Explore Kent

Visits to literary locations in Kent alongside seminars on Kentish writers.

Derek Jarman – Dungeness – 15th May

Derek Jarman was a leading avant-guard filmmaker, artist, writer and gardener. In 1986 he moved to Prospect Cottage in Dungeness on the south Kent coast and created a garden. The landscape of Dungeness is like no other in the UK and is one of the largest expanded of shingle in Europe. This move coincided with Jarman’s diagnosis as HIV positive and he was one of the first well known figures to discuss this publicly.

This day trip will be split into two parts: in the morning we will explore excerpts of Jarman’s writing about Dungeness, his artistic practice, the garden, and his sexuality. We will then travel to Dungeness to visit his garden and the surrounding area. This event is free of charge.

10:00-12:00 – Discussion group on campus
12:00-16:00 – Visit Dungeness
For more information and to register, please use Eventbrite.


Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West – Sissinghurst – 21st May

Sissinghurst Castle was the home of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. They created a well known garden together in the ‘rooms’ of the old castle grounds and Vita wrote poetry, novels and gardening columns up in an isolated tower. She met Virginia Woolf in 1925 and they began an on-off affair. Vita and her family history were the inspiration for Woolf’s novel Orlando but their relationship ended after disagreements regarding war, social privilege and sexual politics.

This trip will visit Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens and is free of charge.

11:00-16:00 – Visit Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens
For more information and to register, please use Eventbrite.


Charles Dickens – Rochester – 28th May

Kent was Dickens’ home county. It is the place where he spent most of his early years during what seems to have been a largely happy childhood, when his convivial father was employed by the Navy as a pay clerk at the Chatham Dockyard. His friend and first biographer, John Forster, described it as ‘the birthplace of his fancy’. This trip will allow you to explore Dickensian connections and places of Rochester with Professor Cathy Waters leading us on a guided Tour. This event is free of charge.

09:00 – Travel to Rochester
14:00 – Travel back to Canterbury
For more information and to register, please use Eventbrite.