Welcome to touring parts of the garden of England, my home county Kent. Kent is a truly beautiful place full of castles, ruins, gardens, quaint little villages – plus of course beaches too. And all that is just a stone’s throw away from London. Being surrounded by the sea, Kent also has multiple ports leadings to France, as well as a station for the fast Eurostar train to Paris in Ashford. [A on the map is not my home, but rather the “centre” of Kent, which falls close to city of Maidstone according to Google].
We try to go somewhere every weekend, be it a walk in the forest, a day by the sea, or just a drive along little country lanes and a brunch or lunch in a pub. It is all about family time together, new things to learn about, fun stuff to do…. As Miss A. has been in full-day fun camp this week I took the twins to a quick trip to Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury on Tuesday. This is the second of the Aspinall animal parks we’ve been to, and I love the way these places are built around the old country estate and are surrounded by beautiful nature. [You can read about the visit to Howletts here, or the other park, Port Lympne, here – or just check our more photos on Instagram] This was one of those days: totally unplanned tour of the ruins of Tonbridge Castle. I went to pick an evening suit for the husband and ended up finally touring these cool ruins, walking along the river in a little drizzle, and even managed to squeeze in a visit for mani and pedi… I took lots of pictures so one of these days I’ll write about this little gem! We took an old train with the Spa Valley Railway train line (with such cute stations only used by these old trains) to Groombridge Place – a moated country manor with formal gardens and enormous Enchanted Forest for the children to explore from Gypsy wagons to teepees to pirate ships. And a whole bunch of bouncy castles and animals too – such as falcons. A place that you cannot escape if you have children and plenty of time so spare. These private gardens were an absolute delight – at spring bloom it was spectacular despite being a bit grey and rainy day – the tulips in their glory (just loved the deep purple ones…). Formal gardens, rock gardens, walk in the meadow, azaleas, art – a place to be remembered [ Doddington Place post here]. A stop by the beach. The tide is about to start coming up. What was so special about this beach was the fact that it was full of sea-shells (and pretty ones too!). How fun! This was one of those stops that I call “little joys of everyday life“… Dear old Knole Park – so much more than just a deer park: the house is amazing and so is the cream tea at the cafe. My destination to go-to for running, walks with friends, all sorts of relaxation! I think I’ve written several times about Knole [here’s the latest] – and it never gets old! Bedgebury Pinetum is a good walking and mountain biking place where you can encounter possibly the most pine varieties on the planet. There are also at least eight adventure playgrounds hidden in the forest and a Go Ape zip-lining experience. Action-packed day, especially as our kids wanted to build dens too as part of their 50 things to do -booklet activities! A day spent on hiking along the iconic white cliffs of Dover to South Foreland lighthouse. If you are an old reader to my blog, then you already know that we love exploring National Trust (NT) properties. This was a fantastic day: kids hiked 6 miles, got to fly kites at the lighthouse and we had a lovely cream tea at Mrs Knotts tea house. And finally, let me introduce my weekly fave from @hinessightblog, one of our hosts, who writes about luxury travel around Carolinas in the US. How romantic is this picture of hers!
Now, this little journey has come to its end, but if you want to read more about Kent my blog has certainly plenty to offer: such as Scotney Castle (and even video journey like this of Scotney Castle), Emmetts Garden, pub reviews such as Chaser Inn, Penshurst Place (really a castle) – oh the list goes on!