Coast’s Choice: Kent

Kent is often described as the Garden of England, offering tourists in the south east a chance to escape from the bustle of London and enjoy a slower, more picturesque pace of life.

Being just on the doorstep of our home county, Sussex, many of the Coast team were born or live in Kent, which means we’ve got five recommendations this week that are close to people’s hearts!


Sir Winston Churchill is one of Kent’s most famous residents and Chartwell was his beloved home with wife Clementine from 1924 until his death.

Since then, the stately home has become a shrine to the legendary politician with many of the rooms untouched since he and his family frequented the hallways. Knowledgeable stewards offer guided tours of Chartwell, bringing to life not only his glittering career but also memorabilia from the reading, painting and writing he enjoyed in his spare time.

Churchill also loved landscapes and invested a great deal of time and money in Chartwell’s gardens. Visitors can tour Lady Churchill’s rose garden, the playhouse created for Sir Winston’s youngest daughter and several purpose-built lakes that feature in the grand outdoor space.

Chartwell is open from Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm. Entry costs £11.50 for adults and £5.80 for children but is free to members of the National Trust. Click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 7.8 miles

Chatham Historic Dockyard

This exciting maritime museum is situated in one of the Royal Navy’s former dockyards, which enjoyed several hundred years of service until it closed in 1984.

The area is now divided into three sections, including a commercial port, but the dockyard’s eighteenth century core still celebrates the areas seafaring roots. Among its key attractions are three history warships: HMS Gannet, built in 1878, HMS Cavalier and HM submarine Ocelot.

The museum itself features a history of the dockyard and the high seas from the Spanish Armada to the Falklands War; a display of objects from the dockyard and the nearby Royal Engineers Museum; paintings and ship models on loan from other famous venues such as the Imperial War Museum; exhibitions on daily dockyard life and the changing face of lifeboat services.

Chatham Historic Dockyard operates annual membership at £16.50 for adults and £11.00 for children, allowing unlimited visits during the year. It is open daily from 10.00am, closing at 6.00pm in the summer and 4.00pm in the winter.

Nearest caravan site: 3.5 miles


If you’re a fan of stately homes then make sure you take a trip to Knole, a grand country house in the heart of Kent – supposedly the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.

The building itself has 365 rooms and seven courtyards, becoming increasingly intricate as you explore its inner workings. Of particular note is the King’s room, furnished in opulent gold and silver ahead of a royal visit that unfortunately never went ahead! The Cartoon Gallery’s outstanding artwork is also well worth viewing.

Since 1603, Knole has been owned by the Sackville family, who still occupy it today. They have invested as much time and effort into the garden as they have the house, tending its 1,000 acre deer park with help from the National Trust. Knole’s 26 acre walled garden is the largest in the country, filled with thick woodland, bluebells and exotic trees.

A number of restoration projects are taking place throughout Knole’s house and garden, so it is worth checking the website to see what’s open before setting off. Admission costs £10.40 for adults and £5.20 for children.

Nearest caravan site: 2.7 miles

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Sissinghurst Castle rose from the ashes of an Elizabethan manor house and has a colourful history, serving for periods as both a poor house and a prison for French seamen during the Seven Years War.

It is the castle’s gardens that have attracted the most interest, however. It has strong links to Knole, as Vita Sackville-West – famed author and member of the Sackville family that owned Knole – developed its agricultural architecture in the 1930s in conjunction with her husband, diplomat Sir Harold Nicolson.

The garden has been designed to offer beauty and interest throughout the year, from a splash of early spring colour in March and impressive rose blooms June to flashes of gold and red in the cottage garden during the autumn. Hazlenuts and cob nuts thrive in the nuttery, while the herb garden is filled with fresh, organic flavours.

Entry to Sissinghurst Castle and its gardens cost £10.40 for adults and £5.00 for children. Check the official website for opening times.

Nearest caravan site: 2.7 miles

White Cliffs of Dover

One of the most iconic images for anyone arriving in the south east from the English Channel is the white cliffs of Dover. There are many walking routes available along the top of the cliffs that feature dramatic views of Kent’s most famous coastline – on a clear day you can see 21 miles out to sea!

Dotted along many of the walking trails is South Foreland Lighthouse, a Victorian landmark that became the first electric lighthouse in the UK as well as the site of the country’s first radio transmission.

There is no charge to walk along the clifftops, more information on routes, history and points of interest is available here.

Nearest caravan site is located at St Margarets-at-Cliffe

For a competitive quotation on your touring caravan insurance or motorhome insurance, contact Coast’s UK based sales team on Freephone 0800 614 849.

Caravan owners can also get an online caravan insurance quote.