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Stay in a Pub in Kent

In many ways, the county of Kent – famously dubbed ‘the Garden of England’ – is like a separate kingdom yet being so close to London is an ideal holiday destination whether for a weekend break, a romantic night away or a family holiday.

Kent is a beautiful county and is home to the Kent Downs and the High Weald both designated AONBs perfect for cyclists, walkers, horse riders and the outdoor family. Kent is also famous for some of England’s greatest gardens, and world-famous sites like Hever Castle and Penshurst Place, and also smaller gardens such as the Secret Gardens of Sandwich, Goodnestone Park Gardens and Brogdale. For outdoor enthusiasts and active families there is plenty of wildlife on offer in Kent, not just by way of The Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks both home to lions and giraffes, rhinos and gorillas but at the Kent Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre at Tyland Barn which houses a large exhibition on wildlife and conservation

The northern half of Kent juts out into the Thames Estuary while at the southern end the iconic White Cliffs of Dover spill down into the English Channel and the Strait of Dover. Within its boundaries are lush acres of quintessentially English landscape, though much of it has a totally unique character and identity, making it one of Britain’s more individual and idiosyncratic regions.

Canterbury is a World Heritage site and includes the magnificent and architecturally stunning Canterbury Cathedral.

The northern fringe is Dickens country and the mysterious marshes around Rochester (which is home to England’s second oldest Cathedral) and the Hoo Peninsula provided much of the inspiration for the Victorian author’s masterly writing. The evocative marshland, described in vivid detail in Great Expectations, is clearly modelled on this fascinating area. Fans of the book can follow a network of paths and tracks to see this extraordinary place.

To the south, quiet lanes meander through picturesque villages to a series of charming towns – Tunbridge Wells, Staplehurst and Tenterden among them – before heading off in search of another remote landscape: Romney Marsh. Close by is Dungerness, one of Kent’s – and Britain’s – great wild beaches and an ideal destination for an invigorating coastal walk.

This corner of the country was a very different place during the Second World War. In 1940, Kent was directly in the line of enemy attack and this glorious county still bears vivid reminders of that critical time.