by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:7th November 2023

A voyage of discovery

I love digging deeper into our home county of Kent, as there are so many picturesque towns and villages to discover in the Garden of England.

Often, these quaint places are a few miles off a main road, so you would only detour to them if you knew they were there.

Touring through the rolling Kent countryside, not only will you be spotting lush vineyards, hop-bines and oast houses, but you’re never too far from the stunning Kent coast either.

A few of these Kent villages we’ve chosen are in rural locations, and public transport can often be challenging. However, Gary and I are noticing that more EV charging stations are popping up around Kent, so it’s become much easier to head off on a Kent road trip in your electric vehicle.

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Hopefully, you caught my first two posts, ‘8 Picturesque Villages and Towns in Kent – Part 1’. We chose some real gems like Lenham, Smarden, Upnor, Faversham, Hythe and Headcorn. In my second piece, ‘8 Delightful Villages and Towns in Kent – Part 2’, a few of the places we visited were Wrotham, Westerham, Charing and Cranbrook.

So, let’s jump aboard the charabanc and journey around 8 more delightful villages and towns in Kent.

Where are the 8 picturesque locations in Kent?

We'll be discovering the following;
You can click on the link to jump to the section, and to return, just click on the title.
The attractive village of West Peckham is located around 1 mile off the A26 and has a community of around 350 people. West Peckham is so tiny I’d almost call it a hamlet, but what it lacks in size, it makes up tenfold in charm.
The Swan on the Green pub next to the village green in West Peckham with oast houses in the background on a perfect summer's day
West Peckham village green

As soon as you arrive in West Peckham, you feel a sense of community, with the large open village green immaculately maintained for the weekly game of cricket.

West Peckham has some amazing history and was even mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The quaint late medieval church of St Dunstan’s in West Peckham, which overlooks the village green, is Grade I listed and has a Saxon tower.

Gary and I have visited West Peckham on a few occasions over the years as it has a lovely pub, the Swan-on-the-Green, which overlooks the cricket pitch. It’s a delightful spot for a pub lunch or a sneaky pint of ale.
Janis is sitting outside the Swan on the Green in West Peckham with a pint of cold lager on a bright sunny day with St Dunstan's church in the background.
Janis outside the Swan on the Green, West Peckham

Life is all rather idyllic, and it is not at all surprising that West Peckham was used by ITV as a filming location for the comedy-drama series The Larkins.

When we drove through West Peckham last year, ITV was filming The Larkins. They let us pass through between takes, and we spotted Barney Walsh outside the pub playing the character PC Harness.

We visited West Peckham as part of our circular road trip from Wrotham in Kent. On this road trip, you can also visit Wrotham and West Malling.

Where to stay near West Peckham

The Farm House
This charming 4-star B&B is located in the centre of West Malling and has an onsite restaurant and bar. The rooms are well-equipped and have lovely décor throughout.

Hamlet Hotels Maidstone
This delightful hotel is located in Larkfield. The charming rooms are clean, modern and very comfortable. Breakfast is included in the price, and the hotel offers free onsite parking.

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We’re now heading to the historic old town of Aylesford on the banks of the River Medway and just a short hop from the M20 and the M2.

To catch the iconic and picturesque view of Aylesford village, head to the modern-day bridge which crosses the Medway. The Norman Church of St Peter and St Paul stands proud in the background. At the same time, the symmetrical pointed rooftops of the timber-framed dwellings lie beneath.

A picturesque view of the old stone bridge over the River Medway in Aylesford
The view of Aylesford

Aylesford’s ancient medieval bridge is believed to date from the 14th-century, although this historic bridge once welcomed horse and carts, it is now only open to pedestrians.

Take a stroll through the charming High Street, which is lined with timber-framed inns and quaint terraced cottages. You feel like you are strolling through a Dickensian movie set. Continue to follow the road through Aylesford, and you’ll arrive at The Friars, home to Aylesford’s Carmelite Friars.

