Top 12 Most Beautiful Villages and Towns in Kent
I discovered a beautiful area of Kent for the first time during our bike tour when we cycled from London to Dover. We passed through the prettiest paths and some breathtaking scenery. We had to rush to Dover to take a ferry to France, but we told ourselves we would be back and plan a visit to more towns and villages in Kent.
We went back to Kent quite often after our bike tour, sometimes with our bikes and sometimes we went on a road trip from London to Kent by car. And we keep going back for a weekend break or even a day trip.
Indeed, there are various beautiful places in Kent to visit, and things to do, too. Here, we compiled a list of the most beautiful villages and towns in the county including what to do and how to get there.
You can also read: Prettiest towns and villages in Cornwall
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Maidstone is a large town situated in the southeast of London. It will take you around one or two hours to drive from London to Maidstone in Kent, depending on where you start your journey from London.
You can also get to Maidstone by direct train from London Victoria station or London St Pancras International. The train ride takes around one hour and you can take your bicycle with you on a train without extra charges.
Whether you go to Maidstone for a day trip or a weekend getaway, there are different options in regard to things to do. You can go on a boat trip on the River Medway which is either a one-hour ride between Allington and Maidstone or a three-hour journey from Maidstone to Teston via East Farleigh Locks.
When it comes to food, there are plenty of both local and international restaurants in the town centre. You can have traditional fish and chips or go for a Spanish or an Italian dish.
I usually enjoy adventure and outdoor activities, if you are like me there are cycling and walking routes for any experience level. You can also head to Mote Park and pay £6.50 for a day to fish.
Where to Stay in Maidstone
Modern Bungalow in Maidstone sleeps 5 with free parking is a 2-bedroom holiday home, located around 9.3 miles from Historic Chatham Dockyard. It features a terrace, a patio and a kitchen with a fridge and an oven.
Spacious 4-bed Holiday Home is another lovely place to stay in the heart of Maidstone. This 3-bedroom property is an ideal place for families or a group of friends.
Lady Florence is a great place for those who are looking for a unique stay in Kent. This boathouse is located 6.8 miles from Chatham Train Station and 7.5 miles from Historic Chatham Dockyard.
Aylesford is a small picturesque village on the River Medway, 4 miles to the northwest of Maidstone.
You can drive 10 minutes from Maidstone or one hour or so from London to get to the village. The free short-stay car parks on both sides of the river facilitate your journey. When I say short-stay, I mean if you are staying for less than 23 hours.
The village is great for a day trip from London or even just half a day if you are travelling from other parts of Kent. You can start exploring the village from a small walking path right next to the car park that leads into the village on its main street. You can stroll around and cross the medieval five-arches bridge and have food and drinks in the 16th-century riverside restaurant.
You can also read: Best lodges with hot tubs in Kent
Ashford is a town in the county of Kent, about 61 miles southeast of central London. You can take a day trip to Ashford or even have a weekend break since there are plenty of things to do in Ashford.
You can learn about the history of the town by popping into the Ashford Borough Museum, located in the Church Yard, at the Heart of Ashford's Town Centre. The museum is free of charge. You can find a variety of places to eat in the town centre.
If you are like me enjoying shopping, you can head to the Ashford Designer Outlet, where you can find some great deals. Moreover, the outlet is accommodating for wheelchair users.
Where to Stay in Ashford
Hampton by Hilton Ashford International is a 3-star accommodation situated just a short walk from Ashford International Train Station and a 7-minute walk to the Ashford Designer Outlet. It is one of the most popular places to stay in the area, featuring a restaurant, a fitness centre and a bar.
If you are looking for a unique and luxurious stay, Eastwell Manor, Champneys Hotel & Spa is your place. The hotel is an impressive building overlooking beautiful lawns and set in quiet surroundings. It features 2 restaurants, a bar, a gym and a spa.
Hollyhock Cottage is a 3-bedroom holiday home with 2 bathrooms in Ashford. This cosy property is an ideal place for families.
Broadstairs is a beautiful coastal town on the Isle of Thanet, around 80 miles east of London. The town with its seven sandy beaches was Charles Dickens’ favourite holiday spot.
Broadstairs is a great place to have fun while learning about its history by visiting the Dickens House Museum and Crampton Tower Museum.
You can take a gentle coastal walk to enjoy amazing views across the English Channel. If you are searching for a unique experience, you can stay in one of the two 2 unique 17th and 18th-century fishermen's cottages.
Where to Stay in Broadstairs
Seaview - Cheviot Court is a 2-bedroom beachfront property, offering uninterrupted sea views. It is located 650 yards from Viking Bay Beach and 1.2 miles from Joss Bay.
The Royal Albion is one of the best places to stay in kent. This 3-star hotel was originally built in 1760 and Charles Dickens was a regular visitor. The famous Bleak House, Dickens’ home in Broadstairs, is within sight.
The Devonhurst is another lovely place to stay in Broadstairs. This guest house with clifftop location and offers a light continental-style breakfast. It is located just a 15-minute walk from Broadstairs train station and a 20-minute walk to the Broadstairs town.
