is a mere 40 minutes from London, departing from St. Pancras International. By car, it’s not much longer; in just over an hour you’ll be down by the coast, cone of chips in hand.

Are there many historic houses in Kent?

Many regard Kent to be the oldest county in England, with over 17,000 listed buildings to marvel at. As a result, there are more castles and historic houses in Kent than any other region. Wander rose gardens in the sun at Penshurst Place, tackle the water maze with the children at the double-moated Hever Castle, and lose yourself in 500 acres of regal grounds at Leeds Castle, once home to six mediaeval queens. Oast houses, historically used for drying hops, fleck the horizon and tales of battle linger on the wind at coastal forts. Whether by the sea or among the rolling hills, a historic house with a story to be told is never far away.

Is Canterbury worth a day trip?

If you’ve got time, Canterbury is always worth the trip. Half-timbered houses line ancient cobbled streets in a city steeped in mediaeval charm. The main draw for most is Canterbury Cathedral, built on Roman ruins and home to the Archbishop of Canterbury, having survived the Norman conquest. Cream with Caen stone and lined with kaleidoscopic stained glass windows insides, pilgrims have journeyed here for hundreds of years.

Where are the best beaches in Kent?

On the Kentish coastline you’re spoilt for choice. Popular with city-dwellers desperate to escape the hubbub and the suburbs, Margate Main Sands offers the sandy respite many so crave. Although busy in summertime months, it carries a kitsch vibe with one of the UK’s oldest amusement parks, Dreamland, on the promenade (penny arcades too), and street food stalls beckoning in the distance. Also popular is Minnis Bay in Birchington, a long stretch of sand for all; beach lizards, families, paddleboarders, kayakers, and wakeboarders. Botany Bay at Broadstairs presents warm, golden sand with chalk giants that tower above the beach, offering cool, shady spots in the midday sun. Rolling dunes and a wide, flat sandy beach make for the perfect family playground at Sunny Sands, Folkestone, whilst those who seek quieter scenes will find their solace among the pastel beach huts and gentle waves of Stone Bay at Broadstairs.

Own a property in Kent?

Are you the keeper of a historic hop farm? Or the custodian of a woodland chalet? From Canterbury to Aldington to classic Langton Green, we´re seeking Kent´s most unique homes to join our growing portfolio. 

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