The Friars at Aylesford was founded in 1242. The Carmelite convent continued to build a small Friars community; however, the group were forced to leave in 1538 due to the Dissolution of The Monasteries.
Historic buildings line the Great Courtyard in Aylesford Priory
The Great Courtyard in Aylesford Priory

It was around 400 years later, in 1949, that the Carmelite Friars returned to the Medieval Priory and built the tranquil and welcoming Friars we have today.

South of Aylesford is the Royal British Legion Village. The Royal British Legion was founded in 1921 to support injured returning soldiers from the First World War. The Royal British Legion Village is now a welcoming community providing sheltered accommodation and supporting veterans.

Kit's Coty House, the remains of a megalithic 'dolmen' burial chamber, behind an iron fence.
Kit's Coty House

Nearby Aylesford is Kits Coty, where you’ll find the neolithic ancient burial chambers of Kit’s Coty House and Little Kit’s Coty House. These two incredibly historic monuments are managed by English Heritage and are free to visit.

If you’re visiting Aylesford, why not embark on one of our Kent road trips. Our Scenic Medway Valley road trip takes you to Cobham, Upnor, and Rochester, with a little detour to Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Where to stay near Aylesford

Village Hotel Maidstone
This comfortable hotel is 100 yards from the River Medway and 2 miles from Aylesford village. It has plenty of on-site parking.

The Friars, Aylesford
For something a little different, stay at the historic Friars. Offering comfortable and peaceful surroundings.

The charming village of Hollingbourne is nestled within the North Downs (AONB), an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and only 1 ½ miles from the M20, just by Leeds Castle.

Upon arriving at Hollingbourne from the south, you first enter Eyhorne Street, a picturesque little hamlet. Ensure you stroll around here as it is so quaint, with half-timbered homes and perfect English country gardens.

Homes on Eyhorne Street in Hollingbourne, Kent
Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne

Eyhorne Street alone has over 25 listed buildings, along with two pubs, a cute village shop and a café serving the community; it was so peaceful there.

Heading north, we arrive in Hollingbourne. At first glance, this cute village may appear very small, but overflowing with character and charm.

Hollingbourne can trace its heritage back to 1086, as it appears in the Domesday Book as Hoilingeborde. Within the village are beautiful English cottages, and you’ll also spot the Elizabethan Hollingbourne Manor.

The view down Upper Street in Hollingbourne from the Dirty Habit pub & restaurant
Looking down Upper Street, Hollingbourne

The Pilgrims Way and the North Downs Way wind their way through the north of the village.

We visited Hollingbourne as part of our road trip around the Kent Downs (AONB); you’ll discover some gorgeous locations with this Kent road trip itinerary, including Faversham, Lenham and Chilham.

If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".

You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.

Tempted to?

Discover more of the Great British Isles; why not jump in a car and tour the country at your own pace. You can do it all on a road trip; Rental Cars cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.
I’ve truly begun to start falling in love with Folkestone; it has some mixed press over the years, and at times, rightly so. Nonetheless, over the last few years, it has undergone an incredible transition and regeneration.
A view of with boats in Folkestone Harbour with a pink version of Holiday Home – By Richard Woods in the centre.
Folkestone Harbour

Although the narrow historic Hight Street is a highlight, especially through the Creative Quarter and around the colourful Bayle district. However, for me, it has to be the bustling harbour, the jangling masts of the little yachts and the newly rejuvenated harbour arm.

The old harbour railway station, which once saw passengers arrive on the Orient Express, has been converted into a communal area which leads onto the harbour arm. This is full of restaurants, bars, cafés, and plenty of places just to sit and watch the world go by. It’s wonderful now.

Looking from behind the Antony Gormley installation "Another Time XVIII” in the harbour arm onto the water and the white cliffs.
‘Another Time XVIII’ by Antony Gormley
An elaborate blue-grey beach hut with a bright red door in an 18th Century Baroque style.
‘Beach hut in the style of Nicholas Hawksmoor’ by Pablo Bronstein

Another reason I love Folkestone is the way that it has fully embraced public art. Folkestone can wholeheartedly boast that it has the UK’s largest urban exhibition of contemporary art. Check out the Creative Folkestone for maps and walks.

