by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:16th April 2024

From the countryside to the coast

I’m taking you on another enchanting journey around my delightful home county of Kent in southeast England to explore 8 more picturesque villages and towns.

Gary and I love exploring the open Kent countryside to discover new places; however, we also really enjoy revisiting old haunts. There’s always something new to uncover wherever you visit.

Here, you’ll find a delightful mix of rural Kent villages, historic welcoming towns and, of course, the pleasure of strolling along a seaside harbour or golden sandy beach.

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

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Hopefully, you caught my first three 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 Charming Villages and Towns in Kent – Part 2’, a few of the places we visited were Wrotham, Westerham, Charing and Cranbrook. Then, in my third ‘8 Delightful Villages and Towns in Kent – Part 3’, we explored Aylesford, Otford, Sandwich, Folkestone, and more.

So, strap in and let’s discover 8 more scenic 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 stunning little village of Chilham in Kent is located 1/2 mile off the A28 just around 7 miles from Faversham in the northwest and 7 miles from Canterbury in the northeast.
The Street in Chilham, Kent with its pretty half-timbered buildings
Timber fronted houses in The Street, Chilham

Chilham is an absolute gem of a village in the beating heart of Kent. The relaxed daily village life revolves around the attractive market square. At one end of the charming square is the 15th century St. Mary’s Church and at the other is Chilham Castle Gardens, which are only open on selected days of the year.

Chilham is overflowing with timber-framed listed buildings, so it’s no surprise that this adorable location has been used numerous times for movies and TV dramas.

If there weren’t the obvious signs of modern-day life dotted around Chilham, you would almost believe you had strolled back in time. It’s such a beautiful village to amble around. Why don’t you take a break and enjoy a hot drink in the quaint tearoom or head into the White Horse Inn for a local ale?

The White Horse Pub, at the end of a row of Half-timbered homes, on the edge of The Street, in the centre of Chilham.
Charming homes in the village of Chilham

The historic Pilgrims Way passes through Chilham near the Great Stour River as it wends its way to the ancient city of Canterbury, where you can visit the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral.

Parking is limited in Chilham village square; however, a large free car park is only a 5-minute walk from the square.

We visited Chilham as part of our ‘Charming road trip in and around the Kent Downs (AONB) UK’. On this road trip, you can also visit Lenham and Faversham.

Where to stay near Chilham

The Sun Inn
If a historic stay is what you are after, then the 14th-century Sun Inn is for you. Inglenook fireplaces, charming courtyard garden and cask ales from the local Shepherd Neame brewery.

The Judds Folly Hotel
This comfortable hotel is located 5-minute drive from Faversham in peaceful off-road surroundings. An onsite restaurant is available, and also free parking.

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We’re now heading to the golden sandy beaches of Margate, along the north coast of Kent, just off the A28. Margate also has a great high-speed rail connection from London, so just grab your sunhat and sunglasses and head off for a day out.
A collection of small boats anchored in Margate's harbour overlooking the Turner Contemporary Gallery
Looking across the bay

Margate has seen a welcomed revival over recent years, so not only can you while away your time in the penny arcades and top up your tan on Margate beach, but you can also explore the quaint traditional streets around Margate Old Town.

Margate still has the slapstick blend of ‘kiss-me-quick’ fun, the sweet aroma of candy floss and, of course, Dreamland adventure park. Along with charming cafés, overflowing ice-cream parlours and old-style theatres.

The classic 1920's towering brick-built entrance to Dreamland in Margate
Dreamland, Margate

However, if you’re after a little slice of culture, Margate offers the Turner Contemporary Gallery, bustling historic lanes with antique shops and tempting boutiques. One of my favourite aspects of Margate is strolling around the revived harbour arm and discovering the pop-up bars and restaurants.

If you fancy sampling the local shellfish, you’ll have plenty to choose from cockles, whelks, mussels and jellied eels. Not quite my cup of tea, though. I’ll stick with fish and chips, thanks.

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

Where to stay in Margate

The Pearl Suite by Margate Suites
This delightful apartment is in an excellent location in Margate and has stunning views across the bay. Perfect for a weekend away.

Beach Retreat, Stones Throw Away from Beach
This two-bedroom apartment is ideal for a family and just a short stroll from Bay Beach and Margate Old Town.

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.

