Everything you want to know about Kent
Famed as the Garden of England for its scenic lavender fields, bluebell woods and vineyards; Kent offers an array of aesthetically pleasing attractions. England’s oldest county has played an iconic role in shaping our history, from Chaucer’s pilgrims to the infamous white cliffs of Dover; a hot air balloon ride over Kent presents the perfect opportunity to view these landmarks from an entirely new perspective.
The county town of Maidstone is ideally positioned to explore Kent. Home to many historical buildings including the infamous Leeds Castle, hailed ‘the loveliest castle in the world’. A flight from here is sure to take you over Mote Park, a 450 acre park with a 30 acre lake, dating back to the Middle Ages. Post-flight you may also be enticed to visit the hustle and bustle of the various shopping districts of Maidstone, or taste the delights on offer at the local farmers’ markets.
The small village of Yalding dates back to Saxon times and is another ideal location to explore Kent by balloon flight. Just a short distance from bustling Maidstone, the village is situated at a point where the River Teise and Beult joins the River Medway. Flying from here you are sure to spot the various bridges that connect the village, including the Twyford Bridge, the longest medieval bridge in Kent, spanning over 150 metres. As the rivers snake into the distance you may be able to catch a glimpse of the Kent downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the leafy lanes of surrounding villages including Thurnham and Bearsted.
To the south of Maidstone lies the pretty town of Sutton Valence, which is thought to have earned its place in history through hosting a Saxon battle. Lying on the top of a hill, the various historical buildings make it an ideal launch site. Within minutes of flying from this quaint village you will be presented with the beauty of rural Kent at its finest.
Goudhurst and Headcorn are two further launch sites, each presenting unique charm. Centered on the slope of a steep hill, Goudhurst presents an intriguing mix of red roofs and ancient buildings surrounded by woodland. The aerodrome at Headcorn played a key role in the Second World War and is still a thriving private aviation base. From either of these launch sites you may drift westwards over Tunbridge Wells, an ancient spa town, once a playground for royalty and the aristocracy. The town today has managed to retain much of its beauty, with regency villas and large Victorian houses scattered alongside vast open spaces, as well as the nearby captivating Enchanted Forest.
Nestled at the southerly Kent-Sussex border, and surrounded by beautiful countryside, Wadhurst is another great launch site. Flying from here may allow you to drift over Tonbridge, where a motte and bailey castle occupies a commanding position beside the River Medway. The town is a melting pot of historical architecture with timber framed and 18th century buildings dotted throughout the town. Depending on wind direction a flight from Wadhurst may also encompass Penshurst Place a medieval manor house with acres of gardens designed to cater for all seasons. Or perhaps you will glide over the scenic towns of Rye, Lewes and Tenterden with their glorious cobbled streets.
Wherever the wind takes you, a balloon flight over Kent is bound to provide you with unforgettable memories.
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