Leeds Castle in Kent, England. Flickr:Martin Bauer

Fish & chips with soda bread in England, of course. Flickr:Mack Lundy

Garden of England

England Hiking + Walking Tours

Coast and Castles in Kent

  • A walk in Kent is pure magic. Known as the Garden of England, this region is a hidden treasure. You will enjoy the slower pace of life as you amble along its wonderful seashores with sandy beaches, stunning shore cliffs, and through remote marshes. You will walk in the chalk downland, a rare habitat, through ancient woods and a plethora of orchards to a string of small, fascinating towns packed with local gems - medieval buildings, artsy shops, and oyster shacks. Along with its ancient villages and fascinating towns, you will have the opportunity to visit 6 remarkable castles including those built by the Romans and Henry VIII.

    The historic city of Canterbury with its stunning cathedral and ancient buildings is a remarkable place in its own right and a wonderful introduction to your walking tour in England.

    Highlights:

    • The historic city of Canterbury
    • Leeds Castle
    • Unique landscape of Kent Downs
    • Lovely beaches
    • Tudor castle of Deal
    • Walmer Castle

    With manageable distances and easy walking on this tour, you will have time to enjoy the abundance of local produce and cuisine, from vineyards and fruit farms to seafood restaurants and local beers and ciders.

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  • Classic accommodation:
    Twin/double:  $ 2384 £ 1157 $ 2,061 1316 $ 2434 kr 14545 $ 1,470   Luxury accommodation:
    Twin/double:  $ 3208 £ 1557 $ 2,774 1771 $ 3275 kr 19573 $ 1,978

    please note

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    A non-refundable admin fee of 20 Euros per person is included in the deposit amount.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Your tour begins at Leeds Castle which is close to Maidstone. The largest international airport to your tour start is London Heathrow (LHR), located 49.5 mi. from Maidstone and 79 mi. from Sandwich, where your tour will officially end. For those arriving from within Europe by rail, the Ashford International Railway Station, located southeast of Kent’s town center, is at the convergence of several important lines including the international Eurostar line.

    Local Travel

    From London Heathrow International Airport, you will take the Heathrow Express from the airport to Paddington Station then the underground to Victoria. From Victoria Station, there is a direct train to Bearsted from where you can then catch the coach shuttle service direct to Leeds Castle At the end of the tour, from Sandwich, there is direct train into London St Pancras or London Charring Cross, then take the subway back to Paddington and the Heathrow Express back to the airport.

    If arriving to Ashford International Railway Station, you can take a local train to Hollingbourne, then taxi to Leeds castle which is about 1.7 miles away.
    If you are planning to spend some time in London before you start your tour, you can travel between Heathrow Airport and central London by train on the Heathrow Express, the Piccadilly line on the Tube, or taxi.

    Climate

    It is advisable to check the local forecast before your arrival so that you can pack accordingly. Kent is located in South East England. The county has a temperate maritime climate with typically warm rather than hot summers and cool to cold winters. On average the hottest month is August in summer. Rainfall on average falls fairly evenly throughout the year, the wettest month is October. If traveling in the spring, you will experience temperatures ranging from 48° to 60° F, in the summer from June to August, daytime temperatures range between 64° and 72° F, and Autumn from September to. November, temperatures range from 50° to 66° F. Don’t forget your raingear!

    Documents

    Before you travel, please check the passport and visa requirements of the country/countries you plan to visit. For US citizens, the US Department of State website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab in the International Travel section provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc. For our other international clients, please be sure that you research your own country's travel requirements. It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure proper documentation.

    *Important note: Beginning July 1, 2021, additional documentation from the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be required to visit any of the 26 Schengen-member countries for tourism, business, medical, or transit. This is an additional check on security rather than a visa.


Skill Level

This tour is rated as easy. You will enjoy five days of walking with distances that range from 8 - 11 mi. (13 - 18 km) each day. If you book the luxury itinerary, you will also have one day in which you can walk if you want or relax and enjoy the seaside town of Whistable. The terrain is mostly flat or gently undulating. Either itinerary has an optional day off on Day 7 as you spend two nights in Sandwich.