The charming, peaceful village of Farningham is easily accessed from the M25 (jct. 3) and M20 (jct. 1). It’s so lovely to find places like this hidden away in plain sight with so much history.
Parasols up at tables in front of the Lion Hotel on the High Street of Farningham, Kent
Lion Hotel
Farningham holds many childhood memories for me, especially when my brother and I used to swing back and forth on the ancient Cattle Screen that straddles the River Darent.

The cattle screen, next to Farningham’s old medieval bridge, and the historic Lion Hotel remain quite an iconic sight in Farningham. The cattle screen was erected around the mid-1700s and was put in place to stop livestock wandering up or downstream of the River.

All through Farningham High Street are beautifully kept country cottages with enchanting fragrant gardens. The architecture in the village is a mixture of white weatherboarded homes and charming flint and stone cottages.

The white weatherboarded 18th-century Farningham Mill in Farningham, Kent
Farningham Watermill

Even though Farningham is a small village, it is full of so much ancient history, from the Neolithic era and onto the existence of Roman settlements. One of its Norman landowners who fought side by side with William the Conqueror can be seen on the Bayeux Tapestry.

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

Where to stay near Farningham

Castle Hotel
Is in the delightful neighbouring village of Eynsford. It is located 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.

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.

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.

West Malling is a delightful place to visit. It’s full of character and incredible history, and is only 1.5 miles from Jct. 4 of the M20.

The attractive lanes of West Malling feel very welcoming and overflowing with a charming mix of architecture; Gary and I loved strolling along King Street and admiring the timber-framed cottages.

An original VW camper van parked on King Street in West Malling with its black and white half-timbered 16th-century homes
King Street, West Malling

The market town of West Malling has much to offer, especially along the attractive road of Swan Street. Take a stroll through, and you’ll discover an 11th-century Benedictine Abbey, beautiful Georgian homes, and many tempting bars and restaurants.

However, you may be surprised to see a very unusual waterfall, which has links with the famous artist J.M.W. Turner.

We love seeking out historical wall plaques, and West Malling has created its very own Blue Plaque trail, where you can follow the route of its 18 notable citizens.

Water cascading down a 1.5-metre man-made waterfall through a medieval stone arch at the rear of St Mary’s Abbey in West Malling Kent
The Malling Abbey Cascades

On the outskirts of West Malling keep an eye out for the ancient English Heritage site of St. Leonard’s Tower. Little is known about the history of the Norman Keep, which was built around the early 12th-century.

The tower, which stands alone, may have formed part of a defensive castle and is believed to have been built by Bishop Gundulf, the Bishop of Rochester.

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

Where to stay in West Malling (or closeby)

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 on-site parking.

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

The bustling town of Tenterden along the A28 is a delightful place to visit all year round. It’s full of so much character, especially along the historic High Street and amongst the heritage locomotives at the nostalgic Kent and East Sussex Railway.
A view outside an antique shop looking down the tree lined High Street
Tree-lined High Street

All through the tree-lined High Street are charming antique shops and boutiques waiting to be explored. Coffee shops and tea rooms welcome you in; however, if you fancy a visit to a lush English vineyard, head to Chapel Down, just on the outskirts of Tenterden. The wines are incredible.

The beautiful mixture of architecture in Tenterden is stunning, from the terracotta-tiled fronted cottages to the eye-catching timber-framed stores. The enchanting scents from the local florist overflow into the streets, and there are plenty of inns where you can try a real ale.

The back of a steam train with dark smoke coming from its chimney and the driver preparing to get on his way on a bright sunny day
Final preparations

This heritage steam railway is kept running by enthusiasts and lovers of all things locomotive. Hop on board, and you can visit the 14th-century moated Bodiam Castle, run by The National Trust.
Which is just five stops along the line.

We visited the captivating town of Tenterden during our ‘Road trip around the Kent Countryside’. Which also included a visit to Headcorn, Smarden, Cranbrook and Sissinghurst.

Where to stay in Tenterden

The Woolpack Hotel
Located in the centre of Tenterden, this historic inn offers delightful rooms within traditional surroundings. A delicious full English breakfast is included in the price.

Little Silver Country Hotel
This delightful country retreat is situated just 1.5 miles from Tenterden and offers tranquil accommodation. Breakfast is included, and there is free on-site parking.

If you’re curious about English wines

Take a look at our post on our tour and tasting at Chapel Down. You can read all about our personal experience on one of their guided tours. It was so informative and relaxed, and I loved the fact they didn’t pressure you into purchasing their products.

