My top walks in Kent

Phoebe Shipton  ·  17th January 2015


Keepers Cottages owner Camilla Shipton writes about some of her favourite places to walk in East Kent.

With Christmas well and truly over you might have been suffering from post festive blues. I like to shake them off by wrapping up warm and enjoying a walk often with my dog, Molly,

molly lookalike

I’m lucky because in Kent we can choose from over 4200 miles of countryside and coastal paths, in a landscape that includes creamy cliffs, rolling downland and mind-expanding marshes, sweeping beaches and sleepy villages.

Here’s just a few of my favourite walks in Kent that are close to our lovely cottages.

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The White Cliffs of Dover look out onto the English Channel, giving far-reaching views towards the French coast. The best way to see the cliffs is to take a walk along the coastal path from the White Cliffs Visitor Centre towards the South Foreland Lighthouse. This Victorian landmark is now owned by the National Trust and you can borrow a kite from them or play one of their games on the lawn. You can also step back in time at Mrs Knott’s Tea-rooms, in the former lighthouse keeper’s cottage. They do the best cakes and enormous portions!

The cliffs also have a special place in our national history and they were used for defence in both World Wars. You will see reminders of this past all along the cliffs from the slit trenches dug by soldiers to the concrete remains of the range finding stations.

The walk is about 4 miles along a coastal path and takes about 3 hours. Car parking is available at the Gateway to the White Cliffs Visitor Centre.  There is a charge payable for parking so don’t forget to bring some change.

There’s a steep winding hill from the village of St Margaret’s Bay to the beach and you can buy the best fish and chips at The Coast Guard (the closest pub to France from Britain) and close to one of our most unique holiday homes, Sea Purse, which is nestled underneath the cliffs and sits right on the beach.

Kingsdown Woods

Kingsdown woods

Another walk  I enjoy starts in the picturesque village of Kingsdown with its pretty fishing cottages located on the beach and we have two gorgeous cottages here:

Myrtle Cottage

myrtle cottage

You can walk from the village to Kingsdown Woods, this will take you about 10 minutes. The woods are fantastic at any time of year, but my children call them Bluebell woods as it is like a carpet of bluebells in the Spring. The woods are owned by The National Trust and they are about 5 miles long. You can then walk back down into the village and enjoy  a pub lunch by the big open fire at The Zetland Arms, a pretty pub on the  beach with great food. On a sunny day you can sit outside on the beach which is wonderful. Dogs are very welcome too. The only rule is not to feed the in house dog Bruno as he is on a diet!!

the zetland arms

Saved Haven – Sandwich

Sandwich

Sandwich in Kent is a really picturesque town, with narrow winding streets lined with colourful timber-framed buildings and I love walking around the town and window shopping. If you fancy a great pub lunch you must go to The George and Dragon and if you enjoy visiting gardens I’d recommend the wonderful  The Secret Gardens at The Salutation

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust Field CentreBird in Sandwich
If you walk out of Sandwich towards St Georges Golf Club you past the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust Field Centre, which is open to the public 10:00 – 16:00 every day, and is a good place to stop for a cup of tea and a browse through the Trust’s work and if you fancy a spot of birdwatching yourselves, you can do so either from the tower or at one of the hides.

Sandwich Bay is also a wonderful stretch of beach which has miles of sand in low tide. A perfect place for you to take dogs and children. You can walk along the coastal path towards Deal and find The Chequers on the old ancient Highway. It is run by a South African man and he is the best chef ever. Do call and check if they are open in the winter months.sandwich bay

Close by, you can stay at lovely Stable Cottage, which backs on to the Observatory and St Georges Golf Course

blean woodsBlean Woods – Canterbury

This is possibly my favourite walk ever. The views are out of this world and they are magnificent at any time of year. This ancient woodland is rather magical and stretches eleven miles with the most beautiful walks and trails. The woodland is also rich in diverse wildlife. This is really a walking haven. If you are feeling energetic you can walk to Whitstable (about 10 miles). There is so much to do and see in this pretty coastal town that I’d recommend you stay in either Buttercup Studios or Buttercup Cottage.

Dog Friendly pubs with wonderful walks nearby

cockapoos

Molly and I have enjoyed spending time in these pubs all close to fantastic walking routes

The Duck, Petham, Canterbury

The Duke William, Ickam

The Red Lion, Stodmarsh

The Zetland Arms, Kingsdown

The Royal Hotel, Deal

The Black Douglas, Deal

Many of our cottages are pet friendly so there’s no need to leave your furry friends behind when you stay with us!

About Phoebe Shipton

Having studied Marketing at University of Manchester, Phoebe joined the family business in 2020 as Head of Marketing and Operations. Phoebe is focused on making Keepers Cottages stand out, as well as ensuring the bookings flood in!

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