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Article by Editorial | 19th July 2019

A Summer Of Fun in Kent!

Whether you’re looking for rolling countryside, dramatic coastline, historic castles or an open green space with a difference, Kent, known as the Garden of England, is a jewel of the South East with its rural beauty, rich history and stunning coastline and offers something for everyone, young and old alike.

Boasting more conservation areas than any other county in England, there are a wealth of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to discover. You’ll find no excuse not to spend time outdoors in our corner of Kent – with 4,273 miles of footpaths and cycle routes to choose from as well as more than 180 gardens to visit. And not only does Kent have more conservation areas than any other county in England it can also claim to have more castles and historical houses than any other county too. Leeds Castle “the loveliest castle in the world”, offers up more than 900 years of history and has 500 acres for you to explore. Heading to the coast? Then the mighty Dover Castle offers the opportunity to search through the wartime tunnels deep in the White Cliffs or enter the medieval royal palace to get a taste of court life.

So much to explore

The Seven Wonders of the Weald includes Knole in Sevenoaks, alongside Chiddingstone Castle, Biddenden Vineyards, Scotney Castle, the spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, Hole Park and the Kent and East Sussex Railway. Our county’s coastline is also an exciting place to explore and enjoy days out – boasting a host of award-winning Blue Flag beaches. If towns and a city are more your thing, our county’s cathedral city of Canterbury – Kent does also have a cathedral in Rochester – has much to see, while rich in historic interest and with a royal connection, the spa town of Tunbridge Wells offers the perfect combination of past and modern with the beautiful Pantiles at the lower end and a mix of independent and chain stores, restaurants, bars and cafes throughout the town.

Family fun!

Family fun can be found throughout the county – from Drusillas Park to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park or its sister Howletts for the animal-lovers among us, to the many annual events including the Kent County Show at Detling (5th, 6th and 7th July), as well as the War & Peace Revival at The Hop Farm (23rd-27th July), jousting at Leeds and Hever Castles during the summer months, along with a host of other outdoor events, food and drink festivals later in the year, plus great venues to get active, such as Bewl Water and Bedgebury.

Captivating Kent

The beauty of Kent has meant that it has long been a magnet for film locations, especially at the many National Trust and English Heritage sites. 2017’s historical blockbuster Darkest Hour saw filming take place at Chartwell, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill, while Penshurst Place featured in The Princess Bride, and when it comes to films about the Tudor periods, Leeds and Dover castles have both been choice settings. Groombridge Place was the backdrop to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, meanwhile many Bond films have been shot on Kent’s coastline in a nod to creator Ian Fleming, and let’s not forget Hever Castle whose film and TV credits include Inkheart, Anne of The Thousand Days and The Other Boleyn Girl. There are plenty more castles to visit besides, including Scotney, Chiddingstone, Rochester, Walmer, Tonbridge – one of the oldest castles still standing in the UK – to name but a few.

Consider your surroundings

If you’re out and about exploring our beautiful Kentish countryside over the summer holidays, don’t forget to consider wildlife and the environment.

Here are 10 top tips to help make sure your visits are stress-free, safe and responsible.
1. Stick to footpaths and bridleways, and respect other rights of way users.
2. Don’t leave personal items on display in parked cars.
3. Leave gates how you find them.
4. Take litter and leftover food home or use the bins provided.
5. Keep dogs under control, and be particularly careful when around livestock.
6. Don’t block gateways, driveways or paths with your vehicle.
7. When riding a bike or driving, slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals, and give them plenty of room.
8. Leave machinery and farm animals alone – don’t interfere with either.
9. Be careful with naked flames and cigarettes as fires can be devastating to wildlife and habitats.
10. Plan ahead and be prepared – take a map in case you have no phone signal, check the weather forecast before heading out and carry water with you.

Megan Lock, Rural Adviser for CLA South East, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Berkshire and the Isle of Wight, said: “The spirit of the Countryside Code is generally adhered to by the majority of people, but there are a few worrying trends that are either based on anti-social behaviour or a lack of awareness of the working countryside.

“Common problems include littering, fly-tipping and mismanaging dogs. Accessing the fresh air and getting close to nature have widely-researched health and wellbeing benefits, but visitors and their dogs need to act responsibly, as livestock worrying can be a real issue.
“Landowners welcome visitors to share in the natural and farmer-shaped beauty of our countryside. Following the Countryside Code, and using common sense and courtesy, is an easy way for visitors to help do their bit.”

• Visit cla.org.uk/your-area/south-east/regional-news

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