Where You’ll Stay

This tour is offered with two levels of accommodations, Luxury or Classic. You decide.
Luxury: You will be accommodated in a 4 star hotel, a 3-star hotel, a boutique hotel, a restaurant with rooms, and a stay within Leeds Castle grounds.
Classic: You will stay in 3 small hotels, two inns and within Leeds Castle grounds
On the day to day details, you will find the name of the preferred hotels for the luxury accommodations. Classic accommodations are based on availability but we will provide the preferred hotel list on request as a sample. Please note, that the final hotel list is based on availability and is subject to change!

What’s Included

  • 7 nights accommodation in the chosen category
  • Breakfast
  • Welcome meeting
  • Luggage transfer
  • Tourist information including historic information and insider tips on how to discover the local secrets and hidden gems
  • Summary route directions and OS maps
  • GPS navigation using an app that requires no mobile data download
  • Complimentary waterproof mobile phone holder, Power bank, and main charger (one per party)
  • Entry to Leeds Castle and grounds on Day 1 and Day 2
  • Transfers as indicated in the itinerary (Luxury itinerary: Days 2, 5, 6, & 7 | Classic Itinerary: Days 2, 5, & 7)
  • Emergency support

What’s Not Included

Extra Stay

Add an extra day with a driver/guide to Hever Castle and Sissinghurst Castle gardens and/or stay an additional night at the end of the trip to visit Dover Castle

TourHike + Walk
TypeSelf Guided
SkillEasy
Length8 days
From£1157 Rates
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Tour Dates

2020

Sunday weekly departures from March through October. 

You may request a different tour start day but please note that that there will be a supplement. Ask us and we can send you a proposal.

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Garden of England Map

Luxury Accommodations

Day 1: Arrive at Leeds Castle
Day 2: Leeds Castle and Canterbury, 3 mi. (5 km)
Day 3: Canterbury - Faversham, 11 mi. (18 km)
Day 4: Faversham - Whitstable, 10 mi. (16 km)
Day 5: Whitstable - Reculver, 8 mi. (13 km)
Day 6: Upstreet - Sandwich, 8.5 mi. (14 km)
Day 7: Sandwich - Deal -  Walmer - Sandwich, 7.6. mi. (12 km)
Day 8: Departure<

Day 1: Arrive at Leeds Castle
This walking tour has an impressive start with an authentic castle experience at Leeds Castle. Arrive here on Sunday at your leisure to discover this magnificent 900-year-old moated castle. It is especially pleasant to wander the grounds in the evening when only those staying at the castle remain out and about. You stay the night in the stable courtyard and dinner is available too.

Overnight: Leeds Castle, featuring historic properties on the grounds of the castle.

Day 2: Leeds Castle and Canterbury, 3 mi. (5 km)
This morning after enjoying a knight's breakfast you can spend the morning discovering more about the life of the six queens who lived at Leeds. Punt on the moat and stroll around the beautiful gardens and lakes of this 500-acre estate if you like.  After lunch, you will be transferred to historic Canterbury where there is much to explore. A city center walking tour leads you to the Norman castle, the famous cathedral and a host of other quite remarkable ancient buildings. Your host will meet you early in the evening to brief you on your upcoming walking itinerary.

Overnight: Abode Canterbury, located within the ancient city walls and only minutes away from Canterbury Cathedral.

Day 3: Canterbury - Faversham, 11 mi. (18 km)
This glorious first day of walking takes you up into the rural and gently rolling Kent downs, which are rounded and grass-covered hills composed of chalk. This unique landscape encourages distinctive biodiversity, providing a home to many plants and wildlife, some unique to this area. Because some of the plants and wildlife are scarce, many of the nature conservation sites in the area are protected and managed.  Enjoy marvelous views, apple orchards, and extensive ancient woodlands. Although you pass a few hamlets we suggest you take a picnic lunch with you today. As you trek this unique landscape, the route leads you to your overnight stay in the market town of Faversham with its colorful creek, medieval and historic buildings, and notable brewery.

Overnight: Reads, set in an elegant Georgian manor house surrounded by tranquil grounds with lawns shaded by lofty cedar, weeping willow, and horse chestnut trees. The restaurant’s widespread reputation is founded on the distinctive cooking of chef David Pitchford.

