Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Seals, shipwrecks and secrets: Paul O’Grady’s UK tours open for business

© SYSTEMPaul O'Grady's Great British Escapes.
Paul O'Grady's Great British Escapes.

Holidays – even staycations – may be off the cards for now but Paul O’Grady is showing us what we can expect once things open back up again.

Once the lockdowns lift, and the tier system allows, holidays to England will be a tantalising possibility, and Paul reckons the south-east is one of the UK’s most beautiful regions – despite the bad press it’s had in the past few years.

To say that the presenter has been surprised by what he’s found on his own doorstep is an understatement.

He says: “Kent is known as the garden of England but her beauty has been slightly tarnished lately because all you hear about Kent is lorry parks and Operation Stack on the M20.

“I think it’s about time Kent was given a fair hearing because there’s some lovely stuff down here and a hell of a lot I haven’t seen, you know.”

The latest episode of the domestic travel series sees the Birkenhead-born host explore Kent’s stunning coastline that stretches over 350 miles – and hides many surprising secrets.

He starts in Dover Harbour, boarding a speed boat to blast along the white cliffs.

“When you see the white cliffs of Dover and you think this is the first thing the pilots saw when they were flying back from a mission in France, they must have breathed a sigh of relief,” he said. “It makes you sort of proud…this should be on the National Health for people with depression – it’s just magnificent.”

Wednesday’s journey takes Paul past wartime tunnels and over long-lost shipwrecks before he has an emotional encounter with some of Kent’s more unexpected residents – a colony of harbour seals.

Back on land, Paul heads further up the coast to the picture-perfect seaside town of Broadstairs, which was once the favourite holiday spot of author Charles Dickens.

Paul meets the author’s great-great-great-granddaughter Lucinda and they uncover a remarkable coincidence between their two families and an amazing story about Paul’s ancestors murky past.

In 1849, Dickens witnessed the double hanging of Paul’s relatives, the notorious

Mannings convicted of a murder known as the “Bermondsey Horror”.

No trip along the coastline would be complete without sampling Kent’s most famous seafood export – native oysters.

Perhaps we should all take a leaf out of Paul O’Grady’s book, and go in search of hidden gems close to home.

Paul O’Grady’s Great British Escape, ITV, Wednesday, 8pm