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Mudpie Fridays >> Kent >> 13 Of The Best Kent Coastal Towns to Visit in 2024

13 Of The Best Kent Coastal Towns to Visit in 2024

13 Of The Best Kent Coastal Towns to Visit

The Kent coastline is home to some of the best seaside destinations in the South. We often like to escape for a day to the seaside. There are so many Kent Coastal Towns within easy reach of London. With direct trains running out of St Pancras, Charing Cross and Kings Cross. It makes these beautiful beaches a popular choice in the Summer season. But many are worth a visit all year round. Here are our favourite seaside towns in Kent.

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The Best Kent Coastal Towns

If you think any other towns or villages should be included in this best Kent coastal towns article. Then please let me know in the comments below and I will add them in. 

We visited  Whistable for the first time in Twixmas  and it was the perfect seaside break. We got so lucky with the weather with blue skies the whole time we were there. Whitstable is one of the more popular Kent seaside towns and is a lovely location to visit for the day or spend a few days for a mini break. With a shingle beach looking out onto the Thames Estuary. It is a great spot for the family to enjoy some time by the seaside. You can also catch fishing trips and sightseeing boat trips from the harbour.

Famous for its oysters, the picturesque seaside town comes complete with colourful beach huts and a working harbour. Which is good for a wander, hosts a little market in wooden huts and is a great place to pick up some fresh fish for dinner. Or you can sample the famous Whitstable oysters in the local restaurants. Which are renowned for their exceptional quality and unique flavour. If you plan on visiting during the late Summer then keep an eye out for the  Whitstable Rocks Oyster Festival  that normally runs over a weekend in September. Normally there are lots of activities going on over the weekend, including live music, parades, seafood tastings, and family-friendly entertainment

Explore the quaint shops and art galleries along Harbour Street. Visit Whitstable Castle and Gardens, and then continue along the coast to the beach huts. And for a chance to see ‘The Street’ which is a shingle road that emerges during low tide. If you are staying for longer then you could also take a day trip to  Canterbury  or the  Blean Woods National Nature Reserve.

Collecting Oyster shells on Whitstable beach

Broadstairs

If you are looking for a  quintessential British seaside experience, then Broadstairs is for you. Probably the most popular of the Kent coastal towns. Known for its sandy beaches, stunning cliffside views, and charming old town with narrow winding streets. It is between more well-known seaside towns such as Ramsgate and Margate and is often overlooked. Making it the perfect option if you want a beautiful seaside town that isn’t so crowded. Broadstairs also serves as a good base if you want to explore the other Kent coastal towns.

The main attraction is Viking Bay, a beautiful sandy beach with picturesque white cliffs and a vibrant seafront promenade. Having been awarded a blue flag the sandy beach is sheltered, offering a variety of water sports and has been voted one of the best on the South East Coast. There are several scenic coastal paths with stunning views of the English Channel and the surrounding coastline. Or you can take a boat trip or a sea kayaking excursion discovering hidden coves, sea caves, and marine wildlife along the way.

If you are looking for a bit of culture then you can explore  Bleak House  – Dickens House Museum The historic building that inspired Charles Dickens now houses a museum dedicated to the author. It is normally open from Easter through to the end of October half-term. Alternatively head to the  Crampton Tower Museum , which showcases the history of Broadstairs and its other famous residents.

Broadstairs also hosts the annual  Folk Week , a popular music festival that runs from the 9-16th of August in 2024. The festival features concerts, workshops, and traditional dance events.

a line of colourful beach huts at Broadstairs - seaside towns in Kent

Possibly one of the most well-known of the Kent seaside towns. It is located on the North Kent coast Margate is famous for Chas and Dave and Delboy and Rodney, but these days Margate has undergone a revival. In recent years the town has become an artistic and cultural hub. It is home to the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery  which is not only free but offers an ever-changing range of exhibitions.

In the warmer months, the amusement park  Dreamland  offers vintage rides, roller coasters, and entertainment options for all ages. In the colder months, it acts as an inside entertainment venue with live music and events. For something completely different visit the  Shell Grotto  for underground passageways adorned with seashell mosaics. I have never seen anything like it. 

Margate Museum  is housed in a Grade II listed building in the heart of Margate Old Town. And is a unique example of a Victorian Police Station and Magistrates Court displaying an eclectic history of the seaside town of Margate over the past 5,500 years.

There are several sandy beaches, Main Sands is one of the best on the South East coast. A large wide expanse of sand where families congregate on warm and sunny days. Perfect for making sandcastles and taking a dip in the sea. The Margate Harbour Arm dates back to 1815 and offers panoramic views of the coastline with its lighthouse which was rebuilt in 1955. With eateries right next to the sea, it is a great spot for lunch. Margate’s old town has many independent shops to browse.

If you have a car then you may also want to consider a visit to the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool or Botany Bay with its stunning chalk stacks. It is also a great place to look for fossils and explore rock pools.

Shell Grotto Tunnels

With its historic charm and a blend of Georgian and Victorian architecture, Deal is a delightful Kent coastal town. It boasts all of the typical things you would expect from one of the best Kent coast towns, only on a smaller scale. It won’t get as busy as some of the other suggestions, making it perfect for families. Deal Pier, is one of the UK’s most iconic and historic seaside piers and the only intact pier in Kent. Stretches out into the English Channel.

The town’s pebble beach, a picturesque pier that has recently undergone a huge upgrade, and a vibrant high street with independent shops and eateries make it a popular destination. You can explore the English Heritage site of  Deal Castle . A striking Tudor artillery fort built during the reign of Henry VIII. The castle’s distinctive circular design and formidable defences provide a captivating glimpse into England’s military past. You can explore the castle’s interior, climb its battlements, and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline.

Just a little further along the coast, there is also another English Heritage site –  Walmer Castle and Gardens .  For something completely different you can visit the  Timeball Museum  on the seafront which still has a functioning timeball. This historically served as a vital timekeeping device for ships and provides insights into Deal’s maritime legacy.

Despite it being a small town there are still a lot of bars, restaurants and pubs to enjoy. As well as a hamlet of local boutiques and shops in Middle Street. The old town has many distinctive Georgian and Victorian buildings. It doesn’t seem to be as commercialised as some of the other locations mentioned, giving it that charm and beauty. From Deal, you can take a train or car to the nearby town of Sandwich, with its historic charm, medieval architecture and the sweeping Sandwich Bay.

Kent coastal towns - Deal. The statue at the end of the pier

This Kent coastal town is known for its long promenade, Herne Bay offers a sandy beach, colourful beach huts, and traditional seaside attractions. It is also one of the best places to go crabbing in Kent . We enjoyed visiting the historic Herne Bay Pier and the central beach with its kid’s playgrounds. A great spot to enjoy some fish and chips or ice cream as the kids play.

The  Herne Bay Festival  generally runs from the end of July through to the end of August. Over the five-week programme of the festival, there are lots of events including a carnival, jazz festival, live music, art exhibitions, family-friendly activities and fireworks.  The Seaside Museum  showcases a diverse array of exhibits, offering insights into the town’s local heritage and maritime traditions.

This is a really scenic area of the Kent coast and is a great option if you are looking for one of the best beaches in Kent. Perfect for families to enjoy all of the usual seaside activities. Plenty of spots for some food and drinks and lots of fun to be had at the amusement park and along the promenade.  Herne Bay Memorial Park  is situated in the heart of the town. It has formal planted gardens, a lake, a play area and several sporting facilities. The lake is large and although not available for fishing, it is used for model boats and is home to lots of ducks who are always keen to be fed.

For a day trip, there is the English Heritage site of  Reculver Towers and Roman Fort . An ancient site with historic ruins, coastal walks, and panoramic views of the coastline.

Herne Bay seafront with the clock tower in the background

Situated on the southeastern coast of Kent, Folkestone is probably best known as the home of the Eurotunnel. However, it also boasts a charming harbour, a sandy beach, and the artistic quarter of  Creative Folkestone . Which is the United Kingdom’s largest urban outdoor exhibition of contemporary art. You can also wander through the Creative Quarter, a vibrant and eclectic area filled with independent shops, art galleries, and creative studios.

The town is also known for the scenic  Lower Leas Coastal Park . A linear park between Folkestone and Sandgate, with wildlife such as migrating birds and insects thrive in the area and the park contains an under cliff area with a unique microclimate attracting wildlife rarely found in the United Kingdom. 

Take a journey on the charming  Leas Lift , a historic funicular railway that provides a scenic and convenient link between the seafront and the clifftop promenade. The town’s iconic Leas Promenade offers breathtaking panoramic views of the English Channel. With its well-manicured gardens, inviting benches, and refreshing sea breezes. The  Folkestone Harbour Arm , is a vibrant hub of activity, featuring a variety of food and drink outlets, live music, art installations, and stunning views of the sea. 

The Sunny Sands beach itself has plenty for families to enjoy, with a sandy beach and shallow waters. The harbour gives you plenty of opportunity to go boat spotting, and the town boasts some of the best seafood restaurants in Kent.  Folkestone Museum  takes you on a journey through the history of Folkestone. From its origins as a humble coastal community, through to its heyday as a fashionable seaside resort and beyond.

Felpham beach in West Sussex with storm clouds

While Dover might not be a town you may associate with a seaside visit, thanks to its busy port it is still a great town to visit on the coast of Kent. You can enjoy the harbour and port and have a look at all the larger ships and boats. There is a small stretch of beach where you can enjoy paddling and beach activities. However if you are specifically visiting a town for the beach, then Dover might not be your first choice. 

But Dover has a lot to offer. Including the English Heritage site of  Dover Castle . A historic fortress that offers a fascinating journey through centuries of military history from medieval royal courts to World War II military operations. You can explore the castle’s interior, including the Great Tower and medieval tunnels, with panoramic views of the English Channel. When we visited we spent a whole day exploring everything it has to offer. in the town centre, there is  Dover Museum,  which has a diverse collection of exhibits, including the Dover Bronze Age Boat. Visit the National Trust  South Foreland Lighthouse , a historic Victorian lighthouse that offers panoramic views of the coastline. In a tour, you can learn about the evolution of maritime navigation and lighthouse technology.

If you have vehicle mad kids then a trip to the  Dover Transport Museum  is sure to impress. Where you can see a unique collection of vintage vehicles, including buses, cars, and motorcycles. Or visit the  Roman Painted House . Which was found by the Kent Archaeological Society and features well-preserved Roman murals.

You can enjoy those famous white cliffs of Dover, a stunning natural landmark with some of the best coastal walks around. The White Cliffs hold a special place in the town’s identity and have been celebrated in literature, art, and popular culture. On a clear day, when close to the harbour, you can also get some incredible views of France from Western Heights. This is still a fabulous spot for a day trip with plenty of bars, amusement arcades, chip shops, and restaurants in the town. 

The view across from Dover Castle on a rainy grey day - Kent Coast

Ramsgate is home to one of the largest marinas on the South Coast. So if you do have a yacht to dock, then this is the spot. But when we are not dreaming about yachts, it is still the perfect seaside town in Kent. The town’s historic Royal Harbour stands as a focal point of Ramsgate’s maritime identity as a major port. Featuring a picturesque marina and vibrant waterfront promenades. Lined with charming cafes, restaurants, and shops, the harbour area provides a delightful setting to wander, al fresco dining, and opportunities to admire the array of yachts and fishing boats that dot the harbour.  It is also home to  Ramsgate Maritime Museum ,  featuring exhibits on maritime history, shipwrecks, and the town’s lifeboat service.

A busier option and more well-known than some of the other Kent Coastal Towns suggested in this post. It has beautiful sandy beaches, the most popular is Ramsgate Main Sands beach. A family-friendly stretch of coastline with golden sands, shallow waters, and traditional seaside amenities. It has been awarded a blue flag and so ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying recreational beach activities. The West Cliff promenade is well worth a visit, here you can pick up one of several  West Cliff walks . 

When we visited we explored the  Ramsgate Tunnels , a network of underground passageways that served as air-raid shelters during the Second World War. You can only go into the tunnels on a guided tour but it was absolutely fascinating and I would encourage everyone to visit. There is also the newly refurbished RAF Manston History Museum. Which features the town’s aviation heritage. For something completely different visit  The Micro Museum . A unique attraction showcasing the evolution of home computers and video games. A great option for teens, offering interactive displays and nostalgic insights into the world of retro technology.

The boys standing in the Ramsgate Tunnels

Westgate-on-sea

This is one of those underrated Kent seaside towns. The quiet seaside town has a beautiful sandy beach called West Bay Beach. Perfect for a beach day spent building sandcastles and enjoying the sea views. Next door is St. Mildred’s Bay Beach, with its gentle waves and pristine sands. Both beaches offer lots of fun for families and amusements to keep the kids occupied on the promenade. 

It is one of the smaller Kent seaside towns, but it is perfect for families or couples looking for something less overwhelming than some of the other seaside towns suggested. Although this does mean there are fewer things to do. The Victorian  Carlton Cinema  offers a nostalgic movie-going experience, compared to the larger movie chains. And a good option if the weather is not playing ball. Discover the local charm of the village with a visit to quaint shops, including gift and speciality stores.

If you are looking for something a bit more liver then you can take a short trip to the nearby town of Margate which is around 2.6 miles away. Close enough to walk, or catch the bus for tired legs on the return journey. This allows you to balance the quietness of the traditional coastal town with all that Margate has to offer. 

Kite on the beach at Whitstable

Hythe’s history dates back centuries, and the town’s legacy as one of the  Ancient Cinque Ports . The  Royal Military Canal , a monumental feat of 19th-century engineering, stands as a testament to the town’s strategic significance and provides a scenic backdrop for leisurely walks and boat trips. 

The mainly pebble beach is approximately midway between Folkestone and Dymchurch and would make a good day trip from either location. The high street is full of small businesses with local artists and produce being sold. The long seafront has plenty for families. You can enjoy all of the usual beach activities or even fly a kite on a particularly windy day. The promenade has shops, bars, and restaurants. Ideal for a quieter Kent coastal town experience. 

Just a mile from Hythe you have the small village of Saltwood which is home to  Saltwood Castle  and  Brockhill Country Park . A little further afield is Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. We have visited several times, not only can you go on a safari but they also have the most amazing Gorilla enclosure. With the option to eat in the manor house and stay in one of the glamping tents, it is a destination in its own right.

For railway enthusiasts and nature lovers, the  Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway  offers a delightful journey through the town’s coastal landscapes. We took the journey a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the experience. The views were stunning. 

Harry watching the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway train come into the station at the coastal town of Hythe in Kent

Dymchurch and St Mary’s Bay

Two of the lesser-known suggestions are these two separate Kent seaside towns on Romney Marsh. But there is only a mile walk between St Mary’s Bay  and Dymchurch. them so you can easily do that along the seafront and experience these two smaller, but still delightful, Kent seaside towns. This coast is well-known for kite flying as the wind and breeze are a little stronger than in some other locations. There are many seaside shops selling them if you do need to buy one. The kids will love this old-school activity. Dymchurch has expansive golden beaches.

In Dymchurch itself, the  amusement park  is free to visit. Where you only pay for the rides, games and attractions you chose. There is also various bars, a micro pub and cafes will satisfy any rock/candy floss cravings.  Martello Tower No. 24  in Dymchurch High Street was one of 74 towers built along the south coast between 1805 and 1812 to resist the threatened French invasion. Open to the public at the weekends from Easter to the end of October half term.

There are plenty of places to buy everything you need for a day by the sea and lots of locations to enjoy some fish and chips once you are done. These two areas may not be as busy, but they are still well worth adding to your list and are perfect for a day trip or weekend. As above you can catch the railway down to Dungeness Beach which is like visiting the end of the world.

Kent coastal towns - steps with sea lapping at the bottom at Romney Marsh in Dymchurch

This is the most southern point of Kent so you can often think that you have reached the end of the world with far-reaching views. It definitely felt like that when we visited with a vast expanse of open space. And although there is not a huge amount to do it is an experience not to miss. If you catch the railway down then you will only have about forty minutes to explore. The  Dungeness National Nature Reserve  is known for its striking beauty offering a serene setting for nature lovers and photographers.

Unless you look in the other direction to  Dungeness Power Station Visitor Center . Discover the fascinating history and technology behind the nuclear power station. If this is not your thing then instead you can visit  Dungeness Old Lighthouse . At certain times of the year, you can climb the historic lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and the English Channel.

This is a smaller fishing town so you may not find the usual abundance of commercialisation as you would in some of the other suggested Kent coast towns. But it is still one worthy to add to the list as it is very picturesque. It can often feel like this location is abandoned with some of the abandoned fishing boats on the beachfront. There are still places to eat such as the  Snack Shack . Where you can have locally caught fish and shellfish. Although it is worth checking opening times before visiting.

The view from the railway at Dungerness which feels like the end of the world

Reculver is a village and coastal resort about three miles east of Herne Bay on the north coast of Kent. One of the smaller villages on the Kent Coast. There are a number of different walks you can enjoy. The one from Reculver to Herne Bay will take you along the Saxon Shore Trail which gives stunning views of the coastline. It takes around an hour and a half. A slightly shorter walk is the Reculver to Beltinge Coastal Walk which will take around an hour. 

Of course, you have Reculver Towers and Roman Fort to explore as mentioned above. Known locally as the Twin Sisters, they are the remnants of a medieval church built within the grounds of a Roman Fort. Close by is Reculver Bay a peaceful small shingle beach providing a scenic setting for picnics. For tide times and to keep up to date with what is going on in the area. Visit the  Reculver Visitor Centre . Offering exhibits and information about the region’s archaeological finds so great for history buffs. They also offer information on the Coastal Park which has diverse coastal flora, wildlife habitats, and opportunities for nature walks and bird watching.

Kent coastal towns - Reculver towers

Do you think I am missing any Kent Coastal Towns that deserve a mention? Perhaps you have visited some Kent seaside towns on holiday that deserves a mention? If you are looking for something on the border with East Sussex, then both Camber Sands  and  Rye  are close by. 

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kent coast places to visit

Welcome to Mudpie Fridays where I share our travels. Both here in the UK but also across Europe and further afield. My name is Clare and I am married with two mischievous boys, Charlie aged 11 and Harry who is 7. Read along as we find hidden gems, pack as much holiday time in as possible, while working a 9-5 and find amazing and unusual experiences. Proving travel can be fun, educational and hugely rewarding with kids. Grab a coffee and come and join us on our latest adventures.

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The best places to visit on the Kent coast

kent coast places to visit

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kent coast places to visit

The Kent coast, with its pretty beaches, coastal walks and creative seaside resorts, is always popular with British holiday-makers. If you want to escape the crowds, here are the best places to visit.

If the long queue of traffic into Whitstable and the heaving main sands of Margate are giving you second thoughts about visiting Kent's beautiful coast, rest assured that there are still plenty of quiet corners, whatever the season. From sand or shingle beaches, to wetlands and Roman forts, these are the crowd-free places on the Kent coast.

