There are a great number of cultural gems for older people in Kent to enjoy. This guide will highlight some of Kent’s best cultural attractions, including National Trust properties, beautiful castles and Silver Cinema screenings.
If you are looking for more accessible days out, look at Age Space’s guide to The Best Accessible Days out in Kent.
3 Stunning National Trust Properties in Kent
The National Trust own a great range of properties in Kent, and we have highlighted three of our favourites here.
Ightham Mote is a beautiful Medieval moated manor house that was built over 700 years ago. It is described by the architectural writer John Newman as being the “most complete small Medieval manor house in the county”. It even has a Grade I listed dog kennel!
As well as the house there are three stunning estate walks offering great views of the Kent countryside, including the ancient bluebell woodland at Scathes Wood.
Steps have been taken to make Ightham Mote as accessible as possible, and a suggested-level access map around the gardens is available from Visitor Reception. For wheelchair users, only the ground floor is accessible due to the house’s uneven floors. Guide dogs are welcome and there are large-print and Braille house guides available. You can read more about accessibility at Ightham Mote on the National Trust Website.
Prices: Core Season (February to November) £15.50
Winter (December and January): £5.40
Opening Hours Garden: 10:00 – 17:00
House: 11:00 – 17:00
Parking Car park open all year. £3 per day for non-members.
Website: Ightham Mote website (National Trust)
Chartwell was the family home of the Churchill family, and where Winston Churchill lived himself for much of his adult life. The house and gardens have been left largely as they were when he lived there, including the lakes he had created.
In November 2019 a new exhibition was launched at Chartwell, exploring the Life of Churchill through 50 Objects.
There is wheelchair access only to the sitting room, hall and library, but the team at Chartwell have put together an immersive Virtual Tour for people who cannot access the other rooms. for A step-free route of the grounds is available. You can read more about accessibility at Chartwell on the National Trust website.
Prices: £17.25 for whole property, £10.00 for gardens and studio only.
Garden – 10:00 – 17:00
House – 11:30 – 17:00
Parking: Car park open all year, roughly 250 yards from the main house. £4.00 all day parking for non-members.
Website: Chartwell website (National Trust)
Sissinghurst Castle Gardens
Sissinghurst Castle Gardens has a rich history, dating back to its time as a prison in the 1700s and then its use as a base for the women’s land army.
It grew to prominence during the period in which it was inhabited by the poet and writer Vita Sackville-West and he husband Harold Nicolson. Together, they transformed Sissinghurst Castle into a beautiful gardens and grounds with colourful, abundant flora and carefully planned garden rooms.
Wheelchair users may find some parts of the garden challenging to navigate as there are uneven paths, steps, and levels. You can read more about accessibility at Sissinghurst Castle Grounds on the National Trust website.
Prices: £14.50 Summer, £10.40 Winter
Opening Hours: Opening times vary seasonally.
Parking: There is designated disabled parking in the main car park, and a mobility buggy that runs form the car park to the visitor reception and the shop.
Website: Sissinghurst Castle Gardens (National Trust)
2 Beautiful Castles in Kent
Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the Queen of England from 1533 to 1536. The castle, which began being built in the 13th century, has vast and impressive mazes, gardens, and a lake. Those feeling adventurous can rent a boat for the afternoon and enjoy relaxing on the 38-acre lake!
As well as the beautiful castle and grounds, Hever Castle also boasts a fantastic collection of Tudor paintings. There are also two restaurants and an expansive shop on-site.
Unfortunately, motorised wheelchairs cannot be used the castle and courtyard, but the gardens, shops and restaurants are all wheelchair-accessible. You can read more about accessibility at Hever Castle on their website.
Prices: There is a seniors (60+) discount, bringing the price to £16.55 for a Castle and Gardens ticket, or £14 for a Gardens-only ticket. There are further discounts available if you book in advance online.
Opening Hours: Opening Times vary seasonally.
Parking: Parking is free and accessible parking is available, as well as a mobility buggy.
Website: Hever Castle Website
Dover Castle, sometimes described as the “Key to England” due to its historical use as a military defense, is one of the largest castles in England. The site of the castle has a long and rich history, dating back to the existence of two Roman lighthouses built in the early 2nd century.
In more recent times, it is believed that the Dunkirk evacuation was masterminded here during World War II. On a trip to the castle you will be able to climb the Great Tower and enter the underground Secret Wartime Tunnels. We would highly recommend Dover Castle to anybody interested in their history!
Wheelchair access is available within the grounds and the Operation Dynamo experience, but not the Underground Hospital. Find out more about accessibility at Dover Castle on their website.
Prices: £19.20 for over-65s, or £21.30 as a standard rate.
Opening Hours: 09:30 – 18:00 Monday to Sunday
Parking: Free parking for up to 200 cars.
Website: Dover Castle Website
Silver Screenings at Local Cinemas Across Kent
ODEON Silver Screen
ODEON cinemas run dedicated silver screening showings for older people (55+). Tickets for these showings cost as little as tickets are from £3, and include hot drinks and biscuits. In Kent, there are ODEON cinemas in Canterbury, Chatham, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. To find out when there are ODEON silver screen showings coming up near you, enter your nearest cinema here on the ODEON website.
Picurehouse Silver Screen
Picturehouse Ashford run Silver Screen showings of films every Thursday before 17:00. These showings cost a reduced rate of £7, and come with free tea or filter coffee. You can find out which films are coming up for Silver Screen showings on the Picturehouse website.