Head a little way south-east of London and you’ll discover ancient castles, moated manors, and impossibly perfect gardens and villages to drool over. The county of Kent acquired the nickname of the Garden of England due to its rural history producing fruit, flowers and hops. The result is a landscape that has everything you need set the scene for love.
If you're feeling romantic or want to look for love, head to any of these spots that Visit Kent recommends for a dreamy dalliance…
1. Find a wife where Henry VIII did
Hever Castle, The Boleyn family home, surely played its part as the backdrop of Henry VIII’s early romance with Anne Boleyn, one of the greatest love affairs in history. See Anne’s bedroom, take a boat out on the 38-acre lake, stroll through the gardens where there is over 4,000 rose bushes and even book a room in the castle’s Astor Suite to spend the night in!
2. Gaze out from a windswept clifftop
Clear blue skies, a glittering sea, green grass, fresh air, and just the 2 of you on top of the world – or on top of the White Cliffs of Dover, at least. Choose a prime spot atop England’s famous cliffs, settle down with a picnic, and show the French how true romance is done (you can see France across the Channel on a clear day).
3. Share fresh oysters and local beer
Adorable seaside town Whitstable is known for its oysters and maritime history. Sip a local ale at the Old Neptune, one of the few pubs in England that sit right on the beach, and admire how the building has stood up to countless storms since the 19th century with its wonky window frames and sloping floor. Then pack up a blanket, stock up on nibbles from Wheelers Oyster Bar and spend time with your loved one on the gorgeous shingle beach until the sun goes down!
4. Soak up Turner’s views
One of Britain’s most striking beaches, Botany Bay is recognised for its tall chalk stacks and stretching sandy shores that famous landscape painter J.M.W. Turner captured on canvas. Let your heart get swept away and then head to trendy, seaside town Margate, for vintage shopping or endless thrills at Dreamland! Be sure to catch the fabulous sunset from the Turner Contemporary art gallery or with a glass of champagne on the terrace of the stylish Sands Hotel.
5. Expect great things where Dickens was inspired
Elmley Nature Reserve inspired Charles Dickens when he wrote Great Expectations, but today it offers a much more luxurious experience for lovers wanting to get away from it all. You can now spend the night in the middle of the reserve in a luxuriously converted traditional shepherd’s hut, and gaze out at the peaceful scenery from the comfort of your bed. There are 5 huts to pick from but don't worry, each provides awe-inspiring views right from the bed!
6. Wake up from a dream at this fairytale castle
English country house, romantic gardens, 14th-century moated castle – what more could you ask for? The fairytale Scotney Castle is a delight and has over 770 acres of woodland to explore, complete with a secluded picnic area. It’s one of those castles that has to be seen to be believed. The estate is open year-round meaning it's always a good time for a visit!
7. Fall for the ‘Loveliest castle in the world’
Lovers are powerless against the romantic allure of Leeds Castle. Surrounded by its own reflections in the moat, it truly is a vision. The interior is an art deco dream and will inspire you to play lord and lady of the manor. There are numerous accommodation options on site, including glamping in luxurious medieval-style tents and rooms in the beautiful Maiden’s Tower. Overnight guests can even enjoy a private candlelit punt on the river in the evening. Swoon…