1. For a beautiful beach: Botany Bay

This gorgeous secluded sandy beach with dramatic chalk stacks is a photographer’s dream. Botany Bay is a Blue Flag beach, so the water quality is guaranteed, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies to be explored, not to mention rock pools when the tide is out.

Botany Bay, Kent (Images: Roberto La Rosa/Shutterstock)

The poster child of the local tourist board, it’s surprisingly overlooked out of season, possibly because of the lack of public transport and limited facilities. But the tide goes a long way out, which means plenty of sandy bay available. It's possible to cycle here from Margate or Broadstairs train stations (or even walk, at a push), and either of those towns has all coolest places to eat and drink.

READ MORE: Our full guide to the Garden of England

2. For maritime tradition: Ramsgate

In the early 19th century, George IV decreed Ramsgate a Royal Harbour – and today it’s the only one in Britain. Information panels on the quayside will give you the lowdown on the town’s seafaring history, including the countless wrecks offshore on the Goodwin Sands and the town’s vital role in the Dunkirk evacuations. See too, the memorabilia in Little Ships Restaurant and Cafe , a wonderful harbourside spot with outside tables and seafood on the menu.

Ramsgate, Kent (Image: Visit Kent)

You can stroll around the pretty marina to see the last sea-going steam tug in UK waters, the 320-ton Cervia, and the diminutive Sailor’s Church, which was built in the mid-19th century for fisherman and their apprentices who were known as “smack boys” (look out for the lettering on the building next door to the church). There's still a traditional chandlery under the arches of the harbour, a few doors down.

3. For wetlands and marshes: Isle of Sheppey

While it’s true that Sheppey has prisons, sprawling caravan parks and less-than-pretty-towns, it also has two important coastal marshland nature reserves, quiet beaches for searching out fossils, big wide skies and some superb cycle routes.

Beach huts on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent (Image: Sue Martin/Shutterstock)

The 36-square-mile (93sqkm) island was once the “isles” of Sheppey, but today Harty and Elmley isles to the south have all but merged with the main island. Separated only by narrow channels and marshlands, these wetlands are teeming with birdlife and make Sheppey's most appealing places to explore.

You could also visit the remote early Norman Church of St Thomas the Apostle and eat or stay at the charming Ferry House Inn .

4. For salty sea air: Seasalter

A couple of miles west of Whitstable you’ll find the same big sky and shingle beach etched with timber groynes, but none of the crowds. This lonely and atmospheric spot at the mouth of the River Swale was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as belonging to the “kitchen of the archbishop [of Canterbury]” and is today famous for oysters (muddy offshore oyster beds are revealed when the tide is out) and Michelin-starred The Sportsman (make a reservation in advance).

Few seaside walks can beat the hour-long stroll east from Seasalter, along Whitstable’s rugged beach with its weathered upturned fishing boats, to quiet Tankerton, and the lovely JoJo’s restaurant, which is hoping to reopen in August.

Aerial view of Seasalter, Kent (Image: Flyby Photography/Shutterstock)

5. For Roman history: Reculver

For a small site, Reculver Towers and Roman Fort makes a big impression as a looming landmark on the north Kent coastline. Human settlement here dates to prehistoric times, but it was the Romans who built a fort here in the early third century. Much of this history has been washed away by dramatic coastal erosion, and the twin towers you can see are the remains of a remodelled Anglo-Saxon church.

READ MORE: The UK's most amazing stately homes

Reculver is on two long-distance walking or cycling routes, the Viking Coastal Trail  and the  Saxon Shore Way . There’s a pub – and car park – close to the fort, but even better are the delis and cafés in the seaside resort of Herne Bay four miles (6.2km) west, or the Minnis Bay Bar and Brasserie on the seafront three miles east.

Reculver Towers (Image: sparksy34/Shutterstock)

6. For artsy regeneration: Folkestone

Yes, it has a creative quarter but Folkestone has managed to keep hold of its old sea dog character. The arts have helped coax this vibrant, busy seaside town back to life and on a stroll of its narrow cobbled lanes you'll spot studios, galleries and bookshop-cafés like Steep Street .

Folkestone, Kent (Images:  ian woolcock/Shutterstock)

The restored Harbour Arm  is a true hub for live music and events. Here, you can find independent food and drink vendors and the Harbour Screen , an outdoor cinema with the sea as a backdrop. Finally, don't miss the one remaining Anthony Gormley statue beneath the harbour arm.

And once you've had your culture fix? Take a walk along the East Cliff and Warren Country Park .

7. For Georgian townhouses and Tudor castles: Deal

Henry VIII built a chain of coastal defences along the Kent Coast, and the charming seaside town of Deal is bookended by two of his artillery fortresses: Deal Castle and Walmer Castle (book tickets for each in advance). Between these two landmark buildings is a long, peaceful pebble beach fronted by handsome Georgian townhouses.

Georgian townhouses, Deal, Kent (Images: Gordon Bell/Shutterstock)

The restored pier is the best place to start any visit, and from here you can explore the grand seafront along Beach Street and the warren of lanes between here and the atmospheric old High Street. The best pick for a pub lunch and a Kentish ale is The Rose .

READ MORE: Amazing places you won't believe are in the UK

8. For views of the French coast: St Margaret’s at Cliffe

The rural village of St Margaret’s at Cliffe, between Dover and Deal, is set a couple of miles inland on the South Foreland Heritage Coast. It’s a beautiful stroll down to sand, shingle and pebble St Margaret’s Bay, or you can follow footpaths through South Foreland Valley to South Foreland Lighthouse White Cliffs of Dover .

St Margaret’s Bay is the departure point for attempts to swim to France, which on sunny days looks tantalisingly close. Francophiles wanting a more relaxing pursuit should have a drink in the nearest pub to France, The Coastguard , which has ridiculously beautiful sea views and outdoor tables for walk-ins.

St Margaret's Bay, Kent (Image: Dover District Council)

9. For nature and tranquillity: Samphire Hoe

At the foot of the iconic Shakespeare Cliff a few miles west of Dover, Samphire Hoe is an entirely man-made nature reserve, created from the chalk marl that was excavated for the Channel Tunnel.

READ MORE: 50 brilliant British staycation ideas

Two decades have passed since this new part of England was forged and the blustery site has become a haven for wildlife, attracting a wide range of species including a rare early spider orchid, birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies and 200 types of plant.

The dramatic white cliffs setting and gorgeous sea views make it a great place for a stroll and a picnic.

Samphire Hoe, Kent (Image: FoxFootage/Shutterstock)

10. For a post-apocalyptic feel: Dungeness

The vast shingle beach at Dungeness and its looming nuclear power station really does feel like the end-of-the-world, rather than the end-of-the-line for the small steam and diesel locomotives that chug here on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway from Hythe.

Dungeness, deserted beach, Kent (Image: Tim Bird/Shutterstock)

Railway enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Model Railway exhibition at New Romney, while fans of The Railway Children should beeline for author Edith Nesbitt’s grave, marked with a simple wooden cross at a church in St Mary in the Marsh.

Though it’s the bleak landscape of Dungeness that’s the star attraction. Derek Jarman trail-blazed the arts scene here by planting his famous garden at Prospect Cottage (which is private but can be viewed from the road) and today eclectic art galleries are dotted about in various clapboard dwellings. The headland is a national nature reserve and you’ll see lots of weird and wonderful flora and fauna .

Main image of Dungeness: Helen Hotson/Shutterstock

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You are here: Places To Visit > Coastal Kent

Coastal Kent

Type: towns & villages.

Coastal Kent

Home to the world-famous White Cliffs of Dover, the dramatic coastline of White Cliffs Country offers spectacular views from clifftop paths and secluded beaches where fishing boats shelter on the shore. Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate's coast is a feast for your eyes. Discover stunning sandy beaches and sea-carved chalk cliffs.

With it 200km of golden sand and white cliffs, Kent's coast certainly boasts some of UK's best beaches. Gaze into rock pools, build a sandcastle, cycle shorelines, hike cliff-tops, wander around marinas, munch on chips, go barefoot beachcombing or simply chill out with a coastal escape in White Cliffs Country or at Thanet's 15  sandy beaches  and bays.

Make sure you take a look at our  Kent things to do  or  Kent events  guides where you will find plenty of things to do in Kent for all ages. If you're thinking of staying in around these area then take a look at the range of  accommodation  around Kent. 

List of seaside towns in Kent

Find maps and other information on these coastal towns in Kent, starting in the south and moving along the coast to the north near London.

  • St. Margaret’s at Cliffe
  • Isle of Sheppey

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What's Nearby

Margate Museum

Margate Museum

Margate Museum is opened by a group of volunteers called the Friends of Margate Museum…

Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary is a visual arts organisation, based in Margate that celebrates JMW…

Margate Main Sands, Isle of Thanet

Margate Main Sands

This timeless beach with tidal pool, children’s rides and amusement arcades offer…

Shell Grotto

Shell Grotto

The Shell Grotto is one of the world's most mysterious places: a series of underground…

Westbrook Bay

Westbrook Bay

This is a great family beach with a sandy bay with a small section of sand at high tide.

Walpole Bay

Walpole Bay

Walpole Bay is ideal for investigating fascinating rock and tidal pools.

St Mildred's Bay

St Mildred's Bay

A beautiful cliff lined sandy bay with promenade and tidal pool.

West Bay

A completely tidal bay, with a long stretch of sand when the tide is out.

Blue Flag, Botany Bay, Broadstairs - credit Thanet Tourism

This hidden gem offers stunning views of white cliffs and beautiful chalk stacks.

Couple playing golf at North Foreland. Credit Tourism at Thanet District Council

North Foreland Golf Club

North Foreland Golf Club offers seaside golf at its best: with views of the sea from…

Kingsgate Bay

Kingsgate Bay

Some of the best examples of sea caves in the country can be found here.

Joss Bay

A surfer’s paradise, this popular 200-metre long bay is known as the best surfing beach…

Crampton Tower Museum The Broadway Broadstairs Kent

Crampton Tower Museum

The Crampton Tower Museum is a fascinating small museum is partly housed in a flint tower…

Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Trust

RAF Manston Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Museum

The Memorial Museum permanently houses splendid examples of two iconic British fighter…

Stone Bay

A beautiful bay with scope for rock pooling.

Joss Bay Surf School

Joss Bay Surf School

South East England’s premiere surf school. Established in 1998 we have given thousands of…

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Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

15 Picturesque Spots to Explore in Kent

The South Eastern English county, famously described as the ‘Garden of England,’ has extraordinary beauty and abundant landscapes.

With the iconic White Cliffs and easy-on-the-eye seaside enclaves, Kent’s coastline is extraordinary, but the inland countryside is pretty spectacular, too.

Some of history’s most famous writers, poets, and artists were captivated by this corner of the country, and once you visit, you’ll see why! Here are my favourite spots…

1. Broadstairs

Broadstairs Kent

I highly recommend starting at this coastal town on the Isle of Thanet! It has a distinctive charm all of its own and is filled with good old-fashioned seaside fun.

The long, wide sandy beach lined with pretty, colourful beach huts and sheltered by low chalk cliffs is just wonderful.

The town has a nostalgic feel with a mix of retro and more stylish shops, cafes, restaurants, art galleries, a Victorian engineering museum, and attractive red-brick and flint-fronted buildings. The area is also fantastic for scenic hikes as many cliff-top paths link beautiful bays here.

Broadstairs also has some important literary connections, as this was Charles Dicken’s favourite holiday spot.

Make sure you visit the Dickens House Museum (the former and very charming home of Mary Pearson Strong, who inspired the character Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield) and Bleak House, a striking building high on a cliff where Dickens penned David Copperfield.

2. Canterbury

Canterbury Kent

Located in southeast England, the cathedral city of Canterbury is a stunning and popular spot! It has an ancient and important history with significant literary connections, but it’s so well preserved that it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was once a popular pilgrimage site, and its literary connections come from being the former stomping ground of Chaucer, the famous author and poet who hailed from the Middle Ages. The city inspired him so much that he based the world-famous “Canterbury Tales” here.

It has ancient walls, initially built by the Romans, surrounding its medieval centre. Inside the walls are a network of cobbled streets, gorgeous timber-framed houses, six museums, seven art galleries, six theatres, one castle, one abbey, 24 Canterbury Tales, and the magnificent cathedral!

Add to these picturesque parks and gardens and plenty of interesting shops, cafes, and restaurants, and you have a fine city destination!

3. Whitstable

Whitstable Kent

Think more of a trendy foodie destination on the sea, complete with Michelin-starred restaurants, food (primarily shellfish) festivals, and craft beer plenty.

It has a creative side, with many art galleries, independent gift shops, and retro/vintage stores. In my opinion, it’s an excellent option for either a day trip or a more extended break. Just make sure you check out the wonderful Fisherman’s Huts for unique seafront accommodation!

Beautiful coastal scenery surrounds the town, so I suggest exploring it further.

4. Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle Kent

Located to the southeast of the small village of Lamberhurst, you will find this extraordinary treasure, which the National Trust now owns.

Built in the 14th century, this beautiful turreted English country house with formal gardens and a moat is as arguably close as you can get to a fairytale building.

Located within the valley of the River Bewl, its surroundings are pretty lush, too and includes many walking trails over 770 acres of gorgeous woodland.

Explore the inside, discover all the building’s secrets on tour, walk around the grounds, enjoy a delicious meal in the tea room or picnic in the designated area.

5. Kent Downs

Kent Downs

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Kent Downs is one of the county’s most scenic sites. It stretches from the London /Surrey border to the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

Its enchanting natural sights include chalk ridges, dipping slopes, dry valleys, grassy landscapes lined with hedgerows, traditional orchards, and picturesque ponds. It is also home to many species of wildlife, birdlife, and rare plant life.

It’s also home to some of the highest points in the Southeast, and you’ve probably guessed that this makes for an incredibly scenic walk. So, don those boots, grab your family and dog, and get going!

6. Scenic Cultural Coastal Drive and the White Cliffs of Dover

Scenic Cultural Coastal Drive

In my opinion, The Scenic Cultural Coastal Drive is a must-do attraction!  If you are hoping for a relaxing drive with jaw-dropping scenery, this may be the place for you.

Enjoy an excellent coastal journey through incredible sights like the White Cliffs of Dover and Thanet’s stunning chain of fifteen sandy beaches.

The White Cliffs of Dover are a famous landmark now owned by the National Trust. They face France, and during the World Wars, they became a symbol of freedom and hope and were often sung about in now-legendary war songs!

This scenic drive takes you through the county’s historic towns and cultural regeneration, while you enjoy the glorious East Coast view.

Several galleries and vintage shops are located in the area. Visit the Cinque Port of Sandwich, which lies 2 miles inland and is flanked by three famous golf links.

7. Ightham Mote

Ightham Mote Kent

This medieval 14th-century moated manor house is near Sevenoaks. It has an outstanding architectural design, and the writer John Newman described it as “the most complete small medieval manor house in the county.”

Get lost in the estate and explore the beautiful gardens, now owned by the National Trust and open to the public.

Three pretty waymarked routes will take you around the Ightham Mote estate along footpaths, woodland, and country lanes. You can also tour the Grade I-listed building and its wonderful and interesting historic interiors.

8. Aylesford

Aylesford village in Kent

This medium-sized village and civil parish on the River Medway is accessed by a picturesque 14th-century five-arched bridge.

It started as a small riverside settlement as early as Neolithic times, and the old town is comprised of around 60 houses, many of which were former shops.

You can take a guided or unguided tour of Aylesford, which is a beautiful village and one of the finest in the South East.

Many significant historic buildings exist to explore, including the church, Aylesford Priory, Preston Hall, and a few interesting independent shops.

9. Leeds Castle 

Leeds Castle - beautiful places to visit in Kent

This stunning stone castle, built in 857AD, was once called the “loveliest castle in the world.” Whether you agree or not, it is a fine specimen of place and one of England’s most important and best castles.

Once a Norman stronghold, a royal residence, and a royal palace (Henry VIII lived there with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon), it’s now open to the public. It offers various things, from accommodation to workshops, tours, talks, and events.

Its location is also stunning. It is not too far from the large town of Maidstone, set on two islands in a magnificent lake.

There is an option to explore further, and here, you’ll also find over 500 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland just waiting to be explored.

10. One Tree Hill and Knole

Knole Kent

Owned and protected by the National Trust, this is a beautiful slice of countryside and a must-see for nature lovers and walkers.

Located in Kent’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this site offers stunning panoramic views of the unspoilt countryside, woodland, and open meadows.

The scenic area also provides habitat for wildlife, flora, and fauna, including wild garlic, bluebells, and the rare point snail.

Nearby is also located in Sevenoaks (only a 13-minute drive away) and owned by the National Trust Knole. Knole is a country house and former archbishop’s palace within Knole Park, a 1,000-acre park located immediately southeast of Sevenoaks in west Kent.

The house ranks among the top five of England’s largest houses and occupies a beautiful four-acre area.

11. Hever Castle

Hever Castle Kent

Once an important historic landmark built in the 13th century, Hever Castle is now a popular tourist attraction. It’s also famous for being the seat of the Boleyn family of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor fame.

Located in the pretty village of Hever near Edenbridge, it began life as a country house and now has mazes, picturesque gardens, and a lovely lake.

You can go for a guided or unguided tour of Hever Castle to see all the preserved architecture from years gone by and also visit the well-maintained gardens. It also hosts a popular annual jousting tournament every summer.

12. Herne Bay

Herne Bay Kent

Herne Bay is a charming coastal town located near the city of Canterbury. It’s a lovely spot and is home to over two miles of coastline, a sand and shingle beach, pretty multi-coloured beach huts, seafront gardens, a pier, and even a bandstand – so expect plenty of seaside fun!

Don’t leave without seeing the very kitsch Seaside Museum, home to a collection of photographs from the town’s Victorian heyday and even an old Punch and Judy set.

There are also many fantastic independent shops and restaurants, art galleries, and opportunities for gorgeous coastal walks.

13. Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens 

Sissinghurst Castle UK

A romantic spot, this beautiful historic building is located in Sissinghurst village and is famous for once being the home to the renowned poet and writer Vita Sackville-West.

Vita designed the gardens surrounding the castle in the 1930s and hailed the whole place as a ‘ refuge dedicated to beauty’. Her husband, Harold Nicolson, an author and diplomat, also lived with her.

The Grade I-listed building is on Historic England’s register of historic parks and gardens and is owned by the National Trust, so you can take your time exploring the beautiful gardens and estate.

14. Chapel Down Winery

Chapel Down Winery

The Chapel Down Winery in Tenterden is home to England’s leading wine producer and its answer to Sauvignon Blanc.

Here, you can see where the wine is grown and made and tour the vineyard estate to enjoy the stunning landscapes and views.

