Chartwell

This magnificent red brick manor house was the country residence of Sir Winston Churchill between 1924 and 1965. The house is brimming with reminders of the great statesman, from his portraits and uniforms to the many gifts presented to him by State leaders such as Stalin, Roosevelt and de Gaulle. The beautiful surrounding landscaped gardens command excellent views across the Kent Weald.

Opening times: Mar~Oct, Wed-Sun 11am to 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Mapleton Road, Westerham, Kent TN16 1PS - Tel: 01732 868381 - Website
Facilities: Parking, restaurant, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.

Chiddingstone Castle

This grand 17th century house was rebuilt in a stylized castle style by William Atkinson. The walls are hung with Stewart and Jacobite paintings, with many other relics on show, including Egyptian and Oriental antiquities and a collection of Japanese lacquer and swords.

Opening times: Check website for season - Sun, Mon, Tue & Wed, 11am to 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Chiddingstone TN8 7AD - Tel: 01892 870347 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, shop, toilets.

Deal Castle

One of the finest and best preserved of a line of forts built along the British coastline by Henry VIII, circa 1540. Its shape resembles that of the Tudor rose. Beneath its formidable walls visitors can explore the many long, dark passages that once linked a garrison of around 200 cannons.

Opening times: Apr~Sep, daily 10am to 6pm Admission Charge
Location: Victoria Road, Deal CT14 7BA - Tel: 01304 372762 - Website
Facilities: Parking, shop.

Dover Castle & Secret Wartime Tunnels

outer walls of Dover Castle

Begun in the 12th century by Henry II, on a site which has been occupied and fortified from prehistoric times. It is also the earliest castle in England in which the fortifications are arranged concentrically. In the 1940s the castle's underground tunnels became the nerve centre for the evacuation of Dunkirk. An exhibition for Operation Dynamo 'Rescue from Dunkirk' is now open to the public in the castle grounds.

Opening times: all year except Xmas times vary,
see - Website for details. Admission Charge
Location: Castle Hill, Dover, Kent - CT16 1HU
Tel: 0870 3331181
Facilities: Parking, restaurant, shop.

Dymchurch Martello Tower

A fortified artillery tower, which once formed part of a chain of 103 tower strongholds, built circa 1805, to resist the threatened invasion by Napoleon.

Opening times: Aug BH and Heritage Open Days only Admission Charge
Location: High Street, Dymchurch TN29 0TJ - Tel: 01304 211067 - Website


Emmetts Garden

This charming Edwardian tree and shrub garden is set on the highest point in Kent, some 700ft above sea level, providing magnificent views over Bough Beech Reservoir and the Weald. The garden is filled with trees of various shapes and sizes, with low-spreading and rounded specimens contrasting with tall columnar forms. There is also a fine rock garden, a bluebell wood and its many azaleas and rhododendrons erupt into full colour in late spring. In autumn the varied foliage also provides a spectacular display.

Opening times: 11am to 5pm - Mar~May: Tue-Sun; Jun~ Jul Wed-Sun; Oct: Wed, Sat & Sun & BHs Admission Charge
Location: Ide Hill, Brasted TN14 6AY - Tel: 01732 750367 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.

Eynsford Castle

Thought to be one of the first stone castles to be built by the Normans. Although the castle now lies in ruins, the moat and remains of the curtain wall and hall can still be seen.

Opening times: times vary, see - website for details Free Entry
Location: Eynsford, Kent DA4 0AA - Tel: 0870 3331181
Facilities: Parking.

Fort Amherst

Britain's largest Napoleonic Fortress, set in over 15 acres of attractive parkland, built to defend the Medway and Chatham dockyard. The fortress contains a collection of caves, tunnels, gun-batteries and barracks that provide visitors with a fascinating insight into the life of the Napoleonic soldier. Special events are run throughout the year, including historic re-enactments.

Opening times: Mar~Sep Sat-Sun and daily during school holidays. Cafe and Visitor Centre open daily from 10am to 4pm. Free Entry to parkland - dawn to dusk
Location: Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4UB - Tel: 01634 847747 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.

Great Comp Garden

This lovely 7 acre garden, surrounding a 17th century, house was started in 1957 by the Cameron family; designed for low maintenance and all year-round interest. It has a wide collection of interesting and rare trees, shrubs, heathers and herbaceous plants set amongst fine lawns and grassed pathways. Visitors can enjoy chamber music, classical concerts and other events organised by the Great Comp Society during the summer months.

Opening times: gardens only Apr~Oct, daily 11am - 5.30pm Admission Charge
Location: Comp Lane, Platt, Borough Green, Kent TN15 8QS - Tel: 01732 882669 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, restaurant, garden centre, toilets, disabled facilities.

