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Kent venues with grounds and gardens, and country parks staying open in lockdown

Don't let lockdown get you down - there's still spaces to head to, if you're near enough.

As paid-for gardens and parks are staying open, we take a look at some of the places you can still visit within government guidelines.

Leeds Castle's gardens are staying open Picture: Thomas Alexander
Leeds Castle's gardens are staying open Picture: Thomas Alexander

Leeds Castle, near Maidstone

As lockdown descended, and the Government announced paid-for parks and gardens could remain open, the importance of promoting the county’s attractions, all hard hit by enforced closures, prompted managers at Leeds Castle to encourage people to go somewhere else too.

Leeds Castle’s grounds, gardens and play areas near Maidstone are staying open, along with takeaway catering outlets, though the castle itself is shut.

In a statement, the charity which runs it, said: “The Leeds Castle Foundation, an independent charity, thanks you for your support and we look forward to welcoming you to the estate for some fresh air and exercise over the coming weeks.”

“We never thought we would be asking you this, but 2020 has been a strange year. So please visit Hever Castle or any visitor attractions that are still able to open their grounds and gardens during the national lockdown. Tourist attractions and tourism needs your support more than ever at the moment.”

Book at leeds-castle.com

Leeds Castle gardens Picture: Thomas Alexander
Leeds Castle gardens Picture: Thomas Alexander

Hever Castle, near Edenbridge

Hever Castle's gardens and grounds will also stay open, with visitors reminded that they can visit with the people they live with, their support bubble or when on your own with one person from another household.

Visitors to the gardens will also be able to purchase food and drinks to take away although indoor restaurants will be closed.

Managers at Hever also encouraged visitors to head to Leeds, or other county attractions, during lockdown.

Hever Castle is also offering discounted entry to the gardens Wednesday to Sunday until Friday, November 20. Tickets will cost £10, and £6 for children five to 17 during this period for new bookings. Tickets will need to be pre-booked online. Book at hevercastle.co.uk

Autumn at Hever Castle
Autumn at Hever Castle

Walmer Castle, near Deal

The gardens and grounds of the castle are open to local visitors and English Heritage members within government guidelines while the lockdown continues.

The castle has eight acres of award-winning gardens including the Broadwalk and the Queen Mother’s Garden and the Glen and new natural play trail for little ones which means they can be opened in a way that protects the health of visitors, staff and volunteers.

You will need to book in advance in order to visit, and there will also be social distancing, enhanced cleaning and limits on visitor numbers. If you live in the area book at english-heritage.org.uk

Walmer Castle Picture: English Heritage
Walmer Castle Picture: English Heritage

Great Comp Garden, Borough Green

The garden will be open as planned from Thursdays to Saturdays, between 11am and 3pm throughout November.

Curator William Dyson said: “In accordance with the Government’s new guidelines, we are open to help local visitors who are looking for a beautiful outdoor space. The tearoom will be operating a take-away service so visitors can enjoy the autumn colour in the garden and warm themselves with tea and soup.”

Book at greatcompgarden.co.uk

Great Comp Garden in autumn
Great Comp Garden in autumn

Kent Country Parks

KCC’s nine country parks across the county will remain open.

Visitors will be able to buy takeaway food and drinks from cafes and although the main shops at Shorne Country Park and Lullingstone will be closed, KCC will be selling essential items such as logs. The front desk will also be open to for customer queries. To find out more about your nearest park go to kent.gov.uk

The county's country parks are staying open
The county's country parks are staying open

Forestry England at Goudhurst and Gravesend

Forestry England is keeping its forests open for people to enjoy during this lockdown, in line with government guidelines. There are two sites in Kent, at Bedgebury Pinetum in Goudhurst and Jeskyns Community Woodland near Gravesend. For details go to forestryengland.uk

Bedgebury Pinetum near Goudhurst (43085265)
Bedgebury Pinetum near Goudhurst (43085265)

National Trust across Kent

Also falling under paid-for parks and gardens, the National Trust has announced that many of its sites will still be able to have visitors, but not inside its properties.

Takeaway food and drink will be available from cafes or food outlets and outdoor play areas will stay open.

Book tickets to visit in advance at nationaltrust.org.uk/

For more days out ideas across Kent click here.

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