South Kent Highlights
See Kent’s suggestions for things to do and see in South Kent. Our highlight covers towns and villages in Ashford, Tenterden, Deal, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe areas.
By Sophie Bland
Time: Until end of March: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-4pm. 1st April to end of October 10am-5pm. 1st November to 18th December Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm. 26th to 31st December 10am-4pm
Price: Without Donation /With Donation – Adult: £7.90/ £8.70/Child -5-17 years: £4.70/£5.20/Concession: £7.10/£7.90/Family – 2 adults & up to 3 children: £20.50/£22.60/Family – 1 adult & up to 3 children: £12.60/£13.90/Overseas Visitor pass for 9 or 16 days available
At Deal Castle, there is lots to explore and learn during a visit to this historic site, with ghostly and twilight tours, children’s activities, beneath bastion hideouts, tunnels, wooden muskets for the little ones to use, and a new graffiti lounge. The castle is an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII between 1539 and 1540. It formed part of the King’s Device programme to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire. It has a rich history with it being under siege during the English Civil War in 1648 and was brought back into service to guard the coast against German forces in the Channel during World War II.
Time: All times
Price: Free entry and parking
Located to the east of Ashford, Hemsted Forest offers approximately 398 hectares of woodland for you to explore, with around 5 miles of hard surface road and great networks of unsurfaced tracks. Hemsted Forest makes for a great day out, whatever the season, according to the Forestry England. The forest houses a mixture of conifer and broadleaf woodland and is rich in different bird species.
Betteshanger Country Park
Time: Park – Daily 8am-4.30pm Cycle Hire – 10am–last hire 3pm (for 1 hour).
Price: Motorbike, Car & Minibus: £3.50/Coach, On Foot, By Bicycle: Free/Member: Free
Betteshanger Country Park between Deal and Sandwich is a 250 acre park that has a range of activities including cycling, walks, a play area, obstacle courses, and an activity centre. Holiday courses for children, bike races, fun runs, archery, fossil hunting, geocaching, big slides, and inflatable obstacle courses are just a few of the extra activities the site runs. There are also screenings at their drive-in cinema screen. Or you can simply take in nature on a leisurely walk on its many trails. Regularly run events; coming up in April, running from the 2nd to the 18th, there will be an Easter Egg Trail with lots of chocolatey treats and a special guest.
Dover Museum & Bronze Age Boat Gallery
Time: Monday to Saturday 9:30am-5pm, Sunday 10am-3pm.
See the world’s oldest known seagoing vessel, which was discovered in 1992, and thought to be around 3,000 years old. The museum is one of the oldest in Kent, originally founded in 1836. As well as the castle, Dover’s rich history from prehistoric times, Stone, Bronze, and Iron age are showcased in this free museum as well as Saxon Dover, from the fifth Century onwards when Dover was a major settlement in the new Kingdom of Kent. Historical exhibits also cover the Norman invasion, and 1066, the growth of Dover Castle and the Cinque Ports, as well as Tudor and Stuart Dover.
Folkestone Sports Centre
Time: Gym – Monday to Friday 6.30am-10pm, Saturday & Sunday 7am-6pm/SkyWalk ad Footgolf – 10am-7pm/Ski Centre – Monday to Friday 10am-10pm Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm.
Price: Taster Skiing Lessons (17+ years): £15 for 1 hour./Confident Skiing Sessions – 17 years+: £30 for 2 hours./Private Skiing or Snowboarding Lessons for adults, children and families be they beginners, improvers, or seasoned skiers:/First Person: £30 per hour./Additional adult: £15 per hour Additional child: £10 per hour./Open Practice for Skiers and Snowboarders: £5 per hour – includes equipment. Monthly and Seasonal and Memberships available
Folkestone Sports & Leisure Centre, with a 60 metre Ski Slope offering Skiing, Snowboarding and Tobogganing. They also host a wide range of activities and have a gym, two studios for classes such as yoga, aerobics and boxercise and a Revolutions Studio dedicated to stationary cycle classes. There are two pools; the main pool and a teaching pool, with classes and disability swimming sessions available. There’s also a SkyWalk and lots more on offer.
The Astor Community Theatre is a multi-purpose arts centre offering an eclectic mix of music, theatre, literary events, art exhibitions, films and a range of classes and clubs for all ages and tastes. It is also home to the Astor Picture House. With lots of shows – from local community productions to national touring shows.
Afternoon Tea at Port Lympne Reserve
Price: £45 – includes admission to the Reserve/For overnight Guests: £29
Enjoy a classic afternoon tea at the historic Port Lympne Hotel, or on the Western Terrace at the heart of Port Lympne Reserve in Kent. You’ll be taking tea in the same surroundings as Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, and many other famous former guests to the historic mansion house. The chefs take great pride in sourcing the finest quality local ingredients and serving seasonal homemade dishes. An afternoon of indulgent treats at the historic mansion set within 14 acres of landscaped gardens. Port Lympne Reserve has over 900 rare animals at the reserve, with Kent’s only giraffe, spectacled bears, Brazilian tapirs, water buffalos, deer, and lots, lots more.
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For more great ideas, check our Things To Do listings for attractions and places to visit, with filters such as location and accessibility to refine your choices. See our What’s On section to find events from theatre to festivals.