Graeme and Ron's UK adventures 2018 travel blog

The Archbishops Palace Maidstone

At the Coach museum

Churchill’s house

Some pretty little flowers in The garden at Churchill’s house

More pretty flowers

The Grade 1 listed dog kennel at Ightham Mote

Bodiam Castle

Lupins at Sissinghurst

More flowers at Sissinghurst

After arriving at Heathrow from Aberdeen we collected our hire car and began the 1.5 hour drive to Maidstone in Kent. Sorry, did I say 1.5 hours, more like 3 hours on the M20. Of course the Friday we were heading down was the beginning of a bank holiday weekend and also the start of school holidays. Anyway, we arrived in one piece, checked in, took our bags to our room then went straight back down to the bar for a couple of recovery drinks.

We had decided to stay in Maidstone as it seemed like it was a good base from which to do a bit of exploring around the south east of England. On Saturday we stayed put in Maidstone and just checked out the town, including the museum, art gallery and a fascinating Coach museum.

Later during our time in Kent we took advantage of our National Trust memberships and visited a number of National Trust properties, including Churchill’s home and it’s beautiful gardens: Chartwell, Ightham Mote, Emmitts Garden and Quebec House.

Running through Maidstone is the river Medway. On our second last day and last day of sunshine (we were to learn next morning) we joined a river cruise from the Archbishops Palace in Maidstone through to Allington Lock and return.

On Tuesday 29 May we woke to see we’d had rain overnight but that didn’t stop us from further exploring. We headed out to Bodiam Castle, a moated castle built in 1385. While it had previously been raining at Bodiam we were lucky we had none during our visit.

After Bodiam we headed for Sissinghurst Castle Garden. Again we were lucky with the rain for the first part of our visit and our exploration of the gardens. Towards the end of our time enjoying the gardens there was a lot of thunder and a storm hit and so a dash (with brollies up) to the cafe was called for. With a break in the weather we decided it was time for our drive back to Maidstone to pack.

Aside from the rain on our last full day and a couple of cold days early on we were really blessed with good weather which gave us plenty of opportunities to explore. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we drive back to Heathrow to begin the final leg of our journey, our flight back to Perth. At this stage we expect to be home Thursday evening.

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