One of England’s so-called home counties, Kent shares borders with Greater London – as well as Surrey, East Sussex and Essex – making it a popular place for city dwellers and tourists. So what are the best places to walk?
Kent is famous for its iconic White Cliffs of Dover, and while these sublime rock faces are certainly worth exploring, there are plenty of other parts of the county that shouldn’t be missed.
We’ve selected some of our favorite hiking routes to give you some inspiration, so put on your boots, tie your shoelaces and walk.
The best walks in Kent
Dover to Deal
9.9 miles/15.9 km | 5 hours | moderate
A bright August afternoon, 55BC. Pebbles crunch under sandals as Julius Caesar’s scouts slip from their boats and head for the beach. It was a reconnaissance mission, to decide if England was worth invading; they concluded not. Or at least not yet – 12 years later they came back, this time with much more conviction and legions.
The Kent coast has been England’s frontline for millennia, and as this straightforward 10-mile walk takes you over the cliffs and beaches between Dover and Deal, its past unfolds, revealing a fear of attack that spans from the Iron Age to World War II.
Driving directions and map from Dover to Deal
3.4 miles/5.4 km | 2 hours | easy–moderate
This short circular walk starts at Marlpit Hill, on the northern edge of Edenbridge, Kent. Once the heart of Wealden’s medieval steel industry, the area is now quiet farmland.
See murmuring streams, tributaries of the River Eden, ancient woodlands, wintering waterfowl in the colder months, and the site of a Saxon mansion.
Walking route and map of Marlpit Hill
River Upnor and Medway
5.1 miles/8.3 km | 3 hours | moderate
If you are looking for beauty and beauty this is not the walk for you. Shipyards and warehouses line the waterfront, and near Hoo St Werburgh the cube of disused Kingsnorth Power Station looms on the horizon. Nevertheless, with its shipwrecks, forts and secret beach, this part of the Kent coast seems fantastically off the beaten track. London may be a stone’s throw away, but sometimes the only noise here is the river on the shore.
With the pleasant cobbled houses of Upper Upnor High Street behind you, follow the signs for the Saxon Shore Way which runs along the brick wall of Upnor Castle (closed in winter). Built on the orders of Elizabeth I to defend Chatham Dockyard, this impressive fortress was also painted by JMW Turner.
Upper Upton on the River Medway walking route and map
From Ramsgate to Margate
8 miles/12.7 km | 5 hours | moderate
Ramsgate is, quite literally, the gateway to Thanet, the upper chalk outcrop where the North Downs finally meet the North Sea.
It has slightly fewer rams roaming the streets than it once did, and is now dominated by its 19th-century architecture (check out the Hotel Granville, Church of St. Augustine, and others by Pugin) and its fishing industry keep on going.
An eight-mile coastal walk connects Ramsgate and its maritime neighbour, Margate, where art and seaside snacks await.
Driving directions and map from Ramsgate to Margate
1.5 miles/2.4 km | 1 hour | easy
When American millionaire William Waldorf Astor bought the property in July 1903, he redesigned the grounds of his “Tudor village” into a series of beautiful gardens and walks, including a 38-acre lake that took 800 men to dig. Created to bring joy to visitors and boost biodiversity at the same time, Hever Grasslands is also polychrome, focusing on pollinator-friendly species that provide lasting color.
Follow ‘Lake Walk’ (about an hour) to come across a rainbow of wildflowers and waterside grasses, such as calendula, cornflower, cosmos and poppy. Pause at the cave-like Anne of Cleves Bower House. Its once bramble-covered ruins were revealed by Hever Castle Golf Club’s chief greenkeeper, Rob Peers, when he started leading the meadow project in 2018. Lark, Sweet William, Mallow and Perennial Flax.
Hever Castle Lake Walk