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July 30, 2008 5:40 AM   Subscribe

We're going to Kent.

We're taking the kids to Howlett's / Port Lympne next week. I was also thinking of heading to Down House (for obvious reasons) and Margate (or some other beach).

Where should we look at staying (that's kind of central)? Is there another Must See Location there (that's family friendly)?

Kentish folk, please direct me.
posted by chuckdarwin to Travel & Transportation around Kentucky (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm neither a Kentish Man nor a Man of Kent, but Canterbury is sort of Must See if you're at all interested in historical stuff, (or Chaucer) and I believe it's only a few miles from Howlett's. It's also kind of central, so you might even consider staying there.

Near Port Lympne you have the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway; worth a go if you like railways or picturesque old seaside places.
posted by Phanx at 6:14 AM on July 30, 2008

I second Canterbury (despite having grown up there). If you don't mind the sound of bells, this hotel is immediately next to the cathedral, some rooms having a view to it. This Chaucer-based tourist attraction is corny but quite fun.

In case people recommend the Dreamland fun park in Margate, it's currently shut. I haven't been to the Thanet coast for years, but Broadstairs was always quaint and nicer than Margate. Sandwich is very pretty.

Dover Castle and its wartime tunnels has lots of family stuff. There's also Deal Castle.

Don't go near Ashford - it's a pit.
posted by hatmandu at 6:51 AM on July 30, 2008

The Museum of Kent Life is worth a stop - open air museum, lots to look at. Special focus on hop picking.

I also recommend Brogdale - the home of the national fruit collection - if the kids are a bit older. They don't appear to have any activities listed on their website. Apple Day and their Cider Festival are good fun, but I think they are later in the year. They have a small railway and activities around the national fruit collection.

I am not sure if walking is of interest, but we've walked most of the Kent section of the High Weald Landscape Trail and it's lovely. Lots of scenery, walking through fruit orchards, hop fields. It finishes in Rye, and there are a number of point-to-point walks you can do with the aid of public transport.

Down House is excellent. It's really more like metro London than country Kent, but it's worth going out of your way. In the same vein, Chartwell is also worth a visit.
posted by sagwalla at 7:17 AM on July 30, 2008

Not sure how far you are roaming, but Eltham Palace and Leeds Castle are both great.
posted by roofus at 7:24 AM on July 30, 2008

Oh man, you have to go to the Dickens World theme park! It's by the docklands. I went there around Christmas and it was a lot of fun... it's kitschy enough for adults but also genuinely diverting, and kids will love it because it's a whole world indoors. Plus - Dickens-themed boat ride!

I took some photos here if you want to peek at them. I really had a lot of fun!
posted by lhall at 12:13 PM on July 30, 2008

If you're at all interested in gardening, Sissinghurst is good for seeing one of the most important modern(ish) British gardens, and the garden at Yalding recently relinquished by Garden Organic (but bought and kept open by a company called Maro Foods) is good for vegetable gardeners.

I'd second Chartwell and Brogdale and if you're there, Westerham's not a bad place to have a pub lunch - the same is true of Tenterden if you're in the area there.

We only live in Kent if you're working by 19th century boundaries but went to both gardens last week as part of our holiday at home. We settled who was going to buy the pub lunch by seeing who could spot the most oast houses while driving around.
posted by calico at 12:24 PM on July 30, 2008

We ended up at Igtham Mote and Knole...
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:47 PM on August 8, 2008

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