Things To Do in Kent
Experience the best of Kent
Kent is often described as the garden of England by nature enthusiasts, writers and painters, because of its gentle rolling scenery, its wealth of vineyards and orchards, and crop-friendly microclimate. If you have time to venture out of Ashford town centre during your stay, there are lots of things to do and see in Kent.
20 minute drive
Kent has no shortage of successful vineyards which export fine wine all over the world. Most of them offer tours and tastings and many have additional attractions and activities. Brabourne village is near Ashford, and the Brabourne vineyard is a family-run estate growing mainly Pinot Noir and some Chardonnay grapes to make premium wines. Small groups are welcome for personal and tailored tours which last around an hour with a tasting included. Booking is required and can be done via the website.
15 minute drive
Chilham Castle was built on the site of a medieval monastery, and is now a beautifully restored Jacobean mansion in spectacular gardens. 300 acres of parkland include an equestrian centre, and a programme of events throughout the year includes world-class British Eventing Horse Trials. Garden Open days operate between May and September, so check the website for times and prices of admission.
25 minute drive
Often described as the most beautiful castle in England, Leeds Castle is in fact, near Maidstone, not far from Ashford. The stunning castle is one of few which still boasts a moat, and its fascinating history has seen no fewer than seven Tudor queens in residence at some time. There’s an exciting programme of events throughout the year including a major jousting tournament, big name and classical music performances, and a festival of craft and design. It’s a must if you’re in the area, and one visit will never be enough. Luckily there are many ticket options all year round.
Port Lympne Animal Reserve
20 minute drive
Port Lympne Animal Reserve is Kent’s largest wildlife park, and is part of the Aspinall Foundation. Free roaming giraffes, and spectacled bears are among the stars of the collection of 800 rare and endangered animals, which also includes cats (big and small) monkeys, and gorillas, and for people who prefer their animals a little bigger, there’s even a prehistoric Dinosaur Forest. If you’re as hungry as a wolf, there’s a fabulous Italian pizza restaurant, and activities include woodland walks, a truck safari, and free animal talks.