The art exhibition is accessible 24 hours a day. You’ll find pieces by Antony Gormley, Yoko Ono, Cornelia Parker and Tracey Emin, to name just a few.

You can visit Folkestone as part of our Scenic coastal road trip around the shores of Kent, with many stops along the way, including Margate, Sandwich, Deal, and Dungeness, to name a few.

Where to stay in Folkestone

View Hotel Folkestone
This charming boutique hotel offers incredible views across the sea from the Leas promenade. Only a 5-minute walk into colourful Folkestone town.

The Wycliffe
This comfortable guest house is located just a 5-minutes’ walk from Folkestone town and the Leas beaches. It offers cosy rooms, cooked breakfasts, and free off-street parking.

We have a new little book on our shelves that we delve into when we're heading to the coast.

Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different counties of England.  It tells tales of the history of the shoreline that surrounds our country.

Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves the English seaside.

To visit the delightful little village of Appledore, you’ll be heading to the extraordinary region of Kent named Romney Marsh, sometimes referred to as ‘The Fifth Continent’.

I adore this part of Kent as it is so different from other areas in the county, and there are some weird and wonderful medieval churches to discover, too. Take a peek at my posts on the Romney Marsh churches; here is part 1 and part 2; there are even pink box pews.

A country scene of a detached brick-built home, with climbing roses in the garden, in the village of Appledore, Kent
A beautiful detached home in the village of Appledore

Appledore on the northern edge of Romney Marsh is unquestionably stunning; we were quite taken aback when we arrived. The main road that runs through Appledore is The Street, and it’s lined with idyllic country cottages, beautifully kept gardens, a friendly tea-room, and a very welcoming village pub.

Centuries ago, Appledore and Romney Marsh looked so different as this quiet little village was a bustling port on the River Rother’s estuary. During its heyday, Appledore was capable of mooring over 200 ships in its harbour.

Tables & chairs outside the traditional Black Lion pun in Appledore, Kent
The Black Lion Pub, Appledore

In 1287, a severe storm hit this region of Kent, and the landscape of many towns and villages changed forever. The surrounding land and rivers silted up, and Appledore is now around 9 miles from the sea.

We visited Appledore as part of our Romney Marsh road trip. Which also included a visit to Hythe, Dymchurch, New Romney, Lydd, and Dungeness.

Map, guides and more

If you fancy exploring the surrounding footpaths and bridleways around these magnificent Kent castles, then why not download the Ordnance Survey app?

For a relatively small annual subscription, you’ll have the whole of the United Kingdom at your fingertips.

I know this is a bit of a cliché; however, the stunning market town of Sandwich in Kent is a true gem. So often, folk head to the seaside towns of Deal or Broadstairs. If you’re after an authentic slice of British architectural history, then Sandwich is for you.
The historic Barbican tollgate over the road into Sandwich, a beautiful part of kent to visit
The Barbican - the old tollgate

When you stroll around Sandwich’s narrow streets and cobbled lanes, you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. We love visiting Sandwich as it usually falls off the tourist’s radar.

The best way to explore Sandwich is just to wander aimlessly; you won’t get lost, and you’ll have fun.

Stroll around the ancient little quayside, head beneath the Barbican Gate and old Tollgate to see how much a toll will be for your horse and cart.

The 16th-century half-timbered guildhall of Sandwich, Kent
The Guildhall

Wander into town amongst the half-timbered pubs and homes dating from the 15th & 16th centuries. Keep a lookout for the tiny hardware stores, cake shops and independent workshops, which were the lifeblood of this picturesque town.

And yes, you’re right, it’s where the good old English lunchtime snack derived its name.

The 4th Earl of Sandwich was said to have ordered his valet to bring him some slices of meat tucked in two slices of bread. Hey, presto, the sandwich was born.

Where to stay in Sandwich

The Bell Hotel
The recently refurbished Bell Hotel is located on the quayside in Sandwich. The elegant rooms offer a beautiful, tasteful feel within traditional stylish surroundings.