Groombridge Place Gardens & Enchanted Forest

This award-winning garden mixes both formal and natural wooded landscapes across a magnificent 200 acre site. The formal gardens provides all year round interest with a parterre style Knot Garden, Secret Garden, White Rose Garden, Herbaceous Borders, Oriental Garden and Draughtsman's Lawn. The gardens were recently used as a location for the movie adaptation of Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'. The ancient 'Enchanted Forest' area contains several mysterious and atmospheric features such as The Dark Walk, Serpents Lair, Mystic Pool, Village of The Groms and The Dinosaur and Dragon Valley. Visitors can also enjoy canal boat cruises to and from the Enchanted Forest plus a full programme of special events throughout the year.

Opening times: Apr~Nov, daily 10am to 5.30pm Admission Charge
Location: Groombridge Place TN3 9QG - Tel: 01892 861444 - Website
Facilities: Parking, restaurant, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.

Hever Castle & Gardens

This enchanting late 13th century moated castle, much altered in the 15th century, was the girlhood home of Anne Boleyn. The magnificent gardens are filled with topiary, a yew maze, water maze, a 35 acre lake, an Italianate garden full of sculptures, plus much more.

Opening times: Mar~Nov, daily. Castle 12 to 6pm, Gardens 11am to 6pm Admission Charge
Location: Hever TN8 7NG - Tel: 01732 865224 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, restaurant, garden centre, shop, toilets, disabled access and facilities.

Ightham Mote

Built nearly 700 years ago, Ightham has evolved over the centuries, combining a range of architectural styles to form an eclectic mix of half-timbering, brickwork and stone. At its core is a small courtyard, dominated by a Great Hall (circa 1340). Other interesting features include the old chapel and crypt, a Tudor chapel with painted ceiling and a drawing room with Jacobean fireplace and 18th century hand painted Chinese wallpaper. Though it does indeed have a moat, the house's name probably derives from the Saxon moot, or 'place of assembly'. It has a graceful garden as well as lovely walks in the surrounding woodland.

Opening times: Mar~Oct, daily (ex Tue & Sat), 10am to 5.30pm Admission Charge
Location: Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0NT - Tel: 01732 810378 ex 100 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, restaurant, garden centre, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.

Knole

One of the largest and most intriguing private houses in England. The house it was built in 1454 by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Bourchier and has historic links with kings, queens and the nobility, as well as literary connections with Vita Sackville-West and Virgina Woolf. It's magnificent 13 staterooms are laid out much the same as they were in the 17th century, to impress visitors with the wealth and standing of those who lived there. The house includes rare furniture, paintings by Gainsborough, Van Dyck and Reynolds, as well as many early tapestries.

Opening times: House Mar~Oct, Wed-Sun & BH Mon 12 to 4pm. Garden Wed only 11am to 4pm Admission Charge
Location: Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0RP - Tel: 01732 450608 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, toilets, disabled facilities.

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle Kent

Originally a wooden fort was built on the site (covering two islands in the centre of a lake) during Saxon times. In 1119 the castle was rebuilt in stone and remains much as it is to this day. The castle was the favourite country retreat of English medieval queens for 300 years, as well as being Henry VIII's Royal Palace. Among its many treasures are many paintings, tapestries and furnishings. The grounds include formal gardens, an exotic aviary, a dog collar museum, vineyard, woodland walks, play area, a yew maze with a secret underground grotto. Special events run throughout the season.

Opening times: Times vary, see - Website for details Admission Charge
Location: Maidstone, Kent ME17 1PL - Tel: 01622 765400
Facilities: Parking, restaurant, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.


Lullingstone Castle

A sturdy brick Tudor gatehouse leads to the spacious mansion of Lullingstone Castle, set in wide lawns beside the River Darent. The house was altered extensively in Queen Anne's time and has fine state rooms and beautiful grounds. Not far from the gatehouse is the grassy jousting ground, circa 1500, used by the then owner Sir John Pech. In the grounds is 'The World Garden of Plants', containing plants from around the globe and home of The National Collection of Eucalyptus.

Opening times: Apr~Oct, Fri-Sat 12 to 5pm, Sun & BH 2pm to 6pm (closed Gd Fri) Admission Charge
Location: Eynsford DA4 0JA - Tel: 01322 862114 - Website
Facilities: Parking, shop.

Lullingstone Roman Villa

Located just half a mile north of Lullingstone castle, is the remains of an excavated Roman villa that reveals the extent of domestic luxury in the Darent valley during the Roman occupation. Probably used a country retreat by a government official around the 2nd century AD, the villa has all the usual comforts of the time, including baths, a hypercaust heating system and several fine mosaics; depicting scenes from classical mythology. An audio tour provides a fascinating insight into the life of a well-to-do Roman family of the time.

