Beautiful walks in Kent - the garden of England

Hiking Collection by
komoot

From chalks cliffs to fruit orchards, and the largest shingle beach in Europe, you’ll constantly have a new view to enjoy on these walks. Known as the garden of England for its beautiful lush landscape, South Kent will show you all the varied terrain it has to offer. When you’re finished walking, or quite often during, there’ll always be a quaint country pub or cafe to quench your first and satisfy your hunger.

These seven walks are scattered across the South of Kent and will show you its most impressive spots. You'll walk across the world-famous White Cliffs of Dover, starting in the port town itself before heading up and past breathtaking sea views with some amazing photo opportunities. Heading further south and around the coast takes you to Dungeness, a surreal landscape punctuated by converted railway carriage houses, rare plants and birds and a pair of imposing lighthouses sticking out from the stark terrain.

You'll then head into "the garden" itself with the walk at Hawkshurst and Sussex Border taking you through primly lined apple orchards and past historic oast houses, and Bigbury Hill Fort taking you up to a hilltop fort that was first occupied over 2000 years ago. Finally, you’ll experience The Pilgrims way, known colloquially as the “British Camino”, with the Charing to Wye and North Downs Way walks with a short detour taking you up a ridge to fully appreciate the incredible views across Kent on the Devil’s Kneading Trough.

While these hikes are a little spread out, the transport links in Kent are some of the best in the country and ensure getting to each is quick and easy. For accommodation, the beautiful cathedral city of Canterbury is a great central point to travel from. When you're done walking for the day you can head into the center of Canterbury for some great restaurants, cafes and bars.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    02:02
    4.26 mi
    2.1 mph
    625 ft
    650 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The White Cliffs of Dover are amongst the UK's most famous sights and this walk is your chance to see them up close. As you follow these imposing chalk cliffs you'll be immersed in endless seascapes and epic scenery. Starting in the historic port of Dover you start your climb over the port and up onto the cliffs themselves.

    Following this is three miles of bracing sea views along the top of the cliffs. If you have children or pets with you, make sure you keep them under control as there are sections of cliff edge with no fencing. On a clear day if you squint you'll be able to see the cliffs of Calais in France on a clear day and you may even find your phone roaming onto a french network.

    You end the tour with a walk down steep steps to St Margarets Bay. As you head out onto the gravel beach, there is an amazing outcrop to your right that you can scramble out to for an exhilarating view but be wary of the tides cutting you off. If you finish up at high tide don't worry, just head to the left instead and you'll see Ian Flemings house where he lived and wrote his famous James Bond books.

  • Intermediate
    03:47
    8.86 mi
    2.3 mph
    400 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Taking you through the beautiful Kent countryside and along the Pilgrims Way for a stretch, this walk is perfect for a long dog walk, or just a simple weekend stroll to stretch your legs and recharge your mind. You start in the historic Anglo-Saxon village of Charing before heading out into the quintessential British country along the North Downs Way.

    After passing alongside Westwell Downs with views stretching out for miles, you stroll along the easy path before skirting past Eastwell Lake and close to East Well Manor. An impressively regal five-hundred-year-old manor house now being used as a luxury hotel with a nine-hole golf course in the grounds.

    You finish up in the postcard village of Wye, named in 2013 as one the best places to live in England. If you have some extra time, take the chance to wander around this picturesque village and keep an eye out for the Wye Crown, a huge tribute to King Edward VII carved into the hill by students in 1902.

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  • Difficult
    07:48
    19.3 mi
    2.5 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This tour takes you along Europe's largest shingle beach in a truly post-apocalyptic, barren landscape. Starting in the old port of New Romney on the Southeastern tip of England, you head south over the shingles towards one of the UK’s seven active nuclear power stations at Dungeness.

    As you head into the Dungeness Nature Reserve, you can expect to see a plethora of uncommon plants and insects as well as migratory birds in the Autumn and an eclectic scattering of dwellings from converted railway carriages to stoic wooden cottages.

    At the southernmost point of the walk, you pass the brutalist Dungeness Powerstation and head towards the imposing lighthouse. Don’t miss your chance to pop into the Britannia Inn for some cheap and easy British fare and a drink before heading back up along the coast toward New Romney We can guarantee this hike will leave you feeling a little unsettled and for us, that’s part of its unique charm.

