Cranbrook is the smallest town in Kent, but that doesn't mean there aren't loads of things to do there! When it comes to finding exciting places to visit you're practically spoilt for choice - one of the best attractions in Cranbrook is the Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, located close to the town. This amazing attraction has something for everyone, so the whole family can enjoy their day out in this stunning garden.
If you'd rather stay in Cranbrook town centre you certainly won't get bored - there are a number of fun activities there too. A trip to Cranbrook Museum makes for a cheap day out, and you can learn all about the town's history there as well. For a bite to eat afterwards you can head to one of the many places to eat in Cranbrook, including cafes, restaurants and pubs.
Midway between Cranbrook and Tenterden sits one of the top attractions in Cranbrook - Sissinghurst Castle Gardens. The castle was first built during the Elizabethan era and the gardens surrounding them are most famous thanks to their garden designer, Vita Sackville West (1892-1962). Sissinghurst is a delightful mix with rose gardens, cottage gardens, orchards and white gardens and you'll have an amazing time in this romantic place.
During your visit you can climb to the top of the famous Elizabethan Tower to take advantage of the spectacular panoramic views over the gardens. If you're lucky you'll be able to spot some of the animals that have made Sissinghurst their home, including birds, small mammals and insects. You should stop off at the Castle Restaurant for a bite to eat and pick up some souvenirs from the Gift Shop. You can buy plants featured in the gardens from the Castle Nursery for your own garden at home as well.
There are a number of walks available around Sissinghurst Castle Gardens and many of them are perfect for dog walking. The castle gardens are open throughout the year, so you can enjoy them at any time, although their opening times do change seasonally so you should check the official National Trust website before you set off.
Just a short walk from Cranbrook's High Street sits the town's local history museum with its particular focus on the agricultural history of the area, plus exhibits on the Cranbrook school of artists who settled here. Cranbrook Museum is run by the volunteer Cranbrook Local History Society, and the archive and artefacts on display here give insight into the town's rural industry, agricultural history and the lives of locals throughout the years. You can find other museums in Mid Kent on iknow-kent now.
Overlooking Cranbrook stands Union Mill, the second tallest remaining windmill in the UK. Built in 1814, Union Mill still grinds flour for sale to the public and is open seasonally, being just one of a scattering of surviving windmills within Kent. When you visit you can be given a tour of the mill and learn what each area would have been used for and how the flour is ground. Union Mill is just one of the cheap Cranbrook attractions as it has free entry.
If you're after a light lunch you can stop off at Food For Thought, a cafe and coffee shop right in the heart of Cranbrook on High Street. This is one of the best cafes in Cranbrook, with a delicious selection of hot and cold meals such as traditional fry ups, sandwiches and jacket potatoes.
There are a selection of restaurants in Cranbrook all serving different cuisines, so no matter what kind of food you're after you'll be able to find it in this town. Apicius is an award winning restaurant on Stone Street with meals for vegetarians and meat eaters alike, all cooked with locally sourced ingredients.
You can also dine at one of the pubs that serve food in Cranbrook, such as The George Hotel on Stone Street. This pub is managed by the famous Shepherd Neame brewery in Faversham and has a fully stocked bar and menus to suit all tastes and pockets, with a good choice of meals for the whole family.
Cranbrook Union Windmill image contributed by Oast House Archive. Woodside, Highstreet image contributed by Oast House Archive. Old Coffee Tavern image contributed by Simon Harriyott. All images are copyrighted but licensed for further reuse under the Creative Commons License.