Things to do in Kent

Covering thousands of square miles from London down to the White Cliffs of Dover and stretching across 207 miles of coastline with gently rolling hills and historic Roman towns, Kent has definitely earned the nickname ‘Garden of England.’

Kent is one of the oldest counties in England and home 1,700 listed buildings, including some jaw-dropping castles: We’ve added Leeds and Dover Castles, but we could have added dozens more. Other sights to see include Dreamland, the quintessential English seaside funfair, the Turner Contemporary art gallery and some fantastic theatre and event spaces. Kent is also home to some glorious countryside, including the Kent Downs, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and hundreds of miles of coastline, home to wide sandy beaches, the famous White Cliffs and two of the UK’s busiest ports, Dover and Folkestone. And we have dozens of hotels in Kent to choose from, putting you in the heart of the action in the garden of England.

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Activities

From the White Cliffs of Dover to Dreamland’s funfair and the stunning Leeds Castle, Kent has more than its fair share of British icons. We’ve rounded up the best activities and family fun across the county.

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Entertainment

You’re spoilt for choice in Kent, with its entertainment scene covering first-class cricket, areas of outstanding natural beauty, world-class art galleries, historic homes and some amazing theatres and live music venues.

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Places to eat

From fish and chips, wood-fired pizzas and classic afternoon tea sessions to some of the finest food on the south coast, Kent’s dining scene truly delivers. Come hungry!

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Nightlife

Traditional English pubs, seaside bars, classy cliff-top terraces, superclubs, gastropubs and more: Kent’s nightlife more than delivers with something to suit every taste and budget.

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Shopping

The numbers alone are impressive for Bluewater, the expansive Dartford shopping centre off the M25. Opened in 1999, the site covers 243 acres and is home to over 400 stores, cafes and outlets, with more than 7,000 members of staff. It’s the fifth-biggest shopping centre in Europe, and also has a state-of-the-art cinema complex with 17 screens. It is, in short, a destination in its own right, with nearly 30 million visitors each year.

Another shopping alternative is the Ashford Designer Outlet at Junction 10 of the M20. The large, single-level mall is home to over 100 stores, cafes and discount outlets including Adidas, Nike, Levi’s and Hugo Boss, with big discounts on most items. The outlet centre is located in Ashford, close to the train station, with hundreds of nearby car parking spaces.

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Getting around

The South East county of Kent is home to nearly 2 million people and stretches for over 3,000 square kilometres, running from London suburbs across the North Downs towards the White Cliffs of Dover. The M20 runs through Kent’s heartlands from London via Maidstone, Ashford and Folkestone, with other major roads including the M2, which links Canterbury and Dover and the M25. You can also drive to Europe using the Eurotunnel, which departs from Folkestone.

If you’re flying into the region, Gatwick Airport is the nearest terminal. The second-busiest airport in the UK is serviced by dozens of airlines flying across Britain, Europe and further afield. Gatwick is located in West Sussex, with a variety of train, bus and road connections across Kent. 


The region is a hotspot for train travel too. Ebbsfleet International, close to Dartford, connects the county with the Eurostar connection, plus services to Dover, Ramsgate, Margate and Canterbury. The other main train terminal is Ashford International, which boasts high-speed connections to Dover and London St. Pancras plus Eurostar services to Paris, Rotterdam, Lyon and more. 


Kent is also home to two of the busiest ferry ports in the UK. Dover and Folkestone run regular services to Calais and Dunkerque with dozens of departures each day and are just a short distance from our Dover and Folkestone hotels.

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Shopping in Kent

Shopping in Kent

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Getting around Kent

Getting around Kent

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