Day 4: Faversham - Whitstable, 10 mi. (16 km)
In complete contrast, your walking route today follows the old Saxon shoreline from the wonderful creek in Faversham, lined with old boats and quirky shops in former fish sheds through remote marshes and on to the beach and marram grass backed dunes of Seasalter. Here you can pause for a great lunch at a renowned inn before heading on along the pebble and groyne beach into trendy Whitstable where you stay the night. Oysters are big here, poke around the working harbor, and enjoy artsy and offbeat shops.

Overnight: Marine Hotel, Whitstable, featuring beautiful boutique bedrooms that promise a blissfully relaxed stay.

Day 5: Whitstable - Reculver - Whitstable, 8 mi. (13 km)
Today's walk is literally adjacent to the beach and waves as you follow the sea wall for much of the time, there to protect the low cliffs along the coast. Take in big views, beach huts, cafes, and working harbors, dog walkers and clifftop hide-outs until you reach the Roman fort at Reculver, standing proud and weather eroded. Here you will be met and transferred back to Whitstable for a second night there. If you prefer, you can opt not to walk and to enjoy the town and the sea.

*Please note that if you book the Classic Accommodation itinerary, you will overnight in Upstreet. See below for itinerary

Overnight: Marine Hotel 
 

Day 6: Upstreet - Sandwich, 8.5 mi. (14 km)
After breakfast, you are transferred to Upstreet, a buzzy little place on the river. From here you walk inland, this once marshy and now reclaimed landscape being a hive of farming activity, with numerous orchards and often large fields. You amble along the Great Stour river bank first and then weave through rural hamlets with the occasional inn and cafe. The castle of the day is at Richborough - a fort built by the Romans with vast walls and an amphitheater that although ruined, is worth a visit. Nor far beyond lies the gem of Sandwich, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Britain. It's a Cinque port, that's no longer on the sea but on a river. You stay overnight here for the last two nights of the tour.

Overnight: The Bell, superior room, an historic hotel dating back to Tudor times

Day 7: Sandwich - Deal -  Walmer - Sandwich, 7.6. mi. (12 km)
Head off to the sea, a couple of miles away, to wander idyllic paths along the coast which has long sandy beaches most of the way. As if this wasn't enough for a walk, there are two remarkable castles en route both built by Henry VIII and both Cinque ports. First up is Deal, one of the finest Tudor castles in Britain. The town is also a favorite of ours with an authentic high street, a pier and a pebble beach. Continuing along the coast , you reach Walmer Castle which also has superb gardens and evolved into a stately home, lived in by no less than the Queen Mother, amongst others. It's a majestic finale to a wonderful tour of Kent's coast and castles. We meet you at Walmer and transfer you back to Sandwich for your final overnight stay.

Overnight: The Bell, superior room
 

Day 8: Departure
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before departing. Sandwich is on the rail network for onward connections to Dover, Canterbury, Ashford for Eurostar or London.

Classic Accommodations

The standard Itinerary is almost exactly the same as the luxury itinerary except on Day 5 you overnight in Upstreet. See below. We can provide a sample hotel list on request. Please note that final hotel list will be based on availability.

Day 1: Arrive to Leeds Castle
Day 2: Leeds Castle and Canterbury, 3 mi. (5 km)
Day 3: Canterbury - Faversham, 11 mi. (18 km)
Day 4: Faversham - Whitstable, 10 mi. (16 km)
Day 5: Whitstable - Upstreet, 8 or 13 mi. (13 or 21 km)
Today's walk is literally adjacent to the beach and waves as you follow the sea wall for much of the time, there to protect the low cliffs along the coast. Take in big views, beach huts, cafes, and working harbors, dog walkers and clifftop hide-outs until you reach the Roman fort at Reculver, standing proud and weather eroded. You are met here (unless you want to do the longer distance) and transferred to Upstreet where you stay the night in the riverside inn. It's a buzzy little place with boats galore vying for moorings on the narrow River Stour.
Day 6: Upstreet - Sandwich, 8.5 mi. (14 km)
Day 7: Sandwich - Deal -  Walmer - Sandwich, 7.6. mi. (12 km)
Day 8: Departure

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