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Sibton Park - Things to do

Kent, England
Sibton Park Things To Do

The area around Sibton is steeped in history and crammed with attractions, many within a 30-minute drive. For golfers, there are also several 'pay and play' 18-hole golf courses within easy reach.

Nearby Hythe, with its gentle slopes and wheelchair accessibility, is just 15 minutes away. Its bustling streets have all sorts of arts and crafts, antique, book and other shops. The Royal Military Canal, which weaves its way through the centre, is ideal for a stroll.

Explore Dover's fascinating history

Take a full day to explore Dover Castle, which sits high on the famous White Cliffs and has a 'colourful and fascinating history'. Its Great Tower tells the story of 'the medieval world and royal court of King Henry II', full of politics, power and intrigue.

Deep within the cliffs, explore the labyrinth of secret wartime tunnels, including underground rooms and even a hospital. Above ground, find out how to detect enemy ships, communicate in Morse code or receive a fascinating insight into the Dunkirk evacuation.

Dover Museum recounts the history of the town and port, and has the world's oldest sea-going boat - an amazing 3,550 years old. It's the centre piece of 'the best archaeology gallery in the country'. There's lots for children too, from fun hands-on activities to interactive games.

Nearby Samphire Hoe is 'a new piece of England created from 4.9 million cubic metres of chalk marl dug to create the Channel Tunnel'. Sat at the foot of the White Cliffs, the 30-hectare site offers wildflowers, birds, peace and quiet, picnics and walks, as well as a mile of sea wall - great for anglers.

Canterbury, city of Chaucer and ghosts

The UNESCO World Heritage Site and city of Canterbury is a short drive north. It's dominated by its famous Norman cathedral, which was founded in 597AD and is most well known for the 1170 murder of St Thomas Becket.

Step back in step with The Canterbury Tales to explore medieval Canterbury with Geoffrey Chaucer's colourful characters. It's an accurate recreation of life at that time and a great introduction to both the city and Chaucer.

Or head to the River Stour for a trip with Canterbury Historic River Tours. Discover parts of the city only visible from the water and get a different perspective (both visually and from the guide) of some of its most important architecture.

For a look at the darker side of the city, take a night-time stroll with the Canterbury Ghost Tour. If you prefer your walks ghost-free, the company also offers a daytime walking tour, which takes a 'sideways glance at the hidden history' of Canterbury.

The really wild side to Kent

Just outside Canterbury is Howletts Wild Animal Park. It has the world's largest group of western lowland gorillas in captivity, as well as African elephants, tigers, monkeys, small cats, bongo tapirs, wolves and a walk-through lemur enclosure.

Its sister park, Port Lympne Wild Animal and Safari Park, is just outside Hythe. The 600 acres of parkland are home to the largest herd of captive-bred black rhinos outside Africa. There's also African elephants, Siberian and Indian tigers, Barbary lions and the 'Palace of the Apes'.

If rare breeds are your thing, head west of Sibton to the Rare Breeds Farm Park at Ashford. Great for children, its attractions include friendly farm animals, hands-on experiences, quizzes and challenges. Afterwards, recharge your batteries with a cream tea!

Head north east to the Rare Species Conservation Centre and Zoological Gardens in Sandwich. Set in two acres of sub-tropical gardens, the centre is home to many rare and endangered species. There's also a picnic area, café and gift shop.

Churches and abbeys

High on the Downs between Folkestone and Dover, St Mary's Church is a 13th-century architectural gem. It has a rare chancel screen of three stone arches and beautiful stained glass windows.

All Saints' Church in Waldershare near Dover is a Norman church. It has a south chapel dating from 1697 and an 18th-century north chapel, as well as fine Victorian murals.

St Augustine's Abbey, one of the earliest monastic sites, is also nearby and St Martin's Church in Canterbury has a Roman mosaic floor.

Country houses and parks

Kent has lots of castles, stately houses and gardens that are all worth visiting. Brockhill Country Park is less than 10 minutes away and was once part of an estate that dates back to Norman times.

Take a stroll in the park, which is full of wildlife such as butterflies, woodpeckers and snowdrops. Or why not enjoy one of the two circular walks (3.4km and 12.6km) that begin at Brockhill and explore the local area?

Head west from Sibton for a guided tour of 500-year-old Godinton House and Gardens. This Jacobean house has a medieval hall and 12 acres of formal and wild gardens.

The Grand in Folkestone is set on 150ft high cliffs overlooking the English Channel, and is 'the earliest large reinforced concrete building in the world'. Take a walk in the Lower Leas Coastal Park, followed by refreshments in The Grand's Palm Court, just as Edward VII did 100 years ago.

To the north east is Goodnestone Park Gardens, whose 14 acres include two arboretums, a woodland area, and a walled garden. Experts also regularly appear at the lecture hall, speaking on a range of horticultural topics.

From windmills to castles

Built in 1869, Willesborough Windmill near Ashford is a Grade II* listed building. The fully restored smock mill produces stone-ground strong bread flour using wind power. Between March and September, enjoy a guided tour of the mill, Victorian cottage and engine room. The ground floor is wheelchair accessible.

North east of Sibton, Walmer Castle has been the residence of the Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports since 1708. Originally built during the reign of Henry VIII as part of a chain of coastal forts, the Tudor castle is the former residence of the Duke of Wellington and the Queen Mother.

A cycle path along the beach front links Walmer Castle with nearby Deal Castle, which was also built by order of King Henry VIII for coastal defence. It is ‘one of the finest Tudor artillery works in England', and it guarded 'the Downs', a stretch of water between the shore and Goodwin Sands.

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