Published: 22.04.2021

Guide to the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Kent Downs AONBThinking of taking a cottage break in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) but want to find out more information about what this area in the South East of England has to offer for self-catering holidays?  Then read on for more hints and tips on what makes the Kent Downs AONB such an amazing place to visit and holiday.

Cottages in the Kent Downs AONB


Whether for a rural retreat break or a country cottage holiday, the Kent Downs with their tranquil unspoilt feel are a great place to relax and unwind on a country holiday.  Set within Kent, a county so green it’s also been dubbed the Garden of England, the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty stretch from close to the Surrey border and historic Rochester down and across the way to Folkestone and Dover, and centre around a stretch of chalk ridge and a greensand ridge.

Covering heathlands, farmlands, parklands, hills, valleys, chalk streams and the river valleys of the Darent, Medway and Stour, the Kent Downs is a special beautiful area which is rich in stunning scenery and a biodiversity.  

For those who love walking, the North Downs Way runs through the whole length of the Kent Downs AONB.

Pretty Villages and Towns within the Kent Downs AONB

•    Canterbury, set just outside the Kent Downs AONB, this is one of Kent’s best known historic towns which is rich in history and a fascinating place to visit.

•    Cranbrook, this small town is picture-perfect with its white-washed weather boarded houses and windmill.

•    Rochester, set just outside the Kent Downs AONB, Rochester is a great place to visit with its splendid historic buildings and through recent investment is a town on the up.

•    Tenterden, this charming historic town with its weather-boarded buildings lies within the High Weald area and is set close to grapevines and farmlands traditionally associated with hops and apple growing.  


Castles within the Kent Downs AONB

Much of Kent is rich in historical buildings and as such there are a number of interesting historic castles dotted throughout the Kent Downs including:

•    Dover Castle, set just outside the Kent Downs AONB high on a hilltop just outside of the town of Dover, the English Heritage’s Dover Castle is an amazing place to visit.

•    Leeds Castle, with its waterside setting and location within 500 acres of grounds which include a maze, has to be one of the most photographed and beautiful castles in the whole of Kent.

•    Rochester Castle, set in the town of Rochester, just outside of the Kent Downs AONB, this historic fortress lies high up in the town by the River Medway and is protected by English Heritage.

Wherever you choose to stay in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whether in a townhouse in one of the towns or hidden away in a log cabin in the countryside, we hope you’ve found our guide to the Kent Downs helpful and that you find a perfect holiday rental for your break on Country Cottages Online.

There are so many good and interesting places to stay in Kent, find out more about the various cottage breaks in villages throughout Kent.


Top Kent Downs Beauty Spots to Discover on Holiday

•    Devil’s Kneading Trough

This bowl-shaped valley is in the heart of the Kent Downs and from the top affords superb views out to the flat landscape of the Kentish Weald and out to Romney Marsh.  On a good day you can even see out to the English Channel.

•    Hucking Estate

Set around the village of Hucking, these pretty bluebell woods sit within ancient woodlands and grasslands.  There are trails to guide you as you go and stunning vistas of the Kent Downs in places.

•    Ide Hill

Ide Hill is a site of special scientific interest and affords superb views over the Kent Weald.

•    Farthing Common

This high common is one of the highest places in the North Downs and offers stunning views over the fields and farmlands of the Kent Downs.

•    Queendown Warren Nature Reserve

Managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust, this area is rich in wildlife and covers woodlands, chalk grasslands and pastures.  The Queendown Warren Nature Reserve was once a royal reserve and offers stunning valley views.  

•    King’s Wood

As the name suggests, this was originally a royal hunting wood and is a large forest covering some 1500 acres.  Various fascinating sculptures can be found dotted around the forest. There are forest trails, a picnic area and a children's play area in King’s Wood.

•    Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve

With wildflower meadows, carpets of bluebells in spring, woodlands, walking trails and a site of special scientific interest, Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve is a special and unspoilt part of the Kent Downs.

We hope we’ve helped to inspire you as to what the unspoilt Kent Downs AONB has to offer for cottage breaks and that you have a fabulous time discovering this lovely area on holiday.

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