Depending on your trip length, you may take interactive masterclasses on making and tasting wine. Make sure you also take time out to check out the vineyard on the award-winning Chapel Down estate.

There is also a popular restaurant on-site and a restaurant selling food and drink.

15. Bewl Lake

Bewl Lake Kent

This is one of the well-known reservoirs in the valley of the River Bewl. It straddles the boundary between Kent and East Sussex in England, stretches about 2 miles south of the village of Lamberhurst, and is a lovely beauty spot to explore.

You can go for a long walk and enjoy the beautiful water views.

You can also hire bikes to explore the tranquil scenery. Rowboats can be hired here for a lovely afternoon.

kent coast places to visit

Beth Pinches - writer and photographer Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road-tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. Other places she loves include Croatia, Finland, Japan and India. In between adventures, travel writing and performing she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele. Find Beth on Linkedin or  Facebook . Hotel Reviewing Experience - Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Visit Jersey , Visit Sweden , and Israel Tourist Board. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos . Listed as a top UK travel journalist . Portland Reviewing Experience - Lived in Portland for 6 months and spent many months scouting out all the coolest spots.

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11 of the best things to do along Kent’s Heritage Coast: art, history, and nature

Sophy Grimshaw

Jan 5, 2022 • 8 min read

kent coast places to visit

From visiting historic Dover Castle to wandering the White Cliffs or exploring the many beaches, here's how to experience the best of Kent’s Heritage Coast © Martin Poole / Getty Images

Kent 's fertile countryside, ancient woodland, and dramatic white cliff coastline earned the county its nickname, "the Garden of England". Within that garden is Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Kent's Heritage Coast, a region between Folkestone and Dover. 

Recent years have seen economic regeneration for Kent along with the arrival of high-speed trains that put the county’s distinctive natural landscapes and historic buildings within even-easier reach of London and the rest of the country. Its wild swimming opportunities, cycle routes, vast nature reserves and country parks all offer an antidote to a life lived on Zoom, while its castles and cathedrals reveal the fascinating history of this beautiful county.

From Folkestone to Dover  and beyond, here are some of the best things to do along Kent’s Heritage Coast.

Explore Lower Leas Coastal Park 

You can easily lose a whole day with children in Folkestone’s Lower Leas Coastal Park , which has a transportive "is-this-really-the-UK?" quality thanks in part to the dramatic botanical architecture of its well-maintained gardens, with many Mediterranean and non-native plants. 

Much of the park has sea views, while other parts are set back and sheltered from sea winds by greenery. The elaborate adventure playground – the largest free play area in the South East with wooden pirate ships, sand pits, zip-lines, and tunnel slides – will occupy younger children. Once they're done, drag them away to a nearby cafe, such as  The Lift Cafe , serving thick sourdough toasties made with bread from the local Docker Bakery.

Follow the Coastal Path's distinctive Zig Zag Path, which was created in the 1920s from an artifical sandstone mix called Pulhamite. The path wends down to the park from its starting point on the Victorian promenade of The Leas passing planters of Mediterranean vegetation and grottos that appear as if hewn from natural rock. Photogenic Mermaid Beach is nearby, and has a swimming spot that is popular with locals all year long.

Have a family day out at Dover Castle  

A seasonal program of weekend events, from Easter Egg hunts to a Christmas Adventure Quest , keep families returning to Dover Castle . The sweeping views across the Channel from the battlements never lose their "wow" factor, either. 

Arguably as engaging as the castle’s storied medieval history and Great Tower, are its Secret Wartime Tunnels . These chalk passageways give a great insight into how the castle found new life as a base during WWI and WWII, including housing an underground hospital. Beware that the underground paths are narrow, dark, and damp, which may make some visitors uncomfortable.

Two instalations of small houses - one floats on a platform on the harbor; the other sits on the harbor arm

Experience Folkestone's site-specific artworks

Encountering contemporary art, whether you mean to or not, is becoming a quintessential part of the Kent coast experience . Since 2008, Folkestone Triennial has seen new site-specific artworks by high profile and international artists appear throughout the seaside town every three years (a pandemic-related delay in 2020 aside). Each edition also leaves behind some permanent works and, as a result, Folkestone now hosts the UK’s largest contemporary outdoor art exhibition all year round. The best bit – it’s free to visit.  

There are more than 70 permanent Folkestone Artworks to be spotted – from sculptures and art objects, including Antony Gormley figures and Tracey Emin’s bronze-cast Baby Things to seaside pavilions, graphically-adorned beach huts, and a morse code message from Yoko Ono. The artworks are widely dispersed and you’ll never see them all in a day, so follow one of the suggested walking routes  from Creative Folkestone – or simply keep your eyes peeled.

Walk the White Cliffs to South Foreland Lighthouse

The Victorian South Foreland Lighthouse   – the first in the world to use electric light and the site of various pioneering experiments in international radio – and its wonderfully retro tearoom are your reward at the end of a bracing walk along the White Cliffs of Dover. Mrs Knotts tearoom ticks the authenticity boxes that English tearooms should: chintzy bone china, pots of loose leaf tea, and generous slabs of cake. 

Getting here is part of the pleasure, via either a 2-mile (3.2km) clifftop trail from Dover to really earn that cup of tea, or a shorter walk from St Margaret’s Bay. Choose a still day so you can can contemplate the lighthouse at your leisure; when it’s windier, the lawns here are a popular kite-flying spot. Note that there’s nowhere to park at the lighthouse itself.

Mother and children stand on a viewpoint above a sandy beach on a sunny day

Splash about at Sunny Sands Beach

When it comes to Kent’s sandy beaches, Margate seems to capture many day-trippers’ imaginations, but the smaller Folkestone beach of Sunny Sands, adjacent to the town’s regenerated harbor area, is almost as tempting (and a shorter train journey from London). 

This golden stretch hosts paddling toddlers, sunbathers, and casual swimmers in summer, before colder weather gives ways to bundled-up dog-walkers enjoying the still-glittering views across the Channel. Cold water-loving locals take a Boxing Day dip here en masse every December 26. A word of warning, though: The beach disappears entirely at high tide, so check the tide tables before visiting.

There are kiosks for ice creams and buckets and spades, and you’re also in walking distance of the smart dining and cocktail bar of Rocksalt , with lovely views across the harbor.

See biodiversity on reclaimed land at Samphire Hoe

Samphire Hoe is a unique nature reserve that was created during the building of the Channel Tunnel, when almost 5 million cubic meters of spoil were deposited at the base of Shakespeare Cliff, near Dover, to reclaim land from the English Channel. 

This area was seeded with wildflowers and opened to the public in 1997. It has since acquired stellar biodiversity credentials, as the 30-ha (74-acre) area is home to more than 200 plant species and even more species of birds. Despite the site’s youth, what you are struck by as a visitor here is a sense of timelessness, thanks to its meditative views of expansive sea and dramatic vistas of the rugged White Cliffs of Dover.

A solo cyclist sits on a bench looking out to sea with a bike leaning against the back of the bench

Complete the Cathedral-to-Coast cycle ride 

Those with two wheels and some stamina can immerse themselves in Kent's highlights on a 50-mile (80-km) circular Cathedral-to-Coast cycle ride , linking  Canterbury , Dover, and Folkestone. 

In Canterbury expect to be moved by the scale and serenity of its vast cathedral , whether you share the Christian faith or not. This medieval pilgrimage site still pulls in nearly a million visitors annually to its dizzyingly high-ceilinged, stained glass-adorned interior. From there, the full cycle route follows part of the North Downs Way through rolling countryside, pretty villages, and a nature reserve near Elham. As you approach the Heritage Coast you'll be rewarded with spectacular sea views. 

Alternatively, choose just one section of the cycle route, such as the 17 miles (27km) from Canterbury to Folkestone. The area is well-served by train stations, so you can continue your journey by rail.

Go shopping at Deal's Saturday market 

Making plans to browse the long-established Saturday market in Deal will give some direction to a weekend day trip to this coastal hot spot, where the thoughtful refurbishment of local establishments like the Rose Hotel has piqued the interest of glossy magazine editors and London professionals trying to buy a house. Less than a 10 minute walk from the train station, the morning market (open from 8am or 9am depending on the time of year) is also just a couple of streets back from Deal’s refreshingly long stretch of shingle beach. 

The market has existed here in various forms since the late 1600s. Today’s stallholders sell everything from handmade soaps to vintage toys, and quality food from Kent's farmers and makers. Pick up what you need – and a few things you don’t – before grabbing some lunch and making the most of the sea air.

Ride the miniature railway from Hythe 

Hythe has much to recommend it, including some choice secondhand shops worth a rummage and a walkable stretch of Royal Military Canal . But one of the best things to do here is to leave aboard the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway . The railway’s one-third-size locomotives take passengers as far as the eerily beautiful nature reserve of Dungeness (just over an hour, each way). 

Once there, enjoy the shingle beach and visit the late filmmaker Derek Jarman’s garden, before taking the tiny train back to Hythe and choosing between its gastropubs pubs for an evening meal.

Wildlife watch at Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve 

The largest of Kent Wildlife Trust’s reserves is Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve, where you can spend time fully immersed in nature. Its rich in biodiversity with varied habitats, including beach and salt marshes, as well as a more orderly and easy to navigate Country Park. 

It’s not unusual to spot seals from here, especially in winter, and in spring, look out for rare green hairstreak butterflies. But this reserve is primarily bird-watchers’ domain, where you might hear nightingales, or spot a short-eared owl, snipe, kestrel, or tern.

Get close to France at the beautiful St Margaret's Bay 

An aesthetically pleasing curve of shingle beach and green sea, St Margaret's Bay  appears on several popular walking routes in this part of White Cliffs country.  

Its resident boozer, The Coastguard , bills itself as Britain’s nearest pub to France (on this part of the coast, you might even receive a "Welcome to France" message from your phone provider, or French radio stations on your car stereo). The 300-year-old establishment’s best selling point is its sea-view terrace where visitors take in the view of the bay over a cold pint or a warming nip of whiskey.

There is sometimes an informal beach school meet-up for outdoorsy under-5s and their parents here, too. But in general you have a fair chance of having the bay almost to yourself.

Safety recommendations and restrictions during a pandemic can change rapidly. Lonely Planet recommends that travelers always check with local authorities for up-to-date guidance before  traveling during Covid-19 .

You might also like: The best short breaks from London are just two hours by train    Winter wonderland: the best day trips from London    Experience the very best of the Kent coast   

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The best beaches and towns on the Kent coast for the perfect seaside daytrip

Explore these coastal gems while avoiding the crowds, says abigail blasi, article bookmarked.

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Wellington Crescent Cliff Lift, an Edwardian grade II listed working elevator above Ramsgate main sands. Ramsgate is equal to Broadstairs but quieter

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I t was the Hamptons of the 1800s, when everyone from Queen Victoria to Karl Marx frolicked in the surf. Today, the Kent coast is at turns incandescently beautiful and desolately down at heel, as full of historic smugglers’ coves and wild swimming as it is faded Georgian glories. Geographically significant as the UK’s closest land to Europe, this coast is also peppered with historical sites, from Roman Forts to Second World War bomb shelters.

With fewer people travelling abroad this summer, the Kent coast, an easy under-two-hours trip from London, has seen some front-page-worthy crowds on sunny days. However, some of the coast’s greatest joys can be found if you swerve its best-known places.

Herne Bay, the next town along the coast from Whitstable , has not been yet colonised by the DFLs (down-from-Londons). Its fine Georgian houses are the colour of a box of chalks, and its beach is famous for its wealth of fossilised sharks’ teeth. On a calm day, the powder-blue sea ripples like silk.

At the other end of the beach is the Herne Bay suburb of Beltinge. Hillocks back the beach, ideal for sliding down (even if unintentionally). For walking or cycling, the Oyster Bay Trail hugs this part of the coast for six miles from Swalecliffe to Reculver. The area also hosts Kent’s best boot fair, the Whitstable Bends.

Another lesser-known cycle route is the Crab & Winkle Way, between Canterbury and Whitstable. This follows what was a six-mile railway line, and from outside Canterbury is mostly traffic-free. It crosses Blean Woods, 90 hectares of ancient woodland that glows with bluebells in the spring.

  • Folkestone isn’t the new Margate – it’s even cooler

You can escape the coastal hubbub on a sunny day to dive off wooden pontoons at Westbere Marshes Lake, just to the east of Canterbury.

Back on the coast, the twin towers of Reculver are visible for miles, dramatic medieval ruins on a promontory. This was once the site of a Roman fort built to defend against Saxon pirates, and the fort’s ridges are still visible; the pebble beach, too, yields up more fossils, and sometimes even Roman fragments. From here the shore-hugging Viking Coastal Trail takes in Turner-worthy views all the way to Ramsgate .

Even in Kent’s town-of-the-moment Margate there are secret places to escape the crowds. To the east of town is Walpole Bay, with its grade II listed, four-acre tidal pool in front, built in 1937 to allow safe bathing and fed by natural fresh springs.

Between Margate and Broadstairs, Botany Bay is Kent’s favourite wild beach, backed by chalk cliffs and with a lone kiosk on its golden sands. On warm days, however, it gets mobbed, so instead walk to the next beach eastwards, Kingsgate, beyond Botany Bay’s chalky outcrops. The golden-sanded crescent is famous for its smugglers’ caves carved into the cliffs.

North of Ramsgate, as far as Dumpton Gap, the beaches are usually empty. Ramsgate rivals Broadstairs and Margate in looks, yet doesn’t receive the same attention. The town was a favourite of Jane Austen, Coleridge and Engels (who complained about the local petit bourgeoisie). With its hoop of boat-bobbing marina and Harbour Arm, it’s fronted by golden beaches and lined by fine Georgian houses, and its warren of Second World War tunnels reopens to visitors on 1 August.

For unspoilt coastline where social distancing is the natural option, there’s the 615-hectare natural park of Sandwich and Pegwell Bay, five miles south of Ramsgate, with sandy coast, saltmarsh and ancient dunes, favoured by nightingales, teals, and warblers, and shaggy highland cattle in the long grass. Hundreds of seals flop ashore during winter.

Another great tip is Sandwich Bay, a little farther south, which is backed by a toll road: the £7 charge puts visitors off, so you’re more likely to find a lonely spot on this beach than not, and it’s Kent’s best place for kitesurfers.

Deal, with its broad beach and warren of fishermen’s cottages, is hugely popular, but take the path along the coast (with plenty of climbing trees en route) to the gleaming pebble beach at Kingsdown, with its pastel-painted fishing village almost on the shingle. There’s a lone, lovely pub, the Zetland Arms, for sunset views with a drink and a pint of prawns, and at nearby Oldstairs Bay you can fish and rock-pool under the cliffs.

The treacherously shifting Goodwin Sands lie offshore, stretching from Ramsgate to Dover. This sometimes lethal sandbank was mentioned in The Merchant of Venice and Moby Dick . Take a speedboat tour with Dover Sea Safari, spotting seals and ghostly shipwrecks. Close to Dover, St Margaret’s Bay is worth a visit, backed by white cliffs and a millionaires’ row of grand villas: both Noel Coward and Ian Fleming once lived here.

Finally, to take in art without a crowd, stop at Folkestone , whose many artists and artisans populate and decorate its Creative Quarter. In a Covid-nervous world, it is the perfect gallery: Folkestone has the UK’s largest exhibition of outdoor urban art, with works such as Richard Woods’s Holiday Home , six colourful bungalows dotted in unexpected locations around the town.

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Kent’s Coastline and Beaches

The Kent coast is a 350-mile stretch of chalky white cliffs, sandy beaches, shingle bays, vibrant coastal towns and, above all, glorious views stretching out across the Channel.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a family looking for a day of ice creams and sandy beaches. A walker looking for some windswept cliff-top jaunts, or a thrill-seeker looking for a great place to have a go at some water sports. The Kent coast has it all so come and explore.

For those who want a little more action, you’ll find towns like Margate , Broadstairs and Ramsgate offer plenty more than lively seaside resorts. The range of walking routes, surfing beaches and cycle paths along the magnificent 32-mile Viking Coastal Trail might just have you lacing up your walking boots, reaching for your surfboard or getting back in the saddle.

There are various bays and coves on this corner of Kent, many are family friendly, some have tidal pools and others are just great for exploring – Botany Bay , Broadstairs. Joss Bay , Broadstairs. Walpole Bay , Margate.

If you’re looking for elegant restaurants, quirky seaside towns and boutique hotels, Kent has it covered. Lose yourself along Sandwich and Deal’s winding streets and discover independent shops and restaurants. Not to mention beautiful beaches like St Margaret’s at Cliffe .

The Isle of Sheppey is a haven for coastal jaunts, with striking scenery, wonderful beaches and unique wildlife. Transport yourself back to the good old days with a trip to one of the scenic beaches. Don’t forget to saddle up and take on one of two family cycle rides. Or head east along the coast and you’ll reach Herne Bay . A paradise for families, with miles of long sandy beaches, a bandstand and its very own pier. Don’t miss a visit to the medieval ruins of Reculver Towers if you are over on this coast.

Further along on the North Kent coast, Whitstable is a cultural and gastro hub. Offering restaurants and elegant bars, and don’t forget those famous oysters!

Explore the south side of the county and discover beautiful sandy beaches, like those in Folkestone . Take a stroll along the popular Harbour Arm, which hosts a range of independent small businesses, ranging from food, drink, music and even an artisan market. Wander and or even cycle along the England Coast Path to explore the long stretches of beaches from Sandgate and Hythe to Dymchurch .

Nature At The Coast

The Kent coast is also home to a range of glorious National Nature Reserves and fantastic wildlife habitats. Take a walk along the truly unique and windswept Samphire Hoe. Home to a variety of wildlife, all sat beneath the famous Shakespeare Cliff . The beautiful isolated beaches of Romney Marsh are just a stone’s throw away from the Dungeness National Nature Reserve , sat amid the intriguing and unique landscape of Romney Marsh.

Find Your Beach

Folkestone Harbour

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Broadstairs - Quintessential seaside town

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Visit Broadstairs - a charming seaside resort on the Kent coast with connections to a giant of the literary world.

A timeless family-friendly resort packed with beautiful bays and lots to see and do...

Broadstairs' spectacular coastline gives you seven sandy beaches and bucket loads of seaside charm. Here, families rediscover the joy of having fun together beside the shore. Central Viking Bay boasts children’s rides and beach huts; rural Botany Bay has photogenic chalk stacks; whilst  Joss Bay offers a surf school and peaks that have long made wave-riders smile.

In Broadstairs you’ll find fishermen’s cottages, clifftop walks and independent shops lining original Victorian streets and alleyways. The town was Charles Dickens’ favourite holiday spot and his legacy includes Dickens House Museum . Nearby you’ll find the multi-award winning, costumed, St Peter’s Village Tours . Or for something with a more modern twist, try your luck at beating the challenges The Escapement  escape room has to offer.