Opening times: Apr~Sep, daily 10am to 6pm; Oct~Nov & Feb~Mar, daily, 10am to 4pm; Dec~Jan, Wed-Sun, 10am to 4pm (closed Xmas) Admission Charge
Location: Lullingstone Lane, Eynsford DA4 0JA - Tel: 01322 863467 - Website
Facilities: Parking.

Penshurst Place & Gardens

This palatial country house is famed as the birthplace of Sir Philip Sidney, an Elizabethan poet and courtier. The house was built during the 1340s and is perfectly preserved today, although greatly modified and enlarged by successive owners over the centuries. The centrepiece of the house is the magnificent Great Hall, the oldest and finest in the country, built in 1340 by Sir John de Pulteney. Other rooms on view include the Elizabethan Long Gallery, designed for exercise in bad weather, and the Tapestry Room, named from the colourful tapestries on its walls.

The house is set in 10 acres of walled and formal gardens, approached through a fine medieval Garden Tower. In the rolling parkland to the north and east of the house are a nature trail, an adventure playground and a museum in a traditional Sussex barn.

Opening times: Weekends from early Mar, daily from late Mar~Oct. Grounds 10.30am to 6pm. House 12 to 4pm. Admission Charge
Location: Penshurst TN11 8DG - Tel: 01892 870307 - Website
Facilities: Parking, restaurant, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.

Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House & Gardens

A amazing museum full of mounted big game from Africa and the Far East in meticulously re-created habitats and animal dioramas. The creation of one Major Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton, a big-game hunter turned conservationist. The large museum is built onto Quex House, a country home built between 1805 and 1813. The museum was founded in 1895 in Major Percy's memory and also contains displays of weapons, costumes and musical instruments collected on his travels. Also on display are collections of Eastern and Asian furniture, Kashmir walnut wall carvings, Chinese silk embroidery and English period furniture. The house is set within 15 acres of mature gardens, including a Victorian walled garden. Various events take place throughout the summer.

Opening times: Open Apr~Oct, Tue-Thur, Sun & BH 11am - 5pm, Quex House 2pm - 4.30pm (House closed Nov-Feb) Admission Charge
Location: Ouex Park, Birchington CT7 0BH - Tel: 01843 842168 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, restaurant, toilets, shop, disabled facilities.

Quebec House

A Grade I listed red-brick Jacobean manor, famous for its connection with General James Wolfe, who spent his early years there. The house is filled with portraits, prints and memorabilia devoted to his soldiering life and heroic death, which took place in 1759 on the Plains of Abraham above Quebec, at the very point of victory over the French.

Opening times: Apr~Oct, Wed-Sun (& BH) 1pm to 4.30pm Admission Charge
Location: Quebec Square, Westerham, Kent TN16 1TD - Tel: 01732 868381 - Website
Facilities: Parking (150 metres, charged) shop.

Reculver Towers & Roman Fort

A pair of imposing 12th century fortified towers plus the walls of a Roman fort.

Opening times: any reasonable time, external viewing only Free to view
Location: Near Herne Bay CT6 6SU - Tel: 01227 740676 - Website
Facilities: Parking.

Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre

These extensive ruins and earthworks stand near the site of the first Roman landing in Britain. The museum contains a collection of artifacts uncovered during archeological excavations of the site. The remains of a huge triumphal arch, once 25 metres high, can still be seen.

Opening times: Apr~Sep, daily 10am to 6pm Admission Charge
Location: Richborough CT13 9JW - Tel: 01304 612013 - Website
Facilities: Parking, shop.

Rochester Castle

Rochester's Cathedral and Castle stand together, towering over the banks of the River Medway. Both buildings owing their origins to Bishop Gundulf - bishop to William the Conqueror.

Built over the old Roman City Wall, the mighty stone turreted castle keep was built later in the 1120s by William de Corbeuil - Archbishop of Canterbury. In its time Rochester castle was an important and impressive royal stronghold and much of its magnificent internal Norman arcading still survives to this day, providing a glimmer of its former glory. Visitors who venture to climb to the top of its battlements will be rewarded with wonderful panoramic views over the city and the Medway.

Opening times: all year, Apr~Sep, daily 10am to 6pm; Oct~Mar, daily 10am to 4pm (closed Xmas) Admission Charge
Location: Rochester ME1 1SX - Tel: 01634 402276 - Website
Facilities: Shop.

