Our guide to the best places to visit on and off the island
Elmley is a great base for exploring the many well-known areas and attractions across Kent: the historic town market town of Faversham, known for its antiques shops, markets and the creek with its historic barges and shipyard (25mins); Whitstable for its seafood and vintage shopping (35min); Leeds Castle (25mins) with its beautiful and family-friendly setting; Canterbury (30mins); and the Turner Contemporary in Margate with its fun and arty old town (45mins).
Closer to home, Sheppey is an historic island and has some fascinating places to visit, including Blue Town with its splendid Georgian Naval Terrace in Sheerness, Queenborough’s fishing harbour, and water-sports at Barton’s Point Coastal Park.
For more nature and walks you can watch raptors from Capel Fleet or visit the Swale National Nature Reserve to catch a glimpse seals basking on the sands in the Swale.
There are plenty of local beaches to explore but our recommendations in the island are:
- Minster Leas - walk along the shore and find a quiet spot underneath the cliffs
- Shellness - this beautiful, remote beach is made of tiny seashells! Access is through Leysdown and down a very bumpy track (not suitable for all cars). Please note Shellness is a naturist beach so probably not one to visit on busy Summer days!
- Or go fossil hunting at Warden Point.
If you’re after vast sandy beaches take a longer drive to the Thanet coast with the gorgeous beaches at Broadstairs, Botany Bay and Joss Bay.
Brambledown Farm Shop, ME12 3SU. Brambledown is a great place to stock up on basics. A proper farm shop... giant sacks of potatoes, trays of eggs, plenty of great local fruit and veg and a bakery. (10 mins)
Macknade, ME13 8XF www.macknade.com A wonderful place to visit if you fancy a trip out, run by a farming family with Italian roots. Plenty of yummy Kentish produce, cheeses, wines, fruit and veg etc. Plus a fantastic butchers. It is just outside the lovely market town Faversham. (25mins)
Brogdale, ME13 8XZ https://www.brogdalecollections.org/ Brogdale is home to The National Fruit Collection and has over 4000 varieties of fruit. You will also find a tearoom, garden centre and a selection of shops where you can taste and buy seasonal fresh fruit, jams, chutneys, local ciders, wines and gifts. They also offer daily orchard tours, please call for more information on 01795 536250. Brogdale is situated just outside of the picturesque town of Faversham. (25 mins)
MB Farms, Stockbury, ME9 7UJ www.mbfarms.co.uk. It will be a short detour on your way to us, with quite a sharp turn off the A249 so best to have a look at a map before you set off. Most of the meat comes from their own farm. There is also a shop attached, selling basics and a small selection of local fruit and veg (10-15mins depending on the route).
Two Suns, Lime Kiln Wharf, West Street, Queenborough, ME11 5HB. Run by the very friendly Roy, this excellent fishmonger is placed near to the fishing harbour in the little fishing town of Queenborough, and so they have plenty of fresh fish in (10 mins)
We have some wonderful pubs in Kent, as we're in a remote spot none of our eating recommendations are very close but they're in lovely spots so tie in well with day trips if you're staying with us for longer.
On the Island:
- Ferry House Inn, Harty. A beautiful rural setting on Sheppey, this pub makes a good lunch stop during a walk or a cycle ride and you can even seal spot from its beautiful terrace. High end pub food and a friendly atmosphere. Not far as the crow flies but a scenic 30mins drive. Do call in advance as they are closed on certain days. www.theferryhouseinn.co.uk 01795 510214.
- Admiral’s Arm Micropub, Trafalgar Court, West Street, Queenborough. A fun micropub with real ales, nice wines and good atmosphere. Bar snacks are also available. www.admiralsarms.co.uk 01795 668598.
- The Old House at Home, 1 High Street, Queenborough. A good local pub for a pint, overlooking the water.
- Bosuns, Queenborough, lovely new tea room and shop
On the mainland:
- Three Mariners, Oare. Located near to Oare Marshes Nature Reserve (35mins), this cosy pub has great food (booking recommended). (25mins drive) www.thethreemarinersoare.co.uk 01795 533 633
- The Ship, Conyer. This lovely pub is good for drinkers and diners alike and overlooks a pretty marina. It is located just over the water from us, but is a 30mins drive around the Swale www.shipinnconyer.co.uk 01795 520881
- Sportsman, Seasalter (nr Whitstable). The longer (35mins) drive is entirely worth it. Absolutely wonderful locally sourced or foraged food in a friendly and relaxed old pub setting. Michelin star well-deserved! Book well in advance. www.thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk 01227 273370
- The Plough, Stalisfield. This is further away (40mins), but if you’re heading back on the M20 it is worth the detour for the best Sunday roast! Booking needed. www.theploughinnstalisfield.co.uk 01795 890256
- Macknade, Faversham – an excellent farm shop and café, open in the day for light bites and scrumptious cakes www.macknade.com
Or head to Whitstable for (seasonal) native oysters!