Paul O’Grady’s Great British Escape: What to do in Kent – county’s most iconic attractions

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Paul O’Grady’s Great British Escape sees O’Grady travel up and down Kent on a mission “to share the ultimate Kent staycation.” With foreign travel made so difficult amid the coronavirus pandemic, UK holidays have experienced a real boom in Britain this year. Express.co.uk teamed up with Visit Kent to unearth the top attractions in the English county.

Canterbury Cathedral

This fantastic structure is the most visited attraction in Kent.

It dates back to 597AD when Augustine, a monk sent by Pope Gregory the Great, arrived as a missionary and established his seat in Canterbury.

The cathedral has a rich history. Back in 1170, Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral, making the site one of Europe’s most important pilgrimage centres, as told most famously in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Visitors can expect lofty views, beautiful stained glass windows and a vast Romanesque crypt dating back to the 11th century.

Hever Castle

Hever Castle is just shy of 800 years old.

The historic sight is most famous for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

The castle is set in magnificent gardens – there’s the formal Italian Garden and topiary as well as the Water Maze on Sixteen Acre Island and the Yew Maze.

Visitors can even stay at Hever in five-star luxury accommodation.

Howletts Wild Animal Park

If you’d rather hang out with animals rather than history, Howletts, near Canterbury, has been a staple of Kent’s animal heritage since its opening to the public in 1975.

It houses some of the rarest and most endangered species in the world.

There are also 100 acres of wooded parkland to explore.

Turner Contemporary

For art lovers, there’s the Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate.

The gallery has featured works by JMW Turner through to modern-day heavyweights such as Tracy Emin and Antony Gormley.

Dreamland

Also in Margate is vintage amusement park Dreamland which dates back 100 years.

It’s still home to Scenic Railway, the oldest wooden roller coaster in the UK, and has plenty of modern attractions, too, plus live entertainment, art installations and a retro roller disco.

Chapel Down

If relaxing with wine is more your vibe, Chapel Down is one of the best-known vineyards in the country.

The brand’s sparkling wine was even served at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding and is a supplier to Downing Street.

A tour of the rolling vineyard, winery and elegant tasting room is an absolute must for wine lovers.

Royal St George’s

Sporting types are also well at home in Kent.

Sandwich boasts one of the finest courses in England.

Visitors can expect picturesque views across the Channel and one of the best golf club lunches in England.

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