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Winter walks this Christmas and New Year across Kent 2021


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Put a spring in your step this winter with some festive and New Year walks.

Head out with your nearest and dearest - or escape by yourself - and burn off some festive calories with one of these spots we've found across Kent...

Look out over the Devil's Kneeding Trough near Wye Picture: iStock
Look out over the Devil's Kneeding Trough near Wye Picture: iStock

Wye Downs Walk

This 2.5 mile walk from Explore Kent, takes in the historic village of Wye, once a site of a Roman camp and later, in the time of the Saxons, a royal manor. It will also take you through meadows and pastures of the Wye National Nature Reserve, which is managed by Natural England and supports rare species of orchid.

The highlight is the spectacular views over the Devil’s Kneading Trough – the largest and most famous of the steep-sided dry valleys. To download a map of the route click here.

The poppies may not be flowering at this time of year, but the White Cliffs of Dover always look picturesque Picture: Matt Hayward/National Trust
The poppies may not be flowering at this time of year, but the White Cliffs of Dover always look picturesque Picture: Matt Hayward/National Trust

White Cliffs of Dover

A wintry cliff top walk includes spotting some wildlife like the Waxwings in the hedgerows. The iconic landmark offers stunning views and if you're up for the challenge, and ready for some coastal winds - you can follow the path all the way along to the lighthouse, staying away from the edge. The National Trust site has a pay and display car park and gets busy. The National Trust has many walks across its parkland to try, including at Scotney in Lamberhurst and Sissinghurst. Find out more by clicking here.

Ramsgate's Royal Harbour
Ramsgate's Royal Harbour

Sea It All: Ramsgate to Broadstairs

If you enjoy seeing the sea, you'll love this coast-hugging, cliff topping circuit from Active Ramsgate. The route goes the extra mile to delight and surprise, from the beautiful Italian Gardens to the breathtaking views across Viking Bay.

A five mile circular walk, it takes around two-and-a-half hours if you do the full route, or 1.5 hours for one way. Download the walk route here.

Active Ramsgate has a series of walks covering the area, from town walks, to beach strolls and treks out to other towns.

Explore the wider estate at Penshurst Place
Explore the wider estate at Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place Estate Walks

The ancient historic parkland of Penshurst Place provides scenic walks all year. There are two walking trails across the estate - the Parkland and the Riverside Walks - both take you across beautiful scenery and take in part of the Eden Valley walk. They are marked with numbered and colour-coded signs to follow and both can be completed in a day, starting and finishing in the visitor car park. Though the house, gardens and grounds are shut, the coffee and gift shops are open in the winter, though closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Find out more here.

Step out around Bewl Water at Lamberhurst this winter Picture: Ciaran McCrickard
Step out around Bewl Water at Lamberhurst this winter Picture: Ciaran McCrickard

Bewl Water, Lamberhurst

With hundreds of acres of rolling countryside around the reservoir to explore, the largest stretch of inland open water is the perfect place for a brisk winter’s walk. You can step out on the challenging 12.5-mile round walk, or try some scenic strolls. There's a map to download online showing all the routes you can try. For details click here.

Shepherd Neame has launched three new Pub Walks Picture: Shepherd Neame
Shepherd Neame has launched three new Pub Walks Picture: Shepherd Neame

Faversham pubs walk

Here's a walk that'll warm you up: A self-guided walking tour of Faversham pubs from local brewer, Shepherd Neame. It takes in nine sites: The Bear Inn; Sun Inn; The Bull; The Three Tuns; The Limes; Railway Hotel; Market Inn; The Anchor and Albion Taverna, and is a 2.5 mile route passing local landmarks too.

The brewer has also launched two other walks, which also take in the River Medway and Royal St George’s and Prince’s golf clubs in Sandwich, which join the 11 guides already on offer, launched with local expert Lisa Filmer, founder of Coast and Country Rambles. All start and end at a pub. Pick up a free guide at each pub or download by clicking here.

Know someone you'd like to take through this at Leeds Castle's winter trail? Picture: Leeds Castle
Know someone you'd like to take through this at Leeds Castle's winter trail? Picture: Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, Maidstone

The castle’s festive outdoor trail is open through to Sunday, January 2, with the exception of Christmas Day - it is open on Boxing Day. The carol, the Twelve Days of Christmas, features in immersive artworks around the 500 acres of grounds. They include a partridge in an illuminated pear tree plus a turtle dove arch, pictured above. The castle is also be dressed for the season and open from 10am to 5pm. Find out more here.

Hever Castle's grounds are perfect for a winter walk Picture: Hever Castle and Gardens
Hever Castle's grounds are perfect for a winter walk Picture: Hever Castle and Gardens

Hever Castle

This one's for just after Christmas, so wrap up warm and head to Hever between Christmas and New Year. The historic castle, near Edenbridge, is open daily from Monday, December 27 to Monday, January 3 for visitors looking to recharge their batteries after the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

The Pinocchio trail in the grounds will still be open, with the chance to journey through the land of toys, including a visit to Geppetto’s workshop and Pinocchio in Stromboli’s puppet show, plus funfair rides for £2 (card payments only).

Rooms of the castle will also be decorated and have welcoming log fires while after dark the grounds and lake will be illuminated with colourful lights. Castle tickets must be pre-booked.

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