The Best Hotels to Book in Kent

Enjoy the Garden of England – but let someone else do the gardening, at the Spa Hotel near Royal Tunbridge Wells
Enjoy the Garden of England – but let someone else do the gardening, at the Spa Hotel near Royal Tunbridge Wells | Courtesy of The Spa Hotel / Expedia
Mischa Smith

With glorious coastlines and beautiful rural retreats, Kent has something to offer every traveller – from luxury hotels to foodie inns. Perfect your stay with our pick of the best places to stay in Kent.

Considered the Garden of England, Kent plays host to families and day-trippers flocking to the chalk-white cliffs, rolling hillsides and stretches of sandy beaches. Thanks to an outpouring of sea-starved Londoners, there’s been an influx of pretty vintage stores and sleek eateries in the seaside towns that skirt the coastline. But the county has kept much of its traditional charm in the form of grand cathedrals, quaint country pubs and grand manor houses to suit every sensibility. Discover it all, staying at a seafront-facing hotel, grand county pile, or even a 12th-century castle – all bookable via Culture Trip.

1. Marine Hotel, for sea views in Whitstable

Hotel

Exterior view of The Marine Hotel – a wide, brick building with a balcony running its entire length, with seating and parasols at the front
Courtesy of the Marine Hotel / Expedia

Bag a Superior Double at this waterfront hotel and you’ll have French windows opening onto a balcony with limitless views. Situated practically on the sands of Tankerton Beach, its glass-walled restaurant also takes inspiration from the coast – there’s battered cod and chips, of course, but why not try the chorizo, crab and prawn linguine, or the pan-fried sea bass with pasta salad, fresh herbs and a red pepper coulis? Canterbury is a 20-minute drive away.

2. Yarrow Hotel, for a restorative stay in Broadstairs

Hotel, Luxury

External view of Yarrow Hotel – an old, brick building made up of several storeys
Courtesy of Yarrow Hotel / Expedia

This perfectly-symmetrical hotel was originally constructed in 1894 as a children’s home. Spread throughout its identical wings (formerly separate wards for boys and girls), rooms and suites feature original fireplaces, black and white photos of local beaches and a coastal colour scheme of cool blues, grey and beige. After a walk on the beach, steam in the sauna or be pampered in the salon, before a seven-course tasting dinner showcasing Kent produce.

3. Woolpack Inn Warehorne, for rural charm near Ashford

Inn

Room at the Woolpack Inn Warehorne, with an eclectic range of furniture and ornaments, a large wooden bed, a fireplace and two armchairs
Courtesy of The Woolpack Inn Warehorne / Expedia

Grazing sheep surround this 16th century pub, which offers five double ensuites packed with vintage pieces and found items, such as milk urns, antique gardening equipment and potato sacks. The breakfast menu offers the rarely-seen (in British pubs) option of buttermilk pancakes, served either with vanilla cream and seasonal fruit compote or cowslip butter and maple syrup. Spend summer afternoons in the garden opposite the church, sipping locally produced sparkling wine.

4. Leeds Castle, for regal grandeur in Maidstone

Suite Hotel

A cosy room at the Stable Courtyard Bedrooms at Leeds Castle, with rustic decor including floral curtains and a double bed with a pink headboard
Courtesy of the Stable Courtyard Bedrooms at Leeds Castle / Expedia
With a history as a 12th-century royal palace, Leeds Castle is one of the finest luxury hotels in Kent. This roving medieval complex consists of 200ha (500 acres) of well-kept gardens, with trees that were first planted in the 18th century, a winding river and a lake. A range of sleeping options are available, from glamping pods to the ultra-luxe Maiden’s Tower. The amenities are fit for royalty – think falconry shows, adventure playgrounds for children, a maze and grotto, as well as punting and an assortment of places to eat. Book in at the oak-beamed Castle View Restaurant to feast on glazed gammon knuckle, with enough trimmings to please Henry VIII. A country bolthole fit for royalty.

