The summer of 2022 will always be remembered! I felt like it was the first summer since the covid pandemic during which many of us returned to travel – to enjoy family reunions or to take a well-deserved holiday.
For me personally, travelling home to England felt “normal” again. The airports were full of the hustle & bustle of passengers queueing up at airline kiosks, at restaurants & even the restrooms! Of course, the main indication that a sense of normalcy had returned was that the flights were at full capacity. This was in stark contrast to my last trip to England in November 2021 when there was a sense of caution and apprehension in the air. To be back in England with my family was the best feeling ever!
Travel to Kent
With my parents living on the outskirts of London, our go-to place for engaging in activities, dining and just enjoying the outdoors is the city itself. But of course there is more to England than just London. On this trip, we escaped from the fast-paced London life to the serene pace of the Kent countryside.
Located approximately 40 miles southeast of London, the county of Kent is the perfect location to unwind and immerse yourself in the idyllic English countryside. Henry VIII described Kent as the ‘Garden of England’ & rightfully so! With rolling hills, exhilarating cycle and foot trails, beautiful beaches, stunning castles and everything in-between, Kent is an ideal escape from the cacophony of a big city.The silence of the countryside broken by birdsong will be music to your ears!
Kent is the oldest name in Britain that is still in use. The word has Celtic roots and means edge or rim which makes sense, as the county lies on the southeast ‘edge’ or ‘rim’ of England. The sprawling county boasts not only lush green expanses but also has a spectacular coastline which features the iconic white cliffs of Dover.
Ideally, having a car and driving at your own leisure allows for flexibility to navigate through the countryside. We did just that and found ourselves an AirBnb in a small village close to the town of Sevenoaks, but well off-the beaten track. It was absolutely perfect! If driving isn’t an option, then it would be best to stay in one of the main cities like Canterbury, Maidstone or Dover, to name a few. You can take a train to any of these cities and then plan your visits to the surrounding areas by taxi or equivalent means.
The highlights of our time in Kent included our visit to Hever Castle and walking the trails of the sprawling rural countryside.
Dating back to the 13th century, Hever Castle is situated in the village of Hever and is famous for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I.
The castle and its 125 acres of grounds are perfect for exploring; it is replete with mazes, award-winning gardens and a lake. The beautiful gardens serve as the perfect backdrop for instagram photos.
The grounds feature not only a quintessential English Rose Garden but also an Italian garden, a giant topiary chess set and a Loggia which overlooks the 38-acre lake. With restaurants and cafes, Hever Castle is perfect for a family day out.
To ensure you make the most of your day there, check their website to purchase tickets and glance through the activities being offered at the time.
If you love to connect with nature and fancy fully immersing yourself in the greenery of the English countryside, then you cannot leave Kent without walking the trails. There are curated walking trails (some quite challenging) which you will be able to find online.
We opted to walk the trails around our lodging and allowed the meandering country paths to lead us through the delightful landscape. We traversed endless pastures, a meadow of hay and then came across a lake with a little hut perched at the edge.
Awestruck by the vistas, I couldn’t help but stop intermittently to appreciate the beauty around me.
Serene, idyllic, glorious, relaxing and picturesque are just some of the words to describe Kent. We only explored one small area of this scenic county and hope to discover the other areas on subsequent trips home.
Photos courtesy the author