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Old Mar 16th, 2018, 08:34 AM
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Last editing needed for (Kent familiar) feedback

I'd like to begin by thanking those who helped on the forum while getting this far in planning for 8 nights Kent drive itinerary for my wife and self . I've been working this eight day Kent drive schedule repeatedly for a full season and nearing the end with this the last bit.

A few caveats :a) I know roads aren't fast , having driven 25,000+ UK miles over a lifetime including seven extensive visits with relatively few on major highways b)equally fully aware jet lag's a problem for many, but hasn't been for me in many hops across the pond from New York. c) Canterbury and Dover have been done previously or will be repeated from other weeks. d) We don't need further info on outstanding churches or castles, (having lots of info and doing many more over the next two months elsewhere). It's a given that best laid plans are best modified or squelched on the fly when something's particularly compelling in the moment.

The heart of this Kent visit's about what's charming and smaller, with a few NT and English Heritage sites throw in as we have active membership in each. Accordingly, this request's about prudent trimming where days seem particularly excessive: and how that might be best achieved. A secondary request is for tips related to particular atmospheric good value pub/restaurants , indoor/outdoor food markets cum specialty shops (foodie who also likes to cook) of value within our schedule. final, if you think there's a more "deserving or enticing" small village on any given day's schedule what should it replace within that day?

Day 1 Heathhrow early a.m. arrival, as always with active NT and EH memberships. We've tried to keep this arrival itinerary a bit shorter, being well familiar with deplaning issues. Our first stop mid morning is at *Quebec House NT followed by Igtham Mote & Old Soar ruins (Seven Oaks area) both NT. These (two or) three represent the bulk of the first day.
Stopping at Chalybte Spring and passing Bayham Abbey English Heritage ruins conclude the first day before arrival in our Biddenden self cater cottages occurs after supper. 90.6 miles distance 2 hours + consensus normative drive time

*I've left a potential "extra" slot in day 3 [or "free day 8"] for repositioning Quebec House National Trust if unable to complete on this "jet lag" day one. Ditto for others all week as well.

Day 2 Biddenden (all remaining tour days 2-7 ~ and " final free day" are based out of our Biddenden self cater ) This itinerary's mostly about pretty villages: We'll stop in Smarden, Charing, Leeds village (without the pricy caste) Chatham, (possibly skip bigger Rochester as time's an issue. The day ends with Aylesford, Headcorn and Frittenden 64.8mi 2 1/4 hours.

Day 3 Tuesday We start with Knole House if recommended before Quebec House (if yet undone on first day) & Chartwell (2 30pm TUESDAY appointment set. The latter part of the day gets smaller and pretty with Edenbridge/ Chiddingstone Village, Westerham seems a bypass for time restraints. Penshurst Village finishes the day 78 mi 2 1/2 hours +

Day 4 Hopefully one of our more easy going days, moving from one to the next skimming here and there.: Pluckley, CharIng, Whitstable, Fordwich, Chilham, Godmersham and Wye villages.( I especially like that much today touches the Kent Downs AONB). Our last stop for dinner and a walkabout is Tenterden. 92 mi 3+ hours

Day 5 Today seems extensive, as I hate cutting what's attractive and don't know how it's best edited.(Please ignore my propensity to presenting as a list in potential need of a trim, but WHERE to cut's the question? Newenden, Northiam & Great Dixter House & Garden, (wondrous) Rye wants a bit of time, Lydd , New Romney, DYMchurch, LYMPne, HYTHe, 74.7mi up to 3 hours

Day 6 Finally a possibly sane -or at the very least - decidedly short drive schedule Sissinghurst Castle Gardens NT, Benenden, Bodiam & Castle NT/ Hawkhurst, Biddennden village today and again on "free (local/ missed from above nearby options) day" 31.8 miles 1 1/2 hr +

Day 7 Have we possibly yet mustered another reasonable scheduling effort precisely as is?
Benenden/ Cranbrook/ Goudhurst & St Mary church / Lamberhurst & Scotney Castle NT
Yalding/ Sutton Valence/ Headcorn/ Smarden
47.8 mi 1 3/4 hours This one's seemingly loaded, but most stops are breezy and lesser involving.

Free Day 8 Seaside options gone now: Margate, Broadstairs, etc were toyed with and dismissed. We've done buckets of UK seaside over the years with more ahead in these latest UK two months, and would rather skim a bit off any given day, avoiding anything potentially hectic above. Day 8's a catch-all now for filling in where proximate stops were undone in days 1-7 above.

