5 days from £599.00pp
To book this holiday please contact our Sales Team directly on
Nourish your imagination with this thought-provoking and inspiring break to the ancient county of Kent, affectionately known as the Garden of England. Discover a lesser-known land of historic seaside towns, age-old legends, picturesque vineyards and moated manors, which inspired literary luminaries such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Ian Fleming, author of James Bond.
From your comfortable accommodation in an authentic 12th-century country house, several insightful excursions will lift the veil on this fascinating county. Explore the historic Cinque Ports of Rye and Hythe, discover the breathtaking Dover and Leeds castles and follow in the footsteps of a certain fictional secret agent.
You’ll also get to know historic Canterbury, the cradle of English Christianity and have the chance to celebrate Kent’s newfound wine heritage with an optional trip to a family owned vineyard.
View a full breakdown of your holiday to help you plan your trip
Make your own way to Howfield Manor, located two miles outside of Canterbury. If you’re driving, there is free on-site parking available. Alternatively, you can fly to London Gatwick, where you’ll meet your tour manager for the scenic transfer to your hotel.
However you arrive, unpack and settle into your fabulous new surroundings, perhaps by exploring the hotel, which dates back to the 12th-century, and its charming gardens.
Later on, join your tour manager for a guided orientation walk of nearby historic Canterbury. Famous for its UNESCO-listed cathedral, which provided the setting for Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Canterbury is the cradle of English Christianity and the spiritual home of the Church of England. Wander along the city’s cobble-stone streets, lined with timbered buildings and encircled by Roman walls, before returning to your hotel, no doubt excited for the coming days.
Step back in time this morning as you visit the historic Cinque Ports at Hythe and Rye. The Cinque Ports (Five Ports) were formed in the 12th century to furnish ships and men for the King’s navy. In their heyday, they were thriving hubs of trade and commerce, frequented by royalty, raconteurs, writers and smugglers alike.
Call first at Hythe, one of the original Cinque Ports. Walk along the Royal Military Canal, which stretches for 28 miles and was built as part of a defence network in anticipation of a possible invasion of England during the Napoleonic Wars. Visit St Leonard’s Church, which dates back to the 10th century, and explore the town centre, with its impressive collection of Georgian, medieval and Norman buildings. Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Victorian seafront promenade, near where Hythe’s once-bustling harbour stood (the harbour has now completely disappeared due to silting).
The tour continues to Rye, added belatedly as one of the Cinque Ports in 1287 after New Romney’s harbour was severely damaged by a storm. Rye, now two miles inland, was one of the busiest Cinque Ports. Enjoy a tour of this fascinating town, as you wander its winding, narrow streets, paved with history and legends, including Rye’s most famous – and picturesque – street, Mermaid Street. Discover the town’s fascinating medieval history as you visit the castle, now a museum, and the town gates, both of which date back to the 14th century. After the tour, enjoy some time at leisure, possibly stopping for a bit to eat (payable locally).
Later this afternoon, why not join the optional visit to Terlingham Vineyard? English wine’s stock has risen dramatically in recent years, and Kent has very much been at the heart of this push. Located just outside of Folkestone on the Kent North Downs, this family owned vineyard is a sustainable, boutique vineyard, producing unique artisanal wines. Enjoy a tour, followed by the chance to join a tasting session, and take some bottles home with you if you like what you taste!
If you’d like to continue exploring Canterbury, your driver will be happy to drop you there.
Board the coach and head to Dover Castle to kick off a fascinating day’s touring. Dover Castle, which is an English Heritage site, has a rich history that stretches back almost 2,000 years. The site is thought to have been originally fortified in the Iron Age, before the Roman invasion in AD 43 and is home to one of only three remaining Roman lighthouses left in the world. During the reign of Henry II, in the 12th century, the castle began to take a more recognisable shape, with the construction of the Great Tower, and went on to play a key role in both the English Civil War and World War Two. A guided tour brings to life the castle’s many stories, whilst the energetic may choose to climb the tower for an unmissable view of the English Channel.
After the tour, you’ll have the chance to enjoy lunch at the Coastguard pub (payable locally) in St Margaret’s Bay. The Coastguard is the closest pub to France in the entire UK and was often frequented by Ian Fleming!
This afternoon, continue to St Margaret’s at Cliffe, an idyllic coastal village that helped inspire Ian Fleming to write the James Bond series. Enjoy a guided walk of the Pine Gardens Tea Room and Museum and take a stroll along the cliffs, where the views toward France are simply breathtaking! Ian Fleming used to holiday in St Margaret’s, and the area features heavily in his stories: a spot beneath the cliffs served as the location of the missile launcher in Moonraker, whilst James Bond visits the Red Lion pub in Goldfinger after playing golf at Royal St George’s in nearby Deal. Perhaps the most enduring link to the area is the number of the coach he used to get here from London: 007.
Return to your hotel at the end of a truly absorbing day, and spend the evening at your leisure.
Join your tour manager for a half-day excursion to the astonishing Leeds Castle. Located 5 miles east of Maidstone, the moated castle is set on an island formed by the River Len, amongst 500 acres of majestic parkland. The castle, which is also an English Heritage site, features 20 bedrooms and is widely regarded as one of the most elegant castles in the world.
A castle has existed on this site since the 12th century. In the 13th century, the castle was developed significantly and became one of Edward I’s favourite residences. Later, in the 16th century, Henry III lived here with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Drift back through the annals of time as an absorbing tour brings the castle’s rich and fascinating to life.
After this morning’s tour, enjoy an afternoon at leisure, perhaps continuing your exploration of Canterbury under your own steam, or relaxing at the hotel reflecting on a inspiring few days spent in the Garden of England.
After breakfast, check out and begin your journey home at the end of a wonderful few days.
To book this holiday please contact our Sales Team directly on
Located amongst 5 acres of well-kept gardens, Howfield Manor offers 15 traditional rooms in a stunning property that dates back to the 12th century. Surrounded by scenic hills and orchards, the hotel is just two miles from the historic city of Canterbury.
At this time, exact outbound and inbound departure times have not been confirmed. Where applicable, times shown are our best estimate based on current information. Final timings will be confirmed to you in your Final Travel Documents, approximately 10 days prior to departure, though we will make every effort to secure timings close to those indicated when you book.
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but, where applicable, you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
From 1 January 2021, new rules apply on travel within Europe.
Note that these new rules do NOT apply when travelling within the United Kingdom or to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland. You do require government issued ID when travelling by air.
New rules apply when travelling to European Union countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The following are useful guidelines which will help you prepare for your next adventure:
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