Photo of Kent Downs

Visit Kent Downs

The Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) occupies a strip of land that runs therough central-northern Kent between Sevenoaks (to the west) and to the coast and the White Cliffs of Dover (near Folkestone and Hythe) to the east. The area is part of the larger North Downs region, which also includes Surrey hills AONB.

The town of Sittingbourne is on the northern border while Tonbridge, Maidstone and Ashford are all on the southern border of the Kent Downs.

The region provides an attractive mix of gently rollling chalk hills and small areas of woodland providing the opportunity to enjoy walking and enjoying the natural appeal of this part of the countryside. The chalk downs are especially renowned for the wide range of rare and unusual flowers that can be seen, including several species of orchids.

There are also numerous pretty villages in Kent Downs and several important country parks and estates - so there is something for everyone to enjoy during a visit.

Kent Downs Monuments and Castles

There are several very important and interesting buildings and estates to discover in the Kent downs, including:

  • Chartwell, Sir Winston Churchill's family home,
  • Knole Castle, a 16th century stately home in extensive parkland
  • Ightham Mote, a 14th century manor house in a very picturesque setting
  • Rochester castle, the substantial ruins of a Norman castle
  • Thurnham Castle, from the 12th century
  • Leeds Castle, a Norman castle and former royal residence in landscaped gardens
  • Chilham Castle, with picturesque gardens around a Jacobean manor House

Exploring the Kent Downs

Much of the Kent Downs region deserves exploring, ideally on one of the many walks and trails that will best allow you to appreciate the landscapes, the varied flowers and insects. Another option which lends itself well to the many quiet lanes and roads in the region is to explore by bike, while horse-riding is a popular third alternative.

See also: 

Map of Kent Downs and places to visit