Hot Air Balloon Rides over Kent
The county of Kent is so close to the birthplace of mankind's first balloon flight in France that not surprisingly it has strong connections to ballooning history. Early balloonists in the late 1700's were soon attempting to fly between the two countries. Today the English Channel or "La Manche" remains a popular natural challenge with hot air balloonists flying from Kent to France in organised groups.
Ballooning aside, Kent brims full of history and heritage and is renowned throughout the world as the Garden of England. A popular balloon rides starting point in Kent is Leeds Castle near Maidstone. Listed in the Domesday Book, this picturesque castle has been a Norman stronghold, a royal residence for six of England's medieval queens, a palace of Henry VIII, and a retreat for the powerful and influential. You can take hot air balloon rides over Kent from right next door to Leeds Castle with Virgin Balloon Flights who offer regular passenger hot air balloon flights from March to October.
Other balloon ride locations in Kent include the Hop Farm Country Park near Tunbridge Wells. Over 450 years old, this original working farm boasts the largest collection of oast houses in the world. Floating in a hot air balloon south from this site you will see Bewl Water, a reservoir in the magnificent River Bewl valley. This is a tributary of the River Teise straddling the boundary between Kent and East Sussex. Not far from Bewl is the rural setting of Lamberhurst Vineyard and Scotney Castle. Lamberhurst Vineyard is the most famous vineyard in England and one of the oldest in Kent set amongst 20 acres of beautiful countryside. Set in a 780 acre beautiful wooded estate, the National Trust's 14th Century moated Scotney Castle has one of England's most romantic gardens.
Here are some things to do in Kent, UK:
Visit Canterbury Cathedral: This historic cathedral is known for its impressive architecture, including the famous stained-glass windows, and its association with Thomas Becket and other historical figures.
Visit Leeds Castle: This historic castle offers a glimpse into the history of the area and the lives of the people who lived there, as well as the opportunity to explore the castle grounds and gardens.
Visit the White Cliffs of Dover: These iconic cliffs offer beautiful coastal views and an opportunity to explore the surrounding area, including the South Foreland Lighthouse and the National Trust Visitor Centre.
Visit the Battle of Britain Memorial: This memorial commemorates the pilots and aircrew who fought in the Battle of Britain during World War II.
Visit the Chatham Historic Dockyard: This historic dockyard offers a chance to see the history of shipbuilding and naval history, as well as to explore the restored ships and other exhibits.
Visit the Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery: This museum offers a chance to learn about the history of the town and the surrounding area, as well as to see a variety of art and other exhibits.
Visit the Canterbury Roman Museum: This museum offers a glimpse into the history of the Roman city of Durovernum Cantiacorum, which was once a major center of Roman life in Britain.
Visit the Sissinghurst Castle Garden: This famous garden offers a chance to see the beautiful gardens, and to learn about the history of the estate and the people who lived there.
Visit the Howletts Wild Animal Park: This animal park offers a chance to see a variety of animals and to learn about conservation and wildlife.
Visit the Dreamland Margate: This amusement park offers a chance to see vintage rides, as well as a variety of other attractions and entertainment.