Ramsgate's Royal Harbour

Visit Kent has revealed its 2018 Group Travel Guide, and there’s plenty on offer next year, including a major maritime anniversary, a new festival, and the opening of a wine sanctuary.

Yes, you heard correctly – a wine sanctuary. Somewhere that seemed to exist only in your wildest dreams is actually a real life visitor attraction, and you can find it at the Chapel Down Winery.

The sanctuary consists of a new state-of-the-art tasting room where groups of up to 60 people can enjoy wine tastings with a Wine and Spirit Education trained tour guide. Pair tastings with guided tours of the winery and vineyards, or follow with lunch at The Swan Wine Kitchen.

Also new in Kent for next year will be the inaugural Royal Harbour Festival. From 15th to 17th June, Ramsgate, said to be Britain’s only royal harbour, will celebrate the first Royal Harbour Festival with a showcase of the area’s rich history which includes Romans, Saints and Vikings.

Displays, interactive experiences, re-enactments and talks from guest speakers will all highlight an extraordinary coastal and maritime history. Tickets will go on sale early next year.

Groups who’d like to continue with the maritime theme might like to pay a visit to the Historic Dockyard Chatham, which will celebrate 400 years of history next year. The dockyard reports to be the world’s only complete dockyard from the age of sail, and activities and celebrations are planned for throughout much of 2018.

Highlights are set to include Time, Tide and Power, an exhibition featuring objects from national institutions such as Tate Britain, and Brick History!, a depiction of famous scenes through history made from Lego.

And for groups seeking an immersive day of historical learning, a new joint package has been launched by Chiddingstone Castle and Knole in Sevenoaks.

Both heritage sites will be offering an exclusive joint groups package that will see visitors start their day with a guided tour of Chiddingstone Castle’s historic Tudor house, through the re-opened Victorian rooms for tales of love and attempted murder.

After a ploughman’s lunch, a visit to Knole will uncover 600 years of history and an extensive estate which boasts collections of furniture and art.

Group travel organisers seeking the new Group Travel Guide should visit www.visitkent.co.uk/travel-trade.

Lead image: Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour. (Photo credit: Tom Parsons).