Yes, that's right, even in these austere times it is still possible to have a good day out in Kent, without breaking the bank.....
1. Take a Walk
There are over 4000 miles of public rights of way in Kent including long distance paths such as the North Downs Way, Pilgrims Way, Saxon Shore Way and Darent Valley Path.
Not only is this an excellent way to see the beautiful Kent countryside, you can also keep fit at the same time.
Best of all, walking is free.
If you are looking for ideas on where to go walking, I have written about a number of walks I have made over the last few months or you could also check out the following sites -
Rambling in Kent by Twisden
Kent County Council
2. Visit a Country Park or Nature Reserve
There are many country parks and nature reserves dotted throughout Kent, some run by KCC and others by organisations such as the Forestry Commission and RSPB.
Admission is usually free although in some, parking charges apply.
One of my favourites is Shorne Country Park near Gravesend where you can find the spider tickling a worm (pictured above). Parking during the week is currently £ 2 and on weekends/Bank holidays £ 2.50
There is a visitor centre/cafe, various waymarked paths suitable for all ages and even outdoor exercise equipment.
Activities are laid on for kids at various times during the year, for example - Easter Egg hunts, Christmas trail etc.
For details of some Kent country parks, please see here.
3. Visit Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral which can trace it's history back to before the Norman Conquest is well worth a visit and entry is free. The architecture is breathtaking and if you are lucky you may hear the choir singing - very atmospheric.
I would highly recommend a visit to the adjacent Cathedral tea rooms where they serve delicious home made cakes.
4. Spend A Day by the Thames
This year regattas will be held in Gravesend in June (date TBA) and on 24th July.
Apart from the rowing races, a fun fair, charity stalls and other entertainment will be provided alongside the river on the Gordon Promenade.
Entry to the Promenade is free.
5. Attend Whitstable Harbour Day
Whitstable Harbour Day takes place during the Summer. This year's date is still to be confirmed.
Various commercial and historic vessels are open to the public and there are charity and trade stalls lining the quayside. Entertainment is provided such as salsa bands (and one year, even sand dancers!).
6. Visit Hall Place, Bexley
Hall Place is an historic manor house in Bexley surrounded by gardens with magnificent topiary. Entrance to the house and gardens is free.
Inside the house there is a museum with an eclectic range of exhibits from wedding dresses to old bones!
7. Visit The Hurricane & Spitfire Memorial
Admission to the Hurricane and Spitfire Memorial at Manston Airport is free, although they greatly appreciate donations to assist in the upkeep of the aircraft.
Please see my earlier post for more details.
8. Visit South Foreland Lighthouse, St Margarets Bay
This historic lighthouse stands on top of the white cliffs at St Margarets Bay just outside Dover and is well worth a visit.
Excellent guided tours are provided by the National Trust and the current entrance price is £ 4.20 for adults. The tour ends at the top of the lighthouse where you are afforded excellent views over Dover Harbour and across the Channel to France.
For more information, please see here.
9. Visit New Tavern Fort, Gravesend
The New Tavern Fort next to the Promenade in Gravesend was first built in around 1780 and remained in active use until the early 1900's.
It's most famous resident was General Charles Gordon (of Khartoum) who had a house within the grounds (later destroyed by a V2).
At weekends between April and September the labyrinth of tunnels below the fort where munitions were once stored, are open to the public. There is a nominal entrance fee.
Various exhibits illustrate the fort's history from the 1780's onwards as well as that of the town of Gravesend itself during World War II.
10. Visit The Guildhall Museum, Rochester
I would recommend a visit to the Guildhall Museum in Rochester. The building dates back to 1687 and is very impressive.
The museum has numerous interesting artifacts and exhibits relating to the history of Rochester and some of it's more colourful characters like Sir Cloudesley Shovell.
An area of the museum realistically recreates one of the numerous prison hulks which once anchored in the River Medway and where French prisoners of war and convicts were incarcerated in terrible conditions.
Admission is free.
I hope you have found this post informative and enjoyable.
Please feel free to leave any comments. They are always welcome.