10 Things to Do in the County of Kent, England

The county of Kent lies in the south-east of England. Many people travel through the county on their way to and from the Channel Tunnel and ferries to mainland Europe. It’s also a beautiful and historically significant part of England, so here are our travel tips for what to do in Kent.

Dover Castle

The site was originally home to an Iron Age fort, but there was also a Roman lighthouse here before the castle was built in the 12th century. For modern day visitors, there’s an exhibition about the Secret Wartime Tunnels and a recreation of the Dunkirk evacuation.

what to do Kent

Dover Castle by Karen Roe

Canterbury Cathedral

The cathedral had to be extended in the 12th century due to the number of pilgrims that visited after Thomas Becket, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered there by an agent of King Henry II in the 12th century. The Canterbury Tales written, in the 14th century by Chaucer, describes the journey of a group of pilgrims from an inn in Southwark in London to Becket’s shrine in Canterbury Cathedral.

what to do Kent

Chapter House window in Canterbury Cathedral by Tobias van der Haar

The Canterbury Tales Visitor Attraction

This attraction recreates the 14th century, bringing to life various characters from tales such as the Knight, the Miller and the Pardoner. At present you can get 20% off tickets if you book online; full price adult tickets cost £8.

what to do Kent

The Canterbury Tales by Ben Sutherland

Rochester Cathedral

Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest cathedral in England, dating back to the 7th century. I was happy to read that it’s free for individual visitors, as Canterbury Cathedral charges a whopping £9.50 for adult entry.

what to do Kent

Rochester Cathedral by brianfuller 6385

Chislehurst Caves

The caves are man-made underground tunnels dug to excavate chalk (a type of limestone) which was burned to produce mortar and plaster for use in construction. They first opened to the public in 1900 and were then used as air raid shelters during WW2. You can’t just wander around on your own, you have to go on a guided tour.

what to do Kent

Chislehurst Caves by Jon Bennett

Leeds Castle

It’s quite confusing, as you’d imagine that Leeds Castle would be in the Yorkshire city of Leeds, but no it’s in Kent. The castle had to be sold by its owners in the 1920s to pay death duties. It was purchased by an Anglo-American heiress as her country seat. Upon her death in the 1970s, the castle opened to the public.

what to do Kent

Leeds Castle by Karen Roe

Charles Darwin’s Home

The famous evolutionist Charles Darwin lived in Down House. You can visit the study where Darwin wrote “The Origin of Species” and a recreation of his cabin on HMS Beagle, the ship on which Darwin undertook a five year survey expedition.

what to do Kent

Down House by L2F1

Royal Engineers Museum of Military Engineering

It’s advisable to visit this museum on a dry day so that you can enjoy the outdoor exihibits which include Trojan and Titan armoured vehicles, a Centurion tank and even a piece of the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately this is not a free museum, adult admission is £7.80.

what to do Kent

Bridge carrier at Royal Engineers Museum by Ben Sutherland

Dickens World

You can go back in time to the 19th century at this attraction at Chatham Dockyard based on the life and books of Charles Dickens. There’s a Great Expectation Boat Ride, a Victorian school room, a Haunted House, a theatre and a soft play area. Tickets cost a distinctly 21st century £12 for adults, but you can get £1 off if you book in advance online.

what to do Kent

Dickens World by Shaun Dunwall

White Cliffs of Dover

How could we miss out the White Cliffs of Dover, which lie at the English end of the shortest crossing to France, immortalised in a Vera Lynn song.  You may even spot the semi-wild Exmooor ponies as you walk along the coastal paths.

what to do Kent

The White Cliffs of Dover by Karen Roe

Please leave your tips on what to do in Kent as a comment.