There has never been a better time for independent people to travel and discover more of England. Thinking independently and not following the crowds provides a unique experience which will feed your soul, lift your spirits and linger in your heart. 

Orchards and Oasts

Kent has been known as the “Garden of England” for centuries and whilst it offers some of the best food in the world it is also very picturesque.  When someone says “the Garden of England” to me it conjures up pictures of rows of runner beans, cabbages, beetroot and lettuces.  Where as in reality, Kent is not a market garden but produces orchards, strawberries and soft fruit, English flowers, milk and exceptional meat, where the livestock has grazed on salt marsh or the chalk downland flowers and herbs.  North facing slopes are perfect for the fruit trees and the south facing slopes are wonderful for soft fruit and vineyards.

Wide river valleys like that of the River Medway meander through towns, villages and countryside.  Ancient churches and castles nestle into the landscape.  This land has been fought over and defended for centuries and its rich history is here to tell the tale. 

Autumn at Teston

Basing yourself in Maidstone, means that nothing is more than 1 hour away.  You can visit Hell Fire Corner, Chatham Dockyard or Canterbury Cathedral. You can visit castles and history or explore the road travelled by pilgrims in times gone by.

Cosy cottages with wood burner’s and log fires, make for a peaceful and comfortable stay, or the convenience of a hotel is equally good.  Here you can curl up with a good book, catch-up with your friends on social media or may be head towards a waterside restaurant or an old pub with beams and great local food.

Woolly socks and toes warming by a log fire

Explore the vineyards and vintages, the hops and the breweries, the cider makers and the fruit juicers.  Buy meat, fruit and vegetables at a farmers market or in a farm shop. 

Autumn Fruit

The crowds are gone, the integrity and joy of the garden of England remain.

Staying local in the Garden of England – must do’s

Hush Heath Winery and Biddenden Vineyards – for fabulous wines, juices, ciders and insightful tours.

Discover ciders and wines

Leeds Castle for history

Go Ape for a challenge

Go ape is fun in the autumn

Farmers Farm Shop for great local produce, for marvellous take home gifts or to tantalise your tastebuds.

The Blackthorn Trust has a scrumptious vegetarian and vegan food menu, most of which is grown in the garden outside and the bread is baked in the kitchen next door.

Outside the little cafe at the Blackthorn Trust

A walk around the lake in Mote Park for autumn colour and reflections.

Pull on your scarf, gloves and a woolly hat and hire an electric bike and enjoy a trip in the countryside. 

Book The Dirty Habit to tread in the steps of Pilgrims and visit Hollingbourne Church.

Hike to the top of the North Downs and sit with the Shepherd at Hucking Estate and enjoy the view.

Shepherd on the North Downs

Get Coffee and luscious pastries for breakfast at Frankie’s, Staplehurst

Book a Gin tour at Anno Gin or Maidstone Distillery

Book a floristry workshop at Blooming Green or nip along to the Musket Brewery for great traditional beer – they are next door to each other.

Enjoy tea and cake at The Holding Point Café at Headcorn Aerodrome whilst you watch the planes come and go and the sky-divers jump.

Book somewhere to stay

Just when I thought there was enough for the weekend, probably need to stay the week to get all this in.

Related

Hush Heath Estate & Winery
Vineyard
Hush Heath Winery

Hush Heath Winery is looking forward to greeting their visitors from 12th April 2021. The deck will be open for sharing platters and wine. The self-guided vineyard walks will also be available.

Biddenden Vineyards
Vineyard
Biddenden Vineyards Ortega

The Vineyard Shop is open to visitors Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 11am – 4pm (closed Sundays).  As well as their own products, the shop also offers a wide range of locally sourced food & drink, including beers, gins, condiments, savoury snacks, sweet treats, cheeses, charcuterie and more.

Go Ape - Forest Adventure Leeds Castle
Adventure Park / Playground
Go Ape - Forest Adventure Leeds Castle

We’ll brief you for safety before you fly down our zip-wires, leap off our Tarzan Swing and tackle our crossings whilst enjoying some of Britain’s most breath taking scenery up in the trees.

Leeds Castle
Castle / Fort
Leeds Castle early morning sunrise.

Leeds Castle to remain OPEN during the national lockdown. Please read for more details.

Mote Park
Parkland / Woodland Garden
Family by the lake in Mote Park

Mote Park is an award-winning park with 450 acres of mature parkland and a 30 acre lake, providing a wide range of recreational activities. Children's play area, cafe open all year, miniature railway.

The Dirty Habit
Pub/Inn
The Dirty Habit

In a designated area of natural beauty, The Dirty Habit is a beautiful historic building situated in the lovely and picturesque Kentish village of Hollingbourne, It is close to Leeds Castle, and nestles at the foot of the North Downs, directly on The Pilgrims Way, which was often used by the pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.

Anno Distillers
Distillery
A selection of Anno Gins' and hand sanitizer

Anno Distillers are a small artisanal spirits producer based in the beautiful Kentish countryside. Distillery Blending Experiences, Tours and Tastings. Range of gins, vodka and hand sanitiser available from the online shop.

The Maidstone Distillery
Distillery
The Stills, the history and the tasting room at Maidstone Distillery

Due to the announcement of the new national lockdown, all tours, experiences and Bishop's Bar, will be temporarily closing until December. Bottles of gin and gin experience gift cards can still be bought from their online shop.

Blooming Green
Farm
Blooming Green workshop and shop

Pick-Your-Own Flowers are available on specific days until the end of October. Flower arranging courses and workshops are available throughout the year. Gift vouchers can be used for workshops or for PYO Days.

Holding Point Cafe
Café
Inside the Holding Point Cafe |

The Holding Point Café is a meeting place for all the people taking part in aerial activities at the Aerodrome, be it sky-diving, wing walking, pilots or spectators, all are welcome.

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