With rolling countryside, castles and spectacular white cliffs, the southeast of England is every bit as alluring as other regions, yet it remains somewhat of a secret. Enjoy a leisurely pace of travel, taking in the scenery, without the crowds you might find on the busier tourist trails.
Kent, ‘the Garden of England’, is a must for anyone with a green thumb, or those who love to be around nature. There’s nothing more rejuvenating than a day spent picking ripe fruit in an orchard or wandering through a maze in castle parkland. It’s beautiful year-round, but spring, when the English countryside bursts into life and hills are flushed with bluebells, is truly spectacular. While in this county, stop by the city of Canterbury, which was once a site of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Take a moment for reflection under the soaring roof of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral and place your feet on the exact spot where Thomas Becket, the archbishop, met his end in 1170 with a sword wielded by a knight of the royal family. Paddle a boat along the River Stour and explore the city at a languid pace, while keeping your eyes peeled for historic gems as you go.
Even if you’ve heard very little about the southeast of England, you’ll no doubt recognise the striking cliffs of Dover. They’re all the more astonishing in real life. Amble above the marble-white walls and feel the salty sea spray fresh on your face during a boat trip to see them from the water. For something even more special, don a hard hat and head below, into the World War II tunnels that have recently opened for tours.
This region doesn’t just offer a feast for the eyes and mind – your palate will be satisfied too. Sample delicious local wines and ciders in the Biddenden Vineyards, and slurp down salty plump oysters in Whistable, known for its annual oyster festival.
Life here is so different to the intoxicating rush of London, yet it’s little over an hour’s drive away. So why not discover the spoils of the southeast? You won’t even have to share.