Get Free Business Support – Applications now Open

The EXPERIENCE Development Programmes delivered by Visit Kent and the Kent Downs AONB provide expert support for businesses, individuals and organisations to develop new off-season Tourism Experiences.

Our Kent Downs Experience Maker Programme welcomes applications from farmers, land owners, land managers and rural tourism businesses that live or work in the Kent Downs AONB or along the North Downs Way who want to build experiences based on landscape, nature, local produce or rural life and culture. So if you’d like to attract more outdoor enthusiasts to your business and/or you have a fabulous sustainable tourism idea then read on and find out more. Applications are open now closed but if you’re interested in developing an experience, please get in touch.

If you want to know more, you can watch our Experience Maker webinar here.

The Kent Downs Experience Maker Programme

Applications have closed, however if you are still interested in developing an experience, we would love to hear from you.

What’s in it for you?

If you become a Kent Downs Experience Maker you will benefit from;

  • Support through the whole process from various experts
  • Being part of the Kent Downs Experience Maker Collection. With the recognition and tourism value of a nationally designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and/or a National Trail.
  • Opportunities to diversify your business model with support.
  • Free consumer marketing promotion through Kent Downs AONB, National Trails and project partners, featuring in targeted seasonal campaigns.
  • Distribution of your product through international and domestic travel trade where appropriate.
  • Connections and networking with cross-sector rural and tourism businesses through the Kent Downs and Visit Kent networks.

All at no cost to your business.


Experience Maker Workshops

Expert guidance on how to turn your idea into reality and access to our Experience Maker

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1-2-1 Expert Consultation

Helping you refine your experience and support with any launch or implementation problems you might face along the way.


Product & Market Testing

Market testing of your concept with consumers and travel trade providing valuable data on key audiences, creative and messages that work.

Marketing support

Using our experience of the market we can support you with content writing, photography, campaign planning and promotion.

Launch & Promotion

Support with taking your experience to market through our marketing and partner channels and the option to be including in project campaigns.

Experience Maker Webinar

We held our introductory webinar on the 13th October led by Chris Brant from Unmissable England. He explained more about the programme, what makes a great experience and how you can work with us to turn your idea into a reality.

Don’t worry, if you missed it you can watch the video by clicking the button below…

What do we ask for in return?

Please see below a summary of the key criteria we’ll be using to select businesses most suitable for the programme, you’ll find fuller details in our application information.

All applicants must…

  • Commit to our ‘Promise to the Landscape’ and show desire to respect and help protect the landscape.
  • Operate in the Kent Downs AONB or within 5km or 3 miles from the North Downs Way National Trail.
  • Complete relevant awareness training e.g., Kent Downs and North Downs Way landscape awareness and ‘Welcoming Walkers and Cyclists’ training within 6 months of signing up. These will be available online.
  • Ensure their product is open and operating all year round or have the potential to do so.
  • Dedicate sufficient time and resources to developing the product, commit to 121s and contribute to marketing and promotions.

To find out more about the EXPERIENCE project for visitors and businesses visit our EXPERIENCE project page or for more information about the many benefits to businesses, organisations and individuals with a passion for nature then check out our Business Information page.

How can you get involved?

If you have any queries please contact Rebecca Rees at the Kent Downs AONB,

Want to know more about our latest consumer campaign?

We want visitors to respect, protect and enjoy our beautiful Kent countryside to find their space for the nature and the outdoors combined with a range of excited new experiences.

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Equipment Grant Applications Opening Soon

We’ll soon be launching a new equipment grant scheme of up to £3k with Kent Downs EXPERIENCE project funding 69% of the cost of EXPERIENCE equipment. This is open to businesses that have been accepted on;

  • The Kent Downs Experience Maker Programme.
  • Visit Kent’s Experience Development programme, are located in the Kent Downs or within 5km of the North Downs Way and are developing an experience that compliments the landscape.

So if you plan o joining the Experience Maker programme keep an eye out on when applications for the grant are open.

How is EXPERIENCE funded?

EXPERIENCE is a €23m project co-funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, which has committed €16m from the European Regional Development. Projects are funded in six areas across England and France: Norfolk, Kent, Cornwall, Pas-de-Calais, Compiègne and Brittany. Close collaboration across the six regional projects ensures insights and best practice are shared.

EXPERIENCE in Kent is match funded by:

  • Ashford Borough Council
  • Canterbury City Council
  • Dover District Council
  • Folkestone & Hythe District Council
  • Gravesham Borough Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Medway Council
  • Thanet District Council
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
  • Swale Borough Council

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