Published: 06:00, 05 March 2021
The Government's roadmap has given us a little light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s likely we may be holidaying closer to home this summer. Never has a local escape – ideally with family and friends we haven’t seen or hugged for eons – been more welcome.
The good news is self-contained accommodation in the UK can reopen on April 12 at the earliest for individuals and one household booking accommodation that has no shared facilities.
Here are some top spots in Kent you could try...
1 Leopard Creek
New for 2021, the latest accommodation set to open at Port Lympne in Hythe features three ways to stay, from cosy two-person cubs; stylish four-person cabins to luxurious four-person wigwams with a glimpse of neighbours, two critically endangered Amur Leopards. A stay costs from £349 per night with profits going towards the Aspinall Foundation's work with the animals. Book at aspinallfoundation.org
The nature reserve on the Isle of Sheppey has a range of accommodation, ranging from cosy cabins to cottages and its piece de resistance is the Kingshill Farmhouse, often hired for families for weekend weddings. The 18th century farmhouse sits at the heart of the 3,300 acre nature reserve, with six bedrooms, and sleeps up to 14 people. Kingshill Farmhouse costs from £180 per night on a B&B basis, up to £2040 for the whole house for two nights. Book elmleynaturereserve.co.uk.
Boutique lettings agency Mulberry Cottages has a range of properties across the county, ranging from city cottages to plush town houses, rural retreats and coastal spots, including several in Dungeness with its shingle coastline and distinctive scenery. Holiday rentals for households are available from April. They range from the likes of Lemon Fish for two people, from £545 for a seven-day stay and Radar to Seaview sleeping four and costing from £533 for two nights. Many have already been booked up throughout the spring and summer this year. Book at mulberrycottages.com or by calling 01227 464958.
4 Alkham Valley
If you've got the walking bug during lockdown, Chilton Farmyard B&B is the perfect place to stay, set in the hills of Alkham Valley, between Folkestone and Dover. Dog friendly, the family farm with rare breed cattle had its redundant farm buildings converted to holiday lets in 2017. Accommodation includes The Dairy, which sleeps two and costs from £100; The Byre, which sleeps five and costs from £120 and The Calf Shed with sleeps four and costs from £120 all per night. Book at chiltonfarmyardbandb.co.uk.
5 Leeds Castle Holiday Cottages
The accommodation across the 500-acre estate near Maidstone reopens on April 12 with family friendly historic cottages with access to the grounds - including when day visitors have gone home. They include Weir Cottage, which sleeps two, and Keeper's House, which sleeps up to 10, which both allow pets. And if you're feeling flush you could book the beautiful Battel Hall, which sleeps up to 10 for two nights for two people from £3,380. Book at leeds-castle.com/Accommodation
6 The Pig at Bridge Place
There list the accolades the hotel three miles south of Canterbury has gained since its refurbishment, providing seven luxury bedrooms, is extensive. There are also the Hop Pickers' Huts, nestled in the water meadows on stilts and set along a boardwalk. The hotel isn't taking bookings for before May 17. Rooms cost from £299 per night. Book at thepighotel.com
The castle near Edenbridge is set to reopen its luxury Bed & Breakfast and Medley Court from Monday, April 12. Accommodation includes the likes of the Edward VII Suite with its 7ft Romanesque bed to the four bedroom holiday house, Medley Court, which sleeps up to eight and costs from £550 per night. Book at hevercastle.co.uk/stay