Kent (the ‘garden of England’) is a large county situated on the southeast coast, just 20 miles or so from Calais on the French coast (which you can see on a clear day). Ferries depart here crossing the world’s busiest shipping route, where you can see the white cliffs of Dover fade as you travel oversea.
We’re talking orchard fruits here! The main fruit years ago were cherries, and now it’s known for its apple and pear orchards, so do buy local organic fruits and juices, to support the industry. Beer was also popular, although most oasthouses (used to dry the hops) are now tourist attractions or millionaire homes.
Royal Tunbridge Wells is one of England’s few spa towns. Like Bath and Royal Leamington Spa, people would visit back in Victorian times to ‘take the waters’. If you’ve ever seen the wonderful film The 39 Steps, writer John Buchan wrote it here (while bedridden with stomach ulcers) to distract himself. Taking inspiration from the 78 steps from a villa to the beach (nobody knows why he halved the numbers!)
Canterbury is known for being the setting for The Canterbury Tales, and the little coastal town of Whitsable has the happy title of being the least cloned in England, with more thriving indie shops than anywhere else. The county also has two important villages: The Blean contains England’s largest area of ancient woodlands, home to lots of native wildlife. And Chiddingstone is a beautiful ancient village that’s now totally preserved the tudor-style houses and post office, as it’s owned by the National Trust (good as it’s protected, bad as you’ll likely have to pay a fortune to visit or have a cup of tea).