  • Intermediate
    04:44
    11.1 mi
    2.4 mph
    525 ft
    550 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Set on the border of Kent and Sussex, this walk takes you through affluent villages and into the rolling hills of the Garden of Kent. You'll see Oast Houses from the county's history as the hop-growing centre of the worlds, and beautiful cider orchards still growing apples.

    Starting in Hawkhurst, the walk takes you west and up through old agricultural areas known in the past for growing the vast amounts of hops that Kent was once known for. You'll then head north, passing the Hawkhurst Community Hospital, a small cottage hospital with just 22 beds, and up into Bedgebury Forest, a lush pine forest which is home to the one of the world's best conifer collections.

    Finally, you skirt around the edge of the Uk's second best known Primrose Hill and head back south into Hawkhurst to end the walk back at the train station, or head to Hawkhurst cafe for some homemade food and coffee.

  • Intermediate
    02:32
    5.95 mi
    2.4 mph
    300 ft
    325 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Starting and finishing in Chartham, a small village on the banks of the River Stour, this walk takes you through beautiful British countryside and up to the Bigbury Camp Hillfort, a prehistoric earthwork dated back to the first century BC.

    You start your walk in Chartham, an easily accessible village with great car and rail links and head out along the Great Stour Way towards the cathedral city of Canterbury. Just before hitting the outskirts of this historic city, you head north and cross the Pilgrims way before starting an easy climb up the hill to the fort itself.

    Whilst there is not much left at the fort, the history geek within is sure to appreciate the ancient atmosphere of this Iron Age earthwork. It’s thought that Julius Caesar himself may have stepped foot here, and whilst the area has been thoroughly excavated, do keep an eye at the ground for valuable roman artifacts. You never know!

  • Intermediate
    02:57
    6.80 mi
    2.3 mph
    475 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    For a beautiful weekend stroll, this loop starting from Bishopsbourne is absolutely ideal. As you meander through lush woodland and quiet country lanes, you'll be treated to wildlife and a truly British experience. You start and finish in the tiny village of Bishopsbourne, with it's impeccably maintained main street and head out through the church grounds to begin this walk.

    The walk itself takes you along small country paths through meadows and alongside Whitehill and Gorsley woods. If you keep your eye out, there are a few Oast Houses around, known for their recognisable pointed roofs and used for drying famous Kent hops for use in beer brewing.

    Towards the end of the loop, you’ll walk through some extremely well-kept orchards with their straight rows of trees making for some great picture opportunities. And, with your sudden taste for a crisp country cider, you end back at The Mermaid where you can grub a homely cooked meal and sample some of the local delicacies.

  • Intermediate
    02:32
    5.73 mi
    2.3 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Whilst Kent isn't known for its steep terrain and tough climbs, there are the occasional exceptions. The Devil's Kneading Trough is one of them. Featuring a steep climb up an incline of nearly 20% at times, you are rewarded with an incredible view of Devil’s Kneading Trough, a deep geological feature with views spreading out across the English garden.

    Walking further takes you through currently-used grazing land, keep your eyes down to avoid getting sheeps poo on your hiking shoes, but do make sure you look up every now and again for views out to the English Channel on a nice day.

    As you head further along the wood, you'll see some bomb craters to your right. It's thought that there were from planes jettisoning munitions during the second world war to reduce their weight and get the crew home safe.

    As you end up this hike, make sure you pop into the Tickled Trout on the banks of the Stour for a nice refreshing drink to finish a great walk!

  • Difficult
    05:00
    11.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    When you’re talking about walking in Kent, it’s never long until some mentions the North Downs Way, a one-hundred fifty mile long distance hike taking you from Farnham and through the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs. This tour is your chance to walk a small section of it through beautiful woods and along a stretch of sculpture trail with hidden art scattered around you.

    You start and finish in Chilham, a beautifully maintained village with iconic black and white tudor building. Pop into Shelley’s Tea Rooms for a quick scone and tea before you head out to make this experience even more english.

    You’ll then head out through King’s Wood and up a few steep slopes before joining the Sculpture Trail for a short way. Keep an eye out for pieces of art blended into the forest around you. Finally you’ll head back down into Chilham, just in time for a quick drink at the White Horse, a character filled 14th century inn!

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    73.4 mi
  • Duration
    31:23 h
  • Elevation
    3,875 ft

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