Morning 9 we leave for next week's leg in north Cornwall.
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Old Mar 18th, 2018, 08:13 AM
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Hi preglad, I just sent you a PM, which I will reproduce here if you don't mind:

Ok - let's start with Day 1. I do feel that this is over ambitious. i know that it says that it's about an hour from LHR to Westerham, but it is one of the busiest stretches of motorway anywhere, and it often turns into just one big car park. You don't want to feel rushed. So I think that I would reckon on just doing Quebec House, with lunch either before or afterwards, depending on timing. There are several nice eateries in Westerham, and I see that the Tudor Rose Tea Rooms are still there on the Green if you get there early enough for coffee. Then personally, rather than going to Igtham or Old Soar, [especially if it's a nice day] I would want to have a look at the Weald and go to Toys Hill and/or Emmetts Gardens. And I would aim to be at your accommodation before supper, not after. In fact on a nice day I would much prefer to do this than see Quebec House. The views from Toys Hill across the Weald are lovely and there is a nice pub in the village too.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/toys-hill

Day 2
Is there some reason why you are omitting Leeds Castle? - the grounds are definitely worth a look, though of course the rose garden won't be in bloom in May. And if you are going to Chatham, don't miss the Historic Dockyards. Fascinating and very different to most of your other destinations. Rochester is fun for a walk; it is very atmospheric and the Cathedral is interesting.

Day 3.
Again, you appear to be missing out a gem - Penshurst Place. I haven't been to either for years but it would get my vote over Knole. As you are already locked into Chartwell in the afternoon I would go to Penshurst first. You can safely miss out Edenbridge but Chiddingstone is a gem [great pub and tea shops, not to mention the last houses - we had a friend who lived in one] and if you had more time you might fit Toys Hill in here.

Day 4
looks like a good day. If you like oysters, Whitstable is a great place to have them.

Day 5 - yes, much too full. You need to prioritise. Northam, Great Dixter, and Rye. Winchelsea. Also Derek Jarman's garden at Dungeness.

Day 6 - SissingHURST Castle, [can get very busy, go early or late], and Bodiam Castle. I don't remember the other places individually but the area is very pretty.

Day 7 - if you are in the Scotney area, I agree that you might enjoy looking at Goudhurst and Lamberhurst, where there is a vineyard, and a good pub called the Vineyard. Also the High Weald AONB if it's a nice day.

Day 8 - Hastings is closer than Sandwich and Ramsgate, and there is a nice area where they filmed Foyle's War. If you didn't manage to see Rye, or Dungeness, you could fit them in, or there is of course Battle Castle which amongst other things has an oubliette.

I hope some of that helps, and that you have a wonderful trip


Now I see that after Kent you are off to North Cornwall which is near to where I live.

Can I help with that sector at all?
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Old Mar 18th, 2018, 08:20 AM
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I totally agree w/ annhig re day 1. The OP and I have also exchanged PM's and my comments/concerns pretty much mirror annhig's.
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Old Mar 18th, 2018, 02:25 PM
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Nice to know we are on the same page - again - JJ.

While I was reading another thread I realised that you've missed out another place you should definitely see, which is Hever Castle. It's what I would aim to do on Day 1 instead of Quebec House or on your free day. They sometimes have evening theatre performances which you might enjoy and there are other events too:

https://www.hevercastle.co.uk
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Old Mar 20th, 2018, 05:46 AM
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Hi and thanks so much for the attentive suggestions, Ann & Janis. A few quick comments that cover some concerns. I know full well we're missing three of the best (and independently more expensive) castles, but that has much to do with active NT and English Heritage memberships inclusions, in which we've made again the investment. (There's, ironically, always a price to pay for the savings option.) Additionally, I've driven throughout the UK many times extensively in the past ( as well as this Kent week being followed by the greater part of two months in multiple weekly settings elsewhere in the country), so there's considerable familiarity with castles, cathedrals and the like. I'm making a commitment to trim yet further by dropping from among some "larger arenas"; this suits the major theme for this visit's more intimate go round throughout. After many excursions, one hopes the privilege to do so has been earned.

You've each helped me to recognize that need to (yet again) do some further chopping in the schedule as posed. I appreciate the particular examples for inclusion and exclusion, and will look hard at each. Newest exclusions (not yet thoroughly done) I'll keep to myself so as not to disappoint anyone in terms of favorites. I've also managed in the process to factor at least two maybes from above if time allows, and possibly and a third as "definite maybe". (Talk about doublespeak!)

Ann, I'll be jumping on your kind offer once again by quickly posting next week's North Cornwall week's itinerary. Over a lifetime, a much beloved Cornwall's been engaged repeatedly but more south east west centrally focused. Yet three years ago we did a bit of the northwest coast for two days in a range around the Arthurian sector.
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Old Mar 20th, 2018, 12:17 PM
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bring it on, preglad. Glad to have helped.
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Old Mar 20th, 2018, 11:12 PM
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I absolutely loved Hever Castle even more than Sissinghurst which had been on my list for 30 years . I was underwhelmed by Leeds Castle but I did see it in winter so the garden wasn't up and about .
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Old Mar 21st, 2018, 09:20 AM
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Northie - we went on a Wine Club tasting evening to Leeds Castle a very long time ago and were able to enjoy the rose garden [it was June] and a guided tour by someone who clearly thought a lot of the then resident/owner who I still remember was called "Lady Bailey".

Not bad for over 35 years ago.
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