Staying true to our roots: unusual places to stay in Kent

Sawday’s was born from a desire to uncover places to stay with bags of character and much personality and to avoid the bland and the identikit. It rings true over 25 years later and we’re proud to show off our collection of out-of-the-ordinary places to stay. This hand-picked selection includes five unusual places to stay in Kent. Expect gorgeous decor and spoiling bedrooms, a yoga Zen Den, a sumptuous retreat on a unique nature reserve and plenty to do straight from the door.

7 Longport, Canterbury

A delightful, unexpected hideaway opposite the site of St Augustine’s Abbey and a five-minute walk to the Cathedral. You pass through Ursula and Christopher’s elegant Georgian house to emerge in a pretty courtyard, with fig tree and rambling rose, to find your self-contained cottage. Downstairs is a cosy sitting room with pale walls, tiled floors and plenty of books, and a clever, compact wet room with mosaic tiles.

Then up steep stairs to a swish bedroom with crisp cotton sheets on a handmade bed and views of the ancient wisteria. You breakfast in the main house or in the courtyard on sunny days.

“We stayed at 7 Longport for our minimoon in Canterbury and it was absolutely perfect! Just a 2-minute walk to the city centre but it feels like a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle.” – Guest, Hannah

Stay at 7 Longport >


7 Longport

Kingshill Farmhouse, Sheerness

Just one hour from London, this remarkable house (beautifully restored and completely off-grid) sits on a unique family-owned nature reserve on the Isle of Sheppey. Look after yourselves — the kitchen is a cook’s dream — or upgrade to be cosseted incredibly thoughtfully from breakfast to a relaxed or formal supper and housekeeping in between. Bedrooms and bathrooms are sumptuous.

On wintery nights you’ll light a roaring fire in the snug; on sunny days you’ll barbecue outdoors in the lovely big gardens and tell stories around the firepit. You have 3,300 acres of nature reserve to explore (book onto a wildlife tour to learn more), miles of nature trails to wander and your own shell beach with sheltered swimming at high tide. Yoga, massages, all is possible.

“A truly lovely house on a special farm on a National Nature Reserve. You don’t have to go far for supper with the local pub serving great food.” – Inspector, Nicola

Stay at Kingshill Farmhouse >


Unusual places to stay in Kent

The George & Heart, Margate

Refurbished with huge personality, this ancient coaching inn sits happily in the centre of quirky, arty, independent Margate. Come for individually designed bedrooms (all but the suite are on the top floor) and a pretty courtyard garden. Help yourselves to tea, coffee, biscuits and cereals, dip into your own private mini-bar, or pop into the amnesty bar for afternoon cocktails or a late-night tipple.

The feel is very relaxed, staff are incredibly friendly and the idea is that guests feel like one big family. Breakfast is continental; dinner is seasonal and ever-evolving with lots of Kent produce and plenty of vegan and vegetarian choices. There’s a Zen Den for yoga or meditation and it’s a three-minute walk to the sea.

“I loved staying in the ‘Poodle & Blonde’ room with its loud wallpaper and retro feel. Stroll out to explore Margate’s independent shops, galleries and beach.” – Inspector, Alice

Stay at The George & Heart >


Unusual places to stay in Kent

Heron House, Whitstable 

Good restaurants, beach walks, a grand welcome for dogs in trendy Whitstable. Bring friends and stay in this smart house between the high street and the sea.  Its restoration, from ‘sorry state’ to much-loved home (neat-as-a-pin but not precious) is down to Julie, who has thought in much detail about your stay. Downstairs are two sitting rooms, one smaller with a wood burner, one large, and a kitchen-diner in the extension, in beautiful, bright, Victorian-modern style.

Fling open doors to a pretty courtyard with a garden room for dreaming on a daybed. Bedrooms on the upper floors are a mix of vintage pine pieces and Farrow & Ball colours, new rugs on stripped floors, bathrooms with thick towels and shining sash windows – only the best. 

“Heron House is a beautiful house with everything you could wish for in a holiday home and in a great location.” – Guest, Jayne

Stay at Heron House >


Unusual places to stay in Kent

The Relish, Folkestone

This stylish townhouse retreat in leafy Folkestone comes with excellent rooms and a terrace for breakfast in summer making it a tempting port of call. There’s a sense of generosity here: a drink on the house each night in the sitting room; tea and cakes on tap all day; free internet throughout. You’re in an 1850s merchant’s house on the posh side of town – lovely old bricks and mortar, softly contemporary interiors, candles flickering on the mantelpieces above an open fire.

You breakfast in the high-ceilinged dining room or decamp onto the terrace on warm days; a communal garden stretching out beyond. You’re one street back from Folkestone’s cliff-top front for big sea views and steps lead down to smart gardens, the promenade and waterside restaurants.

“Delicious breakfasts are eaten in the airy dining room or the terrace in fine weather, perfectly setting you up for a day exploring charming Folkestone. Walk everywhere.” – Inspector, Scott

Stay at The Relish >


Unusual places to stay in Kent