Kent is less than an hour away from London, which makes it the perfect place for city-dwellers to spend the weekend or enjoy a day trip. The county could not be more different from the sprawling metropolis, and is known as the ‘Garden of England’ for good reason.
Miles of sandy and shingle coastline clings to its chalky edge and woodland that is rich with wildlife punctuates the wide-open farmland - it's a beautiful county. Amongst the patchwork of quaint villages and countryside lie many trails and walks, and here are a well-chosen, easy few that the whole family can enjoy while soaking up the sensational scenery.
Discover historical secrets and lies on this moderately hilly stroll around Scotney Castle and its grounds, found in the High Weald AONB. There are more than 700 acres at this National Trust property while the two-mile trail is dog-friendly (although dogs do need to be on leads in the gardens) and takes you on a story. There’s a stream that filters into the castle’s moat, the ruins of the old castle and a bridge that parades as something that it isn’t.
The River Bewl meanders by and leads to the nearby Bewl Reservoir. Look out for a beautiful gnarly old tree known as a hornbeam’s pollard because of the technique used to harvest and prolong its life. It is estimated to be more than 600 years old! Parking is free, although limited and it’s a great day out for all the family, although we suggest a backpack as opposed to a buggy.
Minnis Bay to Reculver Country Park Walk
This is an easy walk, between Margate and Whitstable, that follows the sea wall with plenty of opportunities to spot the local wildlife and seabirds. It is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and takes in the views of the Thanet coast, following the Viking Coastal Trail where the Vikings and the Romans landed on their quests to conquer. The walk is flat all the way and the highlight is the amazing and imposing Reculvers, or Two Sisters.
They are the remains of a monastery and most of the ruins have been washed out to see, but the two towers still survive. It’s a great place to have a picnic and watch the world go by. The circular walk is about 12km, but you can cut this in half and catch public transport back to your car.
Jeskyns Country Park
Acorn Apartments, Mushroom Manor, The Old Boot Inn and Tree Top Village are just some of the tiny abodes that you can see on your way around Jeskyns, not far from Cobham.
A community of fairies and elves have apparently set up residence and if you look carefully, you can see the trail of sparkling fairy dust. Along with the little people also lives an abundance of wildlife and the 1.25-mile walk allows you to explore some more.
Ham Street Woods Easy Access Trail
Not far from Ashford, this half-a-mile-long walk takes you through a woodland park to land that descended from a post-Ice Age forest.
Ham Street Woods was one of the first National Nature Reserves designated in England and there is a cornucopia of wildlife to spot. Open glades are rich with flowers and buzz with insects and butterflies, especially in the warmer months.
Clowes Wood Easy Access Trail
The Clowes Wood Forest covers over two hundred hectares of public forest estate woodland in North Kent, between Whitstable and Canterbury. It is roughly five miles to the north-west of Canterbury and coastal towns of Whitstable and Herne Bay are nearby. Beyond the wood, the surrounding countryside is split equally between forest and farmland and this trail in Chestfield meanders through Clowes Wood and over open farmland for just over three miles.
Several ponds provide habitat for foraging bats and it is an important home to a variety of wildlife, including butterflies, nightingales and nightjars.
East Peckham River Walk
This walk, between Tonbridge and Maidstone, is suitable for dogs and small children and, as it trails through Hop Farm and past the largest group of Victorian Oast Houses in the world, is a reminder of Kent’s heritage as successful hop farming land.
The three-mile walk crosses the River Bourne as it joins the River Medway and along the way is a 16th century coaching inn called The Man of Kent. The nomenclature is a nod to the local tradition that Medway was once divided into the old Kentish kingdoms. Those who were born on the East side of the river are 'Men of Kent' and those born to the west are 'Kentish Men'.
Discover even more of what Kent has to offer with our complete guide to Kent, and for great places to stay in the region, head to our collection of Kent cottages.