Like your food? You’ll love Broadstairs. Eateries include smart restaurants, quaint cafés and 1950s ice cream parlours. Visit in the autumn and at Easter to feast at the three-day Broadstairs Food Festival – a smorgasbord of fine Kentish produce, cider, beer and wine.

Other events will see you meeting costumed characters at June’s Broadstairs Dickens Festival ; singing-along at sessions in August’s  Broadstairs Folk Week , or playing beach games and watching the fireworks at the Water Gala . In Broadstairs, nostalgia mixes easily with the new, especially on the music scene. If you like your music, Broadstairs Bandstand hosts regular concerts and gigs, while February's Broadstairs Blues Bash   attracts fans of all kinds of blues music for this mostly free festival.

On 5th October 1849, Charles Dickens was staying at the Albion Hotel (now Royal Albion Hotel), writing early chapters of David Copperfield . In a letter to his friend, the illustrator John Leech, about the delights of this Thanet resort, he wrote: "There has been a trifle of rain here – a spot or two. But today is one of the most wonderful and charming days I ever saw – the air so brisk and bracing as it is nowhere but at Broadstairs – the Channel so busy and alive with shipping as it is nowhere but off Broadstairs – the hotel so cosy and like a private house as it is nowhere but in Broadstairs – everything as nothing is out of Broadstairs. Veeve la Broadstairs!"

Looking for places to stay in Broadstairs?  Broadstairs offers seafront hotels with stunning views, boutique B&Bs and guest houses to quaint seaside self catering properties 

FREE CAR PARKING is available every Saturday at St Peter's Park Road, Broadstairs

Read latest news on and about Broadstairs in the Broadstairs Beacon

Discover things to see and do.

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Plan Your Visit to Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate

Looking along Margate defence steps to Turner Contemporary and harbour with a sailing yacht

Margate - The Original Seaside

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Ramsgate - Royal Harbour and Regency Architecture

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Villages of the Isle of Thanet

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What's On in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate

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Accommodation in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate

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History and Heritage of the Isle of Thanet

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Arts and Culture

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Beaches and Bays

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Kent

The 16 best things to do in Kent

From enchanting caves to the best oysters on earth (in our opinion), here's your complete guide to the Kent county

Joe Minihane

Glorious, wonderful Kent. The home of some of the nation’s best seaside towns, from Whitstable and Margate to Deal and Canterbury . There is no better destination to fill your boots with oysters, fish and chips and all that seafront good stuff (after all, that’s what it’s famous for) and the best part is there is always more of Kent to see. 

But it’s not just food you should check it out for. Kent is home to some fantastic art galleries, huge beaches and the world’s oldest rollercoaster, so there’s plenty to keep you going in between meals. Kent is a big place, and it’s tricky to know where to begin. To offer a helping hand, we’ve scoured the county far and wide, to bring you the ultimate hit list. Festivals. Castles. The White Cliffs of Dover. We’ve got it all. Here are our best things to do in Kent all year, every year.  

RECOMMENDED: 🍦 The best things to do in Broadstairs 🏖️ The best seaside towns in the UK 📍 The best things to do in the UK

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Best things to do in Kent

Shell Grotto

1.  Shell Grotto

What is it?  A strange, enchanting underground cave in Margate, which was first discovered in 1835 while someone was digging for a pond. 

Why go?  Well actually, that’s all anyone knows about the Shell Grotto’s history. No one knows why it exists or who built it, but that’s all part of the magic. Kids and adults alike will all love this fabulous grotto, full of millions of strange shells coating the walls, and lots of little nooks and crannies to discover. Our top tip? One of the best views is actually in the café upstairs, where you’ll find a T-Rex head made completely of shells. 

Whitstable Oyster Festival

2.  Whitstable Oyster Festival

What is it? A weekend (usually in July) celebrating the fishing, eating and history of oysters in Whitstable .

Why go? The Kent coastline is renowned for its salty sea molluscs – especially in Whitstable, where their native oysters (ostrea edulis) have been collected and enjoyed since the Romans were laying down roots. Whitstable Oyster Festival is the best way to truly immerse yourself in the cuisine. During the fest, you can see the ‘landing of the oysters’, when they’re all collected in the morning, follow a parade, battle it out in an oyster-eating competition and help build traditional mounds known as ‘grotters’ out of shells. Book a meal at The Whitstable Oyster Company  – it’s one of the longest-running (since the 1400s, believe it or not) organisations in Europe.

The White Cliffs of Dover

3.  The White Cliffs of Dover

What is it?  An iconic part of the Kent – and the entire country’s – coastline.

Why go? Visit for a brisk walk along the cliffs and see if you can glimpse the Exmoor ponies employed to keep the grass in check. While you’re there, you can also learn about the scientific discoveries made at the Victorian lighthouse, or don a hard hat and delve into the disused WWII tunnels within the cliffs. Plus, near Dover Castle you can stand in the exact spot that the first aircraft to fly over the channel landed. It’s marked by a concrete memorial in the shape of a plane. Stirring stuff.

Margate Dreamland

4.  Margate Dreamland

What is it?  An amusement park that dates back to the 1870s.

Why go? As the London overspill fast migrates to Margate, cool events keep popping up – and one of the best places to find said cool events is Dreamland. This seafront venue offers vintage theme park rides, a roller disco, a dedicated play area for under-eights and a variety of bites and beverages. You’ll also find regular events here, from massive gigs and club nights to flea markets, circus shows and much more. Don’t forget to ride the ‘Scenic Railway’, a wooden rollercoaster that’s also the oldest in the UK.

The Kentish Hare

5.  The Kentish Hare

What is it?  A Bidborough pub with a great range of vegetarian dishes (although they also host weekly steak nights).

Why go? It’s likely that on a visit to The Kentish Hare you’ll find orange and roast beetroot salad or five-spice tofu noodles or miso roast aubergine and not a stuffed portobello mushroom or bean burger in sight. For the carnies, steak night is Tuesday to Thursday and includes a 16oz steak and carafe of wine for two for £39.95. Plus it’s from the Tanner brothers – a duo you may well have seen banging pans on the telly.

6.  Smuggler’s Records

What is it? A brilliant indie record store and bar.

Why go? Deal is an underrated destination and in Smuggler’s Records it has one of the best record shops not just in Kent, but the whole UK. Its selection is well curated, with great staff on hand to make recommendations and turn you onto artists you’ve never heard of. One for the heads.

Chartwell House

7.  Chartwell House

What is it?  The impressive stately home of Winston Churchill and his family from 1922. It looks much as he left it.

Why go? Photographs, books and other personal effects are on view, as is a large collection of Churchill’s paintings. The expansive grounds are dog- and family-friendly, with lakes, woodland trails, a kitchen garden and a little brick playhouse built for Churchill’s daughter Mary. When the National Trust took over  Chartwell , Churchill’s family requested that a ‘marmalade cat with white socks and bib’ always remain in residence at the house.

The Fordwich Arms

8.  The Fordwich Arms

What is it? An old riverside pub that’s been given a makeover by a top chef.

Why go? Britain’s smallest town is making a big splash in the food world thanks to Dan Smith. The Norfolk-born chef has given the Fordwich Arms a new lease of life, offering up local delicacies such as Stour Valley pheasant dumplings, Kentish Ranger chicken and Chart Farm venison alongside unbearably quaint views of the River Stour. For a pleasant pre-meal walk, take the public footpath up to Reed Pond and back. This is an hour’s round-trip and, as the pub allows dogs, perfect for Fido too. 

Port Lympne

9.  Port Lympne

What is it?  The Aspinall Foundation’s   600-acre wild animal park, home to more than 700 incredible animals. 

Why go?  Black rhinos, Western Lowland gorillas, giraffes, tigers, lions, leopards, bears – all the crowd-pleasers are here. And you can really get up close and personal, with safari experiences and the chance to ‘go behind the scenes’ alongside the usual wandering opportunities. Plus, conservation is key here too, which means you’ll be doing your bit to help more than 90 different species – many of which are endangered.

Royal Victoria Pavilion

10.  Royal Victoria Pavilion

What is it?  The biggest pub in Britain.

Why go? Restored by   Wetherspoons, this vast boozer was once a concert hall and assembly rooms, before closing in 2008 having been a casino. It’s a truly amazing spot, with a vast balcony looking out over Ramsgate ’s beach and harbour.

Stark

11.  Stark

What is it?  A much-loved spot that serves up some of Kent’s best food.

Why go? While much of Broadstairs ambles along at the leisurely pace of most seaside towns, one couple are lighting a fire under its food scene. In the past, visitors to Stark paid £55 for a six-course tasting menu and awaited a delicious evening. However, in 2022 it’s made a change and will also be serving tapas at its location at 15 Oscar Road, with help from Dos, its sister site just down the road. Walk-ins are accepted, but booking is advised.

Chislehurst Caves

12.  Chislehurst Caves

What is it? Ancient mines that were originally dug to provide chalk for building and guns.

Why go? At just half an hour from London Bridge by train, and a five-minute stroll from the station, Chislehurst Caves make for a convenient Kent outing. During World War I they stored ammunition, while World War II saw them used as a bomb shelter. Over the past century they’ve also played host to gigs, a church and a spot of mushroom growing. To get a look-in you’ll have to join a tour, which runs once an hour, and you’ll get an oil lamp to help you navigate the dark. Depending on the day you go, you may also get a show from members of the Labyrinthe LARPing Club, who regularly use the caves for their plays.

The Poet

13.  The Poet

What is it? An olde worlde-looking pub with exceptional food, not far from Tunbridge Wells.

Why go?  The low ceilings, wooden beams and mismatched chairs give this charming place a comfortable, welcoming vibe and the palate pleasers are some of the best in the area. On tap they’ve got Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter, Kozel and Spirit of Kent pale ale, plus the cocktail experimentation is a winner here. Most, though, head for the high-quality food, comprising beautifully presented modern-European dishes that take influences from all over the world. Every August, The Poet hosts a gin festival, with over 30 types to try, plus a barbecue and live music. 

Turner Contemporary

14.  Turner Contemporary

What is it? Margate’s contemporary art gallery on the seafront.

Why go? For a free bit of culture in Kent, you can’t beat the Turner Contemporary. Located in the same spot as the boarding house in which Turner used to stay when visiting Margate, the gallery offers the same views of the ocean that Turner would have once seen and painted. Inside, you’ll find a rotating cast of modern exhibitions, which in the past has included work by Grayson Perry and Carlos Amorales. At the end of Harbour Arm, which stretches out in front of the gallery, you’ll find a shell sculpture of Turner’s old landlady, Mrs Booth.

15.  Fish on the Green

What is it?  A two-AA Rosette Bearsted restaurant serving both classic and contemporary dishes, with seafood fresh from the trawlers.

Why go? At an hour’s train ride from Victoria station, Bearsted isn’t the closest place to get to in Kent, but it’s worth it. About five minutes from the station you’ll see a country pub called Oak On The Green, and beside that its superb seafood sister. And despite the name, on any given night there will be at least two non-fish options and one vegetarian. Mind you, do save room for an innovative dessert: although the menu changes regularly, it has previously included peanut butter parfait and buttermilk panna cotta with rhubarb and lime shortbread crumbs. 

Blean Woods Nature Reserve

16.  Blean Woods Nature Reserve

What is it? A nature reserve near Canterbury .

Why go?  Canterbury has so much going for it, but just outside Kent’s main city is this wonderful nature reserve, run by the RSPB, which is a haven for rare birds. Bring your bike and explore the trails which wind through the gorgeous woodland.

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Must Visit Kent - one of Lonely Planet's Best Regions

Have you heard? Kent’s Heritage Coast has made it into the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2022 list, making our little corner of the world officially the 4 th best region to visit…in the world. With that kind of international recognition and as the ONLY UK destination to make it onto the hitlist, we’re declaring 2022 a must visit year for Kent!

With brand new experiences, fab festivals, accommodation to Instagram about and a whole host of beautiful landscapes to discover, let us tell you, this IS the year you really, really #MustVisitKent. Find out what Lonely Planet loved about our county and how you can discover Kent's Heritage Coast for yourself. 

Remember to check before you travel with the latest guidelines and advice from our friends at Southeastern .

Dive in and take a look at some of our must-sees, must-stays and must-visits and learn all about our little corner of the world.

Need more inspiration? From family friendly accommodation, to autumn breaks and summer plans, we've got it covered. 

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Must Visit Whitstable Bay with Shepherd Neame

For even more inspiration, take a read of our Must Visit Kent publication, which is available online here . 

kent coast places to visit

For families, we’ve got your school holidays plans sorted, accommodation made for that getaway with grandparents and plans for coastal escapes. We’ve even got the perfect breaks for tricky teens, with adrenalin-fuelled adventures, including paddle-boarding, giant inflatable water parks and high-wire escapades.

Green space-seekers and cultural cravers, you must be here for our rolling landscapes and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Or is it our local food and drink? Maybe our literary links and phenomenal galleries and sculptures? Whichever it is, we’ve got you covered.

kent coast places to visit

While for those looking for that escape from the city, we’ve got wide open spaces, cobbled streets, vineyard views and accommodation worth travelling for. We’re sharing the top must-visit locations (there’s that phrase again), and places to discover what Lonely Planet fell head over heels for.

And locals, we’re not forgetting you. You’ve got weekends to fill and family and friends to entertain. We’re sharing the must-see spots to take them, the best of the fests and accommodation that may even tempt you off for a little weekend away.

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The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Kent

Kent is also referred to as “The Garden of England” because it has so many fantastic natural landscapes, beautiful beaches, dramatic cliffs, historical castles, charming towns and so much more.

Last summer I went on a long weekend solo road trip to Kent, and since then I keep dreaming about going back. Whilst I only had time to touch upon some of the few beautiful places to visit in Kent, it was enough to make me want to return for a longer stay.

Kent Downs AONB

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Kent Downs is an area of outstanding natural beauty, stretching from the Surrey Border to the White Cliffs of Dover and Folkestone.  There are so many things to do in Kent Downs AOB, especially if you are a nature lover. There are fantastic trails passing through woods which are covered in bluebells in springtime, over chalk cliffs and coastal beaches, through nature reserves renewed for the varieties of orchids growing here, and even glow worms.  There is a good chance that on one of these trails you will meet the local wildlife, such as deer, owls, or red kites.

70% of the woodland of Kent Downs AONB has been here since around 1600AD.

The villages in the Kent Downs AONB are great places to stop if you want to experience the local country life and its produce. The historical villages and churches in Kent Downs are a great alternative to the overcrowded Cotswolds , and make a nice break from the fast moving pace of London, or any big city.

The new Kent Experience Project is promoting sustainable tourism to the Kent Downs and the county itself, by connecting visitors with the tranquillity that nature offers, local small businesses and inspiring ethical activities.  

Kent Downs AONB is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kent.

Botany Bay on a clear day, with high white chalk cliffs with an arch at the end, and the sandy beach at the bottom.

Botany Bay is a national hidden gem, with one of the most beautiful sandy beaches near London . Located on the tip of the Isle of Thanet, between Margate and Ramsgate, Botany Bay is known for its beautiful white cliffs, which were the backdrop for many music videos and films, such as Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”.

There are plenty of things to do on a day trip to Botany Bay besides sunbathing and enjoying the gorgeous beach. During low tide a beautiful “path” appears between Botany Bay and Kingsgate Bay. This is the only time you can walk between the stacks of chalk cliffs, which become isolated once the water has gone.

The nearby Joss Bay, where it is highly recommended to park when you visit Botany Bay, is famous for its waves. Many people come here to learn how to surf or paddle board. Botany Bay is located along the Viking Coastal Trail, a circular 32 mile trail which can be either hiked or cycled.

If you are a golfer, the local golf club offers two 18 hole courses, with gorgeous views over the bay.

The White Cliffs of Dover

Cliffs of Dover

Of all the beautiful places to see in Kent, the White Cliffs of Dover are perhaps the most iconic.  Towering a mighty 350ft above sea level and extending 16 miles along the coast, these majestic chalk cliffs are a sight to behold.

The famous Dover cliffs have long been considered a symbol of hope and freedom in England.  With their strategic position on the coast of the English Channel and their impenetrable nature, they have witnessed many significant events.  From Stone Age Settlers to Roman invasions and the return of rescued soldiers during WW2, these spectacular chalk giants have been at the forefront of British history.

As well as a glimpse into the past, the White Cliffs of Dover offer a number of beautiful walks.  Traversing the chalk grasslands atop the cliffs, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views over the vibrant blue waters of the English Channel.  It is even possible to see France on a clear day. 

One of the most popular routes is the South Foreland Lighthouse trail.  This easy 4-mile return walk provides a scenic route to South Foreland Lighthouse from the National Trust car park.  Along this trail you’ll likely pass grazing Exmoor ponies and fields of wild flowers.  At the lighthouse you will find a quaint tea room offering an array of home baked goods and a nice cuppa to warm you up on the cooler days!

The White Cliffs of Dover also form part of many longer walks, including the England Coast Path (2795 miles), so there are also countless other trails on offer.  However, no matter which trail you take, you will be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking scenery on offer in England.

Hever Castle

By Claire from ClairePins Travels

Hever Castle

Hever Castle and Gardens is located around 30 miles south east of London, and this Tudor style castle surrounded by remarkable gardens offers several fun activities for a day out in the countryside.

This castle was most famously the home of Anne Boleyn in her childhood, and it was extensively restored in the early 1900s by William Waldorf Astor. Cross the moat to enter the castle and you can tour several wood panelled rooms which display historic furniture, various tapestries and antiques, and a notable collection of Tudor portraits.

The 125-acre grounds are centred around a lake, which is best viewed from the classically designed loggia structure located within the Italian sculpture garden. You can also admire 4000 rose bushes in the fragrant English Rose garden during peak season from June until September. Gardeners will appreciate seasonal highlights like the snowdrops from mid to late February, the daffodil bloom in March and the beautiful spring tulips in April.

If you like to get out on the water, rent a rowboat or paddleboat to explore the lake and get a closer look at the reconstructed Japanese tea house on the water’s edge. An alternative is a walk around the lake which takes around 1 hour, and is a favourite choice for bird watchers.

Families with children might enjoy finding their way out of the traditional yew maze or getting splashed by the stepping stone water maze, just be sure to bring a towel to dry off! Archery and shield painting are available during the peak summer holiday season, and there is a year-round castle themed playground and nature area to encourage imaginative fun for younger visitors.

Tip: Jousting tournament re-enactments take place throughout the summer, and advance booking is recommended.

Chiddingstone Castle

Chiddingstone Castle

Chiddingstone Castle is the perfect place to visit in Kent . It is one of many historical castles that are dotted around this county in South East England, but unlike its famous neighbours Leeds, Hever and Scotney castles, Chiddingstone is off the beaten track and therefore attracts less crowds.

