Now you can get here quicker on the 140 mph Javelin trains, on the UK’s only high speed train line, running from London St Pancras International to top destinations in Kent including Canterbury and Dover. Here are some example guided tours perfect for small groups, families and couples who wish to enjoy a private guided tour of Kent as a day out of London:
A Taste of Kent – with Yvonne, your local, professional tourist guide !
Your high speed train will transport you right along the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover where you will soon arrive at Dover Priory Station to be met by Yvonne, and escorted to our chauffeur driven car or minibus to begin our tour.
First we drive up high on to the Western Heights in Dover. From here we are looking out over the harbour towards France, just 21 miles away. On a clear day, with binoculars, we can tell the time on the clock tower in Calais. This is where England begins and began, and we can access over 3000 years of documented history from the Bronze age until modern times. We walk past gun emplacements first built at the time of the Crimea war, but which were so important to us in WW2. It is very easy to imagine what it might have been like in 1940 when Dover became frontline Britain. Splendid views of the White Cliffs of Dover which guard the Gateway to England and of the magnificent Dover Castle known as The Key to the Kingdom. From here we drive through the town and pause for photographs of the castle, high up on the cliffs overlooking the ferry terminal. We follow the coast through to picturesque bays and villages, stopping for photographs and to see the White Cliffs up close and personal ! Then along the coast, pausing to photograph Walmer Castle, one of King Henry 8’s coastal fortifications. Through the little seaside town of Deal and on to Sandwich. We stop to explore this delightful medieval town with its many timber-framed houses, narrow streets and alleyways, picturesque churches and the peaceful quayside along side the River Stour. Enjoy a walking tour and maybe a bite to eat, what better place to have your lunch than in Sandwich !! The afternoon tour continues inland through quaint rural villages to the Cathedral city of Canterbury, with the opportunity to visit the Cathedral (private guided tours are available subject to the Cathedral’s services and activities) Perhaps a cream tea in the pretty village of Chilham before returning to either Dover, or Canterbury to take your HS train back to London St Pancras. Depending on the size of your party and vehicle chosen, this exclusive tour can cost from just £40 per person in an executive 16 seat minibus, or from £100 per person in a chauffeur driven Mercedes car or MPV. Admissions and refreshments extra.
Canterbury and Leeds Castle
Your high speed train transports you from London St. Pancras International through pretty Kentish countryside, and within the hour you arrive at Canterbury West to be met by Yvonne, your guide for the day. The tour starts with a short walk through the medieval Westgate and walls of the city of Canterbury, stopping to enjoy the views and key highlights of the historic city centre, until we arrive at Canterbury Cathedral. Restricted access to the Cathedral means that pre-booking is absolutely necessary. Enjoy an exclusive and private tour of the Cathedral, admiring the Gothic and Romanesque architecture, the magnificent stain glass windows, and hearing the stories of the many people from the 6th century to present day whose stories are intertwined with the Cathedral’s rich and fascinating history. All year round the Cathedral is a vibrant and important part of city life, students celebrating their graduation, schools attending their Christmas Carol concerts, the bounty of nature during the Harvest Festivals, and the peaceful, yet joyful message from the Cathedral’s Easter Garden. After the tour, we walk together again in the city, perhaps taking a moment to ‘meet’ the very first (6th century) Roman Catholic King and Queen whose statues are to be found between the Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey. There is also the opportunity to visit St Martin’s Church. (Earliest site of Christian worship in England and still a parish church today. Together, the Cathedral, Abbey and St Martin’s Church make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Feeling a little hungry and it is nearly lunchtime, so we meet our chauffeur driven car and leaving Canterbury, make our way a short distance into very pretty countryside to the picturesque village of Chilham, where we pause for lunch in a typical country pub. Fresh local produce and maybe a Kentish lager or cider – the perfect lunch before continuing our tour.
Before leaving the village, we take a moment to explore the central square, scene of much filming, and, indeed, if we take away the satellite discs, cars, and double yellow lines, it could really be 300 years ago ! – a peep through to the 17th century manor house and the old church with the base of an ancient yew tree which stood for 1300 years before being felled during the great storm of 1987. Continuing through the countryside we arrive at Leeds Castle, known as ‘ The Loveliest Castle in the World’ and/or ‘ A Ladies’ Castle’, romantically situated on an island in a natural lake in the River Len. It is simply stunning and if you love to see swans, peacocks, black swans, ducklings, geese and all the babies (especially in the spring) as well as the Castle and gardens themselves, there is nowhere better than Leeds Castle to spend a few hours enjoying a taste of ‘Upstairs’ in an English country home. After enjoying free time to explore the estate, and trying hard not to get lost in the maze, we meet back up with our chauffeur who will drive us, at the end of the day to either Ebbsfleet International or Ashford International to connect with your HS train back to London.