In the South East of the country lies the oldest and wisest county of them all; Kent. With Europe’s largest shopping centre, Europe’s largest shingle beach and the very first road lines to ever be painted; Kent is a historical haven with tales of the past seeping from the walls of its many listed buildings.
Officially known as the ‘Garden of England’, the southern county is literally on the doorstep of London and has established itself as a popular getaway for travellers looking to escape city life. Flying activities such as microlighting and hang gliding are naturally rife here thanks to the countryside, whilst the shipwrecks left by WWII attacks now constitute one of the UK’s finest scuba diving locations. Including some of the great off road activities that are utilising England’s ‘Garden’ for driving activities, Kent also annually hosts the Touring Cars & Moto GP on the world famous Brands Hatch.
Kent drew its name from the Brythonic word ‘Cantus’ meaning to ‘border’, which the southern county manages successfully with East Sussex, Greater London and Surrey. But for a 22 mile stretch of the Atlantic Ocean; Kent is also very close to France, which on a good day is visible from the famous ‘White Cliffs’ of Dover. The county is renowned for its connection to our history, with references to previous centuries at every glance, most notably the focal point of England’s religion; Canterbury Cathedral.
Brands Hatch is a fantastic venue for both spectating and participating in driving experiences. The prestigious home of British touring cars & motorbikes holds supercar experiences and hosts regular Formula Ford ‘Single Seater’ Racing events. Continuing with racing, Buckmore circuit is a great source of Go-Karting and having nurtured Britain’s very own driving superstar; Lewis Hamilton, is a popular and high quality venue. For the more relaxing driving experiences, Kent is full of BORDA qualified 4×4 experience providers with whom private, group or even taster sessions can be easily arranged. Delving further into the countryside of Kent will unveil a number of excellent activity farms, offering numerous off road experiences.
Ever since Kent born John Brabazon’s pioneering aviation in 1909, Kent has enjoyed and provided many flying experiences. With acres of beautiful countryside to appreciate; Microlighting, classic planes and Gliding excursions thrive all across Kent. Flying suppliers operate from numerous parts of the county and cover miles of the aerial routes. Helicopter flying is becoming an increasingly popular experience in the UK, and Kent does well to take advantage of the picturesque scenery acquired from above. Tours are available from Kent International Airport in Manston, Redhill Aerodrome and Stoke Airfield in Middle Stoke, amongst others.
The Kent and Sussex coastline is one of the richest areas in the UK for historical treasure, with nearly 4,000 recorded wrecks around the coast. Many cargo ships were sunk during WWII, amassing millions of tonnes of wreckage and providing historians with a wide variety of priceless ‘treasures’. Scuba Diving in the UK is anything but easy and requires a different approach altogether than is employed abroad, but the historical value and nostalgic quality of what is beneath makes Scuba Diving in Kent an excellent activity. There are a number of PADI recognised Scuba Diving operators in Kent, providing dives that include: ‘Ship Carcass’ tours, marine life tours and under water photography courses.
If you prefer to leave what is below, below, and would rather your water activities to be ‘above board’ there are a number of Kitesurfing operators riding the waves of the many coastlines Kent is blessed with. Whitstable beach is a popular destination for these surfing activities and long weekends because it has a great pebble beach and has remained an authentic seaside town, with classic fish mongers and seafood restaurants adding to the ‘genuine’ feeling of the small town. Kitesurfing is by far the most popular water sport practiced here, with courses and experiences run by the local operators readily available for a range of abilities.
Go Ape! & Leeds Castle
Combining an historical tour with an adventure day is sure to tick a few boxes, and the Go Ape! Tour of Leeds Castle does exactly that. This great combination mixes a high ropes course with some of the most picturesque beauty available in Kent, and it does so via a family friendly and facility-full atmosphere. The castle itself is set in 500 acres of countryside and surrounded by a lake, whilst the high ropes course is around 800m in length and includes a zip-wire, a spider’s web crossing at 12m high and much more.
Of course the UK can only offer limited experiences in the ‘snow sector’, but there are a couple of options including two decent dry slopes and one of the UK’s most successful Husky Dog experience providers. The Ashford based centre also provides bird of prey experiences, where you can try your hand at casting and bating the incredible creatures on the many Falconry courses.
Climbing & Sphereing
Sphereing is the UK’s most popular venture into the extreme and has become a fixture of ‘possibilities’ on everybody’s to do list. The true ‘Garden of England’ is naturally able to offer one of the finest locations for Sphereing; in Tunbridge Wells, where you can choose to go solo, in duel or even in a threesome for a dry or wet harnessed adrenaline rush! If the washing machine effect doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, Kent also has ample rock climbing walls tailored to practice your traversing technique.
Kent is one of the most historically rich and picturesquely beautiful counties in the UK. However, whilst blessed with an unbridled mixture of countryside and coastline, the county is not an all action extreme sports haven. It is however an outstanding location for flying and diving activities thanks to its outstanding historical and agricultural attributes.
Click here to see other experiences available in Kent, including:
Hot Air Ballooning
Quad Bike Racing
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