Chiddingstone Castle started out as a manor house at the centre of the medieval village, and was remodelled in the 1800s to look like a castle, complete with turrets. The last owner, a collector of antiquities, filled the castle with artefacts from Egypt and Asia that can still be seen today. In fact, apart from the British Museum, Chiddingstone has the most important collection of Egyptian artefacts outside of Egypt.

The grounds surrounding the castle are delightful and the perfect place to enjoy a picnic, and spend time with friends and family. The grounds consist of a walled garden, lily-pad lake (fishing permitted with a permit), a small maze with views across the Kent Weald, and a woodland walk taking you to the Tudor village of Chiddingstone.

In the village, owned by the National Trust, you can see original Tudor framed houses and stop for refreshments in the 15th-century Castle Inn once frequented by Anne Boleyn’s father who owned the shop next door. Afterwards, walk a little further through the village passing the 17th-century church of St Mary’s to visit the Chiding Stone, said to be a place of worship by the Druids and the place from which the castle and village takes its name.

Leeds Castle

By Elina from Empnefsys & Travel

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in England. The large moat that surrounds it and its beautiful green spaces attract people from all over the country.

The castle is located close to Maidstone and near Leeds village. To get there by public transport you need to use one of the nearby stations, then either take the bus, or walk. The train and bus option involves making your way to Bearsted or Ashford stations, then taking the bus to Leeds Castle. The closest train station to walk there from (~30mins) is Hollingbourne.

Visitors to the castle have a variety of things to do, and can easily spend a day (or more) there. From castle exhibitions detailing the history of the place to falconry displays, to outdoor activities, there is something for the whole family.

Nature lovers can walk around the numerous gardens in the castle grounds, or take a boat tour around the castle’s moat. At the same time, wildlife lovers can try spotting some of the animals and birds that live there. Last but not least, adventure lovers can try the tee top adventure or go on a Segway tour.

If you want to have more time to explore this magnificent place, consider booking accommodation for a few nights on the castle’s grounds. There are holiday cottages, bed and breakfast and glamping options to choose from. Your stay becomes complete with afternoon tea and evening dinner at the castle’s restaurant.

Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle is a fantastic attraction to visit in Kent, and is an underrated castle and destination. It is located in Tunbridge Wells and is a magnificent example of a Victorian folly.

The estate is managed by the National Trust and features not one, but two castles. The “New” Castle was built in 1843 to replace the Old Castle that dates back to 1380. The owners went a step further and purposefully ruined the Old Castle in order to turn it into a folly and a feature within their expansive gardens.

The estate of Scotney Castle is a fantastic place to visit in Kent. Not only does it have the two castles to visit, with fantastic exhibits in the “New” Castle, it also has expansive gardens and land which can be explored. It’s perfect for a day out, or even a picnic, with the charming scenery and fairytale nature of the folly itself. With over 780 acres of land to explore across the entirety of the estate, there’s plenty to do and see at Scotney Castle.

A variety of events happen at the castle all year round.  In recent years the castle grounds also played host to theatre productions, most notably Shakesparian plays.

Tip: Why not pack a picnic and enjoy the view a bit longer? The fields, the woodlands, and the gardens all make a great spot for a picnic and a day out.

A view of the harbor in Whitstable on a beautiful sunny day, with clear blue sky.

Whitstable is a traditional fishing town that is famous for its annual oyster festival and fresh seafood. With its pastel-coloured shop fronts and cute beach huts, it’s a picture-perfect seaside town. Add to that a welcoming community feel and a strong cultural scene, and it’s easy to see why Whitstable is such a popular UK bucket list destination.

Stroll along the pebble beach while eating your ice cream and pick your favourite beach hut. Wander around the quaint town and peruse the various shopping outlets, including independent stores, quirky boutiques, and legendary charity shops. This beautiful seaside town in Kent has an arty side too, with a number of intriguing galleries.

In terms of food, you simply cannot leave without treating yourself to fish and chips on the beach. If you’re a fan of oysters then you’ll be spoilt for choice, with a plethora of fresh options available. There’s The Forge on the seafront, or The Whitstable Oyster Company for a more formal restaurant experience. Another appeal of the town is that Whitstable West Beach is one of the very few beaches in the UK with a pub. Called the Old Neptune, it is one of the most picturesque pints you’ll have!

Unsurprisingly, for such an appealing little town Whitstable can get extremely busy, especially during weekends, bank holidays and when the weather is hot. Try to avoid these peak times where possible, and you’ll find a calming seaside oasis.

Westgate and the Guildhall in Canterbury, England

If you’re planning a road trip to Kent, you need to include Canterbury in your itinerary.

This medieval city has one of the most famous (and beautiful) cathedrals in the UK, as well as more historical and religious buildings than you can possibly see in one visit.

Founded in 597 A.D, Canterbury began as a pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages. Now, it is the home of the Church of England and the city is full of important religious sites- which is why it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The biggest (in more ways than one) is Canterbury Cathedral, easy to spot from miles away, and well worth a visit to see inside. It’s a working Church, and is closed to visitors during services, so time your visit well.

If you want to see even older structures, head to St Augustine’s Abbey, which dates back to 613 AD!

For less religious, but no less historic offerings, make time to see the Westgate Towers, England’s largest medieval gateway, built around 640 years ago. You can also visit Eastbridge Hospital, the hospital of the Pilgrims, which dates back to 1190.

As well as all this incredible history, there are plenty more modern activities in Canterbury . The cobbled streets in the centre are lined with modern shops (and some unique boutiques), and there are plenty of pubs and restaurants to relax and unwind in.

margate-ck-travels

Margate is one of Britain’s most famous beach resorts, located on the north coast of Kent. This Victorian seaside town has had a recent hipster renaissance which draws many day trippers from London, and is sometimes referred to as ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’.

There are many things to do in Margate , and the main draw is the large sandy beach which gets packed with sunbathers on sunny summer weekends. However, one of the biggest attractions in town is the renovated retro theme park Dreamland, with its colourful fairground rides and roller disco. Built in 1870, it was lovingly restored with £25m of Heritage Lottery Funds and re-opened in 2015 after being closed for 15 years. In the summer months Dreamland also hosts festivals, gigs and other popular events.

Margate also has a growing arts scene and The Turner Contemporary art gallery is a recent addition to the town, with a combination of permanent and temporary exhibitions (and free entry).

The busy main strip that runs parallel to the beach is filled with numerous ice cream and fish and chips shops and amusement arcades, but if you head further inland you’ll find a charming town centre with narrow streets. Here you’ll find a number of vintage shops selling retro clothes, furniture and homewares, plus many cute independent cafes and boutique B&Bs.

Ramsgate

Ramsgate is a coastal town, with a famous harbour, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Kent. Ramsgate Harbour or Royal Harbour, Ramsgate serves smaller working and pleasure crafts. It was opened in 1850 and has some fine Victorian architecture including a clock tower, harbour buildings, port offices and light houses. It has seen a lot of history including what must be its finest hour, as a staging post for the Little Ships of Dunkirk. In 1940, during the Second World War, about 850 private boats sailed from Ramsgate to Dunkirk in northern France (26 May and 4 June) as part of Operation Dynamo. Their selfless action helped to rescue more than 336,000 British and Allied soldiers who were surrounded on the beaches at Dunkirk. The Sundowner is one of those little ships and can still be visited at Ramsgate harbour. Surrounding the harbour are some lovely cafes and restaurants, including the Little Ships Restaurant and Café.

Close to the harbour are the Ramsgate Tunnels, a wartime complex of tunnels that formed an effective air raid shelter for the town’s population in WWII. The tunnels were initially born from the disused Ramsgate Cliff Railway. The restructuring of railway lines in Ramsgate in 1926, led to the line between Broadstairs and Ramsgate Harbour, including a tunnel to the seafront at Ramsgate, forming an independent line. Except for two stations at each end of the tunnel, the line was underground. It was open for three years before being converted to a major air-raid shelter during World War II. The complex runs under the town through the limestone cliffs and during wartime service, provided protection for some 60,000 people.

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10 thoughts on “ The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Kent ”

I was Today-Years-Old when I found out that there is a Botany Bay in Kent. I thought there was only one in Sydney. There’s a face palm moment…

Kent is so beautiful. I had no idea England had beaches like Botany Bay! Definitely want to visit!

All those castles are calling. Yet I’d probably be Whitstable eating seafood or at one of the beaches looking for a boat to rent. A fine post indeed.

Kent looks like an absolutely beautiful location!! Thank you so much for sharing all the amazing spots to check out! Pinning and saving this for when the world opens up again and we can travel!

Kent is definitely on my list, post pandemic. I’ll save this for reference!

Cool fact about the woodlands being there since 1600 AD. I love reading about all the history and secret places to visit in the UK.

So so dreamy all these castles make me want to visit. Thanks for sharing

Great compilation! I haven’t had the chance to visit Kent. Didn’t realize it has so much to offer. And yet, most visitors to the UK (including myself) only go to London.

Hy! very nice post! beautiful photos and lots of useful information. I hope I will visit it soon regards from Croatia

I had heard about the castles and greenery in Kent (which is beautiful!) but I had no idea about Botany Bay! What a great surprise, and an amazing looking beach!

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Top 10 kent seaside towns to visit from london by train.

Discover the best Kent seaside towns that are easy to visit as a day trip by train from London.

Kent’s coastal towns have been beloved of Londoners escaping the Big Smoke for at least 250 years, drawn to their clean air and sandy beaches.

This cliff-lined coastline in southeast England, stretching from the Isle of Sheppey and Whitstable in the north to the wetlands of Romney Marsh in the south, offers 200km of golden sand. It is perfect for a UK staycation, weekend break or a day trip from London.

blue-and-white-beach-huts-in-a-seaside-town-in-kent

Whether you are yearning to eat local ice cream on a sandy beach, seeking cutting-edge art and culture, want to walk part of the Saxon Shore Way or sample the freshest seafood, here are the best Kent seaside towns. Better still, all of these coastal towns are an easy day trip by train from London.

Some articles on this website contain affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases . Read the full disclosure here .

Kent Coastal Towns: Map

To help you navigate the Kent coastline, here is a map that signposts these coastal towns in Kent, from Whitstable in the north to Dymchurch in the south. 

map-of-best-seaside-towns-in-kent-

It is also possible to walk between many of these towns; for example, I highly recommend walking between Margate and Ramsgate or between Dover and Deal. Many of these towns are on the Saxon Shore Way , a 153-mile long-distance path from Gravesend to Hastings. 

sandy-beach-against-a-cliff-face-with-limestone-arch-in-kent

Best Kent Seaside Towns to Visit as Day Trips from London

Known for its trendy vibe, fresh seafood and vibrant cultural scene, Whitstable has increased in popularity with Londoners in recent years. It can feel a little like Islington-on-Sea on a busy summer weekend.

Whitstable is all about seafood, particularly oysters. The town’s working harbour, dotted with fishing boats and wooden huts, means oysters are plentiful and inexpensive, celebrated every July at the  Oyster Festival.

When you have feasted on shellfish, browse Whitstable’s  art galleries  and independent shops that line its narrow lanes or take a stroll along its pebble shore, lined with  colourful beach huts .

  • Direct trains to Whitstable leave London St Pancras International or London Victoria; the journey time is 1 hour 20 minutes.
  • There are also slightly cheaper, slightly slower, indirect services to Whitstable from both stations.

Four miles east of Whitstable is the Victorian seaside town of Herne Bay, home to some of the most  psychedelic beach huts  in Kent.

Start your day by visiting Herne Bay’s  Seaside Museum . Borne out of the passion of a local amateur archaeologist, this small museum provides a fascinating insight into the history of the area.

Next, take a walk or bike ride to the local landmark of  Reculver Towers , the towers of a 12th-century monastic church, and the Roman fort. Alternatively, take a shorter walk to the end of  Neptune’s Arm , the former sea defence jutting out from Herne Bay beach,

Why not end your day in Herne Bay by riding the helter-skelter at the end of the town’s pier? Just make sure that you have your fish and chips after the ride.

  • Direct trains leave London St Pancras International or London Victoria; the journey time is 1 hour 25 minutes.
  • There are also slightly cheaper, slightly slower, indirect services from both stations to Herne Bay.

Continuing east along the Kent coast, we reach the traditional bucket-and-spade resort of Margate.

Back in the day, Margate didn’t have a great reputation. This once-booming Kent seaside resort – I remember day trips to Margate from London as a kid in the late 1960s – was hammered by the recession of the 1970s and fell into decline.

However, with the arrival of high-end art venues and the multi-million-pound revival of  Dreamland , the town’s iconic amusement park, Margate’s fortunes have reversed, so much so that it has earned the moniker of Shoreditch-by-Sea.

But, for me, Margate’s sandy beaches, are its main draw. What I also like about Margate is that, for all its recent hipness, hasn’t lost its bucket-and-spade appeal.

Yes. You can browse its vintage shops and check out the latest cutting-edge exhibitions in the  Turner Contemporary . But you can still go home with a stick of rock in your bag. 

antony gormley statue pf man in sea at margate one of the best kent coast towns

  • Direct trains leave London St Pancras International; the fastest journey time is 1hr 30 minutes.
  • Alternatively, there is a slightly slower, slightly cheaper direct service from London Victoria to Margate, which takes 1 hour 45 minutes.

Broadstairs

row of brightly painted beach huts on a sandy beach

Neighbouring Broadstairs is an often overlooked delight, offering scenery, culture and history and one small but perfectly formed package. 

Horseshoe-shaped Viking Bay, Broadstairs’ sheltered sandy beach, is one of the best in the southeast. There are also plenty of candy-coloured Instaworthy beach huts towards which to point your camera lens.

Charles Dickens  was a frequent visitor to Broadstairs – Rochester , another of his Kent residences is also worth a visit – and there are plenty of connections to the author.

The  Dickens House Museum , for example, celebrates his links to town and was once home to the woman who inspired the character of Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. Or Bleak House, a bed and breakfast named after one of Dickens’ most popular novels.

Broadstairs also hosts the annual  Dickens Festival  each June.

  • Direct trains leave London St Pancras International; the fastest journey time is 1 hour 25 minutes.
  • Alternatively, there is a slightly slower, slightly cheaper direct service from London Victoria to Broadstairs, which takes 1 hour 50 minutes.

small-boats-in-ramsgate-harbour-kent

Are you looking for somewhere to park your yacht? Underrated Ramsgate, on the other side of Broadstairs to Margate, is home to one of the largest marinas on the south coast and is the only designated Royal Harbour in the UK.

Like its neighbours, it also boasts a fine sandy beach, a pier and no shortage of cafes and restaurants.

Architecture buffs won’t go home disappointed.

The Grange , the home built and lived in by  Augustus Pugin,  the architect responsible for ‘Big Ben’ and the interior of the Houses of Parliament, is in town.  Pugin was buried next door at another one of his creations,  St Augustine’s  where you’ll also find the shrine of St Augustine of England.

For something a  little different, take a  guided tour of  Ramsgate Tunnels ,  a subterranean network that was home to 1,000 people during World War II. To learn more about the town’s maritime heritage, visit  Ramsgate Maritime Museum .

  • Direct trains leave London St Pancras International; the fastest journey time is 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Alternatively, there is a slightly slower, slightly cheaper direct service from London Victoria to Broadstairs, which takes 1 hour 55 minutes.

A blue bicycle leaning against a house in Sandwich Kent

Whilst Sandwich Bay will never win any ‘Best Beach’ award, the medieval town of Sandwich, just under three miles to the east, is a worthy addition to this list of best Kent seaside towns.

Once a thriving port, Sandwich has played host to some illustrious visitors, including King Charles II and Queen Elizabeth I. Step back in time by wandering its streets lined with half-timbered houses, stopping at the Sandwich  Guildhall , the ancient  Churches of St. Mary’s, St. Clements, St. Bartholomew’s, St. Peters  and the  United Reformed Church

To get the best out of your day in Sandwich, download the  Historic Town Trail leaflet and map  to discover the history behind the town. Or for a more relaxed day out, take a boat trip along the River Stour to visit  Richborough Roman Fort.

  • The fastest service leaves London St Pancras International and takes 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • There is also a slower direct service from London Charing Cross to Sandwich, which takes 2 hours 18 minutes.

deal kent

So what’s the deal with Deal? Whilst thinking of Deal as Whitstable without the crowds is doing this buzzy Kent seaside town a disservice, it’s a fair summary.

Combine a pretty pebble beach with handsome Georgian houses and a thriving food and cultural scene, and you have the measure of the place.

However, Deal hasn’t sold its soul to hipster heaven. It retains that traditional English seaside feel, with its amusement arcades and fish ‘n chip shops, albeit in a restrained fashion.

Learn more about Deal’s rich maritime history by paying a visit to the  Deal Maritime & Local History Museum   or  Walmer Castle , which dates from Tudor times.

  • The fastest service leaves London St Pancras International and takes 1 hour 23 minutes.
  • Alternatively, there is a slower direct service from London Charing Cross to Deal, which takes 2 hours 11 minutes.

dover kent

I’ll be honest. The port town of Dover is not the most attractive seaside town in Kent. However, it has a rich history and offers some of the best walking in southeast England.

Taking pride of place atop those iconic white cliffs is  Dover Castle , complete with medieval tunnels and an underground hospital. Dating from the 12 th  Century, it has played a key defensive role for over 800 years.

Have you seen the movie  Dunkirk ? It was from Dover Castle that the evacuation of Dunkirk was planned.

Or if Roman history is more your thing, visit the  Roman Painted House . These are five rooms of a Roman hotel dating from 200AD and feature large areas of murals. 

However, for me, the biggest attraction of Dover is the opportunity to take a walk along the top of those white cliffs, with views across the English Channel to France.

Head out past the port to pick up the cliffside coastal path that winds its way to the South Foreland Lighthouse, the first to use an electrically powered signal, in the village of  St Margaret’s Bay.

Or if you want to stretch your legs and breathe in lungfuls of sea air, the cliffside walk will take you all the way to Deal. Two Kent seaside towns in one day can’t be bad.

  • Direct trains for Dover Priory leave London St Pancras International; the fastest journey time is just over 1 hour.
  • Alternatively, there is a slightly cheaper service from London Charing Cross to Dover. However, the journey time is 1 hour 50 minutes.

brightly painted shopfronts on a narrow street in folkestone in kent

Poor old Folkestone is often overlooked in favour of its Kentish seaside neighbours but ignore it at your peril.

Whilst it may not have the visual charm of some of its Kentish neighbours, it does have authenticity in spades. You won’t see the gentrification or second-home-for-Londoners vibe of Whitstable or Margate here. Instead, this is very much a local’s town.

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Folkestone doesn’t have a cultural heart. Far from it.

