Kent

Kent boasts 333km of glorious coast and cultural hotspots to explore, so if you think you know the Garden of England, think again! Discover world-class galleries, seaside towns peppered with independent shops and studios, and a jam-packed cultural events calendar when you take a trip to Kent's creative shores.

World-renowned artist JW Turner used Kent's coastline as inspiration for many of his paintings, once excaliming that “…the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe”

Kent is home to the UK’s largest urban outdoor exhibition of contemporary art - a trip to Folkestone Artworks is a must!

Kent's coastline is home to Britain’s only desert and one of Europe’s largest expanses of shingle; Dungeness. A unique spot that has been attracting both visionary artists and nature lovers for years.

Itineraries in Kent

Our planned itineraries are the easiest way to discover exciting attractions and places to stay. Explore itineraries by theme, and choose which places fit your budget or length of stay...

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Featured attractions

From expert-guided gallery tours and self-guided sculpture trails, to fabulous food spots and places to rest your head, browse our selection of days out and places to stay, and start planning your cultural escape.

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Experience

Turner Contemporary Gallery

Situated on Margate seafront, on the same site where Turner stayed when visiting the town, visit one of the UK's leading art galleries with a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions, events and learning opportunities which make intriguing links between historic and contemporary art.

About Kent

Boasting 333km of stunning coastline, with sandy beaches and iconic chalk faces, Kent is home to some of the UK’s most exciting cultural hotspots and a thriving calendar of creative events.

The world-class Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate celebrates the artist JMW Turner’s spirit of enquiry with a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions showcasing world-class historic and contemporary art and events, meaning that there’s always something fresh to discover. In autumn 2019, the world’s best-known prizes for visual arts, the Turner Prize, comes to the gallery – a cultural event not to be missed. Overlooking Margate’s beautiful golden sands, a visit to this striking, seafront gallery, situated on the same site where Turner stayed in the 1800s, would not be complete without heading outside and revelling in the artistic energy of wider Margate; the original seaside town where ice cream parlours, traditional chippies, funky cafés, and independent shops pepper the streets. Soak up the town’s palpable creative vibe as you stroll into the Old Town and along the seafront to Cliftonville where you’ll find artists’ studios, gallery spaces, independent shops, all rich in character and full of cultural wonders.

Don’t miss the Folkestone Artworks, the UK’s largest urban outdoor exhibition of contemporary art. Originally commissioned by Creative Folkestone for the Folkestone Triennial, this collection of outstanding artworks are spread across the whole town. Grab your guides from the Quarterhouse and embark on a walking tour of this popular seaside destination to discover 74 outdoor artworks by 46 artists, including Ruth Ewan, Hamish Fulton, Lubaina Himid, Yoko Ono, David Shrigley, Bob and Roberta Smith, Paloma Varga Weisz and Bill Woodrow. Then explore the array of colourful, historic buildings that have been turned into independent shops, galleries, artist studios and chic eateries. Folkestone Triennial returns in 2020 to transform the town into an art gallery with new works by contemporary artists – one for the diary.

In North Kent, along the Thames Estuary from Dartford to Whitstable, experience outstanding new art through festivals and events brought together by the arts organisation Cement Fields. The company has staged Whitstable Biennale since 2002, an event taking place every two years in this beautiful seaside town famous for its oysters. The festival brings the town alive with performances and film screenings in unusual venues including huts and halls, shops and bars, the working harbour and steep shingle shoreline, and has an international reputation for showcasing the UK’s most exciting up and coming artists. In 2020 Cement Fields brings the Estuary festival to North Kent – a festival celebrating 60 miles of coastline across South Essex and North Kent including art, music, literature and film.

Along the River Medway, the Historic Dockyard, Chatham celebrates 400 years of maritime heritage as one of the most important places for ship-building during the ‘age of sail’.

Getting here

Kent is one of most easily accessible counties in England. It has the quickest and most direct links to the European continent. The Eurotunnel links England to France in thirty minutes, and P&O Ferries offers a beautiful arrival taking in the White Cliffs to Dover. Being on the border with London means that it’s very easy to get from the capital, particularly when travelling with Southeastern's high-speed rail links. Once in Kent, there are major M roads that cross the county, connecting the major centres and countless beautiful A and B roads and of course the small village lanes that offer rural, remote beauty.

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