Today I want to bring you my list of the best places to visit in Kent, England. From medieval castles to cathedral cities and seaside towns, this county on the south coast has an abundance of great travel destinations. Many of them are within an hour or two of London, and some of the most exciting areas in Kent are easy to reach by train. Read on for my top picks for places to visit in the Garden of England. There’s a map, too.

Places to Visit in Kent

Places to Visit in Kent

My list of places to visit in Kent contains a variety of destinations. It has white cliffs on the south coast of England, seaside gems on the Isle of Thanet, moated castles in the interior, and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty throughout.

Whether you love traveling for sandy beaches, delicious seafood, fresh cider, or rich heritage, there’s a place in Kent you’ll love to explore.

I’ve been to all the destinations on my list (many of them more than once), and I can personally vouch for how worthy they are of your time.

Broadstairs Beach, Kent, England

Some of these spots make perfect day trips from London by train, while others make quick day trips from London by car. Still more are ideal for tours, weekend trips from London, or multi-day getaways.

There’s more about these trips and beyond in the book Escape London: Days Out within Easy Reach of London, too. You can get it on Amazon here.

River Stour, Canterbury, Kent

1. Canterbury

I’ll start my list of best places to visit in Kent with Canterbury. When it comes to cathedral cities in England, this historic location is hard to beat.

Dating back to 597, Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most important Christian buildings in England. It’s the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and it forms part of a World Heritage Site.

Canterbury Cathedral, England

Beyond the cathedral, Canterbury is one of the best cities in England for its mix of religious importance and charming atmosphere.

There’s an abundance of chocolate-box streets, narrow lanes with colorful shopfronts, a Norman castle ruin, old city walls, and a bucolic river with boats floating by.

River Stour in Canterbury, Kent

If that sounds appealing, it’s easy to get to Canterbury from London by train. There are frequent rail services from the UK capital.

You can also combine it with a trip to the seaside and visit Canterbury and Dover in a day. I’ve done this on a tour through a company called GetYourGuide and I had a great time. You can book the tour I went on here.

Canterbury Cathedral Cloisters

2. Whitstable

Located on the north coast of Kent, Whitstable is a fun seaside day trip from London. It’s the perfect place to travel if you love eating shellfish by the shore.

That’s not least because the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival takes place every summer. It’s an enjoyable event to attend if you like seafood and good entertainment. It makes Whitstable one of the best summer day trips from London, too.

Whitstable Boats

But Whitstable is a great place to visit at other times as well. The beach is the perfect spot to soak up the sun, and the high street has cute shops and great restaurants and cafes.

There’s a train station in Whitstable with direct links to the UK capital, so this is one of the best places to go to the seaside near London if you want to travel by rail.

Whitstable Oyster Company, Kent

3. Margate

Margate is another of the best places to visit in Kent. This hipster town is famous for both its waterfront and its abundance of vintage shops.

There’s a big beach in Margate with a lighthouse in the distance. The seafront is backed by colorful buildings and the famous Turner Contemporary art gallery. The Dreamland Margate amusement park and subterranean Shell Grotto are popular, too.

Dreamland Margate

Margate’s vintage clothing shops, cafes, and restaurants round out the scene, which is to stay nothing of the 16th-century Tudor House and streets like Love Lane.

If that sounds good to you, it’s easy to go on a Margate day trip by train. There are direct services from London, and it’s a scenic journey.

Margate Vintage Shop

4. Broadstairs

Broadstairs is another of the best places to go in Kent. This seaside town on the Isle of Thanet is packed with sandy beaches, chalk cliffs, and scenic coastline. From Botany Bay to Viking Bay and Joss Bay, there’s plenty to love about the waterfront here.

Viking Bay Beach, Broadstairs, Kent

There are a lot of great things to do in Broadstairs beyond the seashore, too. From shopping to eating fish and chips, the town has plenty to offer.

Add to that Charles Dickens connections, lively pubs, ice cream shops, and scenic paths like the Viking Coastal Trail, and there’s no shortage of things enjoy in this place.

In fact, there’s so much to enjoy that it’s worth staying a night or two in Broadstairs. Hotels like The Bay Tree are great places to call a home-away-from-home. You can book a room here.

Broadstairs Houses

5. Ramsgate

Ramsgate is next on my list of places to visit in Kent. Not far from Margate, Ramsgate is a waterfront town in Kent known for its big sandy seafront, heritage architecture, and royal harbor.

Ramsgate is one of the best beach day trips from London because its beach is huge. It’s the perfect spot to have fun in the sun.

Ramsgate Beach, Kent, England

Beyond the sand, the town is known for everything from shops to seafood restaurants and heritage houses. The side streets are a delight to explore, and the views of the boats from the hill are exciting to see.