5. Wife of Bath, for a foodie getaway in Ashford

Pubs with Rooms

An attic room at Wife of Bath, with beige carpets, gray walls, a black iron bed with white bedding, and various pieces of artwork on the walls
Courtesy of Wife of Bath / Expedia

Each of the quirkily decorated rooms at the Wife of Bath is named after a character in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Sir Thopas is a plush super king room, featuring a wrought iron bed and stocked with complimentary sherry and nibbles. The low-slung Cook room, which is part of the cottage annexe, is skirted with foliage and farmhouse features. In contrast to the country aesthetic, dining is centred on vibrant tapas dishes from restaurateur Mark Sargeant. Modern-day pilgrims, in the form of foodie Londoners, take the train from the capital to enjoy bream, dressed fennel, kohlrabi and ponzu dashi.

6. Rocksalt, for a seaside retreat in Folkestone

Pubs with Rooms

The dining area at Rocksalt in Folkestone, with tables, chairs, a balcony, and views of Folkestone harbour
Courtesy of Rocksalt
As the name suggests, Rocksalt – which runs along the sailboat-scattered Folkestone harbour – draws influence from the ocean, with sea view rooms and a celebrated waterside restaurant. Antique beds are dressed with Egyptian cotton sheets and within waddling distance of the Rocksalt restaurant, where seasonal dishes are drawn from the coastal waters and local farms. Wild stretches of rolling countryside surround this boutique abode. Explore the surrounding hills with a gourmet picnic hamper prepared by the hotel to keep you fuelled on your trek.

7. Port Lympne Hotel, for wildlife spotting in Hythe

Hotel

The front lawn and pond of Port Lympne Reserve, and view of the hotels main building – a grand, brick building with a large entrance door
Courtesy of Port Lympne Reserve / Expedia

Love wildlife? Some 900 animals (including the almost-extinct northern lynx, leopards, tigers, Barbary lions and Kent’s only spectacled bears) share the leafy 240ha (600-acre) park of Port Lympne Reserve. Profits from the Port Lympne Hotel go back to the Aspinall Foundation, so your stay in this country pile helps the futures of endangered animals. You’ll awaken to the resident big cats who snooze just a few minutes away at this stately Grade II listed property. Expect vivid murals, cascading fountains, a hippo pool, and sweeping views of Romney Marsh and the Channel. A Moroccan courtyard with glowing antique lanterns provides a sanctuary to enjoy an evening cocktail.

8. The Spa Hotel, for a wellness sanctuary in Tunbridge Wells

Hotel

Exterior view of The Spa Hotel – a period property with large windows and some areas covered in foliage
Courtesy of The Spa Hotel / Expedia

If you’re after pampering, check in to the Spa Hotel, an 18th-century country house hotel on the fringe of Royal Tunbridge Wells. After a day of stomping the stately grounds, swimming laps in the pool or a rally on the tennis court, reward yourself at the spa. It offers a range of classic face and body treatments using ESPA products, and includes a lengthy beauty menu to ensure you’re in ship-shape for dinner in the airy Orangery Restaurant. Here, you can feast on time-tested dishes, such as smoked salmon niçoise salad and rib-eye steak from the Surrey Hills farm.

9. Rowhill Grange Hotel & Utopia Spa, for a decadent mini-break in Dartford

Boutique Hotel, Chain Hotel, Spa Hotel

Indoor pool and spa area at Rowhill Grange Hotel, with Roman-themed decoration and tiled floors
Courtesy of Rowhill Grange and Utopia Spa / Expedia

Instagram at the ready: the decadent Roman-inspired interior at the Utopia Spa, with its towering columns, sculptures, hanging ivy and warm lighting, makes for excellent photos. Treatments revolve around Ayurvedic and Mediterranean infusions, plus there are popular skin-tech sessions including microdermabrasion and light therapy. Elsewhere at the Rowhill Grange Hotel, the popular afternoon tea and Bombay Sapphire gin experience comes brimming with candy-coloured confections.

10. ABode Canterbury, for ecclesiastical elegance

Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Luxury

Room at Abode Canterbury with modern decor, wooden flooring, a large double bed and a separate seating area
Courtesy of ABode Canterbury / Expedia

Planted at the foot of the cathedral, ABode Canterbury deals in a kind of low-key elegance that’s at odds with the more medieval touches, such as the wood-beamed champagne bar and labyrinthine layout. Its 72 rooms are charmingly decorated with toffee-toned leather, wooden floors and the odd Chesterfield sofa. Supersize beds come as standard, and are teamed with soft lighting, fluffy robes and deep baths. It’s modern and comfortable, but decidedly echoes Canterbury’s ancient charm.

Mark Nayler contributed additional reporting to this article.

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