With a population of 381 (in 2011), you would think Fordwich in Kent should be a village, but that is not true. Fordwich is a town. Yes, I know it is not common. This is why Fordwich claims to be the smallest community by population with a town council in the UK.
We were driving around Canterbury when we found this hidden gem of Kent. We couldn’t believe it was a town if we didn’t see the sign in front of us stating: “Fordwich, Britain's Smallest Town”.
You can walk around the town and take photos of a cute bridge on the River Stour. There are two nice restaurants next to the river: The George & Dragon and The Fordwich Arms, both have their own car park.
Biddenden is a small charming village with a few local shops and restaurants in Kent.
The whole village centre is rather small, but you can take your time to stroll around the road from the village centre towards the church while admiring the old tile-hung houses.
The village used to be a centre for the Wealden iron industry and clothmaking, but nowadays, it is home to Kent’s oldest commercial vineyard producing white, red, rosé, sparkling English wines and Biddenden Cider.
You can give a visit to the Biddenden Vineyard by taking a self-guided walk or booking a private guided tour. You can also head to the vineyard’s shop for wine and cider tasting and purchase your favourite one.
Chilham is a lovely village high above the valley of the River Stour in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Kent.
Its preserved medieval square lies on top of four narrow steep streets and it’s surrounded by timber-framed houses, a couple of quaint tea rooms, a 16th-century church and Chilham Castle.
The castle is a private residence and its garden is open to the public every Tuesday from the beginning of June until the end of September from 10 am until 4 pm.
This pretty village is only a 15-minutes-drive from Canterbury and the best access from London is via the M20, Ashford’s exit. It offers car parks free of charge. On your day trip to Canterbury, you can visit Chilham for afternoon tea.
At the heart of Medway and in the north of Kent is Chatham town which has a rich history of more than 400 years.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham, opened in 2016, is a maritime museum where you can learn about Britain's history at sea. It is also recognised as the world’s most complete dockyard from the “age of sail”.
There are other historical attractions including Rochester Castle stands on the east bank of the River Medway and Fort Amherst which was built to protect the former Royal Dockyard at Chatham against a French invasion.
Chatham could be suitable for a single-day trip or even multiple days.
Where to Stay in Chatham
The Ship & Trades is one of the best hotels in Chatham, offering stunning views across the River Medway onwards to Upnor Castle.
Riverside Luxury Apartment is a 2-bedroom property, offering river and garden views. This modern flat is is 0.6 miles from Historic Chatham Dockyard.
Godmersham is a tiny, peaceful and beautiful Kentish village near Chatham. Jane Austen, the 18th-century novelist often visited this village because of her brother, Edward Knight, who owned Godmersham Park. The park is also featured on the £10 note. You should be at least a group of five to arrange a visit to the park.
Don’t worry if you can’t visit the park, you can still stroll around the village and visit the 12th-century parish church and walk on the road leading to a beautiful 17th-century bridge, where you can take a lot of pretty photos and watch some fish and sheep playing around.
The beautiful village of Ightham is situated east of Sevenoaks, a 20 minutes drive from Aylesford. Driving is the best way to get here.
You can park your car in the open parking and walk to the main street to admire the historical charming houses.
You can have food and drinks in the black-and-white Tudor facade and cosy pub of the village, the George & Dragon.
One of the most remarkable buildings in Ightham is the parish church since its entire north aisle was built of brick in 1639.
Newenden is the first village in Kent and also the smallest one in the county. The earliest reference to Newenden is in AD 791. During the medieval period, Newenden was a busy inland port for sea-going ships, but today is a small, pretty village which offers various outdoor activities.
You can take a fun e-bike tour and explore the off-the-beaten-track into the Wealden and Romney Marsh countryside, see wildlife while learning about locals and history.
You can also walk to the 18th-century Newenden Bridge where you can take a river cruise and visit the 14th-century castle of Nat Trust Bodiam.
The picturesque village of Chiddingstone, 35 miles south-southeast of London, is listed in the National Trust sites and is recognised as “one of the most beautiful and oldest villages in Kent”. You probably have seen the photos of its narrow street and cobbled pavements in various postcards.
The 19th-century Chiddinston castle is one of the main attractions. It is open from April to October on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 11 am and 5 pm. The ticket for adults is £9.50 and for children (older than 5) is £4.50. You can also just go to the castle tea room without purchasing a ticket.
Best Places to Stay in Kent with Hot Tub
Old Coach House is a cosy bed and breakfast with a hot tub in Kent, offering sea views and a garden. It is located 9.9 miles from Sandwich Railway Station and 14.3 miles from Sandown Castle.
Poppy Lodge with a private outdoor hot tub is a 3-star self-catering accommodation in Kent, located as well as 10.6 miles from Sandown Castle as well as 13 miles from Deal Castle.
Rose Shepherds Hut is an ideal place for couples who are looking for a romantic retreat in Kent. The hut is located right next to a lake and guests can soak in the outdoor hot tub while enjoying the lake view.