Scotney Castle Garden

Trees, grass, water and a 14th century stone castle combine at Scotney to form one of the country's most romantic gardens. The gardens were planned in the 19th century around the remains of the old moated Scotney Castle. There is something to see at every season - spring flowers are followed by rhododendrons and azaleas, then a abundance of roses is followed by superb autumn colours as the leaves on the trees turn. Visitors can walk through the estate's 770 acres of woodlands and meadows all year round.

Opening times: all year, times vary see - Website for details Admission Charge
Location: Near Lamberhurst, TN3 8JN - Tel: 01892 893898
Facilities: Parking, garden centre, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

A tall Tudor gate-tower provides the dramatic entrance to one of the finest gardens in Britain. This beautiful garden is a series of outdoor 'rooms' of different colours and styles created by Harold Nicholson and his wife the novelist and poet Vita Sackville-West. The great mansion house, to which the soaring gate-tower once belonged, was demolished circa 1800. Harold and Vita bought Sissinghurst in 1930, when the tower and garden were derelict. Over the following decade they restored the buildings and developed the gardens. The famous White Garden is planted entirely with white or grey plants, including white roses, artemisia and a pear with silvery leaves.

Opening times: Mar~Oct, Fri-Tue 11am to 5.30pm Admission Charge
Location: Sissinghurst TN17 2AB - Tel: 01580 710700 - Website
Facilities: Parking (charged), restaurant, shop, toilets, disabled facilities.

Smallhythe Place

This low long, half-timbered, yeoman's house was built in the early 16th century for the local harbour master. During the Middle Ages, before the Rother Levels silted up, Smallhythe was a busy port and there was a shipyard in front of Smallhythe Place. In 1899 the actress Dame Ellen Terry bought the house and lived there until her death in 1928. It is now a museum devoted to her memory and the adjacent barn houses a display of theatre memorabilia. The house also has sweet little cottage garden with roses, an orchard, nuttery and a spring garden.

Opening times: Mar~Oct, Sat to Wed 11am to 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Smallhythe TN30 7NG - Tel: 01580 762334 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café.

Squerryes Court

This magnificent red brick manor house was constructed in 1681, by Sir Nicholas Crisp, on the site of a much older medieval dwelling. The house was lived in by the 1st Early of Jersey during the early 18th century and became the home of the Warde family in 1731; who have lived there since. It contains a fine collection of period furniture, pictures, porcelain and some fine tapestries. The beautiful garden was landscaped in the 18th century and has a restored formal garden, a lake and excellent woodland walks.

Opening times: Apr~Sep, Wed, Thu, Sun & BH Mon. Garden open 11.30am to 5pm, House 1pm to 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Westerham TN16 1SJ - Tel: 01959 562345 & 563118 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, shop.

St Leonard's Tower

Thought to be part of a larger castle, this finely preserved example of a square, stone built, Norman tower was constructed around 1080, either by the Bishop of Rochester or by Bishop Odo of Bayeux (half-brother of William the Conqueror). However, very little is known about the history of the building, which stands on a natural sandstone ledge near village of West Malling. The tower takes its current name from a chapel dedicated to St Leonard that once stood nearby.

Opening times: any reasonable time for exterior viewing. Free to view
Location: West Malling ME19 6PE - Tel: 01732 870872 - Website

Upnor Castle

A finely preserved 16th century riverside artillery fort, designed to protect Elizabeth I's warships. It last saw action in 1667, when the Dutch navy sailed up the Medway to attack the dockyards at Chatham.

Opening times: Apr~Sep, daily 10am to 6pm; Oct, daily 10am to 4pm Admission Charge
Location: Upnor ME2 4XG - Tel: 01634 718742 & 338110 - Website
Facilities: Parking.

Walmer Castle

One of the series of coastal defence castles built by Henry VIII, it has since been transformed into an elegant stately home, now run by English Heritage. The castle was formerly used by Her Majesty The Queen Mother and many of her rooms are now open to view. The magnificent gardens are a real treat with walled areas, elegant borders, wooded walks and stunning coastal views. When constructed in the 1530s the castle stood right next to the sea, however the shingle has built-up over time and it is now set well back.

Opening times: Apr~Sep, daily 10am to 6pm (4pm Sat); Oct & Mar, Wed-Sun 10am 4pm - Closed when Lord Warden in residence Admission Charge
Location: Kingsdown Road, Deal CT14 7LJ - Tel: 01304 364288 - Website
Facilities: Parking, café, shop, toilets.


Please note that the above information was accurate at the time this page was last updated. This information is subject to change at any time (opening times in particular), therefore if you plan on visiting any of the above attractions, please check the owner's website first or phone them for the latest details.

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