How to Make the Most of Summer in West Malling: Insider Tips

on May 19, 2024

Nestled in the heart of Kent, England, West Malling is a gem that sparkles brightly in the summer months. This charming town effortlessly blends rich history with contemporary elegance, making it an ideal destination for a memorable summer getaway.

Imagine strolling through cobblestone streets with quaint shops, historic landmarks, and vibrant gardens and perhaps savouring delectable dishes at renowned local restaurants that showcase the best of British cuisine. West Malling offers all this and more.

Key takeaway: This guide will share exclusive insider tips to help you make the most of your summer experience in West Malling. From exploring its fascinating heritage to indulging in culinary delights, this town promises unforgettable moments at every turn.

1. Explore the Rich Heritage of West Malling

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of West Malling by visiting its iconic landmarks and heritage sites.

Visit the Ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey

Take a leisurely walk through the ancient ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, which dates back to medieval times. Built-in 1090 by Bishop Gundulf, this Benedictine nunnery showcases the impressive Norman architecture of that era. As you wander around the remains, imagine life within these walls centuries ago.

Marvel at St. Leonard’s Tower

Don’t miss the opportunity to see St. Leonard’s Tower, an impressive Norman structure dating back to the early 12th century. Standing tall against the backdrop of the countryside, this tower offers breathtaking views and is a favourite spot among history buffs and photographers.

Exploring these sites will deepen your understanding of West Malling’s fascinating past and enhance your overall visit to this picturesque town in Kent.

2. Savor Unforgettable Dining Experiences at St. Leonard’s: The Jewel of West Malling

St. Leonard’s in West Malling is more than just a restaurant—it’s a culinary journey that food lovers should not miss.

Upon entering St. Leonard’s, you’ll be greeted by an atmosphere that perfectly combines elegance and comfort. It’s no wonder this place is loved by many for special occasions and casual gatherings.

At St. Leonard’s, you can expect menus filled with bold British flavours created using locally sourced ingredients. Some of the mouthwatering dishes you can enjoy include:

  • A delightful starter of Burrata, wild garlic chimichurri, sourdough cracker, and nasturtiums.
  • A juicy main course of Kentish lamb with seasonal vegetables.
  • A heavenly dessert like Creme Brulee vanilla cream, shortbread biscuit

Each dish served here tells a unique story and highlights the best produce from the region.

Terry Brouet and Tom Genty are the masterminds behind these culinary creations—two talented chefs who are passionate about delivering excellence on every plate.

Dining Options

St. Leonard’s offers a range of dining experiences to suit every preference:

  1. A la carte dining: Choose your dishes individually from the menu.
  2. Tasting menus: Let the chefs surprise you with a carefully curated selection of their best creations.
  3. Mid-week set lunch menu: Enjoy a delicious yet affordable lunch during weekdays.
  4. Wednesday steak night: Indulge in perfectly cooked steaks with all the trimmings.
  5. Weekend brunch: Start your day off right with a leisurely brunch experience.
  6. Sunday roasts: Gather your loved ones for a traditional Sunday roast feast.


You can find St. Leonard’s at:

47 Swan Street, West Malling, ME19 6JU

It’s conveniently located and attracts visitors from various parts of Kent, including Maidstone, Sevenoaks, and Kings Hill.


Whether you’re seeking an intimate dinner, a celebratory meal, or want to treat yourself to exceptional food, St. Leonard’s is the perfect choice.

With its inviting ambience, dedication to showcasing local flavours, and a team of talented chefs leading the way, this restaurant truly stands out as the pride of West Malling.

3. Explore the Natural Charms: Gardens

Discover the enchanting beauty of West Malling’s summer gardens, each with its unique allure. Immerse yourself in a riot of colours and fragrances as you wander through these hidden horticultural gems. The town’s green spaces transform into a vivid tapestry during the sunny months, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle.

Noteworthy Gardens to Visit

  • Manor Park Country Park: Spanning over 52 acres, this park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. The landscaped gardens and tranquil lake provide an idyllic setting for a stroll or a family picnic.

4. Engage in Thrilling Outdoor Pursuits: Activities for Adventure Seekers

Hiking Trails

West Malling has a variety of hiking trails suitable for all levels of adventurers. You can explore the beautiful countryside through green fields and ancient woodlands. One popular choice is Leybourne Lakes Country Park, which features trails that meander around peaceful lakes, offering a relaxing walk or an energizing hike.


If you love water activities, head to Mote Park in Maidstone. They offer a wide range of watersports, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing. The park’s large lake provides a stunning backdrop for an exciting afternoon of water fun.

Cycling Routes

For cycling enthusiasts, West Malling is great with its well-maintained routes. You can ride along the historic Pilgrims’ Way, immersing yourself in the beauty of the Kentish countryside. The North Downs Way offers thrilling terrain and breathtaking views if you’re up for a challenge.


Golf lovers can enjoy a game at the prestigious Kings Hill Golf Club. The carefully designed course offers both difficulty and pleasure, making it ideal for spending a sunny day working on your golf skills.

Horse Riding

If you want to explore the area on horseback, local stables provide guided rides through scenic trails. Bradbourne Riding Centre is highly recommended for beginners and experienced riders who want to connect with nature from a unique perspective.

These outdoor activities are perfect for anyone looking to discover West Malling’s natural beauty and adventurous side during the summer.