Folkestone Artworks  is the largest urban outdoor collection of contemporary art in the UK. The town’s burgeoning art scene is also evident in its Creative Quarter, home to galleries, artists’ studios and performance spaces.

Take a stroll along  The Leas , the town’s clifftop promenade overlooking the sandy beach landscaped in Victorian times, at the height of Folkestone’s popularity.

Transport fans will love the Leas Lift, a funicular railway connecting the seafront to The Leas promenade.

Alternatively, walk along  Folkestone Harbour Arm , a former railway track jutting out into the sea, that has been brought back to life as a public space with plenty of restaurants and bars.

History buffs won’t go home feeling short-changed. A few miles from Folkestone is the  Kent Battle of Britain Museum , housing the best collection of Battle of Britain memorabilia in the UK, including dozens of aircraft.

  • Direct trains leave London St Pancras International, reaching Folkestone Central in just over 50 minutes.
  • Alternatively, there is a slightly cheaper service from London Charing Cross to Folkestone. However, the journey time is just over 1 hour 40 minutes.

Just under ten miles from Folkestone is Dymchurch, an often overlooked Kent coastal village on the edge of the Romney Marshes. Except for rail enthusiasts, that is.

The  Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway   (RH&DR) is a light railway connecting nearby Hythe and Dungeness. But these are no ordinary trains, using miniature steam trains from the 1920s and 1930s to haul vintage coaches from the same era.

Dymchurch is also home to an amusement park located close to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway. And as it is well served by cafes and bars, you won’t go hungry.

Its blue flag sandy beach stretches for three miles, and when the tide is out it is ideal bucket-and-spade territory. A seafront promenade connects Dymchurch with St Mary’s Bay, a mile to the south.

  • From Folkestone Bus Station, take the 102 bus service. Buses run every 30 minutes and you can check the timetable here . The journey time is 35 minutes

Tips for Getting from London to Kent by Train

  • As many Londoners do not own a car (including myself), expect services to be much busier at the weekend, especially to popular destinations like Whitstable and Margate. To avoid the crowds, if possible try to visit on a weekday.
  • However, rail improvement works tend to take place on a weekend, particularly on Sundays. Therefore check for  travel disruptions  before you set out. Trust me, a rail replacement bus is not a joy.
  • Rail travel in England can be expensive but buying your ticket in advance will often save you money. For example, if I wanted to travel to Dover tomorrow, a return ticket for the faster service would cost me £37. However, the same ticket booked for two weeks time is only £14.
  • Consider booking two one-way tickets instead of a return ticket as this can sometimes be cheaper. 

>>> CLICK HERE TO CHECK TRAIN TIMES & FARE TO KENT COASTAL TOWNS

DISCOVER OTHER GREAT DAY TRIPS FROM LONDON!

  • 30 Best Day Trips from London By Train
  • Rye & Camber Sands: An Easy Day Trip from London
  • With a Hey Nonny Nonny: Morris Dancing in Rochester, Kent

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About Bridget

Bridget Coleman is a Londoner who has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at [email protected] or follow her on social media.

6 thoughts on “ Top 10 Kent Seaside Towns to Visit from London by Train ”

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CAN YOU PLEASE SPELL “ FOLKESTONE “CORRECTLY In your article the “ E “ has been left out in a lot of instances not a good advert .

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All done. Thank you for taking the time to let me know.

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Great that our towns are appreciated, but we are in Tier 4 and should not be making unnecessary travel, so perhaps encourage people to visit these places once we are in a more relaxed time.

Of course. That’s why I’ve included a cautionary note at the top of the post. And I wouldn’t dream of encouraging people to visit by promoting this post on social media during these difficult times. Keep safe.

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Having visited all of these places and lived in one, I would only recommend Hearne Bay, Sandwich, Broadstairs and Folkestone. Whitstable overated; Dover abysmal.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Good to get further views! Agree that Dover isn’t the most appealing Kent town but the walk from there to Deal is one of my favourites. I do like Whitstable but it is blighted by the number of visitors.

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The most beautiful places in Kent: See our 10 favourites here

By Toby Skinner

10 of the most beautiful places in Kent

Kent is a real all-rounder – a place of on-the-up, foodie-friendly seaside hangouts, but also ancient woodlands, wineries and medieval market towns, with a county-wide obsession with provenance. While Londoners often assume that you have to head for East Anglia or the Southwest for really wild beaches, or to the Cotswolds for the perfect village pub, Kent has excellent versions closer to hand. Here are 10 of its most beautiful spots.

Dungeness     It isnt really gardenofEngland pretty  a windsnarled promontory on the edge of the Romney Marsh with a...

It isn’t really garden-of- England pretty – a wind-snarled promontory on the edge of the Romney Marsh, with a hulking nuclear power station and a series of weather-beaten dwellings and old boats that seem to have been left to decay on the shingle. But for wildlife and a certain brooding atmosphere, there are few places like it: a nature reserve home to uncommon plants, insects and migratory birds, Dungeness has also fostered a sort of knockabout creativity, from the house and garden of the late Derek Jarman to new design-focused stays such as The Pump Station and Shingle House.

Chilham     On the Kent Downs west of Canterbury Chilham is olde England at its most chocolate boxy  so much so that...

On the Kent Downs west of Canterbury , Chilham is olde England at its most chocolate boxy – so much so that Miss Marple and Jane Austen’s Emma have been among the fictional characters to have their close-ups among its half-timbered medieval buildings. This is a village for afternoon tea at Shelly’s Tea Rooms, or a burger and a pint at the 14th-century White Horse inn – which is positively contemporary compared to the Norman keep at nearby Chilham Castle, built for Henry II in 1174.

Botany Bay     Arguably the most stunning portion of the MargateBroadstairs area is the coastline between the two towns ...

Arguably the most stunning portion of the Margate- Broadstairs area is the coastline between the two towns – especially the thrillingly wild Botany Bay, backed by cliffs, with its stacks, picnic-ready caves, fossil-hunter’s rockpools and wide stretches of sand strewn with crumbly chalk. So named because smugglers caught here were deported to the Australian version, it’s best explored on a walk or cycle from Margate , also taking in the similarly lovely Kingsgate Bay and surf-friendly Joss Bay on the way to Broadstairs – and ideally fritto misto in a cone from harbourside seafood counter Flotsam & Jetsam.

Fordwich     Its claim to fame is that it is Britains smallest town but this spot west of Canterbury is also one of the...

Its claim to fame is that it is Britain’s smallest town, but this spot west of Canterbury is also one of the prettiest in Kent. With its winding alleyways and bridge over a particularly lush portion of the River Stour, Fordwich also has that most crucial ingredient: a good pub. A few years ago, the wood-panelled riverside Fordwich Arms was taken over by Daniel and Natasha Smith, alums of Shoreditch’s Clove Club who have already earned the place its own Michelin star on the back of theatrical dishes such as duck hearts served in a bell jar of Kentish applewood smoke.

Eastwell Manor     Kent has some lovely castles and stately homes  from Leeds Castle surrounded by a lake to the...

Eastwell Manor

Kent has some lovely castles and stately homes – from Leeds Castle, surrounded by a lake, to the fairytale-worthy Scotney Castle amid 770 acres of woodland. But to stay the night, there are few grander spots in the county than Eastwell Manor, a Neo-Elizabethan manor house near Ashford where Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred lived in the late 19th century, roaming the topiaries and gazing over seemingly endless Kentish fields. Today, it’s a Champneys hotel and spa, with cottages in the grounds, a hydrotherapy spa, and croquet and pétanque among the civilised garden games.

Elmley Isle of Sheppey      The Elmley National Nature Reserve is barely an hour east of London but feels a world away...

Elmley, Isle of Sheppey

The Elmley National Nature Reserve is barely an hour east of London but feels a world away, with its shepherd’s huts overlooking bleakly beautiful salt marshes and mudflats on the low-lying Isle of Sheppey. The solar-powered 3,300-acre estate, an important breeding site for wading birds, is the only family-owned nature reserve in the UK and offers opportunities to stay overnight – either in a restored farmhouse building or one of the eco huts dotted around, such as the driftwood Saltbox, with hot-water bottles and Romney Marsh wool throws in case you’re chilly after an al fresco shower.

Port Lympne Nature Reserve     An overnight stay in a Kentish safari park sounds potentially purgatorial  but with more...

Port Lympne Nature Reserve

An overnight stay in a Kentish safari park sounds potentially purgatorial – but with more far-flung trips postponed this year, the Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve is well worth a visit, especially with kids . The reserve’s Western lowland gorillas, Eastern black rhinos and Chapman’s zebras live in a particularly bucolic corner of southern Kent, its forests and rolling fields impeccably managed by conservation charity The Aspinall Foundation. The hotel in the Grade II-listed Port Lympne House is surprisingly elegant, with understated safari vibes and cool additions such as the loft-style Lion Lodge, with actual lions eyeballing you through floor-to-ceiling windows. Next year, a 15th-century stately home on the reserve is set to open as the Giraffe Hall, with Rothschild giraffes peering into elegant drawing rooms.

Deal seafront     Kent has a lot of pretty oceanfronts including Whitstable and Broadstairs  but Deal is one of the more...

Deal seafront

Kent has a lot of pretty oceanfronts, including Whitstable and Broadstairs – but Deal is one of the more picture-perfect, with views from the county’s last remaining leisure pier back towards a great row of colourful fishermen’s cottages. There’s a cycle -friendly path right along the edge of the pebble beach , passing wooden fishing boats and nets – ideally followed by a pint at the planter-festooned King’s Head, or local seafood cooked the classic way at the Frog and Scot, whose owners (he’s French, she’s Scottish) also run the lovely Le Pinardier wine bar a few doors down the High Street.

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The Crab and Winkle Way     This 7.6mile bike path between Canterbury and Whitstable takes its name from the old railway...

The Crab and Winkle Way

This 7.6-mile bike path between Canterbury and Whitstable takes its name from the old railway line that ran between the two places and forms the basis for the route. From Canterbury, the mostly traffic-free track passes the Winding Pond picnic spot and meanders through Blean Woods, an ancient forest home to woodpeckers and rare heath fritillary butterflies, before climbing towards some of the prettiest views across Whitstable. In the seaside town, crab-walk through Squeeze Gut Alley for oysters at the Whitstable Oyster Company, best eaten on the pebble beach.

St Margarets Bay     Bond author Ian Fleming had country homes across England but his first was the whitewashed White...

St Margaret’s Bay

Bond author Ian Fleming had country homes across England, but his first was the whitewashed White Cliffs Cottage at St Margaret’s Bay, east of Dover – known as ‘the first house in England’, because St Margaret’s Bay is the closest point in the UK to France (Channel swimmers leave from here, and mobile phones often think they’re in France). It’s not hard to see why Fleming chose this spot, a crescent of beach surrounded by some of the most dramatic of the cliffs. While the Coastguard pub isn’t quite as good these days under new pubco ownership, it’s still a lovely place for a pint while watching the ferries roll in.

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Home » Travel Guides » United Kingdom » England » 15 Best Places to Visit in Kent (England)

15 Best Places to Visit in Kent (England)

In the far southeast of England , you could say there are two Kents.

There’s the soft rural Kent of posh towns, National Trust houses and quaint villages, and then coastal Kent, fortified to defend the entranceway to England but also adapted for seaside fun in the 19th century.

In rural Kent, the county lives up to its nickname the “Garden of England” for its verdant countryside of hop farms and orchards, and florid villages with pastoral scenes of duck ponds, pubs, village greens and Norman churches.

Something in the Kent countryside that you won’t see anywhere else are “oast houses”, barns and houses on hop farms with conical roofs capped by a white vent to draw in air and dry the hops that would be stored on the upper floor.

Lets explore the best places to visit in Kent :

1. Canterbury

Canterbury

As beautiful as it is significant, Canterbury is a university crammed with history.

It is the seat of the British Isles’ first diocese, founded in the 6th century.

The Archbishop of Canterbury remains one of the most influential public figures in England.

The magnificent Norman and gothic cathedral is the showpiece of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was the scene of one of the pivotal moments in English medieval history: The murder of the Archbishop Thomas Beckett by supporters of King Henry II at the altar in 1170. There’s much to keep you enthralled in Canterbury, whether it’s Roman mosaics, the ruins of the castle and abbey, the city walls or the bulky Westgate, the biggest medieval city gate in England.

Dover Castle

This town has always been the entranceway to the British Isles from continental Europe, and is the main ferry port for crossings from France and Belgium.

Approaching from the water, the first thing you see are those exalted white chalk cliffs.

On land you can take a memorable walk along the grassy cliff-tops, on a route that will get you to Kingsdown eight miles away.

As the closest port to France, the town needed to be fortified, and Dover Castle took its current form in the 12th century, during the reign of Henry II. There’s an overwhelming amount of history on this site from the Roman Lighthouse (one of England’s oldest buildings), to the 18th century artillery emplacements and the secret Second World War tunnels.

3. Ramsgate

Ramsgate

As with six other beaches within a brief drive, Ramsgate Sands is a Blue Flag beach traced by a promenade and cliffs.

When the weather’s good there’s all the nostalgic treats of an English seaside resort, and in winter and autumn it’s a brooding scene for invigorating walks.

Ramsgate has the distinction of being the only Royal Harbour, and this is best seen from the long piers that protect it from the open sea and give it an almost-Mediterranean accent on the hottest days in summer.

Also a must is a descent into the Ramsgate Tunnels, deep air-raid shelters dug for the Second World War and now open for tours.

4. Broadstairs

Broadstairs

With the advent of steam power and railways in the 19th century Londoners were able to get to Broadstairs in a matter of hours, and they came for the sea air and seven bays of inviting golden sand.

Charles Dickens chose Broadstairs for his holidays and wrote David Copperfield at Bleak House on the cliff above Viking Bay and with views of the North Foreland chalk headland.

On sunny days Broadstairs is still the Thanet’s best option for a day at the seaside, thanks to its historic high street with independent shops and the retro charm of old-school holiday amenities like beach huts, a bandstand and 50s-style ice cream parlours.

5. Sandwich

Sandwich

Like Dover, Sandwich was one of the Cinque Ports, a confederation of five medieval towns on the Kent and Sussex coast that cooperated for trade and defence.

And there are lots of hints about Sandwich’s history around the town today, like gates from the old town fortifications, two stunning almshouses and a handful of pubs that have been serving customers for hundreds of years.

Rural ways of life in days gone by are explained at the White Mill, a windmill built in the 1700s and fully restored.

And a few minutes outside the town is Richborough Castle, a ruined but compelling Roman and Saxon fortress and the mooted landing site for the Claudian Invasion in AD 43.

6. Rochester

View from Rochester Castle

If you’re familiar with the early chapters of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations then you’ll feel like you’ve read about the muddy Medway River, even if the author never mentioned it by name.

Dickens grew up close by in Chatham and moved back to Gad’s Hill Place, a mansion just outside Rochester later in life, where he passed away.

But Rochester has more going for it; the castle has a 12th-century keep with walls and towers that are almost complete despite their great age.

It’s a breathtaking sight, equalled by the Norman and Gothic Rochester Cathedral, which was built in the 11th century but is the seat of a diocese that goes right back to 604, making it the second-oldest in England after Canterbury.

Chatham Historic Dockyard

Around a meander in the Medway, Chatham is a town soaked with naval history.

From 1567 to the 1980s the Royal Navy Dockyard was here, and is now conserved as the Chatham Historic Dockyard.

If you’re inspired by the age of sail the dockyard will blow your mind, not just because of heritage ships that you can board, like HMS Gannet, but for facilities such as the Grade I-listed ropery, a 364-metre-long building that still produces rope commercially.

A nice complement to the dockyard is Fort Amherst, constructed in 1756 to protect the dockyard in case of a French invasion.

8. Royal Tunbridge Wells

Royal Tunbridge Wells

In the High Weald, a long ridge of craggy sandstone, Royal Tunbridge Wells is a moneyed town welcoming wealthy guests and residents since the 1600s, when they first arrived for the curative waters.

That sandstone geology is clear in the strange rock formations, Wellington Rocks on Tunbridge Common, and the sheer High Rocks just outside the town.

There are gardens in distinguished estates to idle in, like the house-less Dunorlan Park, Calverly Grounds and Scotney Castle, all as stately as you’d hope.

The local landscapes are out of a picture book,  all hop farms, duck ponds, village greens, pub gardens and oast houses.

9. Sevenoaks

Knole House

Just outside the M25, Sevenoaks is Kent’s first tourist destination for people travelling from London, and in turn has many residents who work in London.

Right in the north downs the local countryside is dappled with pretty villages like Otford and Shoreham, and the abundance of woodland gives you plenty of choices for walks.

But the main landmark is Knole House, a National Trust property and one of England’s most revered stately homes.

It’s a marvellous gabled 15th and 16th century building in four square kilometres of forest and open parkland where deer herds graze.

The house is huge considering its age, with more than 300 rooms and seven courtyards.

Deal, Kent

There’s much to love about the seafront at Deal, with rows of whitewashed cottages and grander, flat-fronted houses from the 17th and 18th century.

You can cut down little lanes with old gaslights and find English seaside staples like chippies and shops selling rock candy.

There’s also military history in the town, at Deal Castle, a Tudor 16th-century artillery fort with 66 firing positions and a low profile to make it less of a target.

Walmer Castle, further south has a similar outline and was built in the same period during the rule of Henry VIII. The pebble beach goes on for miles, running in front of the neighbouring towns of Walmer and Kingsdown, and has a belt of heathland behind where wild fennel grows by the beachfront track.

11. Whitstable

Whitstable

Whitstable is a seaside town full of character and with an authentic feel created by its fishing industry.

The local speciality is oysters, which have been harvested in the local waters for 2,000 years.

This activity took a bit of a hit in the post-war years, but has bounced back and is honoured every July at the Whitstable Oyster Festival.

Integral to any visit should be an amble around the working fishing harbour and market, and to get a table at one of the superb fish restaurants in the town.

Pebble beaches are also on either side of the harbour, and the Old Neptune that rare thing: A pub directly on the beach.

12. Folkestone

Folkestone

An offbeat relic from Folkestone’s seaside glory days is the Leas Lift, a short funicular railway transporting you from the seafront to the promenade atop the Leas cliff and installed in 1885. It’s a fixture of the town, and is maintained by a local non-profit organisation.

You can see as far as France from the Leas Promenade on a clear day, and the area at the bottom is the Lower Leas Coastal Park, including the beach with its colourful painted huts.

If you have a thing for Georgian and Victorian architecture you’ll adore Folkestone’s many whitewashed townhouses.

And the Creative Quarter is a quaint cobblestone street home to more than 100 artists, with galleries, studios and independent shops and cafes.

13. Aylesford

Aylesford

If for nothing else you should come this village outside Maidstone for the view from the south bank of the Medway, where the 14th-century bridge spans the river and is framed by rows of tall brick and timber houses and the tower of St.