There’s a railway station in Ramsgate with direct services to London, so the town is an easy day trip from London by train.

Ramsgate Doors

6. Deal

Also on the coast, Deal is another of the most exciting places to visit in Kent. Located where the North Sea meets the English Channel, Deal features wide pebble beaches and a long pier.

Boat on the beach in Deal, Kent

Deal is most famous for what lies behind the beach, though. The seafront is stunning, and the pastel houses and historic pubs on Middle Street are both eye-catching and steeped in smuggling lore. There’s great shopping here, too.

There’s heritage galore as well. Deal Castle is legendary, and Walmer Castle has stunning gardens. They’re in walking distance of one another, and you can get free entry to both if you’re an English Heritage member. You can get a membership here.

There’s a train station in Deal with direct services to London, so this is an ideal trip if you want to travel by rail. Chic hotels like The Rose make it tempting to stay a night, too. You can book a room here.

The Ship Inn, Deal, Kent

7. Hever Castle

Hever Castle might just be the prettiest place in Kent. One of the most picturesque castles near London, this medieval fortress is well worth a day trip.

Hever Castle, Kent

A moated beauty, Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. It’s since been owned by the likes of William Waldorf Astor. Its interiors reflect its owners’ tastes and the styles of their times, and it’s exciting to explore the rooms.

But perhaps the best thing about a visit to Hever Castle is the gardens. This place has some of the best gardens to visit in Kent.

From walled extravaganzas to topiary hedges and water features, the castle has everything a garden lover could dream of. It makes Hever one of the best garden day trips from London.

Italian Garden, Hever Castle

8. Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle is another of my favorite places to visit in Kent. Consisting of a medieval ruin and a Victorian mansion house, this unique place is a two-for-one special. If you’re a National Trust member, it’s free to enter. You can get a membership here.

Scotney Castle, Kent

Scotney Castle dates back to 1137. The castle was built in the late 14th century by Roger de Ashburnham. The mansion was constructed in the 19th century by the Hussey family. Both are rewarding to see.

The gardens are beautiful in the warmer months, too. There are lots of scenic walks you can do around them when you visit Scotney Castle.

Scotney Old Castle in England

9. Leeds Castle

Next on my list of the best places to see in Kent is Leeds Castle. This is one of the most visually appealing castles near London. Surrounded by a moat, the structure looks as if it’s floating on the water.

Leeds Castle, Kent, England

The interiors of Leeds Castle are eclectic, reflecting a range of owners that have left their marks on it over the centuries. Touring them is a highlight of a visit.

Bedroom at Leeds Castle in Kent, England

Outside, the gardens and grounds are equally appealing. From the Leeds Castle birds of prey to the woodland walk, there’s a lot to see beyond the moat.

It’s easy to take a day trip to Leeds Castle from London with a company like GetYourGuide. I did and I enjoyed it. You can book the tour I did with them here.

Bird at Leeds Castle

10. Sissinghurst Castle Garden

One of the most unique places to visit in Kent is Sissinghurst Castle Garden. The grounds were designed by former owner Vita Sackville-West to look like the rooms of a house.

The gardens here burst into life in spring, making this one of the best spring day trips from London.

Sissinghurst Castle in Kent

Sissinghurst Castle is an easy trip from the UK capital by train or car. It has one of the best spring gardens in the UK when the weather is warm and the flowers are blooming.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Spring in the UK

11. Rochester

Next on my list of places to visit in Kent is Rochester. This city has everything from a Norman castle to a famous cathedral and Charles Dickens connections galore.

Rochester Castle sits right in the middle of everything. The ruined keep is one of the best-preserved examples of Norman architecture in the UK.

The eye-catching cathedral is located right next to it. Founded in 604, it’s the second oldest of its kind in England.

Rochester Cathedral, England

Dickens lived and wrote here, too. Many of the houses and buildings on the high street feature in his work. They make Rochester a great place to stop on a literary tour of England.

Rochester is an easy day trip from London by train. It’s a great place to visit if you love history and literature alike.

Rochester Street

12. Dover Castle

Next on my list of places to visit in Kent is Dover Castle. This hilltop fortification is located in Dover, a port town in Kent known for its chalk cliffs and ferries to Calais.

Dover Castle is a big hit with history lovers. It ranks among the most famous seaside castles in England, not least because of its layers of heritage and secret wartime tunnels. They make it one of the most popular attractions in Kent.

Dover Castle View, Kent

Direct rail services operate from London to Dover, making this an easy day trip by train. You can walk from the station up to the castle when you arrive (just be prepared for the hill).

