The pastoral landscapes of Kent are some of the UK's most pristine and perfect – the county is called the "Garden of England", after all. Bordered by hedgerows and daffodil-tinted maize fields, they roll across meadows and woods, passing medieval castles and church-topped villages as they go. That's the perfect setting for an escape to the country, which is where Kent holiday cottages come in.

Kent holiday cottages near the sea

Kent isn't all bucolic backcountry. It also arches a great C-shape around the south-eastern end of England. Beaches and big cliffs dominate the area, which makes for some seriously enticing cottage stays by the sea.

A Kent holiday cottage in Margate

Margate put Kent on the UK's seaside map way back in the 1800s. And while the glory days of beach huts and top-hat emporiums have passed, there's still plenty to love about the twinkling arcades of the Dreamland Margate park and the cutting-edge exhibits of the Turner Contemporary gallery. The town is also, tantalisingly, just under 2 hours' drive from London.

Kent cottages in pretty Broadstairs

Once the stomping ground of smugglers coming across the English Channel, Broadstairs is now a bustling resort town with a lacing of elegant Victorian homes. It's known for being the gateway to the postcard-perfect beaches of Botany Bay, which are spiked with stacks of dramatic chalk stone beyond the whitewashed North Foreland Lighthouse over the headland.

Cliffside living in Dover

If huge castles and striking cliffs are your idea of a great coastal adventure, then Dover is going to be right up your street. Its mighty citadel has protected English shores since the Middle Ages, while the alabaster-coloured rocks are now a veritable icon of the British Isles.

Rural Kent holiday cottages

Pack the bags for a country escape to Kent and you can get ready for a quintessentially English experience. Half-timbered villages speckle the dales, farms rise from little meadows and sporting fences ring fields filled with ponies, all hiding some cosy Kent cottages along the way.

Kent cottages in Ashford

Close to the very heart of the county, little Ashford remains a prime jump-off point for explorations of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Surprisingly, it is also a stop on the international train route to Paris and beyond. A Kentish breakfast and a Parisian lunch, perhaps?

History awaits in Canterbury

Canterbury has been the starting point for European-wide pilgrimages since medieval times. The filigreed spires and buttresses of Canterbury Cathedral crown the town, hiding haunting memorials to the murdered Thomas Becket and the place where countless English monarchs have been crowned. The old kernel of Canterbury is also an enchanting place to be, with half-timbered homes running crookedly between narrow lanes and pubs.

A bolthole inside the Kent Downs

A vast swathe of protected landscape in the middle of Kent is given over to the Kent Downs AONB. Country cottages and farmhouse conversions are the pads of choice in these parts. They are surrounded by rolling green fields and even provide access to long-distance English hiking paths like the Wealdway.

Key features to consider about your Kent holiday cottage

Before bagging that Kent cottage, consider these 3 features that you might need. They range from pet-friendly policies to luxurious add-ons, to help forge a rural retreat that's perfect for you.

Dog-friendly Kent holiday cottages

The pooch is sure to love Kent just as much as you. Ball-throwing sessions on the wave-splashed beaches around Margate will be savoured, as will long walks above the Dover cliffs or around the green Kent Downs. If you are bringing the barker along, it's important to check your chosen cottage welcomes guests with 4 legs, too. There are plenty to pick from but a small extra charge may apply.

A Kent holiday cottage with a hot tub

The most luxurious of cottages in this corner of England come with spa baths and swimming pools. They are the ones to go for if you're not on a tight budget and are desperate for some hard-earned R&R out in the countryside.

Character Kent cottages

Kent's long history means that many of the rentals between its county borders are steeped in heritage. There are so many, in fact, that they take on a category of their own – character cottages. Choose these places and you can find original fireplaces and charming half-timbered architecture, low-lying ceilings and more.