Peter and Paul’s Church.

On the high street you’ll pass medieval almshouses and the beautiful George House, which was once an inn serving horse-drawn coach travellers.

Aylesford Priory, also known as the Friars, is unique in that it is was bought back by the Carmelites in the 1940s, 400 years after the  monasteries were dissolved.

The peaceful grounds are free and always open, and you can also have tea and cake at the tearooms seven days a week.

14. Tenterden

Tenterden

A well to-do country town, Tenterden is a pretty slice of rural England, with a medieval church, a sweet little high street, old pubs, and is even on the Kent & East Sussex steam railway.

In the vicinity you can go for a tour at a brewery or cider press and even see a winery in action.

In the village of Small Hythe, close to Tenterden  is Smallhythe Place, a charming 15th or 16th-century half-timbered house.

The property is now managed by the National Trust and was home to the Victorian actor Ellen Terry for almost 30 years.

Some of her possession are shown inside, like a letter from Oscar Wilde, a monocle belonging to Sir Arthur Sullivan and stage costumes from her career.

15. Ashford

Ashford

At the centre of the county, people come to Ashford from the villages and towns around for its shopping.

The Ashford Designer Outlet is probably the most famous destination here, with big reductions on luxury fashion brands.

Ashford is also at a nexus point between England and France, as this is the last stop for the Eurostar before it crosses the channel or terminates in London at St. Pancras.

Minutes from Ashford  you have the sublime Godinton House, a gabled Jacobean stately home in flower gardens and with a treasured collection of porcelain.

And for walks, the Kent Downs are just north of Ashford, and you can easily get onto long distance paths like the Stour Valley Walk and the North Downs Way.

15 Best Places to Visit in Kent (England):

  • Broadstairs
  • Royal Tunbridge Wells

7 of Kent's most beautiful villages that are perfect for a daytrip this summer

We listed below villages you must visit this summer.

  • 14:54, 26 JUN 2023

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It is an undeniable fact that Kent has some of the most picturesque villages in the country. From medieval architecture to extravagant castles, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you like a quiet ramble through the rolling hills of the Kent Downs or going on a peaceful ride to explore more grounds, Kent has it all. The summer season is by far the best time to discover new places in your area.

With temperatures rising, here are just a handful that are perfect for a day trip.

READ MORE: Kent's stunning and unspoiled 'gem of a bay' which is the 'go-to getaway'

kent coast places to visit

Surrounded by farmland, ancient woodlands and low grasslands, the village located just a few miles south of Dartford looks like a real-life postcard.

People from all across the country come to visit the Ford at Riverside, Eynsford Castle, Lullingstone Roman Villa and Lullingstone Castle. The ruins of Eynsford Castle, which is managed by English Heritage and is free to visit, are just off the High Street.

kent coast places to visit

The village is located along the hillside of the Kent Downs, making it the perfect place for those loving the great outdoors. There are numerous nature trails and an abundance of flora and wildlife.

Chiddingstone

kent coast places to visit

One of the oldest villages in Kent, Chiddingstone is a National Trust site. Considered as one of the best preserved Tudor villages in the country, the village has some well-preserved historic buildings, cobbled pavements a d its narrow main street.

The picturesque village is in the Sevenoaks district and is nestled near the River Eden.

Elham can be found in the Elham Valley and offers stunning views and walks across the Kent Downs

Located in the heart of the inspiring Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Beauty, the historic village of Elham is definitely one of the most picturesque in east Kent with its footpaths, bridle paths and cycle routes.

The village has a good range of amenities including tea rooms, primary school, doctor's surgery, two pubs, one containing a Post Office facility, two churches, a restaurant/coaching inn and thriving village hall, together with floodlit tennis courts.

Ightham Mote, Kent

The beautiful village of Ightham, located between Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, is famous for the nearby medieval manor of Ightham Mote.

Dating from around 1320, the building was described by Nicholas Pevsner as ‘the most complete small medieval manor house in the country’.

Penshurst Place and Gardens

This small unspoilt village in the beautiful countryside area known as The Weald of Kent, lies between two rivers and is famous for an ancestral home once owned by Henry VIII.

Cricket is still being played on one of England’s oldest pitches, and the village fete are still very much part of the community today.

Godmersham Park and the surrounding village are claimed to be the inspiration for one of Jane Austen's greatest works.

Godmersham is a village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent, England.

Jane Austen, the 18th-century novelist, often visited this village because of her brother, Edward Knight, who owned Godmersham Park.

There is also a 12th-century parish church and walk on the road leading to a beautiful 17th-century bridge, where you can take a lot of pretty photos and watch some fish and sheep playing around.

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Where to see northern lights Saturday night, what times they will be visible

A severe geomagnetic storm powered by five coronal ejections from the sun will result in a vivid aurora borealis. Here are some tips for seeing it this weekend.

kent coast places to visit

This article has been updated to include a recap of Friday’s aurora activity and Saturday’s forecast.

One of the strongest geomagnetic storms in two decades hit Earth on Friday afternoon, with more activity continuing through the weekend.

Friday’s storm already brought beautiful northern lights displays as far south as Mexico. It also disrupted some power grids and radio and GPS communications, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Geomagnetic storms occur when the sun sends a punch of charged particles and parts of its magnetic field to Earth, often through eruptions from its surface called coronal mass ejections. This severe geomagnetic storm — rated a Level 5 out of 5 — resulted from numerous coronal mass ejections this week, some of which are catching up with one another as they hurtle through space.

Forecasters said the sun has launched additional coronal mass ejections , which could extend geomagnetic activity and displays of the northern lights through this weekend and into early next week.

Both Saturday and Sunday nights could offer more celestial viewing, though early Sunday morning and Sunday evening could be more promising, with displays as far south as Friday night if forecasts hold.

Here’s what you need to know about your chances to see the aurora and threats to satellite systems.

Where are the best places to see the northern lights this weekend?

The northern lights appeared unusually far south in the Northern Hemisphere on Friday night. People snapped photos in Italy, southern Switzerland and India. In North America, people reported sightings in Florida, Southern California and even Mexico.

In the Southern Hemisphere, aurora were photographed in Chile , Argentina and New Zealand , where they are known as aurora australis or the southern lights. Activity was exceptionally strong Friday night to Saturday morning Eastern time, hitting a Level of 5 out of 5.

Current NOAA models show geomagnetic storm activity will initially be less intense Saturday night. By the pre-dawn hours Sunday, however, storm activity may increase markedly, offering early risers a memorable display of the northern lights, especially after around 4 a.m. Eastern. The exact timing of the increase in storminess is very uncertain, though.

If the storm activity reaches a Level 4 or 5 early Sunday, which NOAA indicates is possible, the northern lights may become visible again in most of the United States.

A secondary peak in the current solar storms appears likely... pic.twitter.com/WMlbGKNfaB — NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (@NWSSWPC) May 12, 2024

When the storm activity increases, the aurora will tend to be most vibrant in northern areas and will become more faint to the south — in some places only visible through cameras.

“Cellphones are much better than our eyes at capturing light,” Brent Gordon, chief of NOAA’s Space Weather Services Branch, said in a news conference Friday. “Just go out your back door and take a picture with a newer cellphone, and you’d be amazed at what you see in that picture versus what you see with your eyes.”

If severe to extreme geomagnetic storm activity (Levels 4 and 5) lasts into the evening Sunday, the northern lights may continue to be visible unusually far south for yet another night.

Will the aurora be blocked by clouds?

Even if geomagnetic activity is high, clouds can block out the light show. Unfortunately, considerable cloud cover will blanket the Northeast and south-central United States, although some gaps in the cloud canopy are probable. Clear skies are most likely over the Midwest, Southeast and Western United States.

If you are in a cloud-free area, make sure you find a dark sky location away from city lights.

What will the aurora look like near me?

Not all auroras look the same. Some are undulating bright green and purple curtains, and others are a diffuse red and orange glow. The colors and structure of the aurora appear differently depending on the latitude and altitude.

Auroras are created when solar particles and plasma temporarily disturb Earth’s magnetosphere. Some solar particles get trapped along Earth’s magnetic field lines into the upper atmosphere. Here, they excite nitrogen and oxygen molecules and release photons of light in different colors. Excited oxygen atoms shine red when they are more than 120 miles above the surface and glow green from 60 to 120 miles. Excited nitrogen atoms give off pink or purple hues below 120 miles.

Dancing green or purple auroras are typically seen at higher latitudes. Lower latitudes usually see more red auroras because red occurs at higher altitudes and can be seen further away from the poles. If you’re in the mid-latitudes (in Virginia or Arizona, for example), your aurora may appear more red than those in Canada or Finland.

Will this affect communications systems or the power grid?

A severe geomagnetic storm can cause issues with power systems, spacecraft operations, radio communications and even pipeline systems, if not appropriately prepared for.

“Our role is to alert the operators of these different systems so that they’re aware and can take actions to mitigate these kinds of impacts,” Rob Steenburgh, a space scientist at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, said at a news conference Friday.

Steenburgh and his colleagues work with grid operators across North America to ensure high-voltage transmission lines can withstand the incoming surge of energy from the sun. Over past decades, engineers have built systems that can protect power lines rapidly and keep them online during geomagnetic storms.

Geomagnetic storms can also affect satellite and radio communications, sometimes interfering with signals transmitted in our ionosphere. Anyone using high-frequency radio in the aurora viewing zone may experience some disruptions, said Shawn Dahl, service coordinator for the Space Weather Prediction Center. Under some circumstances, the influx of solar particles can cause low-Earth orbiting satellites to drag lower into the atmosphere.

For the most part, individuals should not be affected or take extra precautions beyond what they might for a typical severe weather storm. If a power outage does occur, people should make sure they have batteries, weather radio and a generator, if necessary.

“They don’t need to do anything out of the extraordinary, if they’ve already got these measures taken care of, because these events are very rare,” Dahl said.

Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

kent coast places to visit

Take an epic trip along the West Coast in 2024. Here are the top 10 places to visit now

(Lettering and animation by Jacky Sheridan/For The Times; video editing by Li Anne Liew/For The Times; Storyblocks)

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I couldn’t help it. In the course of scouting out great adventures for West Coast 101 — our new guide to essential destinations in Baja, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia — I found myself compiling a personal top 10.

I’ll get to that list shortly. But first, an honorable mention.

Even if you’ve never seen “The Big Lebowski,” you’ve probably heard someone mention the rug that tied Lebowski’s room together . Well, Harris Ranch does that for California.

This I-5 stop for food, gas, lodging and bathrooms (not necessarily in that order) might not make anyone’s bucket list. And I’ll admit that if the wind blows the wrong way, it smells like cattle. But if you’re driving north-south through the San Joaquin Valley, which just about every Californian does sooner or later, you’re going to need to stop somewhere.

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Bring this list on your adventures! Order L.A. Times’ new ‘101 Best West Coast Experiences’ zine here.

Harris Ranch faithfully awaits, 184 miles south of San Francisco and 200 miles north of L.A. City Hall, the pride of Coalinga. Over the years, I’ve pumped gas at its Shell station, slept in its comfortable hotel (no resort fee or room tax), conducted interviews in its Horseshoe Lounge, lingered over breakfast in its Ranch Kitchen (excellent) and grabbed a sandwich from its Express BBQ (adequate). I’ve even bought bonsai from Hyo Kim, who peddles delicately coiffed junipers, olive and pine trees ($25-$500) from a stand on the dirt shoulder across the street.

I’m not saying cattle ranches are good for the planet’s future — definitely not. But I’m just realizing that for about 45 years now, Harris Ranch has been the rug tying together my adventures in the vast living room that is our West Coast.

Your rug might be different. After all, these lists are subjective.

Of our 101 best West Coast experiences, these 10 resonate most for me. I’d recommend them to just about any California newbie and I’d grab at a chance to visit them again — some for basic beauty, others for the stories they tell or the memories they tie together.

Four photos of boulders, mountains, trees and a church with the words "let's go!" in front and a stamp in the corner.

Travel & Experiences

The 101 best West Coast experiences

Essential things to do, see and eat right now in California, Oregon, Washington, the Baja Peninsula and British Columbia. Ready to explore?

May 16, 2024

10. Rady Shell, San Diego

Symphony goers watch a performance of the San Diego Symphony at the Rady Shel.

I have a hard time imagining a more pleasant place to see an outdoor concert. Well, maybe the Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver. But on the West Coast? I’ll take this sleek bayside shell in downtown San Diego. And I’ll try not to be resentful that nobody thought of this while I lived down there.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park opened on San Diego's waterfront in August, 2021. The Shell is operated by the San Diego Symphony, which will play a summer season with various classical and pop guest performers. Photography courtesy of San Diego Symphony.

It’s like the Hollywood Bowl but with harbor views. 7 things to know about San Diego’s new music venue

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park is now in its first summer season. See a show and make a weekend out of it.

June 10, 2022

9. Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn in Santa Cruz, Calif., Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Santa Cruz, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023.

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn in Santa Cruz, Calif., Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Santa Cruz, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Nic Coury/For The Times) Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn in Santa Cruz, Calif., Tuesday, April 19, 2022. (Nic Coury/For The Times) Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn in Santa Cruz, Calif., Tuesday, April 19, 2022. (Nic Coury/For The Times)

Colorful typography saying Deetjen's

What are we going to do about Highway 1? Since that coast road was built on the slopes of Big Sur in the 1930s, we’ve treasured it. But as any acrophobe, geologist or engineer could tell you, those slopes crumble and slide relentlessly. Year after year, Caltrans moves mountains to keep that two-lane road navigable. Then comes another slide. Since January 2023 it’s been impossible to drive from San Simeon to Big Sur via the coastal route. (Caltrans announced partial reopening May 16. Check before you go. ) Whenever I worry about the highway, I think of Deetjen’s, which is basically a roadside time capsule clad in weathered wood. It opened about the time the highway did and won over generations of road-trippers with its rustic rooms and restaurant. Before Helmuth Deetjen died in 1972, he set up a nonprofit organization to keep the place running in old-school fashion. I’ve been stopping there since the 1980s. You have to call to make a reservation. And when you get there, you have to expect paper-thin walls along with the Norwegian woodwork, the crackle of the fireplace and the portrait of Deetjen on the wall. It’s a priceless place. And Nepenthe and the Henry Miller Memorial Library are just down the road. We just can’t take Deetjen’s or that road for granted.

Wrecked fishing boat, Estero Bluffs State Park, north of Cayucos.

12 secret stops on California’s iconic road to Big Sur

Even you’ve already done the most obvious attractions — Hearst Castle in San Simeon, for instance — why not spend more time exploring roadside nooks and ocean-adjacent crannies along Highway 1?

Oct. 20, 2022

8. Yosemite Valley

Bridalveil Fall and the Merced River Thursday, April 27, 2023, inside Yosemite National Park.

Does this need explaining? Probably not. If you’re arriving from the south, you emerge from the long, dark Wawona Tunnel to see El Capitan and Half Dome looming above a green, wet world of its own. Waterfalls roar left and right. The valley stretches for seven miles, framed by granite walls that Ansel Adams had to shoot and Alex Honnold had to climb. The Merced River meanders through. Even if you don’t have $600 to spend a night in the Ahwahnee Hotel, you can pop by for a snack, gaze up at painted rafters that go back to 1927 and warm yourself by one of the big fireplaces.

7. Venice Beach

Venice, CA - April 03: A man throughs a trick at the skate park at Venice Beach on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Venice, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Venice, CA - April 03: A man throughs a trick at the skate park at Venice Beach on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Venice, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times) (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times) Venice, CA - April 03: People enjoy a day at Venice Beach on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Venice, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times) (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times) Venice, CA - April 03: A man surfs at Venice Beach on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Venice, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times) (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Colorful typography saying Venice Beach

Yeah, I know. There’s plenty to lament in Venice. But when you hit that beach at the right time on the right day, it feels so emblematic of Southern California. On my last visit, the sun was just setting. My wife, Mary Frances, and I checked out the skateboarders, chatted with a few artists who were selling work along the sidewalk and did a double take at the Shul on the Beach (a.k.a. Pacific Jewish Center), an Orthodox synagogue where worshipers were just gathering for a Friday night Shabbat meal.

6. The whales of Baja’s lagoons

Tourists watch from a panga as a gray whale surfaces and spouts a misty jet of vapor at the Laguna Ojo de Liebre.

It’s one thing to watch migrating gray whales off the Southern California coast, standing at the rail of a big boat, looking for spouts in the distance and perhaps drawing within 100 yards. It’s something else when you’re in a panga on the waters of a southern Baja lagoon — usually Ojo de Liebre (Scammon’s) or San Ignacio. These immense creatures, the cows and and the calves, get so close sometimes, it feels intimate. And maybe a little scary. The adults weigh up to 90,000 pounds.

A drone photo of a car driving along a coastal highway.

Joshua Tree with beaches and taquerias? No, just an epic Baja road trip

On a drive down the Baja peninsula’s Highway 1, travel writer Christopher Reynolds finds baby whales, a pond to float in and a new generation of adventurers.

March 15, 2023

5. Ferry Building and waterfront San Francisco

The Ferry Building in San Francisco.

The Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, April 12, 2024. (Nic Coury / For The Times)

A couple hunts while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point in San Francisco.

A couple looks at the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point in San Francisco. (Nic Coury / For The Times)

Colorful typography saying Waterfront

I’m trying to think of a more successful architectural resurrection than San Francisco’s Ferry Building. And failing. Picture that 1898 waterfront building in the 1920s, when there was no Bay Bridge and no Golden Gate Bridge and up to 50,000 people per day were commuting by ferry. The Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street was the center of the Bay Area’s nervous system. Then the bridges went up, commuters abandoned the ferries, the building was rehabbed into ugly offices and decades passed. Finally, in the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, San Francisco leaders launched a plan to revive the building. It reopened in 2003 as a foodie-oriented restaurant and retail space, a thousand times more interesting to me than the souvenir shops of Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 (although at least you get the sight and sound of sea lions there). Apart from the food, it’s got great views of the Bay Bridge. (And with luck, that bridge’s nightly light show, which went dark last year, will resume in early 2025.) I think of the Ferry Building and the Golden Gate Bridge as the bookends of the waterfront.

4. Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park

A rock climber is seen at the Hidden Valley campground inside Joshua Tree National Park.

I’m not a rock climber or a boulderer. But I’m a sucker for sunrises and sunsets in the desert. And when that golden-hour light hits the jumbled boulders in Hidden Valley, it’s hard to resist.

A Joshua Tree with a price tag on it

27 of the coolest shops to bookmark for your next Joshua Tree trip

The high desert may have gone upscale, but don’t worry — it’s still funky.

March 9, 2022

3. Pike Place Market, Seattle

A view of Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.