A tour and tasting at Chapel Down Vineyard in Kent, England

by Janis on  24 Sep 19
The quaint village of Ightham is highly picturesque, with many of its historic buildings and cottages located around the village square and along The Street. Ightham is situated along the A227, just a short hop from Sevenoaks.
Fen pond road runs through the centre of Ightham, with the old village shop and the George and Dragon pub lining the street
The George and Dragon, Ightham

Encircling the Ightham village war memorial are beautiful half-timbered cottages, which bring the village so much charm and character. Many houses along The Street were originally hall-houses dating from the 16th century and have been lovingly restored and preserved centuries later.

Strolling past the historic timber-framed George and Dragon Inn, head along Fen Pond Road. Here, you’ll find St Peter’s Church, rebuilt circa 1400 and sits overlooking the village of Ightham.

The Ightham war memorial in a little triangle between Trycewell Lane and Busty Lane in front of a pair of 16th-century cottages
Ightham village square

Within the church, you’ll see a plaque dedicated to the memory of William Sutton, a bugler. He received the Victoria Cross for an act of bravery during the Indian Mutiny in 1857. Unfortunately, William lies in an unmarked grave within the churchyard.

Ensure you visit the nearby enchanting medieval timber-framed manor house Ightham Mote, built during the early 14th century and now managed by the National Trust.

Map out your route

Whether you’re planning a road trip, plotting a hiking route or cycling one of UK’s scenic trails, there’s nothing quite like using a tactile paper map.

The Ordnance Survey folk are here to help, with maps, guides, gadgets and more. Take a browse through their vast array of maps and grab your ideal companion for your adventure.

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.

We’re now heading back to the beautiful Kent coast and visiting the delectable town of Broadstairs. What I adore about Broadstairs is that parts of this fascinating town appear encased in a Victorian time capsule. It is incredible that places like this still exist and haven’t been tainted with time.

Broadstairs can be found by taking the M2 and A299 towards Margate and then head off along the A255.

A view of Viking Bay as it sweeps around towards the harbour. On the left hand side you can see the lift What takes you to and from the promenade. also stretched out along the sea front you can see the bathing cabins.
Clifftop view of Viking Bay

There are some beautiful sandy bays along this stretch of the shoreline; however, the beach that is particularly stunning is Viking Bay in Broadstairs, at the base of Victoria Gardens.

Multicoloured beach huts and the quaint little harbour truly give you a feeling of a slice of old England. I remember visiting Broadstairs as a child, and my brother and I would go crabbing off the side of the harbour wall.

The view from the Harbour towards the Tartar Frigate pub with Bleak House on the hillside above.
Bleak House on the clifftop in Broadstairs

Broadstairs has a fascinating history, from the ancient tales of local smugglers rowing ashore in the middle of the night, to its undisputable links with the author Charles Dickens.

Dickens regularly stayed at Broadstairs and gained local inspiration for his characters. It was in the clifftop home, Fort House, renamed Bleak House, where Dickens penned ‘David Copperfield’.

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

Where to stay near Broadstairs

The Royal Albion
A beautiful historic hotel with magnificent sea views across Viking Bay and beyond, what could be better. Oh yes, Charles Dickens was a regular visitor, too.

The Crown Bar and Guesthouse
Located in the heart of Broadstairs, this characterful inn offers a comfortable, friendly stay with the charm and vibe of an English pub.

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.
Returning to the heart of the Kent countryside, we’re now visiting the picturesque village of Biddenden along the A274/A262.
Half-timbered buildings on the corner of the High Street of Biddenden, Kent on a beautiful summers day
Biddenden High Street

This peaceful village has historic links with the Flemish clothworkers. Upon your approach to Biddenden and in the village centre, you’ll notice quite a few half-timbered cloth halls dotted all around.

Take your time to appreciate this lovely village, enjoy a welcome break at the local tearoom, and visit the charming All-Saints 13th-century church.

The town sign for Biddenden featuring the two ‘Biddenden Maids’ on a triangle section separating the road in front of traditional red brick homes.
Biddenden with the ‘Biddenden Maids’ village sign
Biddenden is also known for its ‘Biddenden Maids’, conjoined twins born in 1100. Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst were joined at the shoulder, and hip and amazingly lived to the age of 34 years. The village sign in Biddenden is a touching depiction of them.

Our Kent road trips

If you’ve fallen in love with the county of Kent, we’ve created a few road trips around the “Garden of England” that we believe you will enjoy too.

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