The county of Kent juts out into both the North Sea and the English Channel and its coastal settlements have played a significant role in the county’s, and the country’s, history. The castles dotted along the coastline are testament to the areas role as first line of defence over many centuries of invasions.
Several ‘seaside resorts’ can be found on Kent’s north-west corner, the most appealing of which is the small town of Broadstairs, with good beaches, faded Victorian grandeur and strong Charles Dickens connections – he was a regular visitor and the town now hosts the nine day Dickens Festival every June.
The peaceful town of Sandwich on the east coast is one of England’s best-preserved medieval towns – its fine half-timbered buildings, winding lanes and pretty setting on the banks of the River Stour make it a charming place to visit. It is also home to one of England’s finest golf courses at Royal St George.
From Sandwich, a string of castles line the coast: small but perfectly formed Deal Castle is built in the shape of a Tudor Rose; the impressive structure and gardens of Walmer castle became the luxurious home of the warden of the Cinque Ports after its defensive duties were over; and the stronghold of Dover Castle, standing proud above the white cliffs, has defended England’s most vulnerable spot since the 12th century.
The famous White Cliffs of Dover - one of Britain’s most recognisable icons – stretch for 10 miles along the coast and offer some lovely coastal walks. They can also be viewed from the sea on a number of boat tours.
Image © Visit Britain / Rod Edwards