As the Garden of England, when you’re in Kent it’s only right to get outside and play. If you’re about to plan a date with someone new, eschew the usual dinner and wine, and check out some of these ideas.
Visit the loveliest castle in the world
That’s what Lord Conway famously called Leeds Castle. It’s certainly pretty beautiful. Listed in the Domesday Book a castle has been on the site since 1119. Today there’s over 500 acres of beautiful parkland and formal gardens, a maze, activities, a lake, and of course the stunning home. Bought by Lady Baillie in 1926 for £ 180,000 (bargain!) it’s her style you’ll see as you wander round and, if things are going well, imagine your future home together.
See and save some animals
Run by the Aspinall Foundation and committed to conservation the 600 acre Port Lympne Safari Park is home to lions, deer, bear, largest herd of black rhino in the UK, western lowland gorillas, and the only giraffe in Kent. If you are a single parent dating there’s plenty of space for them to run around and animals to look at whilst you guys get to know one another without the worry having to pretend to be an alien/princess/giant mushroom. Just me as a kid?
The River Stour passes through the whole county, but nowhere is it more lovely than in the cathedral city of Canterbury. Get a riverboat tour through the city, gazing at the old architecture and clear water. This is the kind of activity that suits everyone, from teenagers dating to over 50s dating, and everything in between. Wrap up warm in winter, bask in summer, and watch the world go by.
Visit the stunning seventeenth century manor at Groombridge Place, take a turn around the formal gardens, get tipsy in the vineyards and lose your heart in the Enchanted Forest. The 2005 film of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, starring Kiera Knightley, was filmed here Groombridge Place with the manor masquerading as Longbourn. And as love stories go, that’s a pretty good one.
Every July the seaside town of Whitstable plays host to the Oyster Festival, where Oyster lovers and just lovers both enjoy the sun, sand, seafood and whatever else that famous aphrodisiac leads to. Personally I can’t stand oysters, but champagne – yes please!