Roman Pharos at Dover Castle

13. Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks is another great place to visit in Kent. The town is rife with historic streets and buildings, and there are markets and pubs galore.

Street in Sevenoaks, England

If you love historic houses, Knole is one of the best stately homes near London. This gigantic house in Sevenoaks is packed with treasures from the royal household. If you’re a National Trust member, it’s free to enter. You can get a membership here.


Another fun thing to do in Sevenoaks is walk through Knole Park. There are lots of paths with waymarked routes, and plenty of resident deer to take in along the way.

If you have more time, you can take a longer Sevenoaks walk and explore the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Sevenoaks Weald. Houses like Winston Churchill’s Chartwell and villages like Westerham are highlights, too.

Churchyard in Westerham, Kent, England

Sevenoaks is near the UK capital, so train tickets are relatively inexpensive and driving doesn’t cost a fortune. If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best cheap day trips from London.

14. Folkestone

Folkestone is another of the top places to visit in Kent. Located on the south coast, this historic English Channel port town features big beaches and stunning cliffs.

Folkestone Beach is the perfect spot to soak up the sun on the waterfront. It has views of the lighthouse on the Folkestone Harbour Arm.

Sunny Sands beach is a good alternative if you prefer sand to pebbles. And don’t forget to visit the Folkestone Mermaid while you’re in town.

Folkestone Mermaid in Kent, England

Beyond beaches, Folkestone offers an abundance of shops and streets to explore. You can even do a Folkestone to Dover walk and enjoy the beach under the famous white cliffs when you get there.

There are direct rail services to Folkestone from London, so this is a good option for a day trip by train. There’s enough to do in the area to merit staying a night, too. Hotels like The Relish are stylish and fun. You can book a room here.

Houses in Folkestone, England

15. Faversham

The next destination on my list of places to visit in Kent is Faversham. With pretty streets, great shops, and heritage hotels like The Sun Inn, Faversham is perfect for weekend trips from London.

Faversham is a great place to visit in its own right. The streets are packed with historic buildings and great details. The town is also home to Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer. You can take tours while visiting.

Street in Faversham, Kent

Beyond the town, Faversham is in one of the best areas in Kent for visiting famous producers of English drinks. If you want to go on a Kent cider tour or visit places like Chapel Down, it’s the perfect base.

Easily accessible by train from London and located near many of the highlights of the county, Faversham is a beautiful destination for weekend trips in the UK.

Building in Faversham, Kent, England

16. White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover are another of the most popular places to go in Kent. These unique geological formations create a sheer chalk face above the Strait of Dover. You can see all the way from them to France on clear days.

White Cliffs of Dover, Kent, England

The coastal paths along the White Cliffs of Dover are great places to walk and take in the views across the English Channel. There are beaches below them, too.

It’s easy to combine a visit to the cliffs with a trip to Dover Castle and Canterbury. They’re close to one another and many day tours from London offer the combination. You can book the day tour I did with GetYourGuide here.

Dover White Cliffs

17. Royal Tunbridge Wells

Another great place to visit in Kent is Royal Tunbridge Wells (called Tunbridge Wells for short). Ever since the discovery of the Chalybeate Spring in 1606, this town has been a popular travel destination.

Tunbridge Wells is one of only a few English towns with the rare “Royal” designation in its name. It was a favorite of royals and aristocrats over the centuries, and Queen Victoria used to stay in a house that’s now the Hotel du Vin.

As a result, King Edward VII granted the town its “Royal” prefix in 1909.

Garden in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Tunbridge Wells offers a lot for visitors, from beautiful parks and gardens to shopping and dining. It’s a fun place to spend an afternoon exploring.

The town is located near the border with East Sussex on the northern edge of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, too.

That means it’s a great jumping-off point for country walks near London. In the spring, the woodland areas around it are famous for their bluebells.

Royal Tunbridge Wells House

Map of Places to Visit in Kent

Below is a map of all the places I mentioned in this blog post. If you click on the blue pins, you can find more information about each one.

Best Places to Visit in Kent

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of places to visit in Kent, and that it’s helped you discover new day trips, tours, and weekend getaways from London.

Beyond these, towns like Sandwich, Chatham, and Cranbrook, villages like Aylesford, and wetlands like Romney Marsh are worth exploring. Happy travels!

Find this post helpful? Buy me a coffee!

New here? Join thousands of others and subscribe to the A Lady in London blog via email.

Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. At no cost to you, I earn a small commission when you click on them and make a purchase. It doesn’t affect the way you shop, and it’s a great way to support the A Lady in London blog.

Pin it!
Places to Visit in Kent

2 Comments on Lady’s 17 Best Places to Visit in Kent, England

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.