Best of Britain: Kent | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Best of Britain: Kent

Television editor Matt Dawson writes about his home-county Kent and lists three top attractions that everyone should visit

After leaving my county of Kent to study at a university in the Midlands, as well as spending some time abroad, I have found that the overwhelming perspective of people not from the area thought that the South (and sometimes England) stopped at London. But just below that, tucked away in the South-East corner, is the hidden gem that is fondly known as “The Garden of England”. While my hometown of Ashford may not be the prettiest (personally considered the “compost heap” of the aforementioned garden), it is incredibly well connected via both the High Speed rail network (meaning you can get there from London in under an hour) and the Eurostar (allowing you to get Paris in just over three hours). From there, it is easy to access the highlights of Kent.


As easily the most famous city of the county, Canterbury ticks all the ‘picture postcard’ features. The town centre is made up of cobbled streets that go back to its cultural heritage, all leading to the famous Romanesque-Gothic cathedral that is one of the oldest Christian buildings in England. It is the home of the titular Archbishop and head of the Anglican Church, as well as the burial site for Thomas Becket. This drew many pilgrims to the city and was the inspiration for Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which is elaborated on in a fun and educational family attraction of the same name. If you have time, a great place for refreshments nearby is ‘Tiny Tim’s Tearoom’ serving a quintessentially English Afternoon Tea complete with freshly made scones.



A little further down the road and you will find another classic scene – the coastal town of Dover complete with its striking chalk cliffs. Easily the ‘must-see’ feature here is Dover Castle. Situated on the clifftop, this English Heritage site hosted Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, but perhaps more interestingly was the site of Winston Churchill’s Wartime Tunnels. Expanding into the body of the cliff and now open to the public, you can see where Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey orchestrated the now famous Dunkirk evacuation. They even host jousting events in the summer!


Just along the coast is another seaside town. While perhaps being a bit far from its heyday in the last century, Margate still retains some of its charm. A lot of money has been put into renovating its impoverished areas, with the renovation of ‘Dreamland’ being the biggest example. A retro-style theme park, it reopened in 2015 and is the perfect place for some vintage Insta posts. The Turner Contemporary is a modern art gallery that is currently housing an exhibition from controversial local Tracy Emin which, regardless your point of view, is bound to be a talking point. And finally, what visit to the British seaside would be complete without Fish & Chips on the beach? With plenty of chippies to choose from along the promenade, Margate proves that it can do the nation’s favourite dish as well as the rest of the country (I’m looking at you, Scarborough!).

Final year Modern Languages student, TV Editor, using student journalism as a post-Erasmus coping mechanism. (@mdawson_96)


9th November 2017 at 9:00 am

Images from

Gareth Williams, Leslie Archard and John Fielding