5. Explore Beautiful Beaches Nearby

A short(ish) drive from West Malling reveals a treasure trove of picturesque coastal areas that beckon with their sun-kissed allure.

Must-Visit Beaches Near West Malling

  • Whitstable Beach: Famous for its oyster shacks and vibrant arts scene, Whitstable Beach offers a charming blend of pebbly shores and colourful fishing boats. Ideal for a leisurely stroll or a refreshing dip.
  • Herne Bay: A quintessential British seaside town, Herne Bay boasts long stretches of sand and shingle lined with vintage beach huts. Perfect for families, it features amusements and a pier teeming with activities.
  • Margate: Known for its golden sands and retro vibe, Margate is a haven for those seeking relaxation and entertainment. The Turner Contemporary Gallery adds a touch of culture to your beach day.

Hidden Gems

  • Botany Bay: Nestled between Broadstairs and Margate, Botany Bay is renowned for its dramatic chalk cliffs and secluded coves. Ideal for those seeking tranquillity away from the crowd.
  • Joss Bay: Popular among surfers, Joss Bay combines rugged beauty with opportunities for watersports. Its sandy expanse makes it a favourite spot for picnics and sunbathing.

Practical Tips

  • Travel Time: Most beaches are within an hour’s drive from West Malling, making them perfect for day trips.
  • Amenities: Many beaches offer convenient amenities such as cafes, restrooms, and parking facilities.
  • Activities: Whether you’re into sunbathing, swimming, or exploring local eateries, there’s something for everyone.

6. Don’t Miss These Local Events: Celebrating Summer with the Community

West Malling is buzzing with activity during the summer months, hosting various events that will delight both residents and visitors. The community’s energy and excitement are contagious, making these celebrations a must-attend.

Highlights of West Malling Summer Events:

  1. Garden Parties: The epitome of summer get-togethers. Picture lively gatherings featuring live music, delicious food stalls, and unique markets amidst stunning gardens. These parties go beyond mere events; they offer an immersive experience that perfectly captures the essence of an idyllic English summer day.
  2. West Malling Farmers’ Market: This market, which takes place on the fourth Sunday of every month, is a paradise for food lovers. It boasts an array of fresh produce, handcrafted cheeses, homemade preserves, and delectable baked goods—a true feast for the senses.
  3. Music Festivals: Whether you’re a fan of classical melodies performed in historic venues or prefer rocking out to contemporary tunes in cosy pubs, West Malling has something for everyone. These musical performances often draw inspiration from the town’s rich cultural heritage, adding an extra layer of charm.
  4. Art Exhibitions: During the summer season, West Malling proudly showcases its artistic prowess through various exhibitions that feature local talent. From traditional paintings to avant-garde installations, there’s bound to be something that sparks creativity in every art enthusiast.

These events showcase the town’s lively community spirit and provide an excellent opportunity to connect with locals and immerse yourself in West Malling’s culture.

7. How to Get Around Conveniently: Transportation Tips for Exploring West Malling

Navigating West Malling and its beautiful surroundings is easy with these tips from the locals. Whether you’re coming by train or car, there are plenty of options to make your travel smooth.

By Train:

  • West Malling Station: A convenient hub connecting you to London Victoria in under an hour. Perfect for day-trippers and those who prefer public transport.
  • Local Taxis: Available at the station, ready to take you wherever you want to go.

By Car:

  • Parking: Plenty of parking spaces in the town centre, including options for both short-term and long-term stays.
  • Scenic Drives: The countryside in Kent has some amazing routes perfect for leisurely drives.

Public Transport:

  • Buses: Reliable bus services run through West Malling, connecting you to nearby towns like Maidstone and Sevenoaks.
  • Cycling: Rent a bike from local shops and enjoy the well-marked cycling trails. It’s a great way to explore hidden spots while being kind to the environment.


  • Town Center: The town centre is compact and easy to walk around, so you can easily explore shops, cafes, and historical sites on foot.
  • Guided Tours: Join a walking tour to learn more about the town’s fascinating history from knowledgeable guides.

Top Tip:

Download the Kent Connected app for real-time public transport schedules and route planning updates.

Effortless travel means more time to enjoy West Malling’s charm. Ready to dive into luxurious stays? Let’s explore where to rest your head after a day of adventure.

Discover the Magic of Summer in West Malling

Summer in West Malling offers a wide range of experiences. You can explore its rich history at famous landmarks and heritage sites or treat yourself to a delicious meal at St. Leonard’s restaurant, where the finest local ingredients are showcased in every dish.

Don’t miss the opportunity to wander through the beautiful gardens, filled with vibrant colours and delightful scents. There’s also a bustling community atmosphere with various summer events and garden parties to join in. And if you need beach relaxation, don’t worry – there are stunning beaches just a short distance from West Malling.

Here are a few tips to enhance your trip:

  1. Getting Around: Take advantage of the town’s transportation options for convenient navigation.
  2. Finding Accommodation: Explore our recommended accommodations for a stylish and comfortable stay.

We’re excited to hear about your own summer adventures in West Malling! Each story adds to the town’s unique charm, making it even more special.


About St Leonards

St Leonards restaurant in West Malling is a popular dining destination for locals and visitors alike. Located in the heart of West Malling, the restaurant offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, with a menu featuring a variety of delicious dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. From classic pub favorites to gourmet meals, there's something for everyone at St Leonards.
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