This is always the first place I want to go in Seattle, a spot where people, colors, flavors and scents all come together. I walk past the mirrored bar of the Athenian restaurant, where my buddy Rick and I had beers in 1986, my first time in town. I go down below to make sure the bubble-gum wall is still in place. I mourn at the spot where the newsstand used to be. I kick myself for failing to buy an incredibly cool cigar-box guitar from the Soul Cat Guitar guy when I had the chance. (I thought I’d have another chance at his market stall when I visited in January, but he wasn’t there that day.) I listen to buskers and eat unhealthy snacks. I stick my head in the anarchist collective bookshop ( Left Bank Books ), which has somehow lasted 51 years. And like every other tourist, I linger near the fishmongers so I can see them flinging fish and hollering at each other.

2. Capilano Bridge Suspension Park, Vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Vancouver.

On my first visit, a few years ago, it was raining and the park was packed. I wondered if the bridge would be closed. Nope. Open, and prone to slightly jiggle as I stood 230 feet above the Capilano River, surrounded by tall trees and mist. When I returned in February, it was snowing, the park was nearly empty and the bridge was still open. The vibe was part “Twin Peaks,” part “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

1. Badwater in Death Valley

Mike "Mish" Shedlock kayaks the calm waters of Manly Lake at sunrise.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock kayaks the calm waters of Manly Lake at sunrise in Death Valley. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Park visitors kayak, paddle board and wade knee deep in Lake Manly in Badwater Basin. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Unique salt structures form in the Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park where water combines with the natural salt deposits at 282-feet below sea level, as seen in 2014. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Colorful typography saying Badwater

Badwater is hot and dry enough to kill you pretty quickly, but as long as you have water to drink, a little shade and a way out, you’ll probably live and have a story to tell. On my first visit, a summer day about 30 years ago, Death Valley was even hotter than usual, around 115 degrees. The power had gone out at our Furnace Creek hotel. Rather than crowd into the marginally cooler hotel pool with scores of young children (and their urine, most likely), I headed with my wife and friends for the vast, flat, salty, dry lake floor of Badwater with a Wiffle ball and bat. The game didn’t last long, but there are photos: Except for our 20th century leisurewear, we looked like biblical figures in the process of being turned to pillars of salt. So last year, when rains washed out roads, closed Death Valley National Park for months, refilled the lake bed and transformed the basin into a great big mirror, I was eager to get back there.

German visitors Klaus Meyer and Leo Fishcer at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park.

‘I’ve never seen anything like this’: Death Valley gleams with water, wildflowers and color

Two months after a storm that dropped a year’s rainfall in a single day, visitors to the national park are encountering a a strange place made stranger — and more majestic.

Oct. 20, 2023

Within days of the park’s reopening, I got to Badwater for sunrise and came back again at sunset. No Wiffle ball. Just the big sky, the mountains reflected in the lake and a handful of fellow travelers in silhouette at water’s edge. To those bold few who managed to kayak in Death Valley for the three winter weeks that it was possible, I envy you. I don’t know if I’ll ever see that lake again — as of May 1, it was just a few inches deep and shrinking fast — but now I have two layers of Badwater memories to carry with me.

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Born and raised in California, Christopher Reynolds has written about travel, the outdoors, arts and culture for the Los Angeles Times since 1990.

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FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2010 file photo, snow-covered Mount Fuji, Japan's highest peak at 3,776-meters tall (12,385 feet), is seen from an airplane window. Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails of the iconic Japanese Mount Fuji will now have to reserve ahead and pay a fee as the picturesque stratovolcano struggles with overtourism, littering and those who attempt rushed “bullet climbing,” putting lives at risk. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

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Sun glistens off a lake inside Sutter Buttes State Park. For the last two decades, this has been a California State Park that almost no one is allowed to visit. In 2003, California State Parks acquired property on the north side of the Sutter Buttes, which represents a unique resource within the State Park System. In 2003, California State Parks acquired property on the north side of the Sutter Buttes, which represents a unique resource within the State Park System.

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Garden tours, plants sales and more ways to spend time among flowers

Visit Maine's botanical gardens or get a sneak peek of what your neighbors are growing in their back yards.

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One of the loveliest ways to ease yourself fully out of the post-winter blahs and into springtime is to quit being a wallflower and instead surround yourself with living, blooming plants.

From botanical gardens to plant sales and garden tours, it’s time to make like the Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz” and while away the hours, conferring with flowers.

kent coast places to visit

The waterfall at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Photo by Tory Paxson, Courtesy of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

TOTALLY BOTANICAL

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay is open for the season, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Maine Days are May 31 to June 2, when anyone with a Maine driver’s license or state ID gets in for free. Ditto for dads/father figures on Father’s Day (June 16). Advance registration is required. With more than 300 acres of gardens and natural spaces, including a waterfall, there will be plenty to see, smell and bask in the scenery.

Here are more things to do in Boothbay

kent coast places to visit

A tour group walks on the boardwalk at Viles Arboretum in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Viles Arboretum is a botanical garden in Augusta with 6 miles of trails and more than 20 botanical collections. It’s open daily from sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. There are 224 acres with all sorts of flora and fauna to discover. Leashed dogs are welcome, and the visitor center is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Viles Arboretum offers medicinal plant walks, and although the May 18 session is full, you can still register for the June 15 and Sept. 14 events, lead by herbalist, homeopath and flower essence practitioner Debra Bluth. Tickets are $25. Advertisement

The Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve has four areas to explore on its property in Northeast Harbor: the Asticou Azelea Garden (dawn to dusk daily), the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden (noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from July 9 to Sept. 8, reservations required), Thuya Garden (dawn to dusk daily, June 15 to Oct. 14) and Little Long Pond Natural Lands (hiking trails and carriage roads open dawn to dusk daily). On June 26, at the Wildflowers of Little Long Pond event, participants can wander around the garden’s fields and forest, spotting wildflowers along the way while practicing how to identify them.

kent coast places to visit

Joyce Saltman, right, and Beth Anisbeck embrace a tree for 60 seconds during a tree hugging event sponsored by Portland Parks and Recreation, at Deering Oaks Park last year. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

TOURS AND MORE

2nd Annual Tree Hugging 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Deering Oaks Park, Portland. portlandmaine.gov The tree hugging is a family-friendly community gathering to celebrate Portland’s many trees. Park ranger Liz Collado will lead a sensory awakening and forest bathing session. Along with tree hugging, there will be a storytime, and you can touch a forestry truck and meet naturalist Noah Querido and Portland city arborist Mark Reiland. Just down the road, you’ll find Fessenden Park, on the corner of Brighton and Deering Avenues. The tulips have arrived, and it’s worth a visit to see them.

McLaughlin Garden Lilac Festival 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 24. McLaughlin Garden and Homestead, 97 Main St., South Paris, $5. mclaughlingardens.org You’ll find more than 125 varieties of lilacs at the McLaughlin Garden Lilac Festival. Explore on your own or take a guided tour led by a horticulturist. There will also be family-friendly activities, and you can shop for native and unusual plants.

4th annual Woodfords Community Garden Tour 1-4 p.m. June 8. Woodfords Corner Community in Back Cove, Deering Highlands, Oakdale and Deering Center, $20 suggested donation. woodfordscorner.org Presented by Friends of Woodfords Corner, this self-guided tour features at least 10 gardens. As you make your way down the list, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised by all of the hidden havens bursting with flowers, plants and impressive yardscaping elements.

Peony Society of Maine 23rd annual Garden Tour 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 8 and 15. Both tours start at 1348 Ohio St., Bangor, $5 donation. peonysocietyofmaine.net You’ll visit multiple gardens in Bangor, Winterport, Ripley and St. Albans, and your senses will be filled with countless peonies. A peony plant will be raffled off at the end of each tour. Advertisement

Hidden Gardens of Historic Bath 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 22. Sagadahoc Preservation Inc., 880 Washington St., Bath, $40. sagadahocpreservation.org The Hidden Gardens of Historic Bath house and garden tour features several homes in North Bath. Every stop on the tour will be a treat for your senses and may motivate you to make some of your own magic when you get back home.

Garden Conservancy Open Garden Days 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 29. Beckett Castle Rose Garden, Singles Road, Cape Elizabeth, $10. gardenconservancy.org You’ll see plenty of roses as well as ocean views at Beckett Castle, which sits right on the water, with views of five lighthouses. The castle was built in 1871, and its rose garden features more than 70 varieties of heirloom roses. A 50-foot stone tower doubles as the rose arbor entrance to the castle.

PICK A PLANT SALE

Tate House Museum’s Annual Plant and Herb Sale 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 18. Tate House Museum, 1267 Westbrook St., Portland, 207-774-6177.  tatehouse.org The wide selection includes perennials divided from the museum’s 18th century reproduction garden. Visitors can also make their own “seed bombs” and get a sneak peak at a new installation by artist Ashley Page from 10 a.m. to noon.

Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland Spring Plant S ale 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. May 18, Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, 217 Landing Road, Westbrook, 207-854-9771.  arlgp.org   Perennials, house plants and more will be on sale, and plants that don’t have specific pricing are “name your own fee.” Anyone interested in donating plants or pots to the sale should send a message to [email protected] .

Taking Root Plant Sale 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 1, Tom Settlemire Community Garden, Maurice Drive, Brunswick, 207-729-7694.  btlt.org This annual sale is organized by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. Proceeds benefit the Common Good Garden, which provides food and gardening education for the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. Master gardeners will be on hand to help shoppers choose their best options.

Scarborough Land Trust Native Plant Sale and Spring Festival 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 1, Broadturn Farm, 388 Broadturn Road, Scarborough, 207-289-1199.  scarboroughlandtrust.org Visitors will find native plants, food vendors, local artisans, guided nature walks and activities for kids. To preorder plants, visit the Scarborough Land Trust website.

Maine Audubon Society Native Plants Sale and Festival 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 8, Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth, 207-781-2330.  maineaudubon.org More than 75 species of native wildflowers, shrubs and tree seedlings will be available, along with workshops, info tables and experts.

Staff writer Megan Gray contributed to this report.

Related Headlines

Headed to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens? Here’s what else to check out in Boothbay

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IMAGES

  1. The best places to visit on the Kent coast

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  2. The best places to visit on the Kent coast

    kent coast places to visit

  3. 15 Beautiful Places To Visit In Kent

    kent coast places to visit

  4. The best places to visit on the Kent coast

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  5. The best places to visit on the Kent coast

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  6. The best places to visit on the Kent coast

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VIDEO

  1. Kent Coast Walk From Folkestone To Dymchurch

COMMENTS

  1. 13 Of The Best Kent Coastal Towns to Visit in 2024

    Herne Bay. This Kent coastal town is known for its long promenade, Herne Bay offers a sandy beach, colourful beach huts, and traditional seaside attractions. It is also one of the best places to go crabbing in Kent. We enjoyed visiting the historic Herne Bay Pier and the central beach with its kid's playgrounds.

  2. The best places to visit on the Kent coast

    5. For Roman history: Reculver. For a small site, Reculver Towers and Roman Fort makes a big impression as a looming landmark on the north Kent coastline. Human settlement here dates to prehistoric times, but it was the Romans who built a fort here in the early third century.

  3. Top 15 things to do in Kent you'll love in 2024

    Places to visit in Kent. Take a short break to Kent and delve into the county's famous past, with a visit to the historic city of Canterbury. ... In 2021, Kent's Heritage Coast was on only part of the UK featured in the Lonely Planet's list of the world's best regions to visit in 2022. Definitely one to add to your 2024 visit list.

  4. Best Places to visit on the Kent and Sussex Coast

    Best Places to visit on the Kent Coast. South East England's coastline is recognised around the world by its distinctive white chalk cliffs that greet you on arrival at Dover. The cliffs, on both sides of the town of Dover in Kent, stretch for eight miles and offer stunning views of the English Channel.

  5. Coastal Kent

    With it 200km of golden sand and white cliffs, Kent's coast certainly boasts some of UK's best beaches. Gaze into rock pools, build a sandcastle, cycle shorelines, hike cliff-tops, wander around marinas, munch on chips, go barefoot beachcombing or simply chill out with a coastal escape in White Cliffs Country or at Thanet's 15 sandy beaches and ...

  6. 15 Picturesque Spots To Explore In Kent

    15. Bewl Lake. This is one of the well-known reservoirs in the valley of the River Bewl. It straddles the boundary between Kent and East Sussex in England, stretches about 2 miles south of the village of Lamberhurst, and is a lovely beauty spot to explore. You can go for a long walk and enjoy the beautiful water views.

  7. Best things to do on the Kent coast

    Here are the best things to do on the Kent coast. A day out in historic Dover. The wonderful White Cliffs of Dover are so much more than an iconic Kent image - this rare chalk grassland environment and conservation area is home to grazing Exmoor ponies, major rewilding efforts, and significant wartime history. Fan Bay Deep Shelter was ...

  8. The best things to do on Kent's Heritage Coast

    Complete the Cathedral-to-Coast cycle ride. Those with two wheels and some stamina can immerse themselves in Kent's highlights on a 50-mile (80-km) circular Cathedral-to-Coast cycle ride, linking Canterbury , Dover, and Folkestone. In Canterbury expect to be moved by the scale and serenity of its vast cathedral, whether you share the Christian ...

  9. The best beaches and towns on the Kent coast for the perfect seaside

    Even in Kent's town-of-the-moment Margate there are secret places to escape the crowds. To the east of town is Walpole Bay, with its grade II listed, four-acre tidal pool in front, built in 1937 ...

  10. Our complete guide to the top coastal towns in Kent

    Whitstable. Our favourite seaside town comes in the form of funky Whitstable. This bohemian area is becoming increasingly popular among Londoners who can get here in just over an hour by train. But that's far from the only reason why you should visit. Whitstable's long history as a fishing hub continues to this day.

  11. Kent's Coastline and Beaches

    The Kent coast is a 350-mile stretch of chalky white cliffs, sandy beaches, shingle bays, vibrant coastal towns and, above all, glorious views stretching out across the Channel. It doesn't matter whether you're a family looking for a day of ice creams and sandy beaches. A walker looking for some windswept cliff-top jaunts, or a thrill ...

  12. 7 gorgeous Kent seaside towns you have to visit for your 2021

    During the mid 20th century Margate was THE place to go in the UK for a summer holiday. However, after a period of decline in the 1990's and early 2000's, Margate has slowly rebuilt itself to become one of the trendiest and most popular seaside resorts in the south-east. With the striking Margate main sands spanning across the seafront - it ...

  13. Things To Do, What's On, Accommodation

    Welcome to Kent, the Garden of England. If you're looking for a short escape with beautiful beaches, stunning castles, exciting culture and delicious food and drink, then you've come to the right place. Our corner of England is one of the best UK destinations for a day trip or short break, with a multitude of things to do and places to see.

  14. Visit Broadstairs

    Broadstairs' spectacular coastline gives you seven sandy beaches and bucket loads of seaside charm. Here, families rediscover the joy of having fun together beside the shore. Central Viking Bay boasts children's rides and beach huts; rural Botany Bay has photogenic chalk stacks; whilst Joss Bay offers a surf school and peaks that have long ...

  15. 16 Best Things To Do in Kent

    To offer a helping hand, we've scoured the county far and wide, to bring you the ultimate hit list. Festivals. Castles. The White Cliffs of Dover. We've got it all. Here are our best things to ...

  16. The 15 best beaches in Kent

    The stretches of coast surrounding Dover are a bit more of a schlep from London than Ramsgate or Sheerness, but you're rewarded with dramatic white-chalk cliffs and significantly smaller crowds. St Margaret's Bay is the closest point to France , famed as the place where brave Channel swimmers start their marathon 21-mile journey.

  17. 20 Fun Things To Do in Kent From a Local (2024)

    9. Experience the eerie landscapes of Dungeness. Best for: An eerie but beautiful setting For an otherworldly landscape, pay a visit to Dungeness on the Kent coast. A strange and eerie place, it's home to a sprawling shingle beach littered with abandoned boats, rusty machinery, and discarded fishing nets.

  18. Must Visit Kent

    A visit to Kent's Heritage Coast has got to include learning about the area's sea-faring heritage and there's no better place to learn all about that than the Historic Dockyard Chatham. In fact, you can follow Kent's heritage coast all the way from Folkestone and Dover round to this historic Kent gem. A family friendly dream, a visit ...

  19. The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Kent

    The White Cliffs of Dover. Of all the beautiful places to see in Kent, the White Cliffs of Dover are perhaps the most iconic. Towering a mighty 350ft above sea level and extending 16 miles along the coast, these majestic chalk cliffs are a sight to behold. The famous Dover cliffs have long been considered a symbol of hope and freedom in England ...

  20. Top 10 Kent Seaside Towns to Visit from London by Train

    Continuing east along the Kent coast, we reach the traditional bucket-and-spade resort of Margate. Back in the day, Margate didn't have a great reputation. This once-booming Kent seaside resort - I remember day trips to Margate from London as a kid in the late 1960s - was hammered by the recession of the 1970s and fell into decline.

  21. 10 of the most beautiful places in Kent

    Alamy. Eastwell Manor. Kent has some lovely castles and stately homes - from Leeds Castle, surrounded by a lake, to the fairytale-worthy Scotney Castle amid 770 acres of woodland. But to stay the night, there are few grander spots in the county than Eastwell Manor, a Neo-Elizabethan manor house near Ashford where Queen Victoria's son Prince ...

  22. 15 Best Places to Visit in Kent (England)

    Lets explore the best places to visit in Kent: 1. Canterbury. As beautiful as it is significant, Canterbury is a university crammed with history. It is the seat of the British Isles' first diocese, founded in the 6th century. The Archbishop of Canterbury remains one of the most influential public figures in England.

  23. 7 of Kent's most beautiful villages that are perfect for a daytrip

    Ightham. Ightham Mote, Kent (Image: Sevenoaks Chronicle) The beautiful village of Ightham, located between Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, is famous for the nearby medieval manor of Ightham Mote. Dating from around 1320, the building was described by Nicholas Pevsner as 'the most complete small medieval manor house in the country'.

  24. Where to see northern lights Saturday night, what times they will be

    Updated May 11, 2024 at 9:52 p.m. EDT | Published May 10, 2024 at 3:23 p.m. EDT. The northern lights, formerly known as aurora borealis, appeared in the early-morning hours of April 24, 2023, near ...

  25. The 10 most memorable things to do on the West Coast

    1. Badwater in Death Valley. Mike "Mish" Shedlock kayaks the calm waters of Manly Lake at sunrise in Death Valley. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Park visitors kayak, paddle board and ...

  26. Garden tours, plants sales and more ways to spend time among flowers

    To preorder plants, visit the Scarborough Land Trust website. Maine Audubon Society Native Plants Sale and Festival 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 8, Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, 20 Gilsland Farm Road ...

  27. Estimate My Home Value

    Realtor.com home value estimator will offer insight into how much your home is worth. Enter your address to get an instant home value estimate. Claim your home and view home value estimates of ...