If you head of out London to the East, you can see some fabulous castles and visit the historic city of Canterbury. Alternatively, why not check out the Kent Highlights Tour, where you can mix and match destinations that most interest you! These are all full-day trips of 9-10 hours, depending on what you choose to add to your itinerary.
The seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, this old town surrounded by a medieval wall is steeped in history. Another of England’s magnificent early cathedrals, this one was the scene of medieval murder: Archbishop Thomas Becket was killed by four knights in the depth of night. Canonised four years later his place of martyrdom became a place of pilgrimage. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a witty account of a group of pilgrims visiting the shrine. Visit the Pilgrim’s Hall, Conquest House, now an antique shop where the knights met, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey, have lunch in the Weavers’ cottages and enjoy a walk through the old medieval streets.
- Faversham, Dover Castle or Leeds Castle are popularly coupled with Canterbury, to make the most of your tour!
Perched on the top of the famous white cliffs, Dover Castle offers dramatic views across The English Channel. It was built by William the Conqueror on the site of an ancient Saxon fort. The massive keep and the concentric walls around it provided a formidable defence against enemies. Visit the Secret Wartime Tunnels first dug during the Napoleonic wars and later adapted in the Second World War to become a command centre and underground hospital for the Dunkirk evacuation.
This old town close by the sea is one of England’s most charming and historic market towns. Many of the timber framed buildings are over 400 years old, and Arden house was the scene of an infamous medieval murder! The picturesque creek was one of the main medieval ports for the export of wool and old fashioned boat building and restoring still flourishes in the creek. Shepherd Neame’s Brewery is probably the oldest in the country still brewing on its original site since 1698.
One of the loveliest castle’s in the world, it is surrounded by magnificent parkland and is set in the middle of a natural lake. From Norman fortress to royal palace, it has been carefully restored by Lady Bailey, an American heiress and has a fine collection of paintings, tapestries, furnishings and also a dog collar museum. If you feel brave try the Maze – can you find your way out?
KENT HIGHLIGHTS TOUR
Sometimes called the “Garden of England” because of its abundance of orchards and hop gardens, the rolling countryside provides a beautiful setting to the many fine houses and castles of Kent. Choose two of the options below, or combine one of them with Leeds Castle, to create a full day tour.
- Chartwell: The family home of Sir Winston Churchill from 1924 until the end of his life.
- Penshurst Place: One of England’s greatest stately homes with splendid historic gardens.
- Heaver Castle: Childhood home of Anne Boleyn, 2nd wife of Henry VIII, that dates back to 1270.
- Scotney Castle: The ruins of a 14th century moated castle, surrounded by romantic gardens.
- Emmet’s Garden (in season): A charming and informal garden with a wonderful collection of exotic and rare trees.
- Sissinghurst (in season): One of the world’s most celebrated gardens, developed around the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion.
- Ightham Mote: A beautiful moated manor house with over 650 years of history.
- Knole House: A great house that is a spectacular example of late medieval architecture set in a deer park.
For information on prices for full day tours going East of London, please see the PRICES page.
Header image: Leeds Castle in Kent, weglet on Flickr