The Fleur De Lis Hotel
This traditional, comfortable hotel is located within the heart of Sandwich. They offer pleasant rooms, and a full English breakfast is included in the price.

We are now heading much further inland in Kent to Otford. Otford is close to Sevenoaks and near the M25/A21.

When you arrive at Otford, one of the first sights you’ll undoubtedly stumble upon is the village duck pond, which also doubles as a roundabout.

A mottled goose standing at the edge of Otford's listed village duck pond
The listed duck pond at Otford
However, this is not just any old duck pond; this is the only listed duck pond in the country and was granted this listed status in January 1975. The pond is believed to date back to Anglo-Saxon times when it was probably used as a drinking hole for local livestock.
The Otford village sign on a green in front of traditional buildings
Otford Village sign
A fence alongside the path to a remaining tower of Otford Palace
The ruins of Otford’s Archbishops Palace

Otford has an incredible history dating back to the Iron Age. However, it was Otford Palace, also known as the Archbishop’s Palace, that raised Otford’s profile with Royalty and noblemen.

Unfortunately, today, Otford Palace has long since disappeared. Only the gatehouse and tower remain from what was once one of England’s largest palaces, covering 4 acres of land. Otford Palace was similar in size to Hampton Court Palace. After the death of Henry VIII, Otford Palace slowly fell into decline and ruin.

A home with a beautifully managed garden next to the High Street in the village of Otford, Kent
Otford High Street

Otford is a bustling little place with some delightful boutiques and antique shops to rummage around. Take a stroll along the entire length of the High Street, and you’ll see some charming cottages and manor houses hidden behind high walls and gates.

We visited the delightful village of Otford during our Darent Valley road trip. Just a few miles from Otford are the lovely villages of Eynsford, Farningham and Shoreham. The villages are reasonably small but most certainly worth visiting.

Where to stay near Otford

Donnington Manor Hotel
Is located just 1 mile from Otford along the London Road. The rooms are comfortably decorated, and it has an onsite restaurant. If you are driving, they also have complimentary parking.

Castle Hotel
Is in the delightful neighbouring village of Eynsford, it is in the heart of the village, with Eynsford Castle opposite. The rooms are beautifully decorated and if you are driving, they have an onsite free car park.

We’re back in the Romney Marsh region of Kent, and this time, we’re visiting Lydd.

Lydd is the most southerly town in Kent, and considering that Lydd is reasonably small, it has the longest church in the county. The ancient 13th-century All Saints Church is known locally as the ‘Cathedral of the Marsh’ and is 199ft (60.7m) long.

Looking along the High Street in Lydd towards All Saints Church
The High Street in Lydd

Lydd has plenty of charm and character throughout its narrow streets, especially around Coronation Square. Here, you’ll spot the medieval courthouse, timbered-framed homes, and quaint, picturesque cottages.

With Lydd’s vicinity to New Romney, it became a member of the Crown’s Cinque Ports during the 13th-century as a “limb” of Romney.

All Saints Church in Lydd on the Romney Marshes in Kent

All Saints Church, Lydd

While strolling around Lydd, you’ll probably hear the occasional light-aircraft overhead; this is because Lydd has a local airport which was originally named Lydd Ferryfield. It was the first airport to be built in the UK following the end of WWII.

We visited Lydd as part of our Romney Marsh road trip. Which also included a visit to Hythe, Dymchurch, New Romney and Dungeness.

Where to stay near Lydd

Romney Sands Holiday Apartment
This well maintained apartment is in a quiet location and is only 500 metres from Greatstone Beach. There is access to a terrace, and it also has free parking.

Camping Pods, Marlie Holiday Park
For something a little different, why not stay in a family Camping Pod? With garden views and all the facilities and enjoyment of a holiday park.

Escape for a few days

Are you looking for that ‘perfick’ holiday hideaway to relax in while you discover the Garden of England?

After a day exploring the Kent coast and